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Top six is no certainty
Deserved to lose tonight. Against one of the most aerially dominant teams in the league we put in a hundred crosses. It was as ludicrous as it was stupid. It was quite clear throughout that we had no idea how to beat their low block.
Genuinely thought the return of a centre back might see a return to something approaching normal service and there’s a sliding doors element when you think about Origi’s chance in the first half. Don’t understand how he fails to score in fairness.
Trent was properly shite tonight. The moment at the end when he passes it off the pitch beggars belief. He’s been so poor recently and his ego has either got too big for his boots and he’s lost his attitude and focus or he’s knackered. Either way it’s time for Neco Williams to get some games.
All the aimless punts into the box deserve criticism from everyone but otherwise it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why we are so awful right now. It’s plausibly fatigue and if that’s the case then rest everyone against Man Utd on the weekend. We are genuinely not going to finish in the top 6 if we don’t arrest the decline and right now it’s really not clear what might bring about a change.
The price you pay for a title
I had a theory last summer that the reason our form went to shit the literal second we’d won the title was ultimately due to the experience of losing the title by a point the year before. They gave all they could in 18-19 but it wasn’t enough: City were just too good, too relentless and they didn’t give us even one little sniff in seeing out the title with win after win after win.
So in 19-20, we really go for it. No managing workloads, no rotation, no settling for a point. Every game, every player gives their all. Not a bead of sweat left unsweated or a drop of blood left unbled. Win after win after win. So scarred by the experience of just coming up short, the only option is to just blast through the competition until it’s nothing but dust. And that unwavering focus gets us through 26 games with 25 wins and a draw; an utterly astonishing run of form that likely will never be matched in any serious sporting competition ever again. They just keep going and going, ticking off the points, until *finally* it’s done and they can relax.
The rest of the season is a warm down. We lose handsomely to Man City, obviously. We win a silly game against Chelsea, drop points at home to Burnley, and lose to *Arsenal*. But it’s fine, the players have earned the right to cruise through these last few meaningless games.
Then it’s time to start gearing up again, but there’s nothing left in the tank. The team has wrung itself dry. So we go into 2020-21 in uncertain form. The players haven’t recovered from the exertions of the previous season and the rash of injuries that follows is at least partly due to this. Still worn out and now with edges dulled further by success, performances and results continue to deteriorate.
Frankly I can’t see a way out of this without another Corona hiatus to give us a few months to reset and recharge. If that happens, maybe Klopp can get them playing again. Otherwise, assuming no signings (looks pretty certain) there’s no chance. We look like we’ll never score again. No consistency, no fluidity. Eleven strangers on the pitch. Confidence suffering and mistakes creeping in, undermining confidence further. Et cetera.
I guess the positive way to look at it is that somehow Klopp has won an impossible title by squeezing 3 years’ worth of outperformance into a single season. And given City will now win it every year for the rest of time, that’s actually a pretty sweet deal.
JG, LFC (that or they’ve worked out that it’s much easier to avoid a title race by just being thoroughly shite to begin with)
The perfect away game
I’m sure you’ll receive plenty of mails about the Liverpool-Burnley game. I just wanted to write in to say that Sean Dyche and Burnley have just produced the perfect away game.
The focus will probably be on Liverpool and rightly so, but Burnley have just done what no team has managed to do since 2017. Even Lionel Messi left Anfield utterly humiliated.
Liverpool fans will probably cry bloody murder at the penalty, but you need a little slice of luck to win games like these. The way Burnley played that game was something Mourinho would be proud of, and they deserved the three points today. They are a tough team and it takes a bit more than chucking 427 aimless crosses into the box, as Man United fans will surely know given that we just recently beat them at their home ground.
Some might label it anti-football or whatever, but given the staggering difference in the value of these respective squads, it was the perfect blueprint for playing such games, and it was perfectly executed, and I must congratulate Burnley for what was a thoroughly enjoyable game of football.
MM, Man United, India
This means more
Good morning everybody.
Before we begin with Friday morning’s mailbox, can we remind all F365 readers that the wearing of flame-proof gloves and flash-resistant eyewear is strongly recommended today.
This is because we have detected a higher than usual risk of keyboard meltdown along with eye-popping, brain-bursting comments that some readers may otherwise find distressing.
Please remember, where safety issues are concerned, ‘this means more’.
Mark (I’ll get me coat) MCFC.
This means Moyes
To be fair to Liverpool, defending a title is extremely difficult. For example when we defended our last title, David Moyes had the same amount of points after 19 games as Klopp has mustered this season.
Come to think of it, that team loved to cross aimlessly too; whoscored (I know) is telling me Liverpool attempted 40 crosses against Burnley, that can’t be right? It felt like double that. Just missing a Fellaini to get on the end of one. I sure hope Liverpool don’t end up 7th too, that would be simply awful.
Joking aside, Liverpool’s unbeaten home stretch was excellent. If Utd could get to a similar level at home, coupled with our away form, we’d be flying. All things considered, it’s arguably City’s title to lose now.
Garey (their slump won’t last so making hay) Vance, MUFC
A couple of years ago, when Oxlade-Chamberlain made the move to Liverpool, a large section of their fan base, ably assisted by a few media outlets, proclaimed him to be the missing piece of the midfield jigsaw. That his driving runs will bring the dynamism that was lacking. Now I know he had a bad injury, but even before that, save for an odd cameo in a game Liverpool would have won anyway, he has offered nothing to suggest he is even a useful squad player at the level Liverpool expect to be at. He is Theo Walcott playing in a more central position.
What of Minamino? Mini Firmino we were told. Well he is certainly a clone of Firmino anyway in terms of being a non-scoring striker. If United signed him, the jokes would be flooding in about them only purchasing him for the commercial potential in the Far East.
Best team of all-time, they claimed. Well, they seem to have been found out a damn sight quicker than all their contemporaries in the ‘best ever’ bracket. Tonight actually reminded me a lot of when Moyes as United manager famously lost to Fulham after they kept pelting aimless cross after aimless cross into a grateful defence. Trying to breach Burnley with crosses out wide is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. TAA’s game intelligence may not be the sharpest.
The greatest irony of all is that not long after Klopp’s rant about the amount of penalties United have been awarded, their unbeaten home run was ended by a spot-kick. Dyche had the, persumably very hoarse, last laugh after Klopp’s antics at half-time.
This is the gist of a mail that was published here on 9th September 2020. I wonder what Liverpool supporters would think of it today?
‘I wrote in recently questioning how City (and Liverpool) can keep their mojo going after three intense-as-only-Guardiola-can-make-them seasons. Well, last night’s game was a good example of what I was trying to get at. Eleven super-talented players on the pitch but not a hungry, dynamic team and epitomised perfectly by the first goal, I think. Great quality but seemingly almost clockwork in its execution.
‘I can’t quite put my finger on it, but City look, not quite drab, but flat. Players giving the ball away cheaply and the likes of HRH King Kev making some very poor passes. Basic errors that were, largely, unforced. I don’t know, they seem not to be as focussed as we have come to expect, and I do wonder if the effort of achieving 198 points (and the consequent silverware that went with it) over the last two seasons isn’t taking its toll? Pep put out a far stronger team than I expected (I thought for sure that he would have rested Fernandinho and Sterling for example) and yet still they couldn’t quite get the job done.
‘I’m also worried that Pep, in pre- and post-match interviews, has been making repeated references to ‘our problems’ or ‘the problems we have’ by which he means injuries. I stand to be corrected but I don’t recall him doing that before.’
Sound familiar Liverpool fans? I genuinely believe that this is a ‘thing’. Nobody disputes how hard it is to retain the PL title, but to do it at the frankly insane levels of intensity that both City and Liverpool have put in over the past three seasons may explain why the whole league has reverted to what we might almost describe as ‘the norm’.
Mark (Sunday will be fascinating on so many levels) MCFC.
No doubt you will be inundated with mails tonight and in the morning about whats gone wrong at Liverpool.
It seems pretty obvious to me.
As Marvin Hagler famously said,
It’s tough to get out of bed to do roadwork at 5am when you’ve been sleeping in silk pajamas.
Stay well everyone,
Self-asphyxiation by possession
The more I watch Liverpool this season, especially against the so called “lesser” teams, I can’t help but wonder if we are suffocating ourselves with possession. – – Always dominating possession (take the Burnely game as an example).
– Possession largely in the opposition’s half.
– Pretty much always attacking teams that are happy to have 8 or 9 players plus keeper in their own 18 yard area to defend for a draw, and take whatever scraps can be found from set pieces and half chances at the other
I feel that at our best in the last 3 seasons we were able to destroy teams using our pace and counter attacking ability, but these strengths are stifled by us being camped in the opposition’s half facing a wall of 8 or more players between us and goal.
So …Is it time to start handing the ball over to some of these teams and invite them into our own half for a while? They may take some of the increased chances that are likely to arise from this approach, but just as likely will choke on the larger portion of possession and turn it over with space behind them to attack into.
Maybe it’s time to hand these teams a bigger share of possession, press once they push into our half, and use our pace to burn them on the counter.
Happy to hear counter thoughts ..
Dan’l from Oz
Now I know our attacking strategy has been wildly successful for a good number of years, but there are times in games like last night (& West Brom & Newcastle etc….), where you can’t help but think let’s just try something a little different hey!? After TAA’s 87th aimless cross into the box perhaps we should maybe try beating a man. There were a number of times players were in one on one situations with a Burnley defender in the box and rather than being direct and beating the man / drawing a foul / generally causing some uncertainty, instead another nothingy ball into the box followed!!
Anyways moan over, still enjoying the craziness of this season although City seem to be getting back to being a bit of a winning machine so the craziness looks to be drawing to a close, just waiting for the inevitable implosion from utd and normal order will be restored in full!
Liverpool did a Leicester
Well that’s a relief. I was worried Liverpool might start to dominate English football again but it turns out they just ‘did a Leicester’ last year.
Is it me…
…or is Klippety not quite as nice as everyone keeps telling us he is?
Andrew Warmington, THFC
Couple of players injured, non-optimal conditions, and a loooot of excuses. It was Jurgen Flopp all along.
Justice at last, finally a penalty given at Anfield. Thank heavens for the attention drawn to this issue by all concerned these last 2 weeks or so. Good work Jurgen, and long my such karmatic justice continue.
It had to be a penalty didn’t it?
Charlie, Northern Ireland
It doesn’t count as a home game if don’t have the fans there!
This year is still our year
Hi, as a Liverpool supporter I expect nothing less from our rival fans than what we are currently getting. Some of it is banter and some just people’s ridiculous opinions.
I can confirm like most there have been three or four teams touted for the title and written off in the first part of the season. I simply would like to add, form is temporary, class is permanent.
And to all the naysayers, it ain’t over till the fat lady sings. Liverpool to defend the title successfully in spite of VAR, COVID19 and injuries. Go you REDS, YNWA for LIFE!
PS pull this email out on 23rd May 2021
Conrad Callaghan (CWC YNWA)