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Do none of them remember a midfield of Kleberson and Djemba Djemba? Do they not remember winning away in the Champions League with Darron Gibson, Darren Fletcher and Danny Welbeck?
GK Tomasz Kuszczak
DEF Evra Carrick Fletcher Park
MID Gibson Scholes Welbeck Anderson Nani
FWD Michael Owen
That team beat Wolfsburg away 3-1. Ole’s job is about more than just buying players. He actually needs to coach.
Sure, United need huge structural change, but the OGS is in charge of football operations and is evidently terrible at it. Aren’t Liverpool’s current owners the same guys who employed Roy Hodgson? Remember that? Did the owners change *that* much or did they wise up and hire a great manager?
Two GREAT managers actually want the United job. Sticking with OGS is literal insanity at this stage.
Pat the Nevin
While ignoring the not-so-subtle dig in Mr Nevin’s punditry (once a bitter, eh Pat), it did get me thinking about the differences between Liverpool last season and this.
Just to shoot down what has become a bit of a narrative, they weren’t playing great all of last season, especially the first few months. Huddersfield away stands out in my mind, Liverpool were particularly crap and dogged their way to a one nil win. Draws away to Arsenal and Chelsea look like decent results until the final league table is considered.
Big Virg and Joe Gomez were imperious at the back during the first month’s of 18/19, linking with some fella in goal (congrats to Allison, well deserved), to form a defensive solidity not seen at Anfield for decades. On that platform was built a solid run up until December when the Reds really clicked into gear – eight wins from eight, kicked off by an injury time derby winner, with great wins against Utd & Arsenal later in the month. Throw in an absolutely vital home win in the European cup against Napoli too. Dec 2018: 23 goals scored, 3 conceded.
This season has seen a leakier defence, though it’s the lack of clean sheets which concerns me more. As much as it’s possible to be concerned watching a team win 13 of 14 and draw the other, that is. No doubt there have been nervy moments, however the way this team has passed each test put in front of it instills a sense of belief stronger than I’ve ever felt – being as I am, (just) too young to remember the last time a team this good graced the Anfield turf.
Since his first season, when he was flabbergasted at the Xmas schedule, Klopp has always had his teams peak for the December period and then again for the last few months of the season. I fully expect that to be the aim again this year. Whilst Fabinho (what a player he is by the way) will be a massive miss and we could really do with Salah getting over this knock he’s carrying, I have full faith in our manager and his backroom team.
Thanks for the free therapy, I think I feel better now.
Spoons (lumping on Mane first goal tomorrow) LFC
As a Leicester fan I felt compelled to respond to johnnyWicky’s email this morning. There is a hell of a long way to go yet this season and personally I am happiest when opposition fans are content to write off Leicester’s staying power and minimise the threat. Liverpool are in fantastic form right now and have been for a lot longer than just this season however the current run of wins has not been without its nervous moments. As long as Liverpool keep winning and the lead remains 8 points or grows everything is rosy but I don’t think it would take too much for doubts to set in.
We are all familiar with the cliché “its a marathon not a sprint” but I suspect that Liverpool may be running the high hurdles, at the moment they are clearing each barrier by the barest of margins and keeping up the record pace they are setting but if they clip one barrier it could disrupt the rhythm entirely. This is why I think that the major misstep in johnnyWicky’s mail is his belief that come “squeaky bum time” it will be Leicester who will suffer. If the title race does go down to the wire one team will be facing a scenario where they blow an even bigger lead than the previous year, this time to massively unfancied outsiders managed by a former manager and the extension of a 30 year title drought. Their opponents in the title race however will be unburdened by historical pressure, as major underdogs seeking to add a second title in 5 years with a number of senior players who have experience of the 2016 miracle. I know who I would be backing in those circumstances. Leicester closed out the title race in 2016 extremely comfortably in the end and that was in the knowledge that it may have been the one and only chance that most of those players would get, this time round that burden has been lifted and they know they have what it takes.
Liverpool are obviously huge favourites for the title and should results go their way in December (Leicester and Man City draw and Liverpool win on Boxing Day) they may have effectively established an unassailable lead by the New Year but Liverpool fans should just take a moment to think what sort of lead they would want to feel comfortable going into the last 3 fixtures.
Will (ask me at 5pm on 1st January if Leicester can win the League) Padmore
As a Leicester fan, all I can say right now is that we’re having a great time (again) and not thinking about the league title (again).
Basically though, we can continue play without pressure and if you lot happen to shit your pants, we’ll be there to clean up….wait a minute…
johnnyWicky is perhaps showing more disrespect to Leicester than he realised (though saying I don’t mean any disrespect is usually a sign you do) when it comes to the title race.
Yes City will need to focus on getting past 2 sides to get to the summit again but Leicester only have one target and to be fair to them only seem focused on themselves. He mentions that Leicester have won the league but doesn’t think they will maintain this form at squeaky bum time – that simply goes against the only evidence we have of Leicester in a title race where once they regained the top spot after the 22nd game of the season, Leicester only lost once for the rest of the season and picked up 37 of 48 points and increased their lead – hardly a struggle at squeaky bum time.
Now of course, Liverpool having an 8 point lead means Leicester need to do better than then to pull it back but they are. They never won 6 straight league games in their title year (looking at next 3 games, could easily make it 9 in a row) and never picked up as many as 30 points from a 12 game run. They have scored more and conceded less than Liverpool
This Leicester team are better than the side that won the title – they are the real deal and whilst Liverpool shouldn’t be worried by either them or City (focus on yourself) but if this season is going to be any more than a procession that as it stands Leicester are the team who will make it one – Boxing Day will have a massive say in how 2020 goes.
One for the Old Geezers
It’s 5am. I’ve just spent a restless night in a hospital bed in Western PA recovering from left knee replacement surgery following 3 previous soccer (it’s origin is English) related surgeries this decade stupidly forgetting that I’m too old to try and demonstrate skills and techniques to young kids instead of just screaming and shouting at them.So I’ve been catching up with the last few days of F365 articles and correspondence and, as I’ve nothing better to do than to let a nurse know what my pain level is on a scale of 1 to 10 I thought that I would add my probably intranevenous-dripped, drug cocktail addled thoughts on some of them.
Bit of background. My mum and dad were of the generation who visited Maine Road on a weekly basis after Old Trafford was a bombsite (something the Glazers seem nostalgic for given the lack of ground investment). They watched United one week and City the next. They continued to watch both after the OT rebuild. My first game was at OT in 1962. The score? Man Utd 2 Burnley Five! Being 9 at the time I had no idea that Burnley had been Champions and FaCup finalists recently. The next game .my dad took me to was a City home game (can’t remember who against) and they lost 3-0. Using childish logic I realized that United needed more support because they let in more goals than City…come to think of it the same applies today! So I became a tribal Man Utd supporter; drank the Kool Aid and joined the Stretford End (when dad,finally, let me stand on my own) cursing all things light blue and Merseyside red.
Anyway, let’s start with the “are you effing kidding me” response to the obviously grammar-smart but footie-imbecilic Dave ()Somwhere before I indulge in some nostalgia. KdB is side on to a high bouncing ball; he manouevres his body to get his high rib cage to bring the ball somewhere in his vicinity; the ball goes up; his instinct/football intelligent brain adjusts his body to a position his right kicking leg (he has both) can hit the ball on its downward trajectory IF he can elevate his whole body into the correct position. He connects with the ball with venom, vector and velocity to score what is certainly a contender for goal of the season which brings gasps of disbelief and wonder from all football fans whomever you may support. The only comparable goals that I can think of; Crouch for Stoke against City, Rooney v Toon, Cantona v Wombles and, perhaps the daddy of them all, Tony Yeboah for Leeds. AS for him being a ‘one-trick-pony’…I am envious of City for possessing one of the very few players that AFFECT a game as a whole as he does. I’d write more on this but it’d only upset the nurses if my blood pressure increases.
OK Jon Nic next in the firing line.I like John’s articles but sometimes he seems to dwell in the area of self parody. My fellow Utd fan Dan Wardell has written a fine case for the defense of the ‘United Way’ in which he states that the”WAY”is basically how fans want to see their team to play. I can’t improve on that so I’ll talk about some other teams”WAY” starting with (SIGH) the team that blighted my school days through my twenties. Yes Liverpool.
I have thought for some time that Klopp was recreating Shankly/Paisley Liverpool “WAY” When in our early teens around 1966/7 my schoolmates were learning about the Civil War. WE decided that Liverpool were Cromwell’s Roundheads; a rugged, pragmatic ruthless team physically grounding teams into the ground whereas United were the King’s Cavaliers; an artistic, skillful, finesse team that would never think to foul anyone to gain a victory. Thus, we must be superior as we obviously held the moral high ground.
We had some famous victorious battles; Albiston scoring a last minute winner at Anfield with the glorious sight of Souness going apoplectic; Jimmy Greehoff,semi final winner, denying them the treble in ‘77; but we always lost the wars. Liverpool won multiple League Cups when it was a desired trophy, European cup finals and so many Championships that they’d never be overtaken (HaHa! Couldn’t resist the jab!)
I’m writing this through gritted partial dentures but I have thought for some time that KLopp was recreating the Liverpool “WAY” of Shankly/Paisley. The clincher was the goal they scored against City. Cast your mind back to 1970 if you are old enough. 7-0 v Spurs..2 crossfield balls before a center to Terry McDermott. Power football at its finest. Isn’t this what Liverpool fans want to see? Class goalkeeper Grob/Clemence to Allison. Buy a Colossus of a centre half “GO on. Walk around him” Shankly said of Ron Yeats. What’s the German translation for VVD? Full backs? Lawler and Neal to TAA and Robertson. Goal scorers freed up by destroyers in midfield. Only difference is that Kennedy, Souness (think Roy Keane only meaner) Hardcase, Crazy Horse (look them up if you’re under 50) also scored goals unlike the current lot. It’s not the United way but it is Liverpool’s.
Across Stanley Park what Everton fans wouldn’t give to the Everton “WAY” of the School Of Science? I was at a Utd Everton 6th round cup tie won by a goal by Joe Royle (he was a Colossus!) Everton’s Holy Trinity of Harvey, Kendall and Ball were in midfield. Even with my young eyes what fluidity of movement and ball control.
Arsenal are an interesting schizophrenic “WAY” case. In America we see Lee Dixon on TV a lot (it’s kind of funny that he spends a lot of his time discussing Arsenal when doing cocommentary on his mainly non-Arsenal matches). He speaks for Arsenal fans (does he, Arsenal fans?) and they want both the George Graham Arsenal”WAY” and the Arsene “WAY”. Maybe they could play one in the first half and the other in the second?
Have more to say but have to go to therapy. Maybe write more later.
Cheers Gary (ex Pat United fan in Pennsylvania)B
George Graham and Bruce Rioch
Bit harsh on both Graham and Rioch, there Dan.
Yes, Graham’s latter years saw us play some of the most boring football imaginable. But before the years of ‘hoof it up to Wrighty’, we played some pretty decent football with the likes of Rocky in the team. We defensively sound that night up at Anfield in ’89 but I wouldn’t say that team were particularly boring.
And Rioch paved the way for Arsene as a pretty damn good buffer manager. It was Bruce, who signed both Platty and the greatest player I’ve ever seen play for the club in Dennis Bergkamp. He reverted to a 3,5,2, made us easier on the eye to watch and took a relegation threatened team to fifth in the league. Worth noting that Arsene stuck with the formation when he first took over.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Allegri’s first day
Good morning Mr Allegri, we’re all hugely excited to welcome you to Carrington. Here’s your office; you’ll note the *almost* impeccable views over the training pitches, and we’ve had a new cabinet installed for all of those medals, trophies and assorted personal accolades. Once you’ve unpacked we’ll pop to the corner office to meet Ole, your new boss – he’s got some very exciting ideas about wingers he wants to discuss with you before he sets your objectives for the season ahead. After that, your induction will be a screening of his Season Review 1998-99 video in the Jesper Blomqvist suite at 2pm – I suspect he’ll join you for that one, haha. Oh and he’s asked you to move your car; I’m afraid that space is reserved.
I completely missed the story on Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refusing to park in Sir Alex’s Ferguson’s old spot in the Manchester Utd car park.
What the actual F… ?? What sort of leadership does that say to the squad if he hasn’t even got the balls to use the manager’s parking spot because there was a chap that last used it 6 YEARS AGO and he’s scared of him?
FA Cup fix
I’m not one for conspiracy theories but I do love unusual stats that allude to conspiracies.
My Leeds loving colleague has just advised me that Leeds have only been drawn at home once in the FA Cup in the last 7 years.
5 times out of their last 25 fa cup fixtures
6 times in their last 31 fa cup fixtures.
Surely those stats are enough to make any tin foil hat wearer to perk up and take notice!!
Those stats are ridiculous (and also very close to my publication rate on f365!!).
It’s got to be part of the same conspiracy!!
Things I don’t get
I have only just watched the highlights from Sunday and they reminded me of two things I don’t get.
1. On Norwich’s first goal the defender (Mustafi?) turns his side to the shot and the ball ricochets off his backside and wrong-foots the keeper. If he had stayed front on I doubt it would have been goal. I remember seeing an interview with the Burnley defenders where they pretty much said that their manager would rip their heads off if they turned away from a shot. If they can do it, surely all defenders can. Why do managers not insist on this?
2. As a referee I have always learned that if both teams encroach, the spot-kick is not re-taken. So, I assume the rule in the PL is that since the defender played the ball it has to be retaken. Ie. if the initial shot had gone past the goal it would not have been retaken? And VAR are not checking if the keeper is off his line, but they do check encroachment…? Can anyone confirm this?
Andreas (I stopped my game this weekend due to an agressive team not knowing how to behave!!) Brussels
Hi there Family, its your man Tabonga Moyo again and l have just been reading Ronaldo’s sisters comments and l could not help but laugh at the whole thing. Cant we take a joke anymore. Seriously. Anyone with half a sense can see and deduce that VVD said what he said in good faith. There was no malice or anything to indicate that he was being serious. Then she goes on this rampage which l think says a lot more about her personality than it does on any point she had to make about VVD.At the end of the day it is just football people.
Play to the whistle
In line with Andy this morning, what really got at me during the Arsenal game was when they [the Arsenal] had a header cleared off of the line, and a few players hands went up in protest that it was a goal.
There is no way that the ref can get that decision wrong, the technology is perfect. It is the epitome of play the whistle, yet there they were, protesting. Useless.
Néill, (the fact we haven’t appointed anyone yet does not sit well), Ireland
Thanks Alex LFC. I am hoping to use my right to reply to get out of the bin. Luther Blissett was left out as I wasn’t sure he was eligible. Further research has now taught me that he was born in Jamaica and moved to Willesden (London), at six.
So unfortunately Hatfield’s Iain Dowie, is up top.
How’s that for bouncebackability?