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The kids are alright
Anyone fancy getting in touch with Alan Hansen, giving him the news?
Oh Everton. If you’re going to play a strong team then you really need to win that game. Whilst our youngsters did themselves proud again today I still think a full strength premier league team should’ve had the nous to win.
I thought it was a shame to not see more of Hoever, he’s been impressive both as a right back and centre back when I’ve seen him play. I guess that given Phillips got called back from a loan they had to give him at least one game to justify that. That said Minamino looked quite bright and did some nice pressing high up the field although it seemed quite frantic and all over rather than the more strategic and calculated style of Firmino. I suspect it takes time to learn the pressing triggers we would have for opposition defences.
Overall I am delighted we progressed because it means the young players get another game and they’re quite fun to watch; it’s a much less predictable game when we have a bunch of kids in the line up and it’s exciting to wonder who might be the next Trent/Fowler/Pacheco.
I was super looking forward to the FA Cup game against Everton, for one reason and one reason only; to watch the ‘kids’. In the Premier League the team pretty much picks itself (although no one can honestly admit they get the midfield personnel right every game) so it’s awesome to get a few surprises.
At the time of the game we had ‘load shedding’, a now cultural phenomenon where the main South African power supplier turns off the electricity for reasons no one understands. I wasn’t going to miss it though, so activated the generator: Harvey Elliott skipping and dancing, Minamino debut, Jones bossing the middle. They did not disappoint.
I will leave the Everton performance to others but clearly they should have scored in the first half. What I would say is this: The only time I have watched Theo Walcott play was at the Reading stadium for an England warm up game before the Germany World Cup. The excitement to see him play was real, but that ‘project’ hasn’t ever reached its potential has it?
This was manifest best in the second half. Everton went missing and the young guns grew in confidence. As we saw in the League Cup these guys are obviously being honed to play like the seniors and it’s a joy to watch, and the superlative Jones strike is testament to that.
Liverpool have no obligation to maintain the ‘magic of the cup’ but in a strange way they are doing it.
When I was young I always dreamed of playing for Arsenal as a forward and scoring goals.
I must say that I feel extremely pleased for Curtis Jones scoring his first goal.
What a scorcher and against with Everton..WOW !
I have never seen a football team liquidate mid-match before. League table is gonna be weird with only 19 teams in it.
Tyla Roxburgh, Liverpool, LFC
On the back of the recent 5-2 loss and with a new manager in charge, I was expecting an invigorated Everton and a tough evening for Klopp’s mix of youngsters and a few first team pros.
In the first half, Everton showed mild interest and created the better chances. However, the second stanza was one of the most insipid performances I’ve witnessed, even from Everton. They were outfought and outplayed by players who weren’t even sperm the last time that Everton won at Anfield.
Whilst Liverpool deserve praise, Everton deserve mockery. Kevin Campbell scored the last Everton away derby winner on 27th September 1999, the year that The Millennium Prayer was Christmas number one and The Phantom Menace topped the box office. Having watched them today, I’d bet on Cliff having another number one and Disney releasing a Jar Jar Binks spin-off before Everton win again at Anfield.
Dan Whittle (looking forward to deleting work emails), Leamington Spa.
First half: Blimey, is that really Theo Walcott?!!
Second half: No wait, yes, that’s Theo Walcott alright.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Oh my goodness, I’m about to anti-climax
Dear John (Saudi Arabia)
This isn’t a break-up message. I just wanted to say no, I like millions others I will be delighted with any anticlimax if Liverpool win the league at a canter. Although, after 30 years I can’t imagine it will feel anticlimactic.
I’m currently suffering the nerves of, “surely this year” but it could all fall apart (however unlikely) and will not relax until it’s mathematically over. If that’s with 12 games to go then all the better, I might get a good night’s sleep before May.
John, Saudi Arabia
The vast majority of Liverpool fans I know are already treating each game as a mini cup final. When you have wanted something for so long you certainly don’t want to make it harder than it actually needs to be. We are masters at the improbable comeback , Milan , Dortmund , Barca etc and the complete balls up when looking in total control , Chelsea , Palace ,Sevilla etc.
I personally watch every game on tenterhooks no matter the score , it takes at least a 3 goal lead before I can relax and that obviously does not happen all the time.
I think it would be highly apt after years of maybes and just abouts that Liverpool perhaps coasted to a trophy , but you won’t find a lifelong fan over the age of say 30 who will believe it until it’s mathematically certain.
City could and have won 18 games in a row in the not so distant past so they can win 17 for sure which would give them 95 points. Simply therefore Liverpool need 38 from 18 games. I’m not counting any chickens until then.
DL, LFC , Geneva
What a load of kit
Well for the second year in a row, the FA Cup Third Round has the Matt Davies-Adams Derby played out at Stamford Bridge (if you know what I mean, fair play to you!), it ended this year with a standard 2-0 victory for Chelsea and a rather impressive display from Reece James, equivalent to the one he put in against Crystal Palace earlier in the season.
But can I just say what a gorgeous home kit Chelsea wore to commemorate 50 years since winning our first FA Cup In 1970, it made me think and also hope that more clubs do similar style kits to commemorate certain achievements or events in their history, imagine if Arsenal did a modern update on their 1913 and 2005/06 “Red Currant” home shirt which they wore to end their final season at Highbury, or West Ham’s 1999/2001 Home shirt that Di Canio wore when he scored his sensational volley against Wimbledon, do other Mailboxers agree and shirts deserve a modern update?
Seeing as Crystal Palace didn’t really take the FA Cup seriously, I probably won’t either.
*During the Gillingham v West Ham United game, at various points there were adverts for Viagra. Certainly brings a new meaning to “up for the Cup”.
*The Take a Minute initiative, encouraging people to think about their own mental health and that of those around them, has admirable intentions. However, given that the stress caused by gambling addiction (or gambling debts) has a detrimental effect on the mental of a not insignificant number of people, there was a juxtaposition between the banner and many teams’ shirt sponsors.
*Speaking of links between football and gambling, Wayne Rooney played for Derby County against Crystal Palace yesterday. That WR32’s hair was not the worst thing to happen to/with anyone’s head speaks volumes about the game. Don’t start calling him that. Luka Milivojevic did something incredibly stupid and got the punishment he deserved. Even if the referee did not see the headbutt in real time, it would have been retrospectively punished and he would have sat out three games. That said, from one replay he appeared to be incensed by Tom Huddlestone kicking him in the groin – had Milivojevic stayed down and milked that for all it was worth, I wonder what VAR would have made of that incident.
*Without wishing to overstate the importance of a piece of elastic, Milivojevic is the Palace captain and should have set a better example of composure. The squad has a lot of injuries and is being held together by cheap sellotape – someone rendering themselves unavailable for selection through a moment of idiocy just exacerbates how stretched Palace are.
All of a sudden it seems like a long time since the Serbian was being linked with a move to AS Roma. Last season he played every single minute of the Premier League season, an incredible achievement for an outfield player; this season he was booked five times in his first seven games and has looked like he’s been trying to earn a red a couple of times since. This has called his undroppable status into question, with some fans believing he is weaker in Roy Hodgson’s current system than any of the midfielders around him. However, even if it doesn’t seem this way to the naked eye, there are numbers that show his importance:
Luka ranked among @CPFC players this season:
Successful passes: 1st
Tackles won: 2nd
Passes into final third: 1st
Duels won: 5th
Recoveries: 2nd https://t.co/FTLQmOpMvG
— CPFC Analytics (@CPFCAnalytics) January 5, 2020
*With a lot of Premier League and Championship sides not caring about the FA Cup because it is less lucrative than league competitions, maybe the FA should change things around and move the majority of the prize money to the qualifying rounds, where it does make a difference to the participating clubs.
Leave Ole alone
Eamoon, Dublin asks about Solskjaer’s record.
Well he mentions that Solskjaer won the Norwegian league……but fails to note that it is with a team that has never won it. Man United used to have some bloke whose only credentials was winning some league in his native country called Scotland too with a team who never/not for a long tome won it. Dude was given three years before fans called for his sacking for being s*** (can’t remember what happened to him).
To be fair Solskjaer also got Cardiff relegated in a season, but again Cardiff being relegated isn’t exactly weird for them either in the modern era. Admittedly a bad mark however.
Now is OGS the best candidate out there? Definitely not, but Man United was burned with Van Haal and Mourinho, both of which also got more support in their first summer transfer window. He also was reserve coach for a few years and knows the academy well, so if Man United are truly serious about bringing in more academy players to the first team than just mercenaries, Solskjaer is one of the better options out there (not the only one though admittedly). The one thing United should not do is just change managers when the going gets tough. Hell even Pep took a year to bring Man City up to speed.
Mourinho gets lambasted for throwing players under the bus publically but Solskjaer gets lambasted for protecting them? I find that weird. And I’m not saying never scolding them publically the right answer (some good managers.do) but Solskjaer at least seems to honestly want to protect his players as opposed to using them as scapegoats for his own failures. I highly doubt he never scolds his players in private, where in my opinion where this should be done anyways.
Like if my boss goes out and humiliate me in public, well I will feel like punching him too.
Utd have two bad results again, so Eamonn’s back with the Substitute teacher diatribe:
First of all these aren’t all spoilt kids (the only two who remotely qualify are Pogba and Lingard) , Lingard was severely reprimanded for his misdemeanours Pogba isn’t getting to play.
They are just kids so yes the results are going to be erratic.The way every team in the premiership not named Liverpool,Leicester and City has been very erratic .Several players have improved this year ( Rashford) for instance. Some are disciplined young players like Williams who are putting so called more experienced pros like Shaw to shame ,This is a team with Wan Bissakka , apparently a throwback to the 90’s .
Please stop misrepresenting them as spoilt brats with baby Bentleys , being allowed to leave training half way through the day by some PE teacher who wants to be down with the cool kids.If anything the cool kids are gradually being expelled.
We are in the 3 competitions Poch can’t be arsed about ,(I’m basing this on the fact that he said this so many times) and 5th in the league .What’s going to happen if he shows up. From past experience is their any guarantee that we won’t finish 6th after putting a lot of pressure on Chelsea for the rest of the season while departing all the cups (there is empirical evidence for that .
Pochetinno is not immune to favouritism ,nor is he one to not buying anyone for a year which has contributed to Spurs fall over the last 2 years,Under his watch Dele Alli stopped improving , Until the first few games of Jose’s tenure . By the way Jose is an actual disciplinarian, and dare I say leader , you remember how his tenure turned out for United.
Poch came into a settled team at Spurs , He had Dembele and Ericksen in Midfield rather than Pereirra . Alli , Alderweireld and Son, were the major acquisitions after he arrived ,United’s squad is growing together. there is no telling if he will be successful and success here will not be finishing 3rd in a 2 horse race . If he gets it right now he has to install the midfield Dier ,Wanyama and Ndombele don’t fill me with confidence.
Let’s however sign him up, just so I can read what Eamonn will write ,when he has one of his 3 to 4 game losing runs (there is empirical evidence of that happening as well).
And next time your going to reference the Simpsons, Seymour Skinner is the name of the spineless School Authority figure.
Oh good, another Ole bashing email from Eamonn, Dublin, that fits in nicely with the current F365 narrative so guaranteed to get the headline. Mate, give it a rest, we get it, you don’t rate Ole and want another big name in. However, you seem to have forgotten about the previous big name ‘winners’ from the last 5 years we had, they worked out REALLY well. With talented players like Lingard, Perreira, Fred, Young, and Matic, it is truly a mystery why we aren’t doing better….
Maybe just give him some time to get more of his players in? Things aren’t amazing, we can all see that, but it’s better than it was under LVG & Jose. We’re often better to watch, actually going into games trying to win rather than just camping in our own area & hoofing it long, and seeing younger players like Rashford, Williams & Greenwood getting chances & developing. The fans in the ground are behind him, I’ve not come across a local Utd fan who wants him gone. Most of us know any manager will be hamstrung by Ed and the Glazers.
Just chill & give it time!
Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity
I couldn’t agree more with this line from the article about United’s midfield: “On that basis, the Vitamin D deprived occupants of Carrington’s transfer bunker must have looked at around 1000 central midfielders by now, and far too many will be better than the options United currently have. At least one must be attainable and capable of immediately improving the Red Devils should they act decisively in the transfer window.”
I have been saying this all season (and since January 2019, actually) but this is absolutely, 100% indisputable. United have absolutely no justification for saying that the players we could potentially bring in during January would not be considered upgrades on what we already have; indeed, it would be extremely difficult to bring in players who were as bad as or worse than those who currently occupy those berths.
No midfield that contains one of Matic, Pereira, Lingard or (I’m sad to say) Mata is good enough to win games against quality opposition. A midfield containing most or all of those players is a recipe for disaster. It’s not just that they are average or past their best – though that is obviously a problem – the worst part is that they just don’t complement the players in front of or behind them at all. I said at the start of the season that a front three whose main weapon is pace is all very well but when you are against an organised and disciplined back line pace alone is not enough and, lo and behold, it has proved to be our major downfall. It doesn’t matter how good a finisher Rashford, Martial or Greenwood are if they aren’t consistently getting the ball in dangerous positions.
What United are sorely lacking in midfield is speed of thought, creativity and invention; which of the aforementioned players can say that they possess any of those qualities? It’s none of them, FYI. Obviously Pogba has those qualities but they are pretty useless to us when he’s not playing (never mind his motivations to play for us). I accept that there is little point in bringing in short-term solutions (e.g. Arturo Vidal, who had been linked, would have offered little more than Matic does) but I absolutely refuse to believe that there are no central midfielders under the age of 28 that are attainable.
I completely believe that we won’t sign anyone at all in January. It would be completely in-keeping with the way United are being run at the moment. In fact, I have come up with a club motto that I think is quite apt: numquam defuit occasio deesset occasioni temporis, or “never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Hopefully I’m wrong and we will get one or two in but I won’t be holding my breath. Also, if Raiola could please represent Jesse Lingard and get him a big money move elsewhere then all would be forgiven!