Salah and a d***-waving contest Liverpool should avoid

Date published: Monday 17th January 2022 2:05 - Editor F365

Mo Salah holds of Manchester United defender Luke Shaw

Should Liverpool pay Salah and be like Manchester United with a wages problem? Send your views to theeditor@football365.com

 

Liverpool simply cannot afford Salah
Mo Salah, best player in the world? So the story goes but even as a Liverpool fan I find it a little presumptuous to be honest. Mbappe, Haaland and Lewandowski would feel rightly aggrieved at this assumption.

But anyway so the story runs. And if he is the best or one of the best he should be paid accordingly right? Liverpool should just give him what he wants in order to hold onto this invaluable asset who has given so much to our club, to do otherwise is madness.

Recent reports say he is looking for 480k a week. Comparable with the fortunes paid to Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar. Top players on top wages his team will say Mo is in that bracket of player too now. He may be but probably isn’t to be honest. Not far off but not quite for me.

But the real question is not what he is worth in today’s market skewed by state owned petro-clubs with infinite resources, but should Liverpool pay?

Liverpool’s recent success is based on a model of the well run club. Implementing a culture from top to bottom to play a style of football that is attractive, aggressive and successful. They spend money generated by revenue. Big money transfers are funded by player sales not debt and wages are paid in accordance with a player’s value.

So far so good. So why are they stalling on Mo? Our most valuable and essential player currently.

Well Mo isn’t worth half a million a week and Liverpool can’t afford to pay him that amount. They also can’t afford not to in order to keep their best player and to try and compete in a league where Man City are setting standards hitherto unseen on these isles.

So what’s going on?

Let’s look at recent wage and transfer fee casualties Barcelona and to a lesser extent Real. In the recent past these clubs ruled the world. Now Barca are relatively bankrupt and Real are signing relatively unknown prospects at cut price transfer fees. What’s happened?

Ronaldo and Messi happened in conjunction with the market pressure exerted by City and PSG happened.

These clubs paid astronomical wages to these two goats and the rest of their squad and football said I’ll have some of that. They held onto their assets and enjoyed unparalleled success in a period of glory but now their finances are destroyed.

This is the petroleum clubs’ policy. They have overheated the market by signing the best players they can get their hands on and paying them wages other clubs simply can’t afford. If these clubs try to compete financially like Real and Barca they face the prospect of financial ruin and years of recovery.

City and PSG aren’t just destroying their respective leagues in football terms, they are destroying their rivals in financial terms when they try to compete.

This is why Liverpool should not pay Mo. They can’t afford it and even though the market says he is worth it, the market is skewed against normal clubs.

If Mo wants to stay and fight the good fight on a measly 300k a week welcome him as the hero he is. If he demands a wage Liverpool can’t afford then let him walk to one of the petro clubs. Short-term gain is long-term ruin for Liverpool on this one and I for one want to see my club survive in its current form more than satisfy the demands of one gifted player.
Dave LFC

 

The future isn’t blue? Really?
Dave MCFCs email seems to go out of its way not to acknowledge his teams dominance. With this title sewn up City have won 46% of all domestic trophies available to them over the last decade. This includes 6 league titles. The all dominant Utd team of the 90s? 36% including six titles.

When City were first bought and reasonable football fans worried about competitiveness we where told “sure we haven’t won anything yet”. When City started to win everything we where told “but we are smart with our money” then came 100m signings.

Now we are asked to believe that this dominance is temporary as if when Pep goes Citys owners will ease up and lure Sam Allardyce out of retirement. I’d ask Dave honestly why would your owners let up? Why wouldn’t they want the dominance of Bayern, Real, PSG etc? Of course that’s their plan they owe nothing to anyone else other than their bottom line.

This isn’t a knock on City fans either any fan base would have taken that deal but this let’s not pretend City aren’t going to dominate over the next decade.
Dan

 

Getting out the voodoo doll for Man City
Unfortunately I am inclined to agree with Mike’s maths on the likelihood of LFC performing a miracle to overhaul City. Their metronomic style of play means you’d need one of hell of an injury crisis for that to be an issue – I pray for Nathan Ake having to play 90 mins of every league game at left back from now til May but it feels like a long shot.

Could a succession of lucky for Liverpool and horrible for City cup draws lead to a lack of focus in some league games for City? I’ll take them getting Chelsea and Bayern in the Champions League quarters and semis, and top half Premier League opposition in the FA Cup (whilst we get Championship sides tops) if someone could arrange it?

But what of Liverpool themselves? Well if we can eke out by hook or by crook the next league win away to Palace, by the time of the next league game after that away to Leicester on 10th February, the main men should be back from AFCON, so I look forward to Liverpool throwing the kitchen sink at every remaining league game until the maths say 1st place is impossible. We’re the highest scorers in the league (one more than City in one less game – this whole ‘most points’ thing is annoying, it really is), so at least it should be fun.

Being overly (and only setting myself up for heartbreak) optimistic this collective of players have put together big winning runs on two occasions in recent seasons. And whilst i’m not suggesting we’ve had horrendous luck, or that we haven’t had a few breaks ourselves thus far this season, in virtually every game there’s been a ‘if only’, ‘on another day’ moment at crucial points of nearly all the matches we’ve not won.

We didn’t deserve to win any of the games v City, Chelsea x2 or Brighton this season, but my mind goes back to the late Fabinho chance / Rodri miracle clearance, the 10 mins after HT when Chelsea were rocking with 10 men, taking nothing away from Kovacic’s cracker but a couple of inches to the left etc, a 1 in a 100 times effort etc – with the score at 0-2, at 2-0 up v the Seagulls the correctly disallowed goal for handball by Mane would’ve stood under the current laws had it been a couple of inches to the left, hit the post and given Salah a one yard tap in, and a 3-0 lead.

Salah goes for an overly complicated, unnecessary finish when through one on one when we’re 2-3 up in the last 15 mins away to Brentford, he misses the pen at 0-0 when we’re dominating v Leicester – both things that usually end in a Salah goal. And ok, the slight whinge, West Ham and Spurs should both have had red cards in the first 20 mins for shin / knee high lunges – though thinking on we’ve not been good at all when we’ve been up against 10 men in other games this season, so….?!

Anyway, the point is, fine margins and all that. We could end up with zero trophies or three this season without needing anything miraculous But if it is zero I hope most LFC fans realize this is possibly our greatest side ever, it’s just you know, fkin City isn’t it? C’mon Pep, are you not bored yet? Just piss off will ya?!
Rob

 

Manchester United and a wages problem
It is plainly obvious to most what is the problem at Manchester United.

The incentive for the players to improve is stifled by giving them such huge contracts, contracts that all but set them up for life without doing anything else. They don’t need to improve as in their minds and because of the smoke blown up their behinds, they are already world class with a ‘It’s not me’ attitude. They don’t like criticism as it’s everyone else and cannot possibly be them.

We have the world’s highest paid keeper in David De Gea on 375k a week. Compare that to Ederson on around 100k.

Man Utd goalkeeper De Gea

Henderson on 100k, a keeper that was foolish enough to think he was going to be #1 but not foolish to realise that the club are offering him 100k to basically sit on the bench. Then he complains about not getting minutes. I’m no De Gea fan but even I can admit that you aint gonna drop him on his current form. Henderson can go, but if the salary effects a loan or permanent move then tough, take the hit if you really want to play football.

We have 2 RBs fighting it out. Dalot who was bought when Jose was here and wasn’t good enough, and AWB who had 50m spent on him and 90k a week. Matty Cash at Villa is better than both combined and was 15m earning about 25k. Meaning that if Cash doesn’t work out, he can still be sold. We are stuck with AWB unless he takes a massive pay cut and the club are happy to lose about 40million. The knock-on effect is that we’ll not be signing a competent RB for a few more years.

Villa again, paid 22m for Mings who earns around 80k. We sign Maguire for 80m and pay him 170k. Is there really much difference between them? I’d even say that Mings is a better all round defender. We then go and spend 40m on Verane who Real Madrid wanted rid of and pay him 340k. Apparently, he really wanted to come to Utd and nobody else was interested, so why is he paid so much?

75m on Jadon Sancho, who is totally unproven in the Premier League, did it a bit in a far weaker German setup yet he’s paid an eye watering 350k a week. That is an elite player salary, almost on par with De Bruyne, for a guy who has done nothing to justify it.

Pogba wants his salary almost doubled to 500k! He has done nothing for the club in almost six years, spends most winters injured and pound for pound, the biggest flop I have witnessed at Utd. Di Maria and Sanches are close behind but they didn’t hang around for six years. Speaking of Sanches, although hopeless, his stats are actually looking better than Sancho’s.

We have Martial and Cavani on 250k, we value them higher than Liverpool value Salah. Rashford on 200k, we still have Mata on 160k.. Ronaldo 510k a week, I love the guy but come on, he’s not 25! Utd only ever used to give 1-year extensions to players over 30 and their salary started to drop. Now we sign 34 and 36-year-olds on 2 year deals and pay them as if they are in their prime. Utd are paying Ronaldo the same as Real were when he was sensational.

When you look at the other clubs, they are paying elite salaries to their top performing players and they have to earn it. As far as I am concerned, Salah can name his price, same as De Bruyne, Kante, proven Premier league performers at the top level. We have players that have never won anything, fail to perform against sides that they should perform against if they are as good as they think they are.

This will continue until the club realise that by giving these players such huge contracts, there is no incentive to improve? The mentality is bound to change, they think they have already made it, they don’t have to work harder to earn a better contract. Brandon Williams earns about 60k a week, who came up with that?

Maguire wasn’t great last season, he’s been 10x worse this, any coincidence that it could be Verane earning twice as much? Greenwood, a little fed up that he’s been doing it for 2 years and Sancho rocks up earning nearly 5x more? Or Ronaldo getting half a million a week? It shouldn’t matter, but it does. Are we now going to get these players knocking on the door asking for a better deal? Sorry, although I’ll contradict myself here, if I was Greenwood, too bloody right I would be. Even though neither of them are worth that sort of money.

Utd need to give the next manager total footballing control. Stop the board from extending contracts, stop the board from giving new signings contracts that will disrupt the squad harmony, stop the board from interfering with anything football related and give the manager total control of who he wants and who he doesn’t. And if a possible signing wants a ludicrous salary, then walk away. Players should want to come to your club and be paid what they are worth, not what they think they are worth.

Manchester United, a massive d**k waving contest against…..well themselves. Look how powerful and rich we are!

Love or hate Utd, if it carries on this sort of behaviour will relegate the club, I can see it happening. I can see a bottom-half finish this season and if the next manager isn’t the right one and he isn’t given control, part of the Glazers empire will collapse, taking the club with it. Good luck.
Mike

 

Chris Wood: Rotten signing
Somehow I seemed to have missed the outcry about Chris Wood moving to Newcastle. If Ashley Barnes had moved for £25m I would have been only slightly less flabbergasted. What a terrible transfer.

If Newcastle needed a slow, non-scoring Championship level target man, surely Andy Carroll was the man?

And surely after about 10 seconds of reflection, Burnley would have bit Newcastle’s hand off to get to the wonga. The death knell for Burnley? You’ve got to be kidding…25 large ones on the nail and the hard realisation that they need a goalscorer with two weeks of the window to go is surely just the kick up the arse Sean Dyche needs to go and get someone better.

As for Newcastle, two weeks into the biggest transfer window in their history they have no DoF, not sorted out their defence, midfield, or attack, missed a key 6 pointer at home, and seemingly have no clue or plan after apparently chasing every man and dog alive for the past four months.

They stuffed up their chase for a manager, and now they’re proving it wasn’t a fluke.

Grade: D – who’d be a Geordie.
Matthew (ITFC – doing our bit for Football Manager aficionados in then lower reaches)

 

Don’t blame Arsenal for Covid rules
Two points about Wembley Wanderers’ wailing about the North London Derby being called off.

As far as I’m aware, this is the first time a game’s been called off this season due to a request from Arsenal. It’s not as if we’re a continual offender.

And secondly, we had to play against Brentford on the opening day when our squad was decimated by Covid.

If you’re going to change the rules, it should happen at the end of the season, not now. Forcing Arsenal to wheel out the U23s at the weekend when others haven’t had to do so would be taking the mick – given the Brentford game was given the go ahead.

What Arsenal did was perfectly within the rules so my advice is – don’t hate the player – hate the game.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

Actually…
Your ’16 conclusions about THE postponement’ was good but only really scratches the surface about how bad the Premier League decisions have been. On the morning of the 19th Dec it was announced across multiple news outlets that the Spurs Liverpool game was off. I did not travel. Only a couple of hours before kick off it was announced that the game was definitely going ahead. The attendance was 15K below expected.

Arsenal requested the match be postponed on Friday evening yet the decision to call off the match was not made until Saturday afternoon. Many fans travel the day before the match. The complete disregard for match going fans is shocking.

As for the decision to cancel the match. There is no justification for it. Over Xmas, Arsenal played against Leeds and Norwich teams that were decimated by injuries and Covid. The matches were not called off and Arsenal gained 6 easy points against severely weakened opposition. Yet when they have a weakened team entirely from their own doing the game is postponed. They have known about the Afcon tournament for a year. Yet they chose to go ahead and loan out two first team players. Yesterday Leeds finished their match with only 9 first team players and still won.

We know how Spurs were treated over the Europa Conference cancellation and Leicester match. The PL cannot just say it is another competition. They were asked to help and they decided not to help.

Of course, this raises the heckles even more because of the long history of Arsenal getting special treatment at the expense of Spurs. We all remember Spurs being forced to play a crucial match when most of the team had food poisoning. What people may forget is that the PL chairman was having champagne and cucumber sandwiches with the Arsenal chairman while he made the decision.

It is just over 100 years since Arsenal were promoted to the first division at the expense of Spurs – and it still rankles. An Arsenal team that finished 6th in the second division was elected to the first division after its Old Etonian chairman pulled strings behind the scenes to get his undeserving team into the top flight.

Spurs must now squeeze four extra games into their schedule. Arenal have been given a significant competitive advantage in a race that could be for a top-four place. The special treatment they have been given again calls into question the sporting integrity of the league.
Jim (THFC)

 

Palace innit
* Crystal Palace have never won a Premier League match on a Friday; Joel Ward has never lost a league match to Brighton & Hove Albion; Graham Potter has never beaten Palace as either a player or a manager. Somehow a draw seemed inevitable.

* Both sides were missing their most important players, as Wilfried Zaha is at AFCON, and Lewis Dunk is injured. Luckily, Neal Maupay was able to deputise as the bête noire of the Palace fans, a role he was seemingly born to play.

* Patrick Vieira started with a forward line many of us were excited to see: Eberechi Eze and Michael Olise either side of Odsonne Edouard. All had moments where they looked good, but chances were minimal – only one shot on target in the game. Brighton & Hove’s plan was clearly to dominate possession and to their credit, it worked.

* Palace’s midfield really struggled to get to grips with the game, which is ironic given the main contribution to the game from Will Hughes. The Athletic’s Ed Malyon, a Palace fan, made an arch reference to “12 penalties a game”, but any complaints about it were a bit like grumbling about being caught speeding. Yes, lots of people do it and yes, it’s annoying when you’re punished and others aren’t, but ultimately, the most effective way to avoid punishment for holding an opponent at a corner is to not do it at all.

From the resulting corner, it was schadenfreude time when Brighton & Hove had a goal disallowed for a foul by Maupay. Law 12 states that “A goalkeeper is considered to be in control of the ball with the hand(s) when: the ball is between the hands or between the hand and any surface (e.g. ground, own body) or by touching it with any part of the hands or arms except if the ball rebounds from the goalkeeper or the goalkeeper has made a save”. The ball was between Butland’s hands, and Maupay’s knee dislodges the ball.

* Vieira’s other surprise selection was to give Jack Butland another chance in goal. It doesn’t seem his style to exile someone for making a mistake attempting to play the manager’s preferred system, but even so, had Vicente Guaita started against Brighton & Hove, no one would have been particularly surprised. As it happened, Butland had a superb game, making several good saves, including the penalty. He’s a good goalkeeper, and if he can get his passing under pressure up to the required standard then there is no reason why he can’t be the long term successor to Guaita.

* Palace’s goal was a thing of beauty: 20 passes involving every player, working from front to back and from right to left, right-back Joel Ward ending up on the left wing, a penetrating run from a midfielder (Jeffrey Schlupp), and Conor Gallagher doing his best Frank Lampard impression by combining an excellent sense of where the space is and great finishing. Can’t wait to read his children’s books! But seriously, he’s a genuine Premier League star.

* The home side’s equaliser had a sense of inevitability to it, even if it was unfortunate for the visitors. As with Michael Keane putting through his own net for Everton, Joachim Andersen did what any centre-back would do to a cross into the six-yard box, and stuck out a boot. Most of the time that goes out for a corner, but there will always be the risk of diverting it into the goal. Do nothing, however, and there are players lurking behind you who would gladly accept the opportunity. An unfortunate mistake, but nothing to be too concerned about.

* It finished honours even. Brighton & Hove Albion and Crystal Palace are like a couple who have been married forever, constantly bickering but fully aware they would be lost without the other. Both teams are ensconced in midtable, and should have the chance to resume hostilities next season.
Ed Quoththeraven

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