Title meltdown? Liverpool didn’t intend to win the league

Date published: Wednesday 6th February 2019 2:22

We have a selection of your lovely Mails. If you want to contribute, you know what to do: Mail us at theeditor@football365.com

 

United treble chances
Good points and Touche to Alex, Ayr. I did say it was a long shot and in all truth Utd will not be able to keep this up and City and Liverpool will be fighting it out on the last day. Still it’s nice to dream the impossible once in a while.

Technically the treble is still on 😉
Rohit

 

Liverpool’s ‘title meltdown’
Dear Ed,

After reading your piece on “Liverpool’s Title Meltdown” and “Man Utd 1998/99 would destroy this Liverpool” I would like to ask a question… when were Liverpool supposed to win the PL Title let alone be favourites?
I mean Liverpool set out at the start of this season looking for a good run in the PL and a good run at the CL, but we didn’t set out with the intention of winning the PL.
The “pressure” has been placed on Liverpool by the media and rival fans. We fans SHOULD be enjoying the adventure! Not kacking ourselves because we’re in the mix. According to yourselves in a recent post Bournemouth have a higher net spend than we do! I think Klopp should be highly praised for what he has brought to Liverpool!

Yours sincerely
Brendan

 

Really enjoyable (I think) read regarding title meltdowns. As an LFC fan reading this was strangely calming, although I’m not entirely sure why. There’s just one common misconception I’d like to attempt to put to bed. In the 2014 season, Liverpool did indeed have a nine point lead over eventual champions Man City, with three games left to play. What’s often conveniently missed out by anyone wishing to relentlessly take the piss, or fans of creating narrative, is that Man City had two games in hand over Liverpool at that point, which they won both of. Meaning after 35 games played by both sides, the gap was actually three points. In other words, not that big at all. Liverpool did indeed go on to get beat by Chelsea and then self-destruct trying to score a hat full against Palace when they were comfortably 0-3 up. They ballsed up two of those last three games, that is true. But the narrative that’s always spiffed out is that Liverpool blew a nine point lead. A lead that was merely an optical allusion until both sides had played the same amount of games. The lead in after 35 equal matches was three, not nine. You don’t have to google very hard to find that out.

Other than that, an enjoyable read. Cheers!
Rick, Brighton

 

What’s the difference between “serving the viewer” and “greed”?
Genuine question about TV’s influence over kickoff times: why do we see it as “greed” rather than “serving the viewer”?

Naturally the priority of the schedulers is to maximise the number of people who watch each game, thus maximising their advertising revenue.  This, perhaps, we could call greedy.  However this argument seems to ignore the obvious point that, in order to do this, they have to make the games as accessible as possible to the widest number of people.  Surely this is a “good thing” from the public’s perspective?

Now I know it’s decidedly not good for match-going fans – and there’s an argument that one should favour their experience over that of fans at home.  But if you were to look on it as “maximising the experience for the largest number of people”, then that’s just what the TV scheduling shenanigans aim to do.  Isn’t it good for fans that two big games aren’t played simultaneously?  Don’t we like being able to watch (in theory) six games each weekend as opposed to two?

Honestly I don’t really feel strongly one way or another on this – as a match-going fan myself I would not be against some sort of clamp down on TV’s scheduling power, purely from a selfish perspective.  I just don’t quite understand why we act as if scheduling is done “to spite the viewers” as opposed to “for the viewers”.  The fact that TV companies benefit from more people watching their games doesn’t make it “wrong” that more people are able to watch games.

I don’t know the specifics of what happens in other leagues, but on reading that fan pressure in Germany has seen an end to Monday night games, I’m inclined to think that this represents a minority of fans hampering the experience of the majority.

Would be interested to hear the views of any fans out there (particularly armchair ones) who would gladly trade fewer / overlapping televised games in exchange for less fixture meddling?
Alex

 

Yoann Gourcuff
Great article on Yoann Gourcuff. I had the good fortune to live in Bordeaux for the year they won the title, and he remains by far the best player I’ve ever seen live. I’ve seen Ronaldo, Bale and Messi but Gourcuff made Marouane Chamakh look brilliant, and he did beautiful things every week. The whole stadium had a split-second of shock when he scored that goal against PSG, and that feeling was replicated several times in other games. Such a shame it went south after that.
Ollie, Bristol

 

Clive v Jonny
Nice to read the article by Clive Tyldesley, and the previous offering from Jonny Nic. Both good arguments, and as is often the case showing that the whole conversation exists in a grey area. The line that really stuck out for me though was: “They are the ones paying your heroes’ wages. You’re not.”

I know this is not a new point, but given broadcasters undoubtedly finance elite football, I just don’t know why clubs insist of fleecing fans at every opportunity. Well I do, but it would be nice if we could take a step towards Jonny’s utopia. I’ve not been to watch Spurs for eight or nine years. The combination of a relocation, family life, time pressures and cost have all meant I couldn’t justify the trip. However yesterday I was served a Facebook ad for tickets to the home match vs Leicester. I happen to be in London that day and thought it could be a good chance to watch my team. A couple of clicks and tickets all north of £70 quickly ended my hopes of seeing Spurs at Wembley.

I can’t really add a conclusion as I just feel exasperated at the  £70+ cost of a ticket. £40 would have been good, £50 acceptable but the emotional feeling of your club obviously taking the piss has left a bitter taste in the mouth.
Dave T, Spurs

 

Mauled?
Mauled? United won the league with 79 points, having conceded 37 goals, in 1999. They won only 22 games.

Settle down.
Eoghan, on the hunt for fake news.

 

Liverpool’s midfield
Matt Stead’s piece on Liverpool’s midfield isn’t entirely unfair. It was an expensive midfield and especially so when compared to West Ham’s.

However when was the last time that 3 played together in midfield? When was the last time Lallana and Keita started the same game?  Or Lallana and Fabinho?

Fabinho has just come back from an injury. Was deemed not fit enough to start against Leicester although he did get on in the 2nd half. Lallana hasn’t had much time on the pitch at all last season or this. Keita is struggling and has struggled ever since his arrival although there were one or two glimpses of what might be in the 2nd half against the Hammers.

That midfield 3 has no experience of playing together and so to judge them after one game would definitely be jumping the gun. We’ll probably never see that midfield 3 play together again.

I take Matt’s point that even if we were full strength there is a lack of creativity from our midfield. We risk a lot playing 3 attackers. Not many teams would give Mo, Bobby and Sadio the freedom to drift and move around the pitch that Klopp gives. The risk is a calculated one and is offset somewhat by our midfield. Liverpool have a midfield that can be described as workmanlike. Henderson, Fabinho and Gini in particular are a nightmare to come up against. What do you do when you’re up against a midfield that are quicker, stronger, fitter and taller than you? They keep the passing simple. No plaudits. No Hollywood moments. They drop diagnols over the full backs heads and get the opposition to turn around. Now the defenders need to think. “Where’s Mane, Salah and Firmino?”

What I thought Liverpool missed against West Ham on Monday wasn’t creativity from the midfield (although as per usual that was lacking) but was tempo & rhythm. Gini and Henderson offer this. Get the ball, keep it moving, short passes if we’re not getting anywhere with that drop the ball over their heads for runs from Robertson, Trent, Salah or Mane.

The midfield on Monday night was new, unfamiliar and yes it lacked creativity but as Matt’s piece illustrated it usually isn’t very creative anyway. The creativity we have lacked in the last two games has been lost from the full backs. Robertson has thrown in his worst two performances for Liverpool back to back. Milner and Henderson have both had poor games at right full.

Long term I think Liverpool’s midfield does need to add more in the final third. Keita is probably meant to be that player. Maybe someday he will be. Maybe not. Klopp is definitely looking for that player. They’re tough to find. Maybe we should look to Cardiff’s centre halves?
Gough, LFC, Dublin (Three way title race is on. Just what I always wanted. Promise)

 

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