Virgil van Dijk? Not even the best defender at Liverpool…

Ian Watson

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Minute 59
If there was any doubt that Joel Matip is Liverpool’s most important player then at 3-2 up with 30 odd minutes to play, it’s gone.


Minute 61
No f*cking doubt.


Liverpool musings
Well that was definitely a Liverpool I’m more familiar with than the one of the past season and a bit. What a strange game.

Credit to Salzburg because they easily could’ve retreated and tried to limit the damage at 3 down but instead they just carved us to shreds. I’ve not seen an team do that to our defence since Lovren was a mainstay. For the first goal their striker managed to leave VVD on his ass which I don’t think I’ve seen once since he joined. It was an amazing fight back and frankly I’m not sure what we were doing so badly that allowed them to fire themselves back into the tie.

It’s never a good look for a defender when you finally get a game and the defence suddenly looks pants. I don’t think Gomez is to blame but I suspect Matip will still retain his place if he’s fit for the weekend.

Was great to see Salah score today, I think he forgot the past few weeks that he’s an utterly magnificent player but someone must’ve reminded him as he looked back to his selfish best. I also liked that Andy Robertson was giving it a bit more variety today. So far this season I’ve felt he hugs the touch line a bit too much but today he was coming inside more and making it harder for their defenders to cope.

Finally, does anyone else hate the Liverpool home kit socks? The white bit at the bottom really puts me off and I think they look dreadful on players who pull them up
Minty, LFC


In’t football brilliant?
The performance of teams like Salzburg last night and Ajax last season calls for credit to the work being done at grassroots levels. Good scouting and solid coaching. And it is due to this combination that gems like Hee-Chan Hwang and Minamino, who was a constant thorn in Liverpool’s flesh, come to light in games like this.

Without finding reasons to have a go at conceding 3 goals at home, I would rather enjoy the game for what it was. Pure highs and lows of a range of emotions. Football, at its best.
Taz (Minamino wearing our Red next season?)


Chelsea’s bogeyman
Finally we are off and running in our Champions League campaign, a birthday goal from Tammy and Willian with the winner, however yet again Chelsea concede from a set piece due to zonal marking, some people have nightmares over ghosts and monsters, mine is the idea of an opponent taking a corner against us right now.
Mikey, CFC (That Liverpool game looked mighty good)


Levy’s mindset
There are plenty of reasons to be angry with Daniel Levy right now, but anyone writing in to say he has been anything other than a huge success for Spurs overall needs to spend some time in that magnificent stadium and reflect on what we used to be when he took over.

The issue with Levy right now is that he hasn’t accepted the new realities of what Spurs are, and he seems to be negotiating with the same attitude that he had when we were scrapping for 6th place. When you’re on the outside looking in, every penny counts and getting a good deal is the most important thing about buying a player. A player like Rafael van der Vaart was a one in a million shot for Spurs, and landing him instantly made us better and gave us a chance of challenging the elite. That kind of deal is Levy’s staple and he has managed to scrape top teams together from it without paying top dollar. But this summer, Spurs had more to spend, and much more to lose if they didn’t get the right players in. Top clubs overpay for the right player sometimes (e.g. Wan Bissaka, Van Dijk) because there isn’t an equivalent available at a knock down price. If you’re fighting for entry to the top 4 you can survive a season with Serge Aurier as your only right back, if you’re a champions league finalist with an enormous stadium and a chance to build on last year’s successes and get some trophies in the cabinet you really can’t.

This summer we were linked with Elseid Hysaj for 23 million among a couple of other options, who would have given us a dependable option at right back while we worked out whether Walker-Peters was good or not, saved at least 5-6 premier league points this season (possibly putting us into the top 4) and probably would have attempted to tackle Gnabry at least once last night. Whatever the truth of that specific rumour, saving those pennies and risking it all on a known liability like Aurier could well cost Spurs a hell of a lot more than 23 million in the long run. Levy needs to realise that prudence when you are in the chasing pack looks like carelessness when you are one of the top dogs.
Steve, THFC. (Watched the match on catch-up and peeked at my phone after it got to 5-2, nearly had a heart attack when I saw I had to watch us concede two more…)


Behave, Bluebirds
Does anyone else think that Cardiff’s approach to not paying the transfer fee of the late Emiliano Salah (rip) f*cking disgusting.

Just pay the money guys. The apparent reason is the contract wasn’t legally binding……

Now I’m just wondering if things had planned out how they should and the poor guy arrived safely in South Wales scored 10 goal from Jan onwards kept Cardiff in the premier league and started the season in form with 2-3 goals so far. Would Cardiff consider that contract legally binding if Nantes suddenly decided that actually he was their player???

Damn f*cking right it would be binding.

Get it paid and give closure to at lest one episode of this entirely sad affair.

Hope you get relegated again to boot
Paul, Manchester


The moral police
In light of Bernardo Silva getting charged by the FA for his alleged racist tweet, I would like to share my unpopular opinion on the matter. Over the last week I have read in-numerous articles and podcasts that touched on this subject, and also educated myself on the image that Silva shared and the reactions of Pep and Mendy. I was taken aback to see the reactions predominantly ranged between castigating silva and/or pep for their actions to questioning their use of social media.

In my understanding Bernardo shared a cartoon of a black child from a food wrapper commonly found in Portuguese supermarkets to that of a picture of a young mendy, similarities of which are undeniable. I could see from popular discourse that no one questions Silvas intention on this issue and that he did not intend it to be a racist stereotype, moreover the recipient of the image Mendy seems to have taken it in jest as well. While his immediate supervisor which in this case is pep guardiola seems to dismiss as something between friends.

I can surmise that the backlash can be categorized into two broad spectra.
One, like this esteemed website, which seem to be castigate silva for not having the foresight to predict the backlash he would receive from people who misconstrue his innocuous post for racism. I find that hypocritical from a website such as this which has advocated for player power and players taking ownership of their individuality, to lecture someone to tailor his behavior to suit the sensibilities of his social media followers. Even if i were to agree that it was not prudent on the part of silva to share that image, isn’t the backlash he receives disproportional to the nature of the so called crime he has perpetrated. This verges on victim blaming, where silva is castigated for a section of population misrepresenting his tweet. Moreover the dismissal of anyone having a different opinion as being incorrect seems to be slippery slope to take for journalists.
The second seem to be the people who actually believe the picture to be racist. The most ridiculous argument i encountered from the British media seem to be that the people are offended because the image conjures colonial era memories in people which is why they get offended. I find this incredibly ridiculous from a country whose head of state the Queen and her family who are in essence the same colonizers who rules over much of the world. The country which sings god save the queen, who celebrate royal marriages and births of a family who were the symbol of British colonial interests and oppression across the world. If singing god save the queen or spending pounds with the royal insignia on it does not evoke colonial hatred and offense in the minds of people, I am sure an innocuous cartoon would not either.

Having grown up playing football privileged in a segregated caste based culture in India, to now living as an immigrant in the increasingly polarized American culture, I feel i can understand how real racism affects everyday lives of people both in sports and in any work environment. It is my opinion that by politicizing and in essence punishing players for perceived racism and castigating people who might have different opinions, the media are adding to the polarization. Making sure moderate people become disinterested do not pay attention when actual racism happens as in the instance of Lukaku. Any media entity that is not open to various opinions are complicit in this degradation.
SAsikumar Kannan, Gooner, USA


Remember the name
Shuntus asks what exactly does a manager/coach do? Day to day? Well clearly they spend their time making sure that all their clothing has their initials on it, e.g. OGS or UE or SB. I mean, seriously, why??? Do people at their club really not recognise them or does this hark back to the days when Ron Atkinson went and sat in the wrong dugout?
Tim Royall GFC


Academy or loan?
This season seems to be landmark in terms of young talent coming through the ranks (all it took was Chelsea getting a transfer ban). All kidding aside, its an exciting time for young players coming through the ranks as more and more would rightly be hopefully of getting a chance to prove themselves.
You have players either moving up through the academy or players that are sent out on loan to get experience and brought back. More and more seem hesitant though to send out their best talent on loans (except Chelsea). Prime candidates Chong, Gomes, Greenwood, Garner, Foden (I know United heavy list) are all being slowly given a taste of senior football. I feel its tough for them to live up to their own hype that fans have built up. Looking at Chong in the past couple of games, he clearly needs some time to adjust to the pace and physicality at this level and he has been one of the top talents at United alongwith Greenwood. Wouldn’t it perhaps help them to have a step in the middle before they are thrust into the spotlight? Zebe clearly benefited from his Villa loan, even though he made the mistake leading up to the goal vs Arsenal I would say he has looked most comfortable of the current academy graduates when starting.
There are obviously a lot of players who have adapted and shone right from the academy – Rashford, TAA to name a couple but at the same time looking at the young talent that has come through the championship and the way they have adapted should have clubs considering this option more often. With Dan James, Maddison, Mason Mount all seemingly taking to PL life like a duck to water maybe the Championship can now become a more prominent stepping stone to bring in young players.
Yash, MUFC (the only bright spot in an otherwise bleak season)


Postcard from Norn Iron
I thought the mailbox could do with a break from the usual hysteria, which seems to get worse in Champions League week…

This weekend’s big game is on Friday night. Crusaders and Linfield meet at Seaview in the Northern Irish Premiership, live on BBC 2 NI. It’s only October but there’s a sense that the game could be pivotal. The head-to-head matches between the Crues and the Blues tell you a lot about how both teams will go in challenging for the championship. Last season Linfield won 3 out of the 4 league games and took the title. In 2017-18, it was 4 out of 4 for Crusaders who finished as champions.

Both teams produced statement victories on Saturday. Crusaders took on the “new-look” (stop giggling at the back!) Glentoran. The Crues romped to a 5-2 victory. Paul Heatley added to his “if a Brazilian had done that” goal collection, Big Jordan Owens had another one of his dominant target-man performances but Ross Clarke, gliding up the right flank, with two assists and a goal was the star performer. The Crues are looking more like their old selves after last season’s patchy league campaign. They lead the table by five points. Linfield are seven points behind the Crues with three games in hand (their European exploits have left them playing catch-up). Linfield beat Glenavon 7 (SEVEN)-0. Shayne Lavery (one of the league’s most exciting players) scored a hat-trick. Since coming back from their European adventure (they got to the Europa League play-off round), Linfield have four wins and four clean sheets. The continental hangover I was hoping they’d get doesn’t seem to have materialised.

I think it’s a slightly bigger game for Crusaders. I feel Linfield will make up the points gap in short order so it’s imperative that Crusaders keep them at arm’s length in this early stage of the season.
Matthew, Belfast