Would Keita and Van Dijk make Liverpool more daunting?

Date published: Wednesday 19th July 2017 8:15

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In defence of West Ham
Controversial statement alert: Football365 writers bloody love sticking the boot in to West Ham these days. I genuinely had visions in my head of Daniel Storey licking his lips as he awaiting West Ham’s turn in the hall of shame section – then lo and behold I turn on my laptop this morning to see Mr Steads piece.

I’m under no illusions that we are the only club who take stick (and rightly so – everyone deserves it at times), but I genuinely haven’t read a single positive thing on this site about my club in months!

I’m fully aware the underlying disdain is almost entirely caused by our “controversial” owners and our SMALL minority of fans who have ideas way above their stations about how West Ham should play, and what our ambitions should be. But please be aware The Davids are just two tiny tiny men, and the annoying minority ARE a minority.

There’s a silent majority who are normal, reasonable, football fans (probably an oxymoron but we’ll go with it). We saw some poor football last season, had to get used to a new home that we didn’t particularly want, all whilst taking a bashing from our favourite football site every week to compound the misery!

Trust me – we get it. You don’t like our owners (and their comments on youth players – even though it was actually true for once), you don’t like people saying “The West Ham way”, you don’t like our stadium, you don’t like Simone Zaza.

My final gripe is incessant ridicule we received for the #FarewellBoleyn saga. I would say to non West Ham fans moaning about it, it is the equivalent of turning up at a strangers birthday party and screaming “BOOOOOORRIIINNNGGGGGG!!!!!” when everyone was singing happy birthday just because you don’t know the person who’s birthday it is. The celebration wasn’t aimed at you – you are not the ones supposed to be enjoying it. It was for us West Ham fans. We happen to have a soft spot for Matthew Etherington and Marlon Harewood – and if we want to cheer them getting out of a black cab then we bloody well will.

Hart and Zabaleta are Bilic’s first sensible signings in forever. Its July. The window doesn’t shut for over a month. Can we continue slagging off West Ham ONCE we sign Bony on loan on transfer deadline day, but not a minute before please.
Chris, THFC (only joking, obviously WHUFC)


I feel like I need to write and defend my team, West Ham, from the slightly over the top character assassination by Matt Stead this morning.

Firstly, yes our last two windows have been a shambles but this time around the board and the management staff do seem to have learnt some lessons. As Matt rightly pointed out it was very embarrassing to have the chairman and his sun running their mouths about our transfer business.

Notice I said “was” there though, because there hasn’t been a peep out of them all summer.

Our hilarious search for a striker has been ongoing for years. Yes, we did end up last year with Zaza, very much the last, soggy nugget left in the box. On the other hand, he was (and still is) a generally well regarded striker who is a current Italian international! On paper at least, it kind of made sense…

This year – no scattergun approach to strikers. Nearly all of those links to players Mr Stead brings up are in fact nothing more than tabloid titulation. The same gumph that is rightly derided on other parts of your fine site for being fictions click-baiting nonsense.

West Ham do deserve an awful lot of stick for a lot of the nonsense we get up to these days, a fact that makes me pretty sad actually. But the article this morning just seemed a little mean spirited to me – made more to point and laugh than to provide actual analysis.
Tom (WHU)


The article was right…
It’s hard to say that I ‘enjoyed’ reading that article, because it’s all true. As West Ham fans we have had to endure G&S slowly turning us into a joke (or even more of a joke, depending on your view of us…).

I find myself continually baffled at how two experienced ‘football men’ and businessmen can continue to run things so amateurishly. The constant leaks to the media and frequent undermining of our own manager. The consistent failure to recruit quality forwards. Showing our hand in the transfer market to all and sundry, and then not actually spending the money they promised. Letting a teenager announce our business on twitter. Using the club website to have a pop at their own fans, who turn up to that soulless athletics bowl – despite the dross served up.

Can’t wait for the start of the new season, with Michail Antonio starting up top on his own at Old Trafford.


Would Van Dijk and Keita make Liverpool more scary?
Interesting article on the most expensive XI of all time. The front line is pretty fearsome and the midfield holds a lot of promise but would leave a defence woefully exposed. The back line looks like it’d play lovely football but concede plenty as well. It’s the purest ‘Keegan’ side I’ve seen and for that alone I bloody love it.

But the bit that caught my eye, as a Liverpool fan, was the likely next inductees and the names of Naby Keita and Virgil van Dijk. Obviously these transfers are still a bit up in the air, but if by the close of the window these two happen then what message does it send?

To the boss, it’s a massive shot of confidence and says “we trust you”. To the fans it says, “we’re going to battle with the big boys” and to the rest of the league it says “we will be competing”. It’s a massive statement (if it comes off) and I have to say I am impressed with the intentions. A summer of spending >150m after some recent transfer failures – plus the investment in the stadium – is a real sign that the owners are here for the long haul and I cant commend that enough.

Genuine question to readers – are other teams more fearful of a Liverpool with these signings? I’d like to think yes as we should really improve on a lot of performances from last season. Yes the impact of an extra cup competition will be significant but I expect the younger players to run in the league cup and possibly FA Cup to keep senior players fresher. With Henderson fit again (sorely missed), Mane not in the Cup of Nations and Matip playing a full season then it’s promising…

I’ll stop short of saying this year is our year though!
Adam, LFC (any good fantasy football tips this year?) Peterborough


The perfect ridiculous transfer rumour
I appreciate that by trying to plan it here in Mails, this would almost certainly fail, but could Football365 or the collective readers come up with the perfect yet ridiculous transfer rumour and float it in the National Press?

F365 have covered the Chinese whisper nonsense that follows the industry around forever, so surely, like those noble pioneers falsifying 16yr old Moldovans, you’re occasionally tempted to stick the odd false one in, to see how big it could grow.

Something that is so perfectly ridiculous, but also makes so much sense from a Football Manager/hypothetical transfer perspective, that Transfer Mercato or some such nonsense picks it up and before you know it, it’s in the Telegraph.

I’d like to propose one; everybody’s favourite ‘It’ll never happen’ multi-player swap, between Arsenal and PSG, involving Alexis Sanchez for Javier Pastore, Gregorsz Krychowiak(?!?) and some dosh.

Sanchez gets CL, Pastore and Greg get regular football, Arsenal could use players in both positions (esp. if Sanchez leaves) and it’s SEO-tastic, especially as Pastore has already been linked to Chelsea in exchange for Costa.

What do we think people? Does this have legs? Does anyone have a better one? Can we turn F365 to the dark side, if only to further expose the insanity of the transfer rumour market?
Tom, West Hampstead


Good riddance, Lucas
The outpouring of emotion since Lazio(thankfully)agreed to take Lucas has been absurd.This is a guy who scored ONE league goal in 10 years,went 100 games without an assist and brought nothing at all to a team.The 2 seasons Liverpool nearly won the league(08/09 & 13/14)he was nowhere near the starting 11 and after finishing second in ’09 he was the only change to the starting 11 for the following season and Liverpool finished an embarrassing 7th.In 2012 when Liverpool got to 2 cup finals he was out injured since November.

Eamon,Vietnam is typical of the cliche filled pro Lucas brigade spouting terms like “tactically aware” to imply Lucas was somehow doing unseen work that only real football fans would understand.The guy couldn’t dribble,couldn’t create,never scored,could never see a pass and took 4 touches when one was needed.His passing was once described as “barbershop passing”-short,back and to the sides-which is the cowards way of playing.Anyone can keep posession playing sideways 5 yard passing,it takes a real player to be brave on the ball and try the eye of the needle pass.Bear in mind most teams playing at Anfield played 4-5-1 yet this waste of space would still sit in front of the defence passing it sideways giving teams plenty of time to regroup.He has no pace so constantly gave away annoying niggly fouls and his only claim to fame is in one season he made the most tackles per game in the league which worked out at 4.5 per game.4.5 tackles in 90 mins and no forward passes….the most unBrazilian Brazilian ever.

What summed up Lucas was February ’09,Liverpool were top of the league,1 up at Wigan and this clown gave away the most needless penalty with 15 mins to go leading to 2 silly dropped points.Rodallega was on the left edge of the box,going away from goal and this clown dived in.Tactically aware my eye.Guy wouldnt have been in the squad of any other top 8 team,was a typical Benitez signing-safe,dour,uncreative-& with him going leaves the last semblance of Rafa Benitezs’ tenure as Liverpool manager and for that I thank you Lazio.5m for Lucas in 2017,5.5 m for Gazza in ’92..sums it all up really!!


It’s Reina, men
I can see why a move to City would appeal to Pepe. A last shot at the big time. Rewind 12 months and everyone assumed Bravo would have the goalkeeper jersey for many years to come at City. Who’s to say Ederson won’t have a wobble or two as he settles in. Or perhaps he’ll get injured. It’s worth a gamble for him for a season or two to be part of the City setup and see what happens – if Ederson nails down the number 1 spot then I’d still expect Reina to get around a dozen cup games a season. If he leaves at the age of 36 then he could still get a European gig or follow the gravy train East.
Banjo, Prague (MCFC)


In response to Nelson MUFC’s mail that “Serena Williams could beat probably the 6th seed male counterpart whilst being pregnant” due to superior technique, this claim has been debunked but ultimately doesn’t matter.

In 1998, Venus and Serena Williams had claimed that they could beat any male player ranked outside the world’s top 200, so Braasch, then ranked 203rd, challenged them both.

The matches took place after Braasch had finished a round of golf and two beers. He first took on Serena and after leading 5–0, beat her 6–1. Venus then walked on court and again Braasch was victorious, this time winning 6–2.  At the change overs, ever the professional, Braasch recovered with more beer and a cheeky cigarette.

Part of the reason why Braasch beat the Williams sisters was “that men put spin on the ball that the women can’t handle”… that, ahem, suggests men have superior technique (perhaps aided by their strength).

That said, does it matter if women cannot compete with men? Serena Williams was attributed as the cause for why the 2015 women’s US open finals sold out faster than the men’s (despite her lack of strength, stamina and technique as compared to men). I don’t see any reason why the same commercial enthusiasm could not be created for women’s football too.

Nevertheless I persisted.
Ben Morton


Just needed to reply to Nelson (MUFC) about his claim that Serena Williams could probably beat the 6th seed, whilst pregnant, as well as the statement that ‘technique shown by female athletes far surpass (sic) men in some instances.’

I don’t know if he intended this as pure hyperbole, but the fact is, it’s not true and she wouldn’t stand a chance. Serena is a freak and has dominated women’s tennis since 1999. Back in 1998 however, at the Australian Open, she lost a single set match to world #203 Karsten Braash 6-1. He then went on to beat Venus directly after, 6-2. To be fair, this was a long time ago, and since then Serena has gone on to prove herself to the world.

She doesn’t need to beat male tennis players to prove her worth, the same way that women footballers don’t have to compare themselves to their male counterparts.

As Tom, West Hampstead rightly points out, 750 million people watched the last women’s world cup. This number is going to grow, as long as the marketing of the sport is done correctly.

Constant comparisons to men’s football isn’t needed, nor helpful.

I personally prefer men’s football, it’s what I’ve watched for many years, I know the players, the managers and everything that goes with it. It’s easier to relate to.

But I love watching football, so I’m more than happy to watch the women’s Euros during this summer lull.

At the end of the day, if you don’t want to watch it, you don’t have to, no skin off my nose.
Rhys (roll on August 11th…)


Following on from the tennis comparison with women’s football, I’d like to go a stage further and make some suggestions.

Firstly, no, Serena Williams would not beat the men’s No. 6, her and Venus both played the men’s no. 206 back in 1998 and got obliterated. However, what that illustrates is the difference in the sexes; namely one of power. Men and women’s tennis are different precisely because of this issue of power. Men are, on average, bigger, taller, faster and stronger. Any game played by both sexes, elite physical specimens for their genders, is always going to be played quicker and more powerfully by men. That’s not sexist, it’s just a biological fact.

However, tennis is equally popular across the two sexes because the women’s game is played differently. The decrease in power increases the return of serve which makes for more break points and longer rallies. It’s the same game but different. This is where I think women’s football should head.

Having been a relatively recent advent (certainly in comparison to length of time female tennis has been popularised) the women’s game is trying to play catch up with a fully mature, professional male sport. I doubt, doing it like for like, the gulf is ever bridgeable. What I would propose is to adapt the women’s game to try and lessen that gulf. They’re not as quick, so make the pitch smaller; maybe reduce the number of players from 11 to 10 or 9. Or why not increase it to 13 if you keep the same pitch size? It would provide an extra level of tactical intrigue from the men’s game to appeal to the wider football audience and create nuanced differences in how the game is played. The rules would be broadly the same, but by speaking the same language in a different accent, to borrow a phrase, it could appeal to more people.

The fact is, people playing sport, whatever their gender, is a good thing and should be encouraged, but if you want to get it funded better, have more exposure, then you have to consider the commercial aspect and putting a weaker product up against a better one isn’t going to work (it may not please John Nic to hear this, but as a viewing spectacle it’s on a par with non-league at best. I’ve tried, I really have!). It’s doubly difficult when the existing product is so well established. By making a few tweaks, a few subtle variations that make the women’s game distinct, you may have something that stands a chance and is perhaps something to consider.

“They’re playing a 3-2-4 today…”
Lewis, Busby Way

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