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A few thoughts from the Southampton game - by Paul Natton - Opinion - The Liverpool Way Jump to content

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A few thoughts from the Southampton game - by Paul Natton

1. So for the first time in our history we’ve won the first seven games of a season. First time. In our history. Seven!!! Won!!!

 

2. PSG excepted though, we’ve barely hit third gear and today was very much in that vein. However it wasn’t about riding our luck or scraping through. We’re just very, very good and can beat most sides we face without breaking a sweat. 

 

3. I don’t mean to imply arrogance or complacency though. We’ve been grafting constantly in every game and the third gear thing is about form rather than choice or attitude. That said, there is something hugely satisfying about us being able to experiment with the line up as we did here and still emerge as eminently comfortable winners. 

 

4. Klopp went with Shaqiri in midfield, resting Milner in exchange, but also switched the front three around with Salah through the middle, Mané right and Bobby left (in the first half at least). It wasn’t exactly fluent and yet it led to three first half goals. He’s getting this whole squad thing eminently right so far and indeed starting to step it up at just the right time. 

 

5. Shaqiri looked lively on his first start, working hard and linking well with his teammates. His free kick for Mo’s goal was sensational and it was disappointing that he emerged onto the bench for the second half. Hopefully that was just a precaution from Klopp with Wednesday night in mind, as he’d taken a clattering about 35 minutes in. Either way though, he was good and I’ll be disappointed if he isn’t starting when we play Chelsea in the league cup. He looks hungry, aggressive and very Kloppball-esque. For thirteen million quid. Sound. 

 

6. Despite Klopp dipping his toes into rotation today (before no doubt fully embracing it on Wednesday night), he stuck with his front three and, while he wasn’t on fire, Mo looked sharper again. He’s now got three goals and two assists in six league games. Not bad for a lad who’s apparently out of form. He could have had more too, with what seemed a weird offside decision denying him at least the brace. 

 

7. Virgil going off gave the crowd a wobble with The Kop noticeably more jittery afterwards. However, that was surely more testament to his universally accepted importance to the side rather than any perceived drop off on the pitch in his absence as Joe G came on and, despite playing on the other side to normal, was very Virgil-like in his composure and class on the ball. Indeed there was one moment where he shut down a Southampton break on our left flank on his own that was absolutely brilliant, stealing the ball and laying it off to Robbo (who unfortunately contrived to immediately give it away). 

 

8. Which brings me to our joke of a captain. I mean, can you believe this? He ripped Robbo’s head off not once, but twice for that error and we all know he’s not fit to wear the armband/is a crab/never shows his teeth/(insert more random internet gobshite bollocks). All sarcasm aside, I haven’t heard a single complaint about Hendo at the match since the season he arrived under Kenny and played like a timid kid when deployed on the right. He was good again today, just like he always is, playing that cog-in-the-Kloppball-machine role to perfection. The moral of this story? We’ve got some bad blerts following us online and Hendo is boss. 

 

9.  While I’m on about the midfield, the TLW lads were all chatting before the game and Spurs’ less than stellar start was discussed in relation to their lack of signings and in the context of what ours have done for us. For all the broader rumblings about Fabinho barely featuring, people seem to be missing the impact the new signings have had on our existing midfielders. Certainly Gini and Milner have raised their games (almost unbelievably in Milner’s case after his brilliance last year) and that is exactly what happens at title winning clubs. That’s not to say we will win the title, but it’s clear that the momentum is relentlessly forward and much of it is currently the result of improvements from the more unsung players of last season. 

 

10. So, the great start to the campaign continues apace and there’s no reason to think that can’t continue in the week. I expect we’ll see a dramatically changed side, but these players are so well drilled that I don’t envisage a problem against Chelsea on Wednesday. In fact, I think this winning run is going to be sustained up to and including City so settled and reassuringly drilled have we been. There, I’ve said it: we'll beat Chelsea and City. Come on you Reds!!!

 

Paul Natton

Edited by dave u

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Is this “I know better than you”, “you don’t go the game”, “my opinion is more valid than anyone else’s” Henderson shit going to be a running thread all season Paul?

 

If you’ve never heard anyone criticise him since his first season, you need your ears testing.

 

ive heard the entire ground let out their collective frustration at him many times. I’ve heard the Kop scream “turn” 10 or more times in the game in the vain hope that he might try to positively influence a game that was crying out for leadership from midfield.

 

He’s fine, and against really good teams he’s a key player to have in the side, but your crusade is rubbish.

 

He’s not the shit that he sometimes gets called, but he’s not ‘boss’ either, the vast majority of the time.

 

With better players around him, when asked to be about energy and doing a limited job, he’s excellent at it (PSG this week a case in point), but there’s been plenty of his career where it’s been fair for people to want more, when thinking of past midfield leaders this club has been able to call on.

 

anyway, I guess back to my question, if it is going to be a common thread all year, can you try to make it always the last point so I can know to stop reading.

 

ta.

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I’ve got no problem with measured criticism of any player. And I also understand it when a player gets ripped after big and/or repeated fuck ups. However, that’s not what happens with Henderson, is it? He doesn’t make big or repeated fuck ups, yet the criticism is not measured. 

 

I had absolutely no concept of your opinion of him in my head when I wrote this; I was thinking about Twitter to be honest. However, I guess I must have touched a nerve. Do you routinely slag him off and say he’s not fit to blah, blah, blah? If not, then I have no problem with your view no matter how highly - or otherwise - you rate him. If you - or any other Red, by the way; as I said, I had a general set of gobshites in my head when I wrote it - do though, then see above. 

 

To be clear on my own view of the player, he is a very good premier league midfielder and patently not a great one. However, I fail to see why that is a problem in any way, shape or form for us. He’s a vital cog in a well-oiled machine and he does his job effectively and consistently. Furthermore, when we’re on a collective run of form like the one we’ve been on for going on the last twelve months, it’s seems utterly bizarre to direct so much vitriol at a player who’s playing well. 

 

The argument with him - and I see you allude to a version of it above - seems to be “He’s not Gerrard/Souness/Xabi/The Chief/whoever”, which is fine as a statement of fact but not as a stick to beat him with. 

 

And I stand by what I said above. I’ve seen pretty much every home game he’s played for us and I have heard nothing even vaguely close to the shit he gets online at the match. It’s inane and embarrassing. I mean it’s not even factually correct! I’m far from being a stats nerd, but the idea that he always passes backwards or sideways is just not born out by the hard data. 

 

No, the stuff I’m sick of reading about him is utterly fucking witless drivel that I’ll continue to criticise as and when it occurs to me. Not sure where I’ll stick in my articles mind. But if you object so much, you’re welcome to mentally file me in the Internet gobshite category I’ve got the Hendo haters in.

 

I’m more than comfortable with my view here. This is not football or match-going snobbery; this is just complete intolerance of views that are factually incorrect and boorishly expressed. Supporting Liverpool should not preclude criticism, but it should preclude pricks on Twitter calling the captain all the cunts under the sun. 

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Good again, Paul. I normally lick ass, so I'm going to pick out the bit I didn't like rather than all the things I did. Without wanting to turn a thread with a good OP into a thread arguing about Hendo and match going fans vs internet beauts, I read the Hendo point pretty much the same way as Bob. I barely mention Henderson, so I'm probably (hopefully) not in your mind when writing it either, but it certain did come across the way that Bob mentioned: if you don't agree about Hendo, you're an internet beaut. We do have a load of beauts following us, especially vocal online beauts, but I don't think it should be conflated with not going or disagreeing about players. That might work to belittle those who have never been to a game, but I spent years coming back from the match less informed about parts of it than I was after rewatching it on the TV.  It's a strange match to choose to do it, too. He just come off a match against PSG where he was what he usually isn't, which is dominant. He is a cog, but he's not in any way a unique cog, a vital cog, or a cog that does much more than be a consistent part of the machine to keep the ball flowing. If he played like he did against PSG, which he has only really ever done a handful of times - and always against top opposition - nobody here or anywhere would have a problem with him. I don't particularly have a problem with him, other than he shouldn't be captain, and he probably shouldn't be starting against the majority of teams in the Premier League. I'd not sell him, he's a solid International player that rarely does anything wrong, on or off the pitch. You always know what you're going to get from him; a performance that is 6.5-7.5 against anybody outside the top 6 and a very occasional 9.5 against top teams. Anyway, it did seem strangely accusatory. Just some feedback, you'll obviously take it or leave it. Either way, generally another good, enjoyable read. 

 

 

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@Paul

 

I’m not on Twitter for any football stuff - mainly because I expect it to be full of gibshites - so that’ll explain why I’ve missed your target, but two games on the trot you’ve said the exact same thing, and quite definitely compared match goers vs internet fans both times.

 

Him not being gerrard isn’t a fair stick to beat him with, clearly, but him not being of the top level does lead to fair frustration with some of what he does (or doesn’t).

 

he’s fine, but he’s not boss, but that is fine now, now we don’t need a Gerard to carry us.

 

Overall these summaries are great, I just thought it Right to pull you on this after the second straight time.

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Maybe my point about the match versus the Internet was crass. However, when you’re making a point in this way, you have to be (relatively) concise - and in general terms, that’s where I’d draw the line: you don’t hear wild shit thrown at the players at Anfield but the Internet is full of it. 

 

Without wishing to sound grandiose, there’s a responsibility to supporting Liverpool at the match that means it takes a lot for any player to take real shit. I mean even Karius wasn’t getting abuse at Anfield despite numerous fuck ups.

 

That doesn’t make match-going Reds special; it just means they accept the Anfield culture. Also, there are clearly loads of people online - match-going or otherwise - who don’t give out this shit. However, when, as Dave put it to me, you’ve got internet virgins compiling YouTube videos to “prove” Klopp is wrong then in my view that’s worth challenging. 

 

Good Reds (regardless of how they watch us) should not feel my ire was aimed at them, so apologies for not making that clear. 

 

Just to reiterate though, this is not so much about rating Henderson, as objecting to how it’s expressed. The idea that there aren’t better players than him around would be ridiculous. However, neither does that make him a problem now. He’s playing really well and the team is doing sensationally. I’d just like the legion of cunts who shout the odds online to have a fucking day off. 

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Thanks for clarifying, Paul. And you've probably heard me moan on here (like, you know, in every match thread on the FF) about how people are expressing themselves in the moment. You're right, it's not about criticism, it's about how it's put out there. There's a big different between 'Matip could do with knocking off some rust here' and 'fuck off Matip, you stupid cunt', all because he played a short ball. Some of the shit you see definitely not something you'd get away with shouting at the match. I think it's reflective of modern, disposable, anonymous internet culture. 

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Top of the league after 6 games and only 2 goals conceded, plus a cracking midweek victory over potential major rivals in the Champions League.  If folks still want to slag players who have helped propel the team to that then they're more suited to watching Jeremy fucking Kyle.  There's constructive and valid criticism and then there's empty headed venting.

I see plenty of both on here, I just choose to ignore the latter.

If I want pointless and unwarranted moaning I'll phone the ex-wife.

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I love Paul, he’s an absolute forum legend, but one of the things that does get on my goat tits a bit is people addressing in an article or blog what some other people have posted on Twitter.

 

1. Twitter is shit

B. If you’ve got an argument with someone on twitter, keep it on twitter.

 

loads of journos, opinion writers, forum posters do it. Gets right on my gonads.

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16 minutes ago, Jose Jones said:

I love Paul, he’s an absolute forum legend, but one of the things that does get on my goat tits a bit is people addressing in an article or blog what some other people have posted on Twitter.

 

1. Twitter is shit

B. If you’ve got an argument with someone on twitter, keep it on twitter.

 

loads of journos, opinion writers, forum posters do it. Gets right on my gonads.

This isn't about a Twitter argument as I don't get into that shit, but I know where you're coming from in terms of the shite on Twitter (although it's not just there is it? It's online wherever people talk football). However, the fact remains that literally millions of people who call themselves supporters talk about their teams on there and we're no exception. Also, there is very much a case of those with the biggest gobs can, if not set the agenda, then nudge it in a direction of their choosing. People are definitely influenced by the detritus that's swirling around out there and I just want to counter it a little.

 

This is just the way football is discussed now. It used to be in the pub with the 5, 10, 15 lads you went to the match or drank with, but now it's online with fellas who live hundreds or thousands of miles apart that you'll almost certainly never meet in the flesh (apologies to NP whose Canadian presence was very welcome yesterday).

 

And besides this shit goes directly to the players who are on there. Ask Dave about this particular angle, as it's more one of his pet hates than mine, but people will rip a player to shit over nothing and then tag him into it! It's mental behaviour that does not happen away from a phone or keyboard. 

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2 hours ago, Numero Veinticinco said:

Thanks for clarifying, Paul. And you've probably heard me moan on here (like, you know, in every match thread on the FF) about how people are expressing themselves in the moment. You're right, it's not about criticism, it's about how it's put out there. There's a big different between 'Matip could do with knocking off some rust here' and 'fuck off Matip, you stupid cunt', all because he played a short ball. Some of the shit you see definitely not something you'd get away with shouting at the match. I think it's reflective of modern, disposable, anonymous internet culture. 

 

Fuck off NV, you stupid cunt. 

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Fuck arguing about Henderson...."thought" number 1 is wrong.

 

 

Liverpool won eight straight league games and 10 in all competitions from the start the 1990-91 season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paul's tirade against the Hendo haters is one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen on the Internet, and I've visited some pretty fucked up websites in my time.  Heh.  

 

I particularly liked his "too stupid to support Liverpool" quip from the PSG "Few Thoughts".  A superb definition of some of the regulars around here.  Well played, Natton. 

 

Internet gobshite bollocks bad beauts... is fucking right.

 

*goes back to lurking because you're all twats*

 

 

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Hendo gets a lot of unnecessary abuse.

He's also not as good as his fans make him out to be. 6/10 player. If he was a biscuit he'd be a Rich Tea.

All that aside, he is a vital part of how this team works. He's an excellent pro who's influence likely extends beyond the football field. 

 

You don't know what you've got until it's gone. 

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Tw@tter has its uses, it isn't the problem.  It's the braindead fuckwits who use it to "share their thoughts with the world".  It has become a platform for mongs who have just enough brain cells to be able to type their meaningless shit into a phone.  Tw@ts.

I don't hate it myself, but I can fully understand why it's despised on here. 

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6 hours ago, Paul said:

This is just the way football is discussed now. It used to be in the pub with the 5, 10, 15 lads you went to the match or drank with, but now it's online with fellas who live hundreds or thousands of miles apart that you'll almost certainly never meet in the flesh (apologies to NP whose Canadian presence was very welcome yesterday).

 

Bit of a cliche thing to say this -- when, the 1960s? Because for decades there have been phone-ins, for decades before the internet there were fanzines with contrasting opinions and write-in sections .. the idea that is bandied about as if football was only discussed in little mini enclaves before first the "Sky generation" and more lately "Twitter generation" is a bit fanciful. Sure, some of the comments are more vitriolic and sensationalist now, but there was also plenty of vitriol in the public forum before ...

 

Henderson is useful against the sides that want to play on to us .. when he's given the ball for long periods of time against deep sides without any space opening up in front he doesn't really know what to do with it. He -- and Emre Can -- are both pretty big reasons for our poor recent record against United's Mourinho-football. But with Keita & Shaqiri at the club in a more adventurous capacity, hopefully those limitations don't surface too much this year. Of the first 11 though, Henderson is probably the least-important/most replaceable (that's not an inherent criticism, I'd just be interested to hear of any other player who people think is less important to balance of the side).

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