This is England 2020: Lampard, Gerrard dream team

Date published: Monday 11th November 2019 2:29

Frank Lampard Steven Gerrard

Keep your mails coming to And your votes too… 


This is England 2020
After Liverpool win the title and Klopp moves on to pastures new; Steven Gerrard pips Celtic to the title, stopping ‘teninarow’ (this seems to be one word now) and gets the Liverpool job; there is only one outcome: Frank Lampard and Gerrard joint England managers. Shoehorning japes aside, it would be a worthy idea, and sharing the load means they could still do their club jobs.
Finlay x


What. A. Game.
My Australian wife had been asked, that evening, if she was getting into “soccer” since being with me and told the guys that, because I tend to watch it on my own due to the timing here (eleven hours ahead, since you ask), no. Rectified that this morning with something called “mega match” on our streaming service, Optus. I wouldn’t say she’s hooked, but that TAA – Robertson – Mo Salah goal certainly has her interest piqued.

The penalty that wasn’t. Definitely could have gone City’s way, in isolation, but racist old Bernardo handled in the build up. My understanding of the current rules is that any contact with an attackers hand in the opposition’s box is ruled handball, regardless of the hands position, natural or otherwise. Obviously touched his flailing limb during the making of a goal scoring opportunity, in this case a penalty, so the worst case scenario would have been a Liverpool freekick.

Add to that the Riley statement that they don’t expect defenders to have to have their hands glued to their sides or behind them, just in a “natural” position. I’d argue Trent’s were, in terms of balancing and, if you look at others’ around him, no different to other players’.

How ridiculous, whilst I’m here, was Kompany’s statement that, either way, play should have been stopped for VAR to check it all out? That’s just what we need, more interruption from VAR. Let play go whilst VAR checks a “clear and obvious“ hasn’t happened.

The Salah goal was the best of the bunch and, I think, already underrated. You’ll struggle to see two better passes than Alexander-Arnold’s and Robertson’s. Has there ever been a team with more creative fullbacks? I really hope TAA stays at right back and doesn’t push for midfield, he has such an impact from there at both ends of the pitch.

I could go on and on, but want to finish with the irony of Sterling going down so easy with the lightest of contact from Mane. Wasn’t it meant to be the other way around, Pep? It was annoying that  Guardiola didn’t get called more on that press conference. Guardiola sets his teams up to tactically foul and engage in the dark arts, which I’m not completely opposed to, so to call out others was enragingly hypocritical.

Anyway, great game and thanks for listening/reading!
Craig LFC


My cousin mentioned to me this morning that it was a very good day to be a Liverpool fan.

This prompted the thought that since the Karius fuelled Champions League disaster that’s there’s been very *few* bad days in practically 18 months now. One loss to City in the league, some domestic cup defeats we didn’t care about, a couple of irrelevant CL defeats that didn’t ultimately matter and, um, that’s it?

Obviously we’re statistically a gazillion miles away from being the most successful Liverpool team ever but are we getting close to actually being the most ruthlessly effective on a weekly basis ?

Sure we’ve had our share of luck , yesterday included, but in a league involving the best side in domestic history we are poised to put 30 years of  grief to bed once and for all.

No. Not a bad day to be a Liverpool fan at all.
James, Liverpool


I don’t care what anyone says about the Pool vs City match. Peps trousers were bloody awful.
Jason G, Montreal, Canada


The title will be won or lost in the next two months
As a Liverpool fan, I’m delighted with the result last night. We haven’t won the league, far from it. But we’ve possibly put a dent in the mentality of the City team, shown some avenues of attack for their coming opponents and, most crucially, created a bit of vital breathing room.

I make that last point because the league will be won or lost in the next two months.

After the international break, Liverpool now face a run of fixtures where they are playing every weekend and every midweek, in the league, in Europe, in Qatar. We’ve held something back so far, and it has been necessary with this gruelling schedule approaching. We don’t have the strength in depth that City have and will need a big slice of luck to emerge from this unscathed. This is without doubt City’s best chance to make up ground.

At the same time, City are about to head into a run of fixtures where they face high-flying teams such as Chelsea, Leicester, Sheffield United, as well as wounded giants such as Arsenal and Manchester United. All of those will have liked what they saw when they watched City’s defence last night. Crucially, Liverpool have already faced all of these teams and emerged unbeaten while City lost points against Wolves and (lol) Norwich, meaning they cannot afford to drop points in this run.

A gruelling two month period for Liverpool? A dodgy defence and tough fixtures with no breathing room for City? Hold onto yer hats, the title is about to be decided!


Lack of penetration
In the cold light of day it’s worth noting that Man City played all their lovely football in front of us; they have virtually no penetration. This is partly reflected by the fact they had very few shots on target in the game.

Football365 loves talking about their unstoppable predictability. We seemed to do ok.

If anyone wants to cry about their injuries maybe a better conversation would be how a billion pound football team is relying on Otamendi at central defence. Spout anything you like about Pep wanting ball players but he can’t pass or defend so in what way does he match the Pep mould? In what way does his weakness contribute to the greater cause?
Minty, LFC


Liverpool vs City the obvious issue
After all the nonsense on TV yesterday about VAR (new flash it was deemed accidental handball or ball to hand by the officials, that’s not a VAR problem its a perception problem) no one in the greater media (f365 aside) has acknowledged that city’s performance and to be more accurate their defense did not warrant any type of result. Even if City goes one nil up you’d have to have rocks in your head to think that back four were good enough to see out the match. Liverpool literally carved them at will.

Are city that stupendous and god like that they people cant admit they were played off the park? Do they really believe that they should win every game in a season on merit and not on performance? Is it so hard to admit that with the injuries at the back they looked a bit crap?

Sterling aside they had no desire or belief and if you think Liverpool can’t come back from one nil down with 80 odd minutes to go, you haven’t been paying attention.

Does anyone on here (the last great bastion of reasonable minded football fans) else really think that city’s performance deserved anything more than what they got?

Luke (I learned last night the blue and red are interchangeable colours in the city of Manchester, I guess Neil Diamond was spot on when he said “money talks”.)


Leicester City confidence
The year we won the league, in 2015/16, it took me a long time to even consider the possibility of qualifying for Europe let alone finishing top dog of the whole damn shebang.

This year it is only November, but I am already almost too confident that another European tour beckons for Leicester City and that thought makes me both delighted and uncomfortable (at letting such a rare opportunity to slip) at the same time.

In that momentous season, if you will allow me a brief nostalgic indulgence, dear reader, I spent the first eight games taking screen shots of the table thinking ‘this is AMAZING! We are FIFTH!’. After that it was simply a case of enjoying the run for as long as possible. We were playing well and, you never know, a back door Europa League place will be ours if the cups are won by those above us and we cling on to 7th. It wasn’t until the turn of the year, with a draw v Man City and victory at Spurs, that more serious European ambitions were considered. Proper title aspirations were suddenly dawning on us after those momentous wins against Liverpool and Man City in February, and from then on it was just a nerve chewing, nail biting climax to the season as no one quite dared to believe we could actually do it, but didn’t want to waste the incredible opportunity nonetheless.

Back to the present day and ever since our 5-0 victory against Newcastle, let alone later results, something just felt a bit special about these boys. That’s been rammed home by a yawning chasm of 9 points from 5th, no team looking likely to challenge (apart from the wonderful Sheffield Utd of course) and just an absolutely buzzing team, high on confidence and playing, frankly, the most delightful football from a team in royal blue my eyes have ever seen and, yes, even from THAT season.

I’ve never known myself to have such confidence and it is a bloody unnerving experience, I just don’t know what to do with myself.
Rob (I’ve jinxed it now haven’t I?), Leicester


Arsenal fans are forever discontent about our team
Dear MC,

I’m on my way into theatre this morning for a hernia operation. It wasn’t brought on by being namechecked by Stewie Griffin, but could have been.

Just by right of a quick reply, I didn’t mean we have an amazing squad, I meant that with the right coaching and management we could have. The current crop of players, I believe, are really good. So much potential. Does Stewie really think Pep or Klopp couldn’t get a proper and regular performance out of this lot?!

What Stewie fails to mention is that arsenal fans are forever discontent about our team. No one is happy, how could we be? The big problem is that it shows in the stadium. I’m always stuck next to some pricks who moan, shout and sweat at the players each and every game. It wears me down as a fan, god knows how the players and coaches feel.

We need a new coach/management set up where they are immune to that abuse. Then they and the players might actually be able to focus on following through with the ideas. Emery isn’t that man. Really, I’m not sure who is. Except maybe Rogers as he has so much confidence I don’t think anyone can get to him.

Anyway, of all the top teams, I only want Leicester to win the league. Beating Liverpool this year of all years would be amazing and hilarious for so many reasons.
JazGooner (hopefully I’ll be reading this published after I’m out of the operation)


2 wins from 10 games.

8 points adrift from the top four after having played teams we should have, on paper at least, beaten.

No identity in the football we play. We haven’t played a consistent or decent game of football in almost a year.

If these performances continue, it’s likely we won’t even qualify for Europa League, let alone Champions League.

And the board are 100% happy with Emery. The team is performing at the quality that is expected and they see no issue. In fact, according to Ornstein, the only issue the club faces (according to the board) is the toxic ‘noise’ coming from an impatient and disgruntled fanbase and they’re actually the reason Arsenal are performing so poorly.

Honestly. What the hell has this club become? I don’t care if I sound entitled but how can you blame inept performances on the pitch for so long on the fans? Pretty sure their ‘noise’ is a reaction to performances and not vice versa.

Pretty much done with this season myself. Will be a pity when Aubamayeng and Lacazette leave along with any hopes of us signing adequate replacements, Emery will not have his contract extended, and we’re back to square one.

Wonder if the board will blame all that on the fans too?
Malcolm, AFC


Would be Champions Conclusions
What a wonderful advert for the PL that top of the table clash was. And in a  strange red-skyblue love-in I find myself agreeing with both managers about almost everything:

1. Awesome: Incredible performance by Man City going forward. No other team has ever come to Anfield and literally swept us away in the first 5 mins. In most of the first half and the last 10 minutes of the second half they were jaw-droppingly good and just lacking the killer final ball. Sterling, much to my chagrin is a force to be reckoned with. And I love Bernardo Silva…he is truly world class. Sergio Aguero is still not as good as Luis Suarez, despite what F365 Towers insists.

2. Clinical: What clinical brilliance from my beloved Reds. Both crosses and headers were superb and Fabihno’s strike hit the sweet spot. We are managing something truly special at the moment: not dominating or creating loads of chances nor looking particularly fluid at times but knowing when to pick our moments to strike and most importantly, having the belief to never give up. Thank you Sir Alex for 20+ years of showing us the example to emulate, Klopp is following in your footsteps.

3. Frailty: Man City’s defense is definitely an achilles heel this season. The clearance (or was that a pass?) for Fabhino’s goal was pathetic and you sensed vulnerability whenever Liverpool tested its resilience.

4. Controversy: I agree with the pundits on the handballs: the issue is consistency more than the actual calls. I’ve seen them given and not in equal measure. But I hope this morning’s mailbox is full of Spurs fans adamant that Trent’s  was not a handball, as it was far less of a handball than Sissoko’s in last year’s Champions League final and they were fairly apoplectic then- I am not holding my breath. Klopp got it right, if it had happened to us we would feel just as aggrieved as City but it wasn’t blatant enough to be a stonewall error esp with Silva’s own handball preceding it. Kudos to the ever erudite Kompany for proposing that the referee needed to conduct a multivariate analysis of both – nice in theory but would require a 3-5 minute stoppage that would have killed the game’s awesome early momentum (in favour of City I might add).

5. Putrid Punditry: The number of times I read or heard that Liverpool had the game in the bag after the first goal or that they dominated or that they were in control throughout and Man City didn’t trouble them beggars belief. It was tough and City were capable of hurting us until the last 2-3 mins.  Even the BeeB got in on the act with its inane headline “Is the title race over if Liverpool beat ManCity?” Are there still 27 games left to go and can anything happen in those games? Yes because this is football.  Please pundits STFU and enjoy the event for what it is, an important twist in the first act of a 3 or 4 act play with two teams close to the peak of their powers and worthy of praise- neither takes the other for granted so why do the pundits?
Miguel L  LFC (this isn’t over by a long shot)


VAR, what else?
My wife had a son a few weeks ago, my first child, and whilst I’ve been able to catch parts of games since he came along, thanks to her, the Liverpool game is the first I’ve actually properly watched since. I’ll be honest; lack of sleep is making it hard for me to bond with my son properly but I would sooner wipe his ass until he’s 18 years old than continue to devote my time and energy into something that annoys me so much.

My father never pushed me into football fandom, he was more interested in me playing than watching. It’s why I support Manchester City today – by the time I was told to “choose” a team to support at boarding school, I barely registered football as a professional sport. The reason I say this is because at the time I started watching (1998 in case you were wondering) Fergie’s United were dominating the English game. I was 12, at boarding school in the south and had never experienced football tribalism. I thought it great that United were representing Manchester in Europe and in the league, with the added bonus that he was the guy who brought Shaun Goater to English football. How innocent or stupid I must have seemed.

Fast forward to today, much has changed. University exposed me to actual United fans, not Ruperts who’s father told them to pick them or Arsenal to make life easy at school. I have been chased by a group of guys who took offence to the colour of my shirt and would probably have liked to remove it from me. I have stood at bars around the world at all hours, arguing with other bleary eyed fans of the Premier League while waiting for kickoff.

Somewhere along the way I became a tin foil hat wearing, anti-City agenda spewing conspiracy theorist. I’ve spouted off several times on these hallowed pages about how refs were scared of Fergie or in love with Mourinho, how the fixture computer doesn’t like City or any other manner of related topics. Today however I’m at a loss.

The Premier League doesn’t give 2 hoots what “Alex, Zürich” thinks. It doesn’t give 2 hoots about what any one individual thinks. Gary Lineker has 7.4 million followers on Twitter, but even he tweets into an abyss and ends up arguing with other ex-pros or Piers Morgan.

I don’t know anyone who supported VAR’s implementation who would agree that the Sheffield United offside was the kind of decision it was brought in for. That the goal did not stand could have major impact on their future. An impact that could cost them millions – Champions League vs Europa? Relegation? If something does happen, you can bet your bottom dollar that very few, if any Tottenham fans will come out and sympathise.

If Liverpool win the league by a point, (who am I kidding?) will any of their fans or players look back and recognise how lucky they are that decisions went their way yesterday? Absolutely not, we’ll see a gif loop of Trent AA playing basketball edited a million ways with words like “karma” or “class” in the tag lines – much like City fans did with that Stones clearance last season. (That goal line technology is black and white is neither here nor there of course.)

That’s kind of the point though. If fans, players or managers of teams who benefit from these instances don’t say something, it allows the powers that be to maintain the status quo. Fans argue online after controversy, online engagement increases advertising revenue and exposure. Why would they change anything? The onus is not on managers or players decisions go against, they face fines or bans.

Jürgen Klopp facing repercussions for saying that the handball decision was disgraceful is even less likely than an opposition team being awarded a penalty in front of the Kop.

In some ways I now know why my dad, who went from sitting inside the hoardings at Southend as a child, to being chased out of the game by hooligans in the 70’s & 80’s, didn’t brainwash me into this sport. Right now I can’t wait for my kid to start playing football so I can enjoy the experience of being a fan again.
Alex, Zürich


It has actually happened, I stopped watching…
As the size of my family has increased (4 year old and 18mo old) the time I’ve spent watching football has decreased. Yet I always watch the Arsenal and usually one ‘mini-match’ (30Mins) of a marquee game if there is one.

This weekend I watched a grand total of 9 minutes of football, Leicester v. Arsenal, Sp*rs v. Sheffield and  Liverpool v. City…each packaged in 3 minute bundles. Why? VAR has actually ruined it for me and I just couldn’t be bothered.

This inbox has been full of people talking about leaving. Without realising it I actually left this weekend. I went online and cancelled my subscription to get all the games.

I’m out…
Steve, AFC


Sunday bloody Sunday
Morning people, I have to take issue with Matt and his assertion that Liverpool’s mental strength won the day, Michael Oliver’s inability to correctly officiate a football match won the day. If the handball by TTA is correctly given then the match is a whole different game, that coupled with Salah not being given offside (marginal but still) then Oliver has effectively handed victory to Liverpool on a plate, can’t wait to see him proudly collect his winners medal at the end of the season.

On to my team United, some really positive things to be taken from the game including (but not exclusively) Brandon Williams, my word the lad showed excellent maturity and no fear in his first start in the PL, the Rashford – Martial partnership, seems that they are getting a real understanding between each other, Dan James and his frightening pace, I don’t care how good a defender you are James running full pelt at you has got to be uncomfortable. On to the bad, switching off when leading, 2 nil up and cruising United let Brighton back into the game, profligacy in front of goal, we should of had 6 or 7 but finishing was poor, and finally I know we have had a fair few penalties this season and really should of had two more, Mr Moss huffing and puffing his way up and down the pitch bottling red cards and not giving penalties was annoying and could of been a lot worse if not for the goals we did score. Anyway I’m now coming to terms with the fact Liverpool are finally going to win the league again and no matter how you dress it up (mental strength) the help they are getting from officials is taking away from the fact of how bloody good they actually are.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


TAA handball – a clarification
I think the incident with TAA/Silva yesterday highlighted several things. Yes, you had some mails on it this morning but there still seems to be some confusion.

The first thing to point out is that under no circumstances could Man City have got a penalty in the move following the ball hitting Bernardo Silva’s arm. The (new) law states (quoting IFAB) “It is an offence if a player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touched their hand/arm and then creates a goalscoring opportunity”. A penalty is a goalscoring opportunity, VAR would have ruled it out. We’ve seen this happen several times already this season.

What normally happens in this situation (after a goal or goalscoring opportunity is created) is a free-kick is awarded to the defending team. So should this have happened? That is decided by whether or not TAA committed an offence which is highly debatable. Back to the laws. “It is usually an offence if a player touches the ball with their hand/arm when the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger or their hand/arm is above/beyond their shoulder level”. So was TAA’s arm in an unnatural position? In my view, no, it was relatively close to his body and in a normal position given what he was doing. However (and this is the kicker) the VAR gives mitigation for when the ball has ricocheted around which it did off Silva’s arm. There is mention of this in the Guardian report on the game, the IFAB rules on handball and it was stated on commentary during the game in the explanation from VAR. We also need to remember that the laws on handball are different in the Premier League and Champions/Europa League so this “silhouette” stuff doesn’t apply.

Finally, the quality of pundits which yesterday was appalling. How can you people not know the rules? I saw Kompany saying TAA’s arm was in an unnatural position while Silva’s wasn’t. Well sorry Vinnie but there is no threshold for attacking players handling the ball in the build up to a goalscoring opportunity. It hits your hand/arm and that’s it. You should know this. Then the wider ignorance on whether TAA actually committed an offence from the usual suspects, Chris Sutton in particular. Step up guys, when football is your life/job you really should have a clue about the laws.
Jim, Norwich


Johnny Nic
My word, is John Nicholson the most dower man around the game of football? Cheer, or shut, up please.


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