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Fair play, FSG
Obviously Klopp and his players get the lions share of the plaudits.
I just want to say an enormous thank you to FSG for being such brilliant owners. Their pockets might be deep but they’re not unlimited. They invest and clearly value on field success whether Liverpool or the Red Sox. They have transformed the club light years from many previous dark days.
Would City and Liverpool swap?
First off, what a bloody awful game of football. Liverpool, for once this season, looked a bit shaky at the back but Spurs were completely unable (& seemingly at times unwilling) to try and exploit this. I have never seen so many backwards passes in a top level game – not since LVG left United anyway.
Anywho my query is this; would Liverpool fans, giddy on their success on Saturday not withstanding, trade it in for an extra 2 points in the league to have broken the 30 year hoodoo on topping the league? And would City fans trade their league title for that elusive Champions League trophy?
This means more
I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when there wasn’t as much football on TV as there is now. In those days Liverpool were on lots and I watched them play amazing football long before I even knew my home city of Hull had a team. I have supported the reds for as long as I remember.
I’ve been lucky to see them win loads of trophies. I remember watching them win the European cup in 1984 when in Cornwall visiting my Grandad. I stripped naked in a pub after our 2005 victory following a stupid bet when we were 3-0 down at half time.
But nothing beats the 2019 version, watching them win it with my family all going through the excitement and the tension and the shouting and especially my kids joy at seeing them win the first major trophy that they will remember.
My 11 year old son and I went to every home game in last season’s competition and I will never forget the disappointment on his face when we lost to Real Madrid. We’ve been lucky enough to go to every home game this season too except for the Barcelona game (I know! Still gutted!). And what will stay with me more was the pride in his smile om Saturday night that “his team” had won the cup. The joy on his face as he videoed them raising the trophy and the strength and warmth of the hug he gave me.
This means more.
Adam LFC 6(six) times
All part of the plan
It was a very strange final for Liverpool. They didn’t appear to play well, and thirty something percent possession and woeful passing seem to show that. But is it possible that, after the early goal, that was deliberate?
This Tottenham are different to the one of two or three years ago. They don’t play lots of patient circles – probably because of the drop in passing quality in their midfield. Spurs go direct quickly, with very few touches in the box for every goal they score. Much like Liverpool, they’re a counter-pressing team now.
That’s how they made Liverpool look so weak in the last league game. The reds had to attack as a draw was as bad as a loss in this season’s insane title run-in. And that was the perfect situation for spurs. Counter, counter, counter.
In the final, it was the other way around. And Liverpool didn’t really need to come out after the second minute. It was noticeable (to me) that even when they countered, their usual creative players – the fullbacks – were not nearly as aggressive as usual. Liverpool were relatively happy to cede possession, because they knew their opponents were most dangerous going direct.
Or maybe I’m talking shit.
Andrew M, Hungover in Joburg.
Now for the real business
I saw a brilliant tweet from an Arsenal fan who listed the teams we bought our starting players from. It’s Roma, Academy, Southampton, Schalke, Hull, Monaco, Sunderland, Newcastle, Southampton, Roma, Hoffenheim. Gomez from Charlton, Milner from Man City and Origi from Lille came off the bench.
Michael Edwards must be one of the most valuable commodities in world football right now. I can’t even imagine what he’s planning for this summer. I imagine a left back (to replace Moreno), a GK (to replace Mignolet) and a forward (to replace Sturridge) are the main plans. That said you’ve got to wonder if they’re tempted to let Wilson and Brewster get the chance to effectively replace the outgoing Sturridge or if there’s a feeling that fresh blood keeps the dressing competitive etc.
Suspect Man City will go big for a defensive midfielder and not much else. Tottenham are hard to predict given last summer which made no sense, particularly given the World Cup semi finals featured virtually their entire first XI. Chelsea could buy a new defender and a new forward depending on their circumstances. You feel that Arsenal and Man Utd have the potential to be the busiest in this window of the top 6 but it’s harder to guess who they’ll sign given lack of Champions League and concerning management structures at both clubs.
…Thought I would give you my take on the final (I nearly said from a neutral but being a United fan…) Okay first things first the penalty, I’m sorry but on what planet is that a penalty? it hit his armpit from 3 yards and for the pool fans who asked why he had his arm out he was pointing to the defender where to go, that crap decision changed the whole dynamic of the game.
On to Harry Kane, sorry Harry you are one selfish bastard, you were blatantly unfit and to say to the manager you were smacks of personal glory rather than being a team player. Moura scored a hat trick to get you to the final then is dropped because of Kane’s selfishness, he cost his team the match. Poch shouldn’t get away without any criticism either, as soon as Kane declared himself fit he crumbled and put him in the starting 11, he should of benched him and told him you are my not so secret weapon to bring on in the second half.
In the cold light of day this was a really poor final, not that Pool fans care but as a spectacle it was bobbins. The clamour for VVD to now get the Balon Dor from the Liverpool-centric press is depressing as it is predictable, Raphael Varane won the World Cup and the Champions League yet was never mentioned as a Balon Dor winner yet VVD has one good season and all of a sudden he is the best in the World have a word.
So congratulations Liverpool for number six which in all honestly was won with a lot of help from a terrible refereeing decision, incidentally the same ref Pool fans berated for giving United a penalty against PSG this season, bring on next season when United begin the rebuild with Jones and Smalling anchoring our defence FFS.
Paul Murphy, Manchester (The only thing Woodward has signed is Herrera’s leaving card)
Medals for everyone
After very close examination I realised the Liverpool player with the new yellow hair was the “OX” , having not played a single second of the Champions league collecting a medal. Can I have one please as I have yellow hair too ?
Oh and well done to Liverpool you have saved me from no end of grief from the spursy fans.
Sarn (Not Bitter Gooner) (spurs put in a much better effort than Arsenal to be fair)
…You gotta hand it to Alberto, he may have had little to no part in actually winning the trophy (NONE) but by heck did he celebrate it, every picture of the trophy has him in it.
Fair play!! Best of luck wherever you finish up.
Mel – Berlin, Brussels, Athlone Town HaHoHe
Not really been to bed so can’t articulate my thoughts on the game too well yet but I would like to apologise to everybody in the Vernon Arms in Liverpool for the ridiculously camp dance I did when Origi scored. A 46 year old man should know better.
Mark Jones, LFC, Livetpool
Hands across Madrid
know there’s probably a deluge of emails to wade through today and I’ve got so much to say others will probably put better and more eloquently, but want to take a moment in the middle of it all as an Liverpool fan to praise Spurs and their fans. They were class the whole time in Madrid, great friendly atmosphere between the two sets of fans, no animosity, just out there to share the occasion. Even after the match they were gracious and friendly despite how hard it must have been for things to end like that. The fans and the team were a credit to the club and I really hope they can hold this team together and get a trophy they deserve in the next few years.
Jason (LFC, Merseyside)
Pen or no pen?
In the aftermath of Saturday night’s game please can you satisfy my curiosity. Is there anyone out there who is not a Spurs fan who thought that wasn’t a penalty?
To me there was no debate and I’m therefore happy to accept responses from United fans on this.
…First up, colours to the mast. I’m a Spurs fan so accusations of bias will be unavoidable and probably fair. But I’d like to think of myself as a fairly level headed fan for the most part.
So the first thing to do is congratulate Liverpool. A brilliant team who have done incredible things this season. It’s also worth noting that, while their fans have a somewhat deserved reputation for hyperbole and going on a bit, both before and after the match I’ve been really impressed by the majority of Liverpool fans’ graciousness.
Measuring whether a team “deserves” to win or not is a foolish game as football has so many variables but im going to nonetheless. Some feel that whoever wins always deserves to win. I’m not in that camp and feel Tottenham were better than Liverpool for the majority of the game. We’ll never know how different the game would have been without the freebie Liverpool had after 30 seconds but i dont feel Liverpool merely kept Tottenham at bay for 80 minutes. I think they werent able to find a way to play and Tottenham, while also below par, were able to take the game to Liverpool. Coaches next season could do worse than watch that game to see how to stop Liverpool.
Measurable or not, who “deserved” it is merely fun to debate. Results are only determined by goals and Liverpool got two and Spurs didn’t trouble the scorers. Klopp’s greatest achievement is not making his team play so well (although he does that too!) but is creating the conditions to win when playing poorly. Congratulations to them once more – for me they didn’t deserve to win the match last night but no-one should say they didnt deserve a trophy for the season they had.
Apologies for the long intro but this mail is actually about handball. I’ve long been infuriated by it despite it rarely affecting my team. So to have it happen yesterday in the biggest game in our history was especially galling. There are two questions to really ask. What is the current law and, the oft neglected, what should the law be?
The laws are not as complicated as some pundits and fans like to make out. In fact the law is merely one sentence plus some considerations. Simply put, handball must be deliberate. The word is right there in the law. Now because referees cannot read minds, they are given some help within the laws as to when an offence might be deliberate. These are the considerations. The distance between opponent and ball. Movement of hand to ball. And most notably the position of the hand.
The latter is the most controversial and it was widely quoted that Sissoko’s hand was in an unnatural position. Well the consideration in the actual law says nothing about unnatural position equalling deliberate handball. In fact it goes the other way. To quote – “the position of the hand does not neccesarily mean that there is an offence”. So there it is clear as day. Yes it implies position of hand should be considered but it overtly says that this does not mean it is an automatic offence if the hand is in an unnatural position.
This rule is changing and unnatural position will be very important now. But it shouldnt have been for Sissoko. All but the most rose-tinted supporters can see it clearly was not a deliberate act. In UEFAs defence, they have been consistent throughout the Champions League that any unnatural position is penalised. It’s just that they’ve been consistently wrong. UEFA has some flexibility in interpreting the laws but they have no right to unilaterally change them – only the IFAB does. By effectively removing the requirement for handball to be deliberate, UEFA have acted beyond their powers this season.
Which brings us to one very important thing that we miss while getting caught up in what counts as an offence. And that is whether it is good for the game for it to be an offence in the first place.
Football is one of the hardest sports in the world to get a “score”. Therefore, penalty kicks are incredibly valuable as they offer such a high % chance of scoring.
In football as in life we want things to be fair – people should be rewarded and punished fairly. For example, life imprisonment for going over the speed limit would probably stop drivers from ever speeding. But most of us would consider that punishment disproportionate to the crime.
It’s the same in football. Liverpool were unlikely to do much with their attack yesterday but were suddenly given a circa 80% chance of scoring. Even if you subscribe to the fact Sissoko was negligent and an offence should be given then surely the punishment must be proportionate? A penalty is without doubt over the top.
I would favour introducing direct free kicks inside the area. Liverpool would have had a nice little opportunity but at a guess with a 10-15% success rate. Probably still better than the non-opportunity in open play but not a free goal either.
On the flip side, if the referee is certain a shot is going in but for handball then i would be all for a goal being given as per a penalty try in rugby. If the goal was certain then why should the attacking team risk missing a penalty? It may even reduce diving. Most diving happens where there isnt a great chance of scoring in the first place. Fans keep looking to increase the punishment but why not decrease the reward? You dont get many dives on the halfway line!
Next season the rule changes will almost certainly mean more penalties for innocuous handballs. This cannot be good for the game and changed the whole complexion of the biggest game in club football. Football must find a way of making it’s punishments and rewards fair.
Jon L, Kew
What next for Spurs?
So David Harris is apparently going to console himself by laughing at the Gooners – I can understand that, he is probably laughing at us just have being beaten in a European final. Or he maybe laughing at us finishing nearly 30 points behind the 2 stand out teams this year? Or is it that we have only won 3 trophies in the last 5 years? Perhaps it is that we have been god awful this season while his team have been fantastic and finished lots of point ahead of us in the league?
I wonder if David will keep laughing? It strikes me that Spurs are in a very similar position to Arsenal in 2006 (apart from the sh*tload of trophies obviously) – punched above their weight to make it to a CL final, but now faced with a massive debt to pay for a new stadium. When faced with the reality that funds were going to be pretty meagre for the next few years, our Manager accepted this and performed miracles keeping us in the top 4 (which apparently wasn’t important then but is now?) whilst competing with teams with far more money. Still, I am sure that in Poch they have a loyal manager who will stick with them regardless of what funds are made available.
Joff, Barton Gooner (hurt by people laughing at me)
RIP Jose Antonio Reyes
Amongst the Champions League Final fall out, celebrations and commiserations I wanted to write in to mark the tragic passing of Jose Antonio Reyes who died in a car crash on Saturday. As an Arsenal fan his signing came out of the blue in January but helped push us on to the invincible season. I don’t think it is far fetched to say at the start of the 04/05 season Reyes was absolutely electric after destroying Man U in the Charity Shield he then was the catalyst for a sprint start to the season where Arsenal were bagging nearly 4 goals a game with Reyes on multiple goals and assists. He had pace, skill, technique, workrate, a powerful left foot and an underrated passing range. At that point Reyes was 21 and had the premiership at his feet. Particular highlights were his 1sty goal, an absolute rocket in to the top corner v Chelsea and the 4th goal to complete a comeback v Boro when the unbeaten record looked like it might fall short of the previous record.
Reyes never quite went on to fulfil his early potential but his career was still littered with trophies including the english, spanish and portuguese league titles as well as 5 Europa League titles. Such a talented player taken far too soon.
I wish Arsenal had a player like him right now
…Arsenal hand out silver cannons willy nilly these days.
On the final home game of the season, three departing players were given such treatment and sent on their way – two of which were legends of other clubs rather than of the Arsenal.
Which brings me to the weekend’s sad events. Jose Antonio Reyes was an Arsenal legend. Seeing as we don’t count Ashley Judas Cole, I think I’m right in saying he was the last of the Invincibles to still be playing football – Cesc didn’t really play a part in that team.
The fact Jose was still only 35 points to the fact he was one of the youngest of the Invincibles and the fact that he is the first to pass on underlines just what a tragedy his death is.
It’s often difficult to remember Arsenal players’ debuts – I remember Vieira’s but remember precious few others but Jose’s will be etched into gooners’ memories forever – that brace against Chelsea, which knocked them out of the cup. He was also a key component in our Champions League final year.
And yes, he may have returned to Spain but I’m grateful to have had him at the Arsenal. There’s a big part of North London that offer sincere condolences and love to Reyes’ family, friends, team mates and former team mates – we will always remember our Spanish number 9.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Rich man’s Curbs
I have no idea if this is an original thought, I can only assume not, but seeing Laurent Blanc mentioned as the next potential Chelsea manager really has nailed his position as ‘the rich-man’s Alan Curbishley’.
John (Sarri leaving is gonna save the kitman a fortune in Febreze), Chester
Watching the rumor-mill linking Sarri to Juventus …. and, oh help me …. Lampard to Chelsea.
Now, I’ve been a Chelsea fan for more than 50 years, but think there needs to be a rule in place that you cannot manage a team where anyone on the squad still wants to call you by your playing nickname. It was horrible watching “Roons” wanting “Giggsey” as the new manager. I’d be terrified if “Lamps” suddenly popped up the coach at Chelsea. The same restriction applies with “JT”.
I respect these guys for what they have done post-playing-retirement, but please don;t come back to Stamford Bridge just yet. Petr Cech, I welcome with open arms. I’ve been saying for two years that with the intelligence has has, the understanding of the game, I wanted him, when he decided to retire, to bring his incredible knowledge to the game and the fact he has decided to explore that road at Chelsea makes me very happy. But he’s not the coach – and he didn’t want to be, he’s not ready.
So please, I don’t want anyone like a Giggseh, – a Lamps, or a JT. Earn your stripes. Ole hasn’t done that, and look what a mess he is in. My brother (who has two years on me for Chelsea fan-dom, but he’s two years older than me, what can you do with biology?) still wants Peter Bonetti and Bobby Tambling in charge. He’s got a point, and they pass the “recent” test. Just might be a little late, but he’s got the right idea.
Steve (what a great season) Los Angeles