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Livin' on a Prayer? Maybe, but Keep the Faith - by John Brennan

Uh oh. We’re halfway there. Well, that’s the obligatory Bon Jovi reference done and dusted. Now on to the footy. First up, some facts. We’ve played 28 games this season. 19 in the League, hence the Greatest Band Ever reference. Six in Europe. And three in the League Cup. We’ve won 20, drawn six and lost TWO. We have lost two games out of 28. TWO! Not that you’d know it, given some of the reactions on- and off- line. 

 

To complete the ‘facts’ stats, in those 28 games, we have scored 75 and conceded 24! Out of 19 in the League, we have scored FIFTY (scoring in 18 games out of 19, in the process, our first blank coming against Leicester). So, where does this leave us at the halfway stage?

 

Well, second on 41 points, as it happens, which puts us on course for 82. Just for perspective, in Klopp's five full seasons, after 19 games we have had the following records:

 

16-17 43 points

17-18 35 points

18-19 51 points

19-20 55 points!!

20-21 34 points

 

We’ve done this while progressing in the League Cup and winning all six games in the group stages of the European Cup. So I’d say we are doing pretty well, all things considered.

The reason for the ire is that we are a whole six points behind City… This is the same City who in recent seasons have finshed on 86, 81, 98, 100 and 78 points and are on course for 90+ this season. The same City who are managed by one of the game’s best coaches. The same City who could spent a fortune on Jack Grealish (while we brought in more (£42.8m) than we spent (£36m) on Konaté). 

 

The rejoinder will be, ‘Yeah, that doesn’t make any difference, we exist to win, etc, etc.’ Well, for a start, we still might win the Title. Look at the records; despite fighting City with one hand tied behind our back, we are barely behind them. 

 

  • They’ve lost two. So have we.
  • They’ve scored 50. So have we.
  • They’ve conceded 12. We’ve conceded just four more.
  • The six-point difference comes from our five draws to their two. 

 

So the ire reserved for the team and Klopp on the back of one defeat is excessive and should be shouted down. 

How many times in the last few years have these players let us down? Even last season, which was a write-off in more ways than one, they came back from a near impossible situation – we were EIGHTH on the seventh of March and won eight of our last 10 – to finish in third in the end! Without that run, none of that European football we’ve seen this season would have happened. 

 

This season, we have been outstanding at times. We’ve scored three on five occasions, four on three occasions, five on two occasions in the League alone. We’ve huffed and puffed on other days but got over the line, a notable quality in our Title-winning campaign (Villa and Wolves come to mind).

 

Those five pesky draws? Chelsea, down to ten men, gave a defensive masterclass. We threw away leads in the rest of them: twice against City; twice against Brentford; Brighton came back from two behind; Spurs came back from a goal down. 

 

The only times any criticism could have been justified this season were against West Ham and Leicester. And even then, things could have gone the other way. Things can turn quickly, we’ve seen that over the last few years. Sure, there’s no margin for error – but that’s because of the ‘new normal’ that City’s millions have created. If we won every game from now until the end of the season, we would finish up on 98 points.

 

And remember that in 2018-2019, 97 was only good enough for second! But if there is one thing that we’ve learned with this team, it’s to never give up. We still have lots to play for, on four fronts. Living on a Prayer? Maybe. The next few weeks will tell us all.

 

John Brennan

Edited by tlw content

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There's also criticism at certain points of certain games, I'm still livid with city's second goal against us it was so braindead we may aswell of just scored it ourselves, all we had to do was think and be responsible with the ball. Often our ingame management is really bad its usually when we are ahead by just one goal. 

 

One thing that really grates and all teams do it is when the ball is in the air and players start playing head tennis or just head it randomly back into the air, control it and keep possession you're not in the under 9s anymore.

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Someday we'll be Saturday Night, this I Believe. Always trust in Jurgen to get things sorted. Just a shame Mane appears to be stuck in a Dry County goals wise. Maybe he should have a chat with Robbie Fowler and just say Hey God! see what advice he can pass on. 

 

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Good article. The two defeats do not anger me that much as every team has a bad day or some bad luck from time to time.  The «problem» is our tendency to give away the lead, and the fact that City is, to continue with the Bon Jovi references, a «Runaway». 

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As relevant as it may seem, the complaining about City's 'cheating', and I'm as culpable as anyone else, we need to pack it in as it's all starting to sound a little bit Evertonian.

 

And we've no chance of the league, get used to it.

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1 hour ago, Creator Supreme said:

As relevant as it may seem, the complaining about City's 'cheating', and I'm as culpable as anyone else, we need to pack it in as it's all starting to sound a little bit Evertonian.

 

And we've no chance of the league, get used to it.

I dont get pissed off as much with city as I do with the powers that be who basically turned a blind eye to it but then suddenly turned on to all systems go at the hint of the ESL. 

Edited by CapeRed
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Yeah, the overreaction yesterday was embarrasing. Problem is, we know how good our team is, and how good City are. Many of us are desperately wanting that 20th title now that our duck has been broken. We know that to get over the line we can't compare ourselves with title winning teams of 10 or 20 years ago. It just makes watching a league campaign a bit of a slog. Only in the games against City and West Ham have I not been sure we were going to win before the game started. Many are probably the same. We've gotten so spoilt with the results over the last few years that not winning is now a disaster, and we go into games not only expecting to score the first goal, but steamroller the opponents the first 25-30 mins. When that doesn't happen, we get impatient (maybe even the players do, I don't know), as we know there's no margin for error.

 

Add in the inevitable time-wasting from 95 pct of the teams we face, and referees not bothering to do anything about it, watching us isn't nearly as fun as it should be with the kind of football we are producing week in, week out. As others, I blame the PL and Sky more than anyone else for this, as where there's money there's always going to be crooks like the Saudi's and City's owners. You can just look at the level of hypocrisy around the Super League to show you just how corrupt and money-driven the entire sport is. Unfortunately as long as football keeps rolling, and at least as long as Pep is there (he's a great coach, no matter how stacked the deck is in his favour), we're facing an uphill battle. They have a way of playing that just drains confidence from the other teams. I still think our best chance is in the CL rather than the league this year, as on our day (and with the Anfield factor) I think we're even better suited to that comptetition (plus we're not getting shafted by Riley's bunch every week).

 

I have not given up on the league yet, though, as I believe we can go on a winning run ourselves. We need to improve on our finishing, and getting the first goal on Sunday is absolutely key. Losing there would drain quite a bit of my optimism.

 

 

 

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Feel we’ve been unlucky last couple of weeks with the Spurs decisions costing us 2 pts and the Leeds game being cancelled which I’m pretty certain we’d have won could have us sitting 5 pts better off and only 4 adrift. 
 

That cancelled game done us no favours whatsoever and possibly contributed to the shite performance at Leicester.

 

I don’t want to hear Jurgen moan about fixture congestion ever again as every single time we have a break we are poor in the next game and we by far perform better when we play 2 games per week. 

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2 hours ago, Creator Supreme said:

As relevant as it may seem, the complaining about City's 'cheating', and I'm as culpable as anyone else, we need to pack it in as it's all starting to sound a little bit Evertonian.

 

And we've no chance of the league, get used to it.

Mate. It’s not “cheating”; it’s cheating. There’s empirical evidence they did it. 

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59 minutes ago, CapeRed said:

I dont get pissed off as much with city as I do with the powers that be who basically turned a blind eye to it but then suddenly turned on to all systems go at the hint of the ESL. 

To be fair, the turning a blind eye started when Abramovich bought chelsea, started a round of inflationary transfer fees, wages and signing and loaning out players just to prevent them going to a PL competitor club.

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17 minutes ago, Paul said:

Mate. It’s not “cheating”; it’s cheating. There’s empirical evidence they did it. 

Agreed.  And the only reason they got away without punishment was because they successfully hid the evidence until the limitation period on the offence  had expired.  

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I can't believe nobody saw this coming once United started the ball rolling by being in bed with Sky and being allowed to buy anybody they wanted without competition. It just had to get worse.

Incidentally,Wenger's success at Arsenal back then looks more impressive every season that passes.

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