The Mailbox is high on Tottenham after they beat Manchester City but a Liverpool fan reckons the Champions League is heading to Anfield. Also: are Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola already outdated?
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Why Spurs will rule Europe
First of all huge congratulations to Harry Kane on becoming our all time top goalscorer. He is for me the greatest striker of his generation and a Spurs legend who will be remembered fondly long after he retires.
Onto the reason for my mail, I wanted to express my growing confidence that we can win the Champions League this season. Here are five reasons why:
1) We’ve proven we can beat the top sides on Europe. City have been the Champions League’s most consistent performers in recent seasons and we’ve just beaten them comfortably. We’ve played them over 180 minutes in the last few weeks and outplayed them for 135 of those minutes.
2) Our rotten luck with injuries looks to finally be coming to an end. Injuries and the ridiculous timing of the world cup have destroyed our title hopes this season but we finally have a full squad of players to pick from going into the business end of the season. Rotation will be vital the deeper we go into the Champions League and we now have enough players available to keep the squad fresh.
3) The form of Harry Kane. This afternoon Harry proved once again why he, and not Haaland, is the best striker in Europe. While Haaland stood around flapping his arms around waiting for a chance to be put on his lap, Harry did what he always does and combined being our playmaker with predatory goalscoring instincts. He is twice the player Haaland is and there hasn’t a defence in Europe who will fancy playing against him.
4) Conte has a point to prove. Antonio has faced a lot of unnecessary stick this season and what better way to ram it back down the throats of his critics than to win the one big trophy he is missing. He won’t admit it but you know he has his eyes on the big one this season.
5) Weak opposition. There is nobody to fear in this season’s competition. Real Madrid and Bayern are a shadow of their former selves, PSG are riddled with egos, Chelsea and Liverpool are an embarrassing shambles City always struggle against us. It’s there for the taking.
Get in you f*cking Spurs.
Hojbjerg, eh? My word that was brilliant. Absolutely love him.
And what else to say about Harry Kane? Absolute gold.
Needed that today, COYS.
…Peak Spurs: Spending around £40m on a new RWB – which has been a problem area since Walker left – for Emerson to then find his hereditary Brazilian talent and turn into the best RWB ever.
Great win though and how different is the mood with 3 wins on the bounce? In the hunt for CL qualification, 3 (winnable) PL home games on the trot and 2 of them against teams we despise who are having a nightmare, plus a CL knock-out game against an out of sorts AC Milan sandwiched in there to boot. Fun.
Great achievement by Harry. Jimmy was an absolute legend and rightly so, but Harry deserves this and he is genuinely world class. He deserves a trophy. With us, with someone. I won’t begrudge him a move.
Romero finally got the red card he should have received in 97.2% of the games he plays in. Still love him.
Final word to PEH. I see he gets a lot of stick in the online world. I’m sure we’d miss him. That’s not just off the back of this performance. In general, he’s great. A warrior. Doing a ton of work in a system that’s probably not best suited to him. Covering for sub-par players. Looks a bit lost in attacking positions at times but even that’s been better this season with goal contributions. Answer me this, Spurs fans, if he had a decent defence behind him, how much better would he look? Zidane would probably look inadequate with Dier and Lloris behind him.
Glen, Stratford Spur
Read more: Kane breaks record against broken record City: 16 Conclusions on Tottenham 1-0 Manchester City
Pep and Klopp outdated
The parallels between the two are striking. Very good managers, wedded to their own tactical systems. It could be argued, and it’s my opinion, they have fallen short at the top level. Klopp has a poor record in Champions League Finals, and I think it could be argued he deserved another Premier League Title while at Liverpool. Pep has fallen short in the Champions League too many times, and given his resources, it could possibly be argued could have won more especially in Germany.
The tactical systems used by both have major flaws, which are now being exposed by a new generation of coaches. Klopp’s tactics are extremely wearing on the players, and relay on the players continually playing to their limits, and their current position has been caused by lack of investment and poor recruitment, especially in midfield, and I think I could be argued in defence.
Guardiola also has a bit of blind spot with defence, an area he has underinvested in over the years and has often purchased attacking players (Haaland, Eto, Ibrahimovic) who do not fit into his system and who he will not adapt to (Alvarez should be first on the teamsheet, Haaland as an impact sub).
Why are they both having poor seasons this year? Ignoring all other factors (injuries, recruitment, etc.) basically their tactics have become outdated. Defences have improved generally, most teams from the midtable up (and some below) all players have adapted to the Mourinho philosophy were all players are expected to track back and Klopp and Guardiola’s technique of pressing from the front. Most teams have stronger and better adapted defences – I have noticed far less egregious mistakes in defending this season – than any in recent years, forwards and midfielders have very clearly defined roles in the teams and the level of automatisms is much higher. Player recruitment is generally better. Player fitness is higher, and many teams have not expected their players to play with quite the continual intensity of Klopp. The players are expected to do the pressing and tracking back in a more limited zone of the pitch. Teams are more adaptable and flexible tactically (the overrriding flaw of both Klopp and Guardiola). The principle exception to this is Arsenal, but I have a higher regard for Arteta than Guardiola at the moment.
I’m sure other readers can tear this to bits, and I’m no expert in this. May get pelters from some City and Liverpool fans.
Why have I written this – because I think neither Liverpool or City will win anything this year (obvious, before you say) and both teams will have different managers by the end of next season. Klopp may go this season. Haaland will go if Pep stays.
Looking forward to a better analysis from someone else.
Net spend matters
There’s a lot of backwards & forwards about how well Klopp has done during his time with Liverpool in this current (disastrous) run of form, so am I the only one who has a lot of sympathy with the ‘net spend’ argument that has been a part of it? I can’t stand when fans say that Manager X ‘spent x million’ without taking into account the fact that they’ve sold some really quality players to help fund that. If say, City sold Haaland & KDB for £400m and then spent £200m, they’d arguably still be weaker, despite having ‘spent’ £200m?
With that in mind (thanks F365) you can see Liverpool over 5 years are 9th in net spend. Yes I know there are add-ons & you have to take into account the squad he had 5 years ago but still…. that’s incredibly low considering what they’ve achieved (& almost achieved) in that period. I say this as a neutral NUFC fan who supports a team who until recently had almost no valuable players to sell, & actually as someone who finds the Liverpool ‘special club/means more’ spiel quite insufferable. Even with them where they are in the league I’m surprised anyone is calling for Jurgens head. He’s been incredible for them, clearly get the club and has played some scintillating football.
I get it, it’s probably better for a Manager to sell £300m and buy £300m of players to sculpt a squad to their image? But help me out here, why do so many people continually dismiss and belittle net spend?
Tarqs, Woolwich, NUFC
Seven is coming
Liverpool are clearly struggling
Klopp is clearly struggling
No Jota, no Diaz, vvd poor
But.. klopp – he’s won every big trophy for my club.
So, if we finish 10th this year, and next year and next year. Fine by me. I remember no title for 30 years. I was crying when we won European cup for the 6th time.
Remember. This is a manager who gets our club, he’s the best since Kenny.
Oh, don’t forget we like Europe. If djimi and jerzy can finish 5th and win the European cup, Becker and Trent most certainly can even finishing 14th
Ade (still think 7 is coming)
Who said no?
A lot has been said about the downfall of Liverpool and we tend to be everyones favourite punching bag because apparently 30 years of zero title wins and being a joke the entire time wasn’t humbling enough for the rest of the league.
I’m more interested in the question of who said no?
I’m talking of course about transfers. thanks to Deloitte we now know Liverpool is actually far more loaded than the club likes to admit. 3rd most loaded to be exact narrowly behind real Madrid.
so the club has money. which means somebody at the club when faced with the decision of buying a midfielder said no. it’s a question I can’t really answer.
if it’s fsg the on surface it makes sense, a club not wanting to empty the coffers right before a sale or investment makes sense since it’s a more attractive sale with the third healthiest bank accounts. BUT that means the team performing badly and probably not even making the Europa conference league, which significantly lowers the sale value of the club, not to mention all those sponsorships and adverts are dependant on exposure, so less money there too.
so it doesn’t make much sense that fsg said no.
so it’s Klopp then? why would Klopp not sign a player for position he desperately needs? what if the player he wants isn’t available? I think klopp has far more control over transfers than when he first came. that’s why the DOF left and his replacement quit before he even had time to put his feet under the desk. it’s also why most of the data analysis team have left as well. don’t need a data analysis team if the boss is just going to ignore them anyway.
I think it is Klopp saying no. he’s got all his eggs in Bellingham basket (who ironically probably won’t come because we’re sh*t) and is refusing to even draw up a second or third choice. it’s interesting to note that key players under Klopp weren’t his signings – Salah was a transfer team choice, as was firmino, milner, allison and Robertson. though Klopp did pick mane, Virgil and wijnaldum.
is Klopp now not able to see his own faults? the money is there no matter how much the club cries poverty it’s black and white in the club accounts. so somebody rather stupidly said no to a new midfielder…who was it? because they should have transfer powers revoked immediately
Another Liverpool defeat does beg the question as to what this season is.
In years gone by an ex-Liverpool player would appear on our screens saying ‘This is a transition season’.
Well this certainly is that, but transitioning into what? Champions League looks unlikely now and that is a problem. Teams above them now will improve and Chelsea now have enough players to build 573 other teams so something will click.
So do they sack Klopp and try a different direction? That brings so many problems…. Who is better than him? If you do get someone new, how long will a complete rebuild take?
When things would go wrong at Man U under Sir Alex the board knew they had the best manager to course correct.
Liverpool are a midtable team figuratively and literally right now, but Klopp can bring them back. It’s just if this ownership worries about how much their ‘asset’ will be worth if there’s two seasons out of Europe.
Rob G (I miss the brackets and deadline day forum)
View from afar
Benjamin Franklin once said: ‘Love your enemies, for they tell you your faults’. In this spirit, here are some thoughts on Liverpool’s squad from this Man United fan (with overall first team/squad option/let go in the summer):
Alisson- one of the few with no question marks over their status at the club. First team.
Trent- needs work defensively, and would probably benefit from serious competition for his place (reminds me of Luke Shaw). First team/squad option.
Milner- James, bloody love that massive jaw and the silly videos. But it’s time. Let go.
VVD- understandable but worrying signs of regression post-pickford. But for now- first team.
Konaté- formidable when not injured, but centre back not the sort of position where you can seamlessly come in/out of the team. Squad option.
Matip- as of Feb ’23, persistent injuries mean he has still played 50% more minutes for Schalke than he has for Liverpool. Konaté’s 23, Matip is 31. Let go.
Gomez- another centre back rotating on/off the treatment table. Manages 20 games per year. Will be 26 in the summer. Let go.
Nat Phillips- Also 26 in the summer. Keep as the 4th CB squad option for now. Squad option.
Rhys Williams/Calvin Ramsay- who are these people? Squad options (I guess?).
Robertson- the first Gegenpressing casualty that comes to mind. In or out of the First XI, Klopp needs to kelp him rediscover his mojo. First team/squad option.
Fabinho- another rock and roll casualty. But there are (many) better candidates for a P45. First team/squad option.
Bajcetic- early signs not bad. Squad option.
Curtis Jones- at 22, it could still happen for him, give him another year or two. Squad option.
Keïta- one foot out the door already. He never really arrived. Not sure why he’s getting minutes- Let go.
Thiago- slowing down, and already 5% slower due to no-looking every single pass he makes. Squad option.
Melo- another one I had to look up- apparently he’s playing with the U21s? he’s 26, wtf. Let go.
Henderson- the new Milner, morale-booster that impresses in the 20 or so games they need to do a job in. Squad option.
AOC- now been LFC for almost as long as his Arsenal spell, yet has played almost 50% less minutes for Liverpool. Let go.
Elliott- need to sort his best position and/or if he can play with Salah (who is never injured or out of the team). Squad option.
Carvalho- early signs not bad. More depth in a position it’s not really needed in. Squad option.
Diaz- best of LFC’s recent signings IMO. First team/squad option.
Gakpo- decent player, but just why on earth buy him? I suppose it’s going to be squad option.
Jota- great signing sadly now showing early signs of the LFC injury curse. First team/squad option.
Salah- well, the new contract means it’s sh*t or bust, yes? Misses Sadio Mané more than he’ll ever know or admit. First team.
Núñez- hm. A weapon in every sense- you don’t know if he’s going to help you, or shoot you in the face. First team(?)/squad option.
Firmino- Another one showing signs of long-term fatigue, which is a shame as I miss his smiley face. Squad option.
So there you have it- assuming you replace those going out the door, I make that shopping list to be a first choice rightback, two centre backs, two centre midfielders (just some legs basically), and probably a first choice striker? Thoughts on United’s squad from LFC fans always welcome.
…As a Liverpool fan I don’t think our situation as bad as it seems. In recent years we’ve been forced to believe getting record points total but missing out on the tital is failure. ‘First losers’ they called us so it’s easier to accept when we’ve been actually trash. Besides City have also struggled despite Robotboy doing his best to paper over the cracks.
In the real covid season,there was actually a simple fix when we muddling through the mud and that was simply returning Fabinho to midfield and trusting the unproven center backs. Somehow it worked and we salvaged the season. This time it’s not so clear what Klopp should do as we blatantly refused to strengthen in January. Removing the underperforming Fabinho and Henderson has barely improved things. So what now?
Thankfully Jota will be back soon and we might actually score a goal let alone win
Credit for Wolves
Few points on the Liverpool game from a Wolves perspective (I’m a Huddersfield fan but with a Wolves fan so seen a fair few of their games)
Quite a few negatives about Liverpool but nothing about how well Wolves played. Even before the first goal they could have been 2-0 up. Such a positive attacking display against a team they smelt blood against
The Wolves of 3 months ago would have crumbled against that second half onslaught, a much stronger tighter team now. More teams than Liverpool will struggle now against them and my foolish bet with my partner over which team will get relegated (Wolves or Town) is going to cost me.
Kudos to the Wolves media team yet again after the Forest brilliance. They changed the full time result to 2-0 after Klopps whine over the third goal. They really do deserve an award
No kudos to the embarrassing Liverpool fans who showed zero support to their team during the match and also broke seats in the away end. Hopefully Liverpool get charged the cost of replacing these, but this is an example of why they’re hated so much everywhere.
Sadly I’m writing this before the Forest game so can’t get a Nelson Ha Ha in. I’ll follow it up with one if they get done over by VAR though
Super League sympathy
As a lifelong Arsenal supporter who gave up his Arsenal membership when they joined the Super league (Yes-it’s hurting), why do I find myself in sympathy with the unholy trinity of Perez, Laporta and Angelli?
Maybe, because they realised that the Premier League was on course to dominate football for a lifetime, sucking in all the investment and top players and the time to stop it was now before it became to powerful.
Well,that time has passed now and City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Utd, Liverpool and Arsenal, 3 soon to be 4 clubs owned by sovereign wealth funds or petrochemical companies, buying every half decent player who comes onto the market.
We need healthy European leagues or those fantastic European nights will just become part of football folklore which we tell our children.
Of course, the French circus act know as PSG and The Great Mbappe will still occasionally sweep into town and and gatecrash the English only party, but will they even get their day in the sun, untold wealth yes, but will they still continue to attract the top players? is Real Madrid bound Mbappe already casting envious eyes across the channel? He and his agent must know that the Premier league is the only show in town.
There will come a time when a team from La Liga or Serie A winning the Champions league will be seen in the same light as Leicester winning the Premier league, a freak occurrence, a one off.
A club from Serie A hasn’t won it for 13 years which if you exclude the Heysel ban is the longest time a club from England, Italy or Spain has gone without being crowned as European champions since the competition was inaugurated in 1955.
Who will mourn when the Grand Old Lady is just another old lady and the El classico is now the El Forgettio?
We were so preoccupied stopping the Super League monster at the front door we didn’t realise it had slipped in the back and was in our house.
The Super League is dead! All hail the Premier League!
The end is nigh
Throughout literary history there are approximately 427 different examples of how an impending apocalypse may be signified.
The Book of Revelations in the New Testament lists the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse as conquest, war, famine and death, while in the Old Testament’s Book of Ezekiel they are sword, famine, wild beasts and pestilence or plague.
In the Middle Ages several Welsh, English and Irish texts speak of the Fifteeen Signs of Doomsday, including such gems as “the stars shall be thrown down to earth, the sun will turn black, the sun will turn red etc.
In 2023 there is now a new indicator of the end of days.
That is finding myself in steadfast agreement with our resident Arsenal critic, the baby Griffin, in his assessment that Chelsea have not and will not ever sell a quality player to the Gunners in the modern era.
No need to go through the list, we know the players and we know Stewie is correct.
Eoin (The George Graham switch requires the “modern era” caveat) Ireland
When push comes to shove… I’m no expert on the rules. I didn’t kick up a fuss when Tarkowski scored. But, had he muscled the keeper out of his way instead of Ødegaard would the goal have stood?
Simon, Norf London Gooner
Credit to Eddie for his work but the last few games still show what a big miss Jesus is. Jesus is much better at running into the channels, often times allowing Martinelli to occupy the space that opens up centrally. With Nketiah being more central, Martinelli has to stay wide for the entire game. Jesus also has a better ability to bring the ball out of tight spaces. It’s probably time to give Trossard a go until Jesus is back. Thought the goal we conceded was also strange. The back-post corner tactic from Everton was so clear. How Odegaard ended up there is beyond me.
Overall, we were lucky Tottenham got the job done this weekend but if you had offered me 50 points from 20 games at the start of the season, I would have bitten your hand off. So can’t complain too much either.
Damola Bremen (Loving ever Klopp bashing for his unwarranted Wenger comments and incessant complaints. Here’s to many more)
Dyche is back
“I’m a marmite manager…it begins with the literal hard yards.”
Makes the players do a beep test in his first training session.
First match against league leaders Arsenal.
“Fine side, good side.”
Only goal of the game scored by James Tarkowski from a Dwight McNeil corner.
“I like 1-0 wins.”
Welcome back Sean. The man is nothing if not 100% on brand.
Owen Davidson (he did play more of a 4-5-1 than a 4-4-2 to be fair), EFC
Take the W
Some interesting logic in the Sunday morning mailbox. Casemiro was shown a red card for grabbing an opponent by the throat. Max of Whitegate argues that he shouldn’t have been, but that Jeffrey Schlupp should have been for the same offence. Joe Praise says Jordan Ayew should have been sent off and that the referee made lots of “horrible decisions”, including presumably the decision to send off a player who assaulted an opponent.
I’ve just been back and checked but Manchester United actually won yesterday. It’s just really weird that their online fans are more interested in moaning about something relatively insignificant instead of celebrating the way they dug in, in difficult circumstances, to hold on to three precious points. Life is such a shitshow at the best of times, stop denying yourself joy in the brief moments it appears through your self-pity.
State of affairs
* Arsenal are what you get when you show patience at any other club his last few positions would have seen the manager sacked .
* At what point do we stop the myth of Liverpool being 5 years of United , In the last decade , in the premiership each one has finished ahead of the other the same amount of times,…..Liverpool have needed to do more in the transfer market for about 2 years , that was what gave them an edge ,they need to go back to basics
* City however are ahead of United ,but for how much longer, Pep seems to be having issues with quite a few players ,Most of those who are onside are the newbies (Haaland/AlvarezGrealish ) and the over 30’s (De Bruyne ,Gundogan,Mahrez)) , there have been exits recently of Zinchenko,Jesus ,Sturridge and Cancelo with rumoured issues with Foden and Silva , You have ask will they stay ahead of everyone else.
* Saw an article on this website were credit was given to our infamous jog for turning United around I’m sorry but I still can’t look past the acquisition of Casemiro and Marinez as being high points , Ten Haag arrived at the right time most of the key decisions have mercifully already happened, in terms of personnel over the last few years(Fellaini,Pogba Lingard Rojo etc) , he’s getting to look a hero removing CR7 in his second season and he’s not scoring (when it’s less of a problem) and Maguire when he’s public enemy number one , He’s also benefiting from the exit of the Glazers so there will likely be less self sabotage during the summer, I feel the project days are over and it;s time to start judging people based on trophies again.
* Did winning the champions league mask Chelsea’s general decline ,by the end of this season it will be six years since they’ve won the league if United and Arsenal win in the next few years or that run even continues it will start to resemble a drought.
* Really thought with Conte spurs would break their title duck, there still in FA Cup and Champions league if he win nought I don’t see him
staying and that might be the end of their time as a big six side
* Newcastle keep impressing with the way they are growing, if they were playing anyone else I would be rooting for them to win the League Cup
The overuse of the cringey term ‘GOAT’ needs to stop.
Is there any point writing a whole article about Klopp being the sorest of losers, whilst quoting him saying he’s a bad loser?
Why did Chelsea start Mudryk if his cold was heavy enough to pull him at half time?
Title race is as you were but Arsenal will probably be feeling the better – a hardly ground-breaking observation but losing and getting let off will surely take a bit of pressure off.
Just as United get a little glimpse, they lose arguably their most important/influential player for three games having strangled someone!
The emergence of Brighton, Brentford & Fulham et al as genuinely very good sides is making this season all the better.
The ‘new manager bounce’ happens far too often and needs a scientific explanation.
Southampton are f’ed and ‘baby Mourinho’ Nathan Jones’ ego is startling, entertaining and discomforting.
Someone in the mailbox predicted Scamacca’s West Ham’s impact almost perfectly at the beginning of the season. Although they optimistically suggested he’d get at least 7 goals or so I think.
Some weekend of football in the Barclays.