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European Super League
First off, Congratulations to Liverpool on a truly amazing performance last night.
I think after Barcelona got steamed roll by a fitter, faster team and Ajax with their hungry, young team played with, dare I say, Premier League Pace and knocked out Real Madrid and Juventus.
A new era of Football is well and truly here and it is tika-taka at English Football Pace or Tika-Taka-Ingerland. Break neck football, which due to the highly competitive nature of the Premier League, is plays at a pace that other leagues cannot keep up with.
While this movement has been in evidence for a few years, after last nights performance by Liverpool along with the fact that Spurs could join them, Chelsea and Arsenal could play in the Europa League Final while being considered off the pace in the English league, is a damming statement on the other top leagues.
All this brings me to why last night’s results might be the opening of the dam and the tops clubs finally getting their wish for a Super League!
Why would Barcelona want to keep hammering minnows 5-0 when the inferior quality they play against is being blamed for their failures in the Champions League… Bayern Munich ditto, Juventus Snap, PSG me too. Real Madrid really cannot be bothered winning La Liga anymore, it is Champions League or burst for them. Manchester United don’t want to lose to promoted teams when they could be getting battered by Barcelona instead in a packed out Stadium in the USA.
20 teams, play each home, away and in China/USA/Other. It now makes sense to all the big teams, some fans, and all commercial partner’s in the top league’s and it is on the way.
Some will say why would the English teams want it with the money in the league? Well the Glazers want it, Stan Kroenke does, Fenway Sports get to bring Liverpool to USA, Qatar/UAE wants it (City v PSG in Qatar/UAE) and I am sure Roman wouldn’t say no.
Eoin (Football has sold it’s soul and the devil is here to collect) Roscommon, Ireland
I am a United supporter, so it is with a heavy heart that I congratulate Liverpool. If they win the damned thing, I will endure the endless chants of “six” from my mates who chose the wrong path.But it did make me think. The argument of who is better is now, in my mind, over. Messi may be a technically better footballer, but if it had been Ronaldo last night, would Liverpool have won?
The difference is not in talent, but in the will to win. Tiger Woods has it, Rory doesn’t. Ronaldo has it, Messi doesn’t. The past three years we have seen Ronaldo drag Real to the final and the victory, while Messi has been seen walking off dejected.
When Portugal won the Euros, does anyone think that Ronnie wasn’t central to the drive to victory? Meanwhile, Argentina has not had a real impact on the World Cup even with the most talented player of his day. Maradonna had the will, Messi doesn’t.
It also applies to teams. This current Liverpool team has the will to win, the current United players don’t have a sniff of it.
So while Messi walked off last night with another disappointment, I think Ronaldo would have found a way to get the one goal that they needed. His will to win made him the player he is, Messi has a natural talent, but perhaps it has come to easy for him.
I it seems we have been asking the wrong question all along about Messi. It isn’t, “can he do it on a cold, wet, windy Tuesday night in Stoke?” But, “can he do it on a Spring midweek evening in Liverpool?”
John ‘even as a United fan, you have to doff your hat to Liverpool on that one’ Morgan, South Derbyshire
You haven’t won anything yet, Liverpool fans…
First things first as a United fan hats off to Liverpool absolutely blew Barcelona out of the Park, but even though it was a brilliant performance can some of the fans reign it in a bit please, a new Ferguson era? you do realise you have won fu*k all and good old Jurgen’s records in finals isn’t exactly stellar, so yes celebrate a fantastic achievement in beating Barcelona to progress into this years final but get yourselves a bit of perspective please try to win something first before crowing about being a new dynasty.
Paul Murphy, Manchester (come on Ajax)
Alisson was immense
Reviewing some of the footage I was struck by how the 2 keepers saved shots that they could only parry.
ter Stegen – maybe unfortunately but maybe not, could only put the ball back straight to Origi who duly obliged and scored.
Alisson had a similar save to make not long after and you could see him concentrating like hell to beat the ball away to the side and away from any onrushing attackers. It looked like it took great physical effort. It definitely had the mark of quality technique, not that I’m at all versed in goalie technique.
I just know that minus Alisson we are not getting to that final. He was immense.
Aussie Red (High regard for male footballers with female names since Lilian starred in France 98)
Creating a culture
Just wanted to drop in a couple of additional points about last night’s amazing result. Whilst the collective and individual performances last night were exceptional, I think it can be underestimated how long it takes to get a squad to that position. There were 2 main things that I wanted to highlight:
1. Klopp’s widely derided celebration of a 2-2 draw with West Brom in 2015. It’s probably the only time he had a go at the fans but it made a difference. Whilst having a go, he made it clear how important he felt the fans were and made them feel included in the progress of the team. The support and belief now in Anfield is so different from the nervousness that used to characterise these big games and it really makes a difference when the team need the support of the crowd to overcome their own nerves.
2. James Milner at left back for the 2016/17 season. Not just in terms of learning the position so he wheel it out against Barca, but the rest of the squad seeing a multiple Premier League and cup winner getting on with playing out of position and doing the best job he can, before being returned to his more natural position and becoming the CL top assist maker in a single season the next season. F365 has an article on people that would make a difference to the culture at United – that dedication and excellence seems to be a great example to follow for the Origi, TAA (who was a midfielder) Shaqiri et al. Importantly it’s also an example for those who dont make it onto the pitch, but who are needed for training and to keep those on it honest. Mignolet, Moreno, Brewster and many others dont stand a chance of playing but from the team celebrations they are all very much socially integrated and have emotional buy-in into the team. Compare this with the impact of trying your hardest but training alongside someone who’s earning double/triple what you are and not even trying to make the squad.
Interestingly all the non-top 3 members of the top 6 are, to different extents, looking for a reset of culture at the club (Chelsea to move to the predominant importance of a system rather than player power, Arsenal to reshape their mentality without recourse to playing squad investment and United needing to rid themselves of bad apples). I’d say any of these teams couldnt go far wrong by recruiting some more boring/lower tier players who are hugely grateful to be at those clubs (the equivalents of Gini, Lallana, Shaq) who change the atmosphere. To my mind RLC, Torreira, Rudiger, Rashford are all players already at their various clubs who could grow further into these roles.The club can start improving the results and adding players that become stars whilst at the club (rather than buying them in) which will help change the culture. This has the bonus of giving the fans a story they can buy into and feel part of. Klopp has taken us on a ride over the last 4 years, but he’s made the players (core and auxilliary), staff and fans feel invested in that journey and last night was the latest (but no means final) culmination of that journey.
Matt (huge respect to City if they do manage to win the league over this LFC team – a truly amazing achievement and you’ll have my heartfelt congratulations) LFC
The real omen
A little something only a Chelsea fan would’ve noticed watching that game yesterday. The real omen for English sides overcoming the odds and beating Barcelona in a semi-final? Cuneyt Cakir. As much as I remember Tom Henning Ovrebo for the debacle against Barca 2009, I remember Cakir for 2012 – not for any reffing decisions (sent off Terry) but because every detail from that night has a special place. Kind of how I feel jealous for people starting Game of Thrones right from season one now, I am envious of Liverpool fans enjoying the endless highlights, player interviews and general euphoria.. and of course the nervous hope
This is why we always believe…
I was lying wide awake in bed on Monday night, just trying to get my head around Vincent Kompany’s unbelievable strike to put City back top of the league. For us to have 94 points and have lost only 1 game in the league all season yet not have the title wrapped up weeks ago, is mind blowing. I then started thinking of scenarios for Tuesday’s game against Barca…how could we possibly over come these odds with Firmino and Salah out? Was I even mad to think about us winning and going to Madrid? I just reminded myself that half a chance is better than no chance at all, so we’d have to see what happened on the night, even though it would be a ridiculous ask.
Fast forward some 29 hours later (I went to bed later due the few beers I had after the game) and now I’m lying in bed plotting ways to get to Madrid, wonder if I will get a ticket…but most of all, I’m wondering how we did it. Again. Yet again. We made Barca look less than ordinary last night and that was our reward for playing so well in the Camp Nou and getting nothing from that game.
Everyone of our players gave their all last night. Allison made some truly wonderful saves, Matip looks like a man reborn and hasn’t looked this good since his first season at Liverpool and van Dijk….I think we’ll all run out of superlatives for this man. TTA must be regarded as one of the best full backs in football at present. His two deliveries for the goals last night were world class. Robertson was having another great game before he had to come off and hopefully, it’s not too serious so he can play not only on Sunday but also in the final in 3 weeks time.
I remarked to one of the lads in the ground that it was Gini coming on for Ox last year that changed the semi-final for us, but I wasn’t expecting that! Unbelievable. Two superb goals (the leap he made for that header by the way!). Fabino and Henderson were immense in midfield, as was Milner before he had to go and be immense at left back. Considering Shaqiri hasn’t played much football, he did a good job and his ball for Gini’s second goal was amazing. Mane cause all sorts of problems for their defence; they looked scarred every time he came forwards. To think that Origi has scored vital winners for us twice in the space of 3 days is just astonishing.
However, the credit must go to Jurgen Klopp. What this man has done for our club is nothing short of remarkable. 3 European finals in 3 and a half years is unprecedented. The progress we have made in his time in charge has been amazing and we only seem to be getting better. I hope he is charge of us for at least another 10 years as he is clearly one of the best managers in the world game.
I know a lot of people scoff at some of our fans for over enthusiasm and for daring to think we can beat anyone against any odds, but after that last night, can you understand why we think like this? Some of the comebacks we’ve seen over the years have been remarkable, but that last night? Good lord…I know a lot people scoff at the “Famous European Nights at Anfield” saying that comes out a lot. Well, you can scoff no more because that was truly an honour to be part of last night. The atmosphere last night was as good as anything I’ve ever been part of and the whole ground – not just the Kop – was in full voice. Just looking at the Barca fans in the second half in complete and utter silence; watching their famous side fall to pieces as the latest victim of Liverpool FC and our incredible support on yet another crazy European night at Anfield.
And after all that…we still have half a chance at winning the league this weekend as well! It’s great being a red right now.
Neil (Come on you Seagulls!) Mulvaney
Credit where it’s due
As a Liverpool fan still trying to process what happened last night I want to make a point of acknowledging how class most opposition fans I’ve seen have reacted to the way the team got through. I know a lot of our support makes it far harder than it should be to do and I know a lot of the same fans probably wouldn’t be capable of the same gesture if things were the other way around. Nice to know football has the capacity to produce moments that make you appreciate what you’ve seen regardless of who you support. Now get back to supporting whoever draws us in the final and praying we lose, it’s all a bit weird when things are this nice.
Jason (LFC, Merseyside)
Great mailbox this morning. Especially loved the appreciation by fans of rival clubs for Liverpool’s stellar performance. Football often divides but rarely very rarely it can unite with it’s sheer wonder and awe.
2 minutes into the game and Messi sitting on the ground after being tackled, is shoved forcefully with 2 hands by a “passionate” Robbo who’s standing over him. The ref doesn’t see it.1. Why has VAR not intervened? Am I missing some rule that says they can’t for some reason?
2. Is there a possibility of a retrospective ban?
And before anyone claims it wasn’t a red, just stop.
Conversely, 10 mins later Mane dribbles into the box and legs clip with Sergi Roberto. Mane theatrically throws himself to the ground(and that’s probably why ref says play on) but again why hasn’t VAR intervened? Should be a penalty.
Have UEFA cut down on using VAR after a backlash or something?
Johnnybruff, Limerick (TAA was motm… Super game. Officially retires Trippier from international football after that.)
Why don’t Arsenal try for Kompany?
Just hear me out. Arsenal have been masters of allowing players to leave for or close to nothing (Ramsey, Wilshire, Fabianski to name a few). If this is the case, and we are looking at having 40 million to spend without CL, 60 with it, surely we must look at those who are out of contract in the summer too?
Vincent Kompany out of injury has established himself as one of the most solid defenders in recent years. Granted he is 33, but as he has said himself he is not ready to leave the world of high-level football. This should play right into our court as we clearly need defensive stability in our back-line (Monreal at CB…. tf?), and he can be the one to give it to us in the short term.
It is defensive mistakes that are costing us results in big matches (and now smaller ones too it seems) both domestically and in Europe. Surely the soon to be four time premier league winner should be considered until our monetary situation improves?
P.S. Ramsey was definitely demanding 400+ k pw from the start with an offer from Juve long on the table, don’t feel too bad for him.
D (AFC Fan), Dublin
The world became a better place
Let me start by thanking you guys for the amazing work you do. You give meaning to Football & sometimes to life itself.
I’ve been following the mailbox for 2 years now. It has become a ritual, a part of my day. I never really gave a thought about writing, but here goes’s my first.
I didn’t watch the match. I was so disheartened after the 3-0 loss at Barca & with that Kompany goal. I just couldn’t see my team not progress and SAD, they gave everything for a whole season & ended up with nothing yet again. I slept before the kickoff, but could not really sleep, dragged myself out of the bed at 4 in the morning, a good 90 minutes after the finish, picked up my phone, scrolled down the notifications & there it was, Liv 4-0 Barcelona. My hands shook, heart melted, eyes got wet, pure joy, world became a better place, I felt empathy & love, such happiness. Those 2 mins, those emotions that I felt then, are engrained in the heart forever.
Abhishek, LFC for life.