Why Liverpool are in trouble; the ‘hope has returned’ at Arsenal

Date published: Wednesday 31st July 2019 2:28

Adam Lallana Liverpool

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The hope has returned (along with some theories)
Dear MC,

Oh Gawd, not again. Arsenal are resurrecting that most vicious of commodities, hope.

I mean, I’ve found myself, as a 40 year old pawing through YouTube clips of Pepe while I should be doing you know, actual work. If we do finally get Tierney then it will be the majority of transfer business done.

Shifting Koscielny should be an absolute priority. He can literally p*ss off for all I care. Second should be Mustafi who inexplicably might actually be attracting interest. Who could we go in for? Lascelle? It would be great just to have a solid Premier League defender. I’m not even fussed if it isn’t anyone more glamourous than that.

However, I’ve now started developing some theories (not my end of the world prepper ones, just football related this time). Zaha wants to come to Arsenal and we want him but with Pepe joining there will be no space, right? Well, maybe there still could be. Aubameyang’s agent has been flirting with ManYoo if you believe an internet. That may actually be no bad thing if he were to go as the funds would give us the ability to go back in for Zaha and possibly even a proper centre back as well.

Crikey, can you imagine a front three of Zaha, Pepe and Lacazette? Wow.

Now who on earth could we attract as a decent *cough* centre *Alderweireld* back?


Liverpool expectations
I get that it’s very difficult to work out what constitutes a reasonable expectation for Liverpool this season, but jeez, fourth place and a Europa League? In effect conceding a 25 point swing to two rival teams, back to the days of finishing 20+ points off the title, a dismal CL defence that falls at the first hurdle? There is no way this could be considered anything but abject failure, regardless of the Europa League trophy.

Maybe it needs repeating that but for the unprecedented brilliance of Pep-era Man City, Liverpool would be coming off the back of a PL/CL double, a record premier league points total and an invincible season. They would be, unarguably, the best club side England had ever seen. The fact that City have somehow managed to be even better should not deflect from this. So, to go from matching them almost step for step to being an unremarkable part of the chasing pack 25 points back would represent a huge regression, proving last season to be a 2013/14 style aberration rather than part of a journey.

I’m not saying that fourth + EL is not a realistic expectation by the way; just that we couldn’t be happy with it in the context of last season. We all know that City will win the league every season under Pep, so the mission is to keep as close to them as possible and make sure we’re first in line to capitalise on the inevitable transitional season when he eventually leaves. If City walk the title again in 19/20 and their European ban is upheld, that could even be next season – so if we’re serious about actually winning the league at some point then our priority has to be to maintain position ahead of the chasing pack, far more so than fleeting FA Cup or Europa League success.

For what it’s worth I can’t see us being as strong as last season again as we’ll struggle for goals with the front three all in desperate need of some time off but with no serious cover for any of them. City will barely wobble with the departing Kompany and ageing Aguero, D Silva and Fernandinho being compensated for by Rodri, B Silva and a full season of KDB. On this basis I’d happily take second now; even a narrow third would be acceptable as Spurs will likely reach the low 80s as well. Fourth, though, would mean finishing below one of the basket cases of Chelsea, Arsenal and Utd – all of whom have significant problems to deal with and none of whom are likely to get more than 70odd points – which would be disastrous.



A short mail.

To answer would fourth and Europa League be a successful season for Liverpool.

Er no.

Loving the thinking that last season was as good as it gets for them.
Ged Biglin


Weighing in with my two cents on this one. If Liverpool fail to make any significant signings capable of challenging for a first team position my sense is that we are in trouble. By trouble I mean I don’t think top four will be a given let alone challenging for the league which is, as FSG announced recently, our number one target this season.

People keep referring to Spurs achieving 4th with no signings – Spurs imploded last season (Spurs fans this is not a dig). They scrapped fourth and only just because of the sheer incompetence of the teams around them. I’m genuinely not having a go at Spurs and can understand why the season should be deemed a huge success given their achievements with no investment but that doesn’t mean it should be a measure of success for Liverpool to benchmark against for the coming season.

Chelsea aside, all other top eight sides have strengthened or continue to do so. Pre-season has only served to demonstrate that we do not have the players required to make an impact when key players are missing. I’m delighted the club is investing in the future and giving youth players opportunities but that doesn’t mean the club cannot add to its ranks, especially with the amount of games the squad is facing next season.

Origi might just suffice as cover for Firmino with a more direct style of play but he clearly requires quality around him to create the space he needs to operate in. Current cover for the wings isn’t good enough, especially not if Liverpool are willing to sell which they are. At least one player capable of challenging Mane or Salah is needed. Personally I think a LW makes more sense as Mane is capable of operating on the right and could cover Salah if needed.

The squad is also screaming for an attacking midfielder to link play between midfield and create opportunities for the front free. The existing pool needs a fresh face to liven things up, especially if the alternative is to watch Lallana do Cruyff turns in his new holding position. You’d think proper cover for Robertson would be mandatory but apparently Milner and Gomez will be expected to do a job here.

I believe in Klopp and the LFC management team but if the squad remains as is I get the feeling we’re in for a rocky 2019/20 season. To answer Minty’s question I’d take your hand off if an FA Cup win and 2nd or 3rd in the league was offered..

I hope I’m wrong, please prove me wrong lads..
Dazza, LFC, Dublin


Man United’s transfer policy
I wrote a few emails of why I thought Solskjaer isn’t an improvement on Mourinho and was laughed at especially after the Tottenham win where I myself waivered but I predicted no top 4 and so it has come.

But now we are where we are I would like to focus on transfer policy. There seems to be an idea amongst fans that signing good players is bad. Because they don’t fit the system. Pogba, and others are named as proof of this. I don’t think Pogba is a great player. I think Ferguson saw that for all his natural ability his mentality isn’t there and got rid. I think a lot of players we were told were great, ready made players weren’t.

Who in the current team was a world class player when bought? Lukaku was playing for Everton and no offence to them but they aren’t competing with the Barcelonas Reals and Munichs of this world. Rashford, young untested, Martial young untested. We went from the best CB pairing in the world in Rio and Vidic to Smalling Jones Lindeloff Bailly.

The issue is we are unable to tell which not yet world class players will go on to be world class. Vidic was a relative unknown untested player when he came from CSKA, Rooney was an Everton player when he came but unlike Lukaku he proved to be a good buy. Until we learn to get these players again and considering the rut we are in buying world class players is the best path. For the money United spent on Pogba and Lukaku you could have bought Neymar.

Instead of buying Chiellini we got Bailly (really just injury prone, could be good if he stayed healthy for a few seasons) and Lindeloff. Instead of tempting Eriksen with a 100 million offer we got Fred. We are buying in the bargain bin and have for a while and it isn’t working out. We already have more than enough kids, we need leaders.
Dino (Both Dybala and Maguire fall under the umbrella of not yet proven, though Dybala is better) Kantardzic


United optimism
So it seems coming closer to the start of the new season United fans are quietly optimistic, now if the purported transfers of Fernandez, Maguire and Dybala actually happen then we start looking like an exciting prospect again.

De Gea, Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Pogba, Fernandez, McTominey, Martial, Rashford, Dybala with a supporting cast of exciting kids gives me hope for the future, make it happen Woodward.
On the footballing musical theme I love Don Fardon’s Belfast Boy about a certain George Best, when it comes to terrace chants there are a few United ones which were funny rather than goose bump creating, the Tim Howard chant regarding his tourettes and the subsequent chant when he asked fans not to sing it. My favourite United chant though had to be What a friend we have in Jesus in relation to Eric Cantona.

Paul Murphy, Manchester


Watching over pre-season, you can very much see the style Solskjaer wants to play in copying City, Liverpool and Spurs high press. I hope some good early results in the season will give him time to work and implement this as he gets to add players over a number of transfer windows, people need to remember City and Liverpool especially took some hammerings in the first season or so of Klopp and Guardiola implementing this, as getting it wrong can leave you very open.

My greater concern while all the media focus on needing a Centre Back, is where are the goals coming from? We have been encouraging right up until the final ball in pre-season but do not seem to have anyone in the box who wants to score tap ins, both Martial and Rashford holding positon on the penalty spot, we need a player to look for the tap ins.


Sorry, Gareth Bale…
I wrote in a few months ago about Gareth Bale and the nonsense that seems to be written about him.  In short it was about how the things he does can either paint him to be an anti-social weirdo or a model professional.  If you come out on the side of anti-social weirdo you’ve not only read the reports but just swallowed the media’s narrative hook line and sinker.  Think for yourselves.
The thing that made me write in again is Ashley Metcalfe’s mail yesterday.  Skimming over the opinion that paying young working class men a wage in line with the money they bring in for their employer is somehow a Tory ideal, let’s talk about tax.  Now I’m not a tax expert and I’m assuming that Wan Bissaka and Gareth Bale actually pay tax.  Wan Bissaka will pay £1,785,000 in tax in a year.  If Bale moves to China and is still resident in the UK he’ll pay £23,385,000 in tax per year.  Also, Gareth Bale’s money is coming from a foreign country so he earns the UK government, and by extension the NHS, more money than most UK export businesses.  This is all based on the assumption that their reported wage is before tax; if it’s after tax then inflate those figures massively.  I don’t know how much Ashley earns but I’d suspect that Gareth Bale will pay more tax in a week than Ashley will in his entire working life but feel free to stay up there on your high horse.  Football seems to be one of the incredibly few industries where the workers get an equitable share of the companies income, turn your attention to CEO’s wages if you want to pretend to be socialist.

The bottom line is that player’s wages come from gate receipts and media rights.  Clubs and the media get their money directly from the fans through tickets, subscriptions and merchandise.  If you have a problem with players’ wages then stop consuming the media, you’re enabling the problem you’re complaining about.

It’s hurts me to say this but I’ve always loved Liquidator by The Harry J All Stars that Chelsea play before their home matches.
SC, Belfast


Things that bug me
Just a couple of thing s that always bug me about transfer windows, not about who X is signing or when, or for how much, rather the language used in the press, most of the time I’m left thinking, why is it worded that way, it makes no sense, here are some examples

X manager has a 100 million war chest, probably the most stupid word to use for a budget ever. The  the definition of a war chest is either:  reserve of funds used for fighting a war or, a sum of money used for conducting a campaign “the party’s election war chest”, dumb as it comes! This is neither a war or an election, it’s an attempt to buy a player, please stop using this

X club is braced for a bid from Y club, eh…..no, no they are not, I’m pretty sure they are doing their own business probably with their “war chest” and will deal with things if and when they happen. Its hard to imagine the CEO sitting there braced like he’s about to get punched by Mike Tyson for 2 months straight, please stop using this

X club is preparing a bid, what’s this about? Preparing a bid? So, does this mean they send a full blown contract to club Y when they submit a bid? Although I understand there will be plenty of paperwork down the road of the deal, surely the initial contact is something along the lines of a phone call or meeting where they ask about a player and mention a price, when you hear about some of the deals that have happened (say on deadline day) its literally, how much do you want? We want 50 million, Great let’s do this! Isn’t much preparation in that.

I’m sure there are loads more but they are the 3 that spring to mind, maybe other reads have some that irritate them?
Vernon (Dublin, Ireland)


More football songs
Not exactly a rival song but my favourite football related song for me has to me Mas Que Nada.

It immediately brings up images of The Greatest Football Advert EVER ™, that Nike one in the airport.

Romario smashing it through the x-ray machine and R9 unbelievably hitting the post at the end, scenes.
Benjamin (Mikey, Wavin’ Flag is a certified banger)


Not sure about wage caps
Just a quick note on wage caps for footballers, though I fully agree that they earn obscene amounts of money I still believe a wage cap would not only be detrimental to attracting the best players but would also not win many fans at the Treasury.

From firsthand experience they are treated as employees, which means they’ll pay top rates of tax on their earnings via PAYE (as they should of course) which on a superstar earning £100-250k a week is quite a large amount of dough being transferred to the treasury. In some cases they’ll need to do a tax return at the end of the year to scoop up any unpaid tax on things like investments, sponsorships and image rights etc (although the structure of image rights deals has been well publicized as, if not illegal, morally ambiguous and potentially an abuse of the system. That’s a whole different email)

Long story short, If we cap footballers wages, we’re capping the potential to tax whatever obscene amounts of money being thrown their way. That’s money we need to pay for schools, the NHS, police officers etc. We shouldn’t do that. Especially not now, with the country potentially heading over a cliff.


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