The build-up continues. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
No Coutinho, no problem
Interesting article by Matt Stead but I’d wager that our dominant midfielder is Firmino.
In games where he has looked nullified, his defensive workrate and the space he opens up allows Salah to be the decider.
He might not demand every touch like a playmaker will, or be the constant thoroughfare for every pass forward, but his presence in and behind the defensive lines stretches their defence in the same way, and the threat of him nicking the ball and playing it first time is there, too.
It’s also arguable that Mane is taking the Coutinho path. He starts deeper and more narrow these days, like when Coutinho nominally played as the left sided wideman but was really drifting to number 10.
I don’t thing we have an issue. Our creativity is our forward line, and if you nullify them right at the top end of the pitch you leave gaps in midfield, and they’ll just play there instead. And Salah only needs one chance.
Still shi*ting it mind.
Theo, LFC, Liverpool
…I can see Matt´s point. Coutinho is much better than Liverpool´s orthodox midfielders, his inconsistency aside, and MAYBE would be a better option than Mane on the left of the front three too. But they´ve gottten this far without him so bringing this question up now seems odd. It´s wildly speculative given that literally no one – including you´d imagine the most ardent Liverpool fans – would have dreamed of making the final with or without Coutinho. In fact, you can´t say for sure if they would have gotten this far with him in the side. So, would they be better off with him? Maybe. Does it matter? No. Perhaps write about a piece about the players that will be playing. Cheers.
Liverpool are on the verge of something special
Twitter doesn’t give me enough room to write how I feel, and I don’t have a blog so…
Seriously, I am in bits over this Champions League Final. The energy I am spending on the game would be enough to power the Griswolds’ house at Christmas.
Lately, I’ve been devouring news and updates to the point of refreshing sites just in case something new has come up. It isn’t healthy I know, and ultimately being this invested in a single game scares me.
I. CAN’T. HELP. IT!
My brain is expecting Real to win, it makes sense and is the rational conclusion.
My heart is expecting Liverpool to win, because that would be magnificent.
That conflict is where I am currently living, and it is a weird weird place.
I honestly don’t remember feeling this level of anxiety/excitement about 2005/2007 so cannot explain why I do this time around. It kinda feels like this team is on the verge of something very special and that this game could act as the catalyst.
Whatever happens, this team has something about them, this team has potential, and this team has the ability to be incredible. Regardless of the outcome, I will be proud of where Liverpool have come from (and got to) in Jurgen’s time.
Allez Allez Allez
How I became a Liverpool convert. Almost.
Despite being a United fan, I have always had a bit of a soft spot for Liverpool. Over the years, Liverpool has produced many entertaining, if not always brilliant teams. No matter how far behind they may be in the league, they have always given their utmost in matches against United ensuring the matches between the two sides have usually produced nail biting entertainment. I refer to the Ferguson era of course.
Steven Gerrard is one of my favourite footballers of all time and I have enjoyed following Brendan Rodgers’ career since his almost title winning season in the PL.
One thing that has made it a lot harder to like them has been the Liverpool fans who seem to be the loudest, most obnoxious of the bunch. I am sorry. We develop our biases based on our limited interaction and it’s quiet possible that my perception on this issue is entirely incorrect.
However, since Klopp’s arrival I have started liking the team more and more. I absolutely adore their front three who are (each one of them) an absolute joy to watch.
The icing on the cake is that three of their players are Muslims and they are out proving to the world that not all Muslims are terrorists and anyone who believes they are is an absolute cretin.
So more power to Liverpool for all these reasons. If it were not for Ronaldo, I would probably have been hoping for a Liverpool win (something I didn’t think was possible even a year ago) but as it stands, I am a complete neutral and will be happy with whoever wins as long as we get a great game.
I do maintain that Liverpool have had one of the easiest roads to the final in recent memory. However, it does not mean that if they win the title they will be any less deserving of it.
Predicting the World Cup
Ok @Ross Hunter, I’ll take up the baton, having entered my World Cup predictions into a mates tipping comp. Never won a penny in any of these over the years, but a couple of left field picks seems the only way to win.
Group A. Uruguay, Russia. More VAR decisions in this group than all other groups combined.
Group B. Spain, Portugal. Ronaldo misses a penalty in the last minute of the group game with Spain, and cries.
Group C. France, Peru. Peru funnel the memory of Teofilo Cubillas’ exploits in Argentina 78 to get through.
Group D. Argentina, Iceland. All matches drawn 1-1, with a toss of the coin deciding the winners.
Group E. Brazil, Costa Rica. Costa Rica beat Brazil, but somehow manage to lose to Serbia so settle for second.
Group F. Germany, Sweden. The most boring group of the Cup. Points 1st to 4th :- 9,6,3,0
Group G. Belgium, England. England scrape through despite drawing with Tunisia and losing to Belgium.
Group H. Colombia, Japan. Goals in the last minute of both the final group games see the Japanese secure second place.
Round of 16
Uruguay v Portugal. Portugal go through on penalties, with Ronaldo going off injured early, having being bitten by an unknown assailant.
Spain v Russia. More VAR controversy, but Spain prevail 2-1 despite having four goals ruled out by VAR.
France v Iceland. The plucky Icelanders fill the stadium with Viking lookalikes, but whilst this worked against England, not on this occasion.
Argentina v Peru. The battle of the Andes, as it will be known, with Andy Polo scoring the winner in a seven-goal thriller.
Brazil v Sweden. Sweden prevail, with FIFA allowing both teams to use their first choice strips. Both Sweden’s goals were scored after receiving passes from Brazilians.
Costa Rica v Germany. An easy German win. Aren’t they all ?
England v Colombia. A dour 0-0 draw but England amazingly win 2-1 on penalties.
Belgium v Japan. Romelu Lukaku’s first half hat trick sees off the only Asian qualifier.
Portugal v France. Ronaldos tetanus has not improved so he misses the 3-0 defeat.
Belgium v Sweden. Battle of the Kingdoms won by goals from Lukaku and Hazard, Jordan and Thorgan (a late call up) that is.
Germany v England. A dour 0-0 draw but England amazingly win 9-8 on penalties.
Spain v Peru. The Old World v The New World, with Peru’s romantic run finally ended by another controversial VAR system call.
France v Belgium. Battle of the French Language, said The Sun, which was enough to inspire the native Flemish speakers to a 2-0 win.
England v Spain. A dour 0-0 draw but unsurprisingly Spain win the penalty shoot out 4-1.
3rd Place Play Off
Common sense prevails that it is a total waste of time and a match nobody wants. England lose the penalty shootout anyway.
Spain v Belgium. Own goals, sending offs, controversial VAR decisions, last minute equalisers, the match had it all. And was won 3-2…
Jose Mourinho has raised Man United expectations
Not particularly relevant right now, but I just realised this morning that I am bitterly disappointed United didn’t win a trophy this season. I know that doesn’t necessarily mean a huge amount to some fans, but it is how United (and Mourinho) judge themselves.
So while the season was at best a B grade, at least we have raised expectation levels again. Hopefully performances and results can follow, but it has been a while since I have felt like United should be competing for trophies.
The negative spin of this is that under Fergie I felt we should be doing even more, but after a few years of mediocrity, we seem to be heading in the right direction. Whether we are going fast enough, or are capable of going far enough, is another question, but at least we seem to be regaining some of our arrogance – an important trait in elite sport (and absolutely essential to Mourinho). Don’t for a second mistake this as me thinking we will sweep aside all challengers (and City, who are the undisputed kings of England right now), but I feel we are getting closer.
Jack (No major problem with Jose’s style of football, just think he is an awful person) Manchester
Musing on Player of the Year anomalies
I noticed today that Nemanja Vidic won the Club’s player of the year award in 08/09 despite the fact that Ryan Giggs won the PFA player of the year award. I assumed this was an anomaly but checked to see if it ever happened again in Man Utd’s history and it had.
In 88/89 Mark Hughes won the PFA player of the year but Bryan Robson won the club’s player of the year. I remember that season well, Hughes was on fire from August to January and then had a massive goal drought until May. Maybe that’s the explanation, the different times of the year when it comes to voting.
Anyway I wondered if this has happened with any other clubs because it seems strange to me that a player is voted by other professionals as the best player in the league that season and then isn’t even voted as the best player for his club that season by the fans.
A bit like John Lennon being asked if Ringo Starr was the best drummer in the world. Lennon replied he’s not even the best drummer in The Beatles.
He was a nasty bastard at times.
Unai Emery: Why the caution?
When Ferguson gave up his post it was going to be very difficult for anybody to follow on but he recommended Moyes…. why? Moyes was a consistent and well respected manager at a club that was there or there about. I remember a different Everton prior to Moyes but that’s another topic.
Arsenal are handing the role to a manager that has a successful record and focuses on a similar style of play Arsenal fans of this day and age appreciate. Furthermore, he appears passionate and animated and has already brushed Mourinho’s attitude aside.
People have criticised him for not winning the French title initially with loads of money but Pep and Jose have also failed winning the EPL with a huge budget.
I get the impression Emery is bored with having loads of money and coasting the French league. He wants a challenge and Arsenal are an ideal club for him to initially keep them relatively competitive and then build them to be title contenders again.
I don’t understand the negative attitude of some supporters. We have to move on and I like the positive attitude of this young manager.
Doubting Emery: A defence
Ok so I got a hammerimg in the mailbox for doubting Emery. Some points were fair. As for the rest, I feel I need to retort.
1 – First, let me be absolutely clear that I would be delighted to be proved wrong and Arsenal race away with the title next year.
2 – As for me being miserable, have you been paying attention to Arsenal football club? We may be well run financially but from a footballing perspective we have been run worse than any club in the top half conisidering our resources, so forgive me if I expect more of the same from Mr Gazidis.
3 – My point that Emery is awful against top teams and top managers stands. Look at F365’s dossier on him for proof.
4 – His three Europa Leagues when nobody was really trying because it didnt come with a CL place back then is ok, but not that impressive. If anything it proves that he wasn’t good enough to get his team in the Champions League. Probably due to the point above.
5 – Yes, Arteta has no experience. Nor did Pep when he took his first job as coach. That turned out ok. Experience isn’t the be all and end all as Mr Nicholson wrote recently on this very site. Of course there is a risk but how much worse can he do than 6th place and no cups?
6 – As for doubting Arteta’s bastardosity, then you never watched him play. I’m not talking about good old English style breaking peoples legs, I’m talking about sly fouls on the half way line to stop a break. Or obstructing someone in a way that it looks like he fouled you and getting the free kick. You know, the stuff City do so well.
Anyway, these are all moot points. He has the job now and I wish him all the best. I’m just not expecting much.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC