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2 minutes ago, Barrington Womble said:

I think we need to accept that at this point as it's a reality. Unless we can win 10 on the bounce (and take a look at the fixtures coming!), then the reality is as far as I'm concerned even if we're fighting for 1st, we're equally fighting for 4th. We've already dropped so much we're back in the pack. 

Yep, our supporters are in no position to be facetious (or fussy) this season, unfortunately!

 

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14 hours ago, Barrington Womble said:

I keep saying it, our most creative player is our press. Its gone completely. Gini looks fucked (he's played 26 times already) and while Thiago isn't the major problem, he's a part of the problem, because the midfield is playing crap and has zero energy and intensity. Jones had a decent start earlier in the season, but he looks a little sapped too and while obviously he doesn't have lots of minutes, he's new to this level and I would bet he's mentally fucked. 

 

That's a good point about the press. I'm sure I read last season we weren't pressing as much though? Again I do think think that the lack of pace in defence is a big contributing factor as we can't press as high up as normal as we have to defend deeper. 

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3 hours ago, Bjornebye said:

This lad with Fabinho and Henderson behind him will be the best player in the league. 

I think that is the thing.

 

He may not be able to really show his best in the current bastardised set up - get him in a midfield with Henderson and Fabinho and i think we will be in business big time.

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Some people are mad, others just have weird agendas where they want to shift the blame from their untouchable hero on to somebody else.  You honestly wonder the mental gymnastics some people go through to come to these conclusions.

 

Our style hasn’t changed.  When the opportunity is there we still break quickly.  Virtually every single side we face leave enough men back to stop us doing that.  People now seem to think last year and the year before that was us breaking on teams and have completely forgot that lots of games were won by one goal where we broke the opposition down by going from side to side over and over again looking for openings while they sat back like they do now.  Adding Thiago into the mix helps that style because he moves the ball quicker and plays far more intelligent passes.  He’s also a better dribbler in midfield that anyone else we have there and will commit opposition players.

 

The fact is that the front 3 have been declining as a team for a while.  Salah and Mane don’t like each other and it shows on the pitch.  The problem for Salah is that he relies on other players to get his goals and Firmino and Mane aren’t giving him the ball any more because he doesn’t give it to them.  Mane is still getting wide and creating chances occasionally but is still clearly pissed off with Salah so goes central looking for goals himself and crowds the box.  This means all the creativity comes from a woefully out of form Trent and an isolated Robertson.

 

The clear the air talks that keep being mooted are obviously to try and sort the Salah and Mane situation out.  They were trying against United but it’s obvious you can’t just turn that relationship on and off.

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1 hour ago, The Guest said:

Some people are mad, others just have weird agendas where they want to shift the blame from their untouchable hero on to somebody else.  You honestly wonder the mental gymnastics some people go through to come to these conclusions.

 

Our style hasn’t changed.  When the opportunity is there we still break quickly.  Virtually every single side we face leave enough men back to stop us doing that.  People now seem to think last year and the year before that was us breaking on teams and have completely forgot that lots of games were won by one goal where we broke the opposition down by going from side to side over and over again looking for openings while they sat back like they do now.  Adding Thiago into the mix helps that style because he moves the ball quicker and plays far more intelligent passes.  He’s also a better dribbler in midfield that anyone else we have there and will commit opposition players.

 

The fact is that the front 3 have been declining as a team for a while.  Salah and Mane don’t like each other and it shows on the pitch.  The problem for Salah is that he relies on other players to get his goals and Firmino and Mane aren’t giving him the ball any more because he doesn’t give it to them.  Mane is still getting wide and creating chances occasionally but is still clearly pissed off with Salah so goes central looking for goals himself and crowds the box.  This means all the creativity comes from a woefully out of form Trent and an isolated Robertson.

 

The clear the air talks that keep being mooted are obviously to try and sort the Salah and Mane situation out.  They were trying against United but it’s obvious you can’t just turn that relationship on and off.

Great points made in the first paragraph. Then it devolved to blaming the front 3's dilemma on an oft-repeated claim about Salah ball hogging and not wanting to pass the ball to the others, especially Mane. It is a false narrative created by "mental gymnastics".

 

The simple facts are there. Salah has set up more goals and opportunities for Mane than the other way round. Also, Salah has 9 more assists than Mane under Klopp's reign despite playing for a shorter number of years. Salah is just the easiest target because a fair number of fans dont find him as likeable as the others. That's why his great assists record keeps being ignored.

 

We are usually told Firmino is the one who makes the attacking system tick. Maybe if he had been in better form over the past year, numbers wouldn't have declined for the other two. So in summary, when proper context is applied, all 3 of them must share the blame.

Screenshot_20210119-092659_The Anfield Wrap.jpg

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10 minutes ago, Supremolad said:

Great points made in the first paragraph. Then it devolved to blaming the front 3's dilemma on an oft-repeated claim about Salah ball hogging and not wanting to pass the ball to the others, especially Mane. It is a false narrative created by "mental gymnastics".

 

The simple facts are there. Salah has set up more goals and opportunities for Mane than the other way round. Also, Salah has 9 more assists than Mane under Klopp's reign despite playing for a shorter number of years. Salah is just the easiest target because a fair number of fans dont find him as likeable as the others. That's why his great assists record keeps being ignored.

 

We are usually told Firmino is the one who makes the attacking system tick. Maybe if he had been in better form over the past year, numbers wouldn't have declined for the other two. So in summary, when proper context is applied, all 3 of them must share the blame.

Screenshot_20210119-092659_The Anfield Wrap.jpg

This is pretty much correct. You see loads of people who don't think Firmino is very good blame him, you see people blame Salah for a lot of stuff because they think he's selfish, blah blah blah. The reality is that all 3 are symbiotic and stylistically and balance wise, it has been perfect. Two goal scoring wingers, one right footed, one left footed and an unselfish central player who creates space and is technically good. It's been a great formula and when stuff goes wrong, it's just annoying seeing people single someone out. It's clearly a global problem and if you're gonna take somebody out or replace somebody, the whole thing will change.

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I suspect part of the problem is the front 3 are not selfish enough. Ever since Burnley last season they have been bending over backwards to be seen to be trying to assist each other instead of being selfish and having a shot now and again.

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2 hours ago, Barnesey said:

I suspect part of the problem is the front 3 are not selfish enough. Ever since Burnley last season they have been bending over backwards to be seen to be trying to assist each other instead of being selfish and having a shot now and again.

No what they do is never pass to each other when they still think there’s even a small chance they can score.  They hold the ball for an extra 3-5 seconds which gives the time for the opposition to get back in position.  At that point if they haven’t created a shooting opportunity they will pass it and usually it’s safe.  That’s if Salah specifically hasn’t just walked the ball into the oppositions legs hoping for some lucky bounce to get a shot off.  It’s what gives Salah his better passing stats.  The idea that they’re falling over each other to assist is absolute fantasy land.

 

When Salah arrived Mane had the perfect balance.  He was loving both Salah and Firmino scoring.  He used to have the biggest smile on the pitch and jokingly copied their celebrations.  He scored his share and created the chances for the other two. By the end of that season things had started to turn sour because Salah wasn’t being fair and playing Mane in on goal the same way.  Added to the fact Salah was walking away with all the personal awards Mane was clearly pissed.

 

Rightly or wrongly Mane then started to give him the same treatment and all the Salah fanbois then started saying Salah wasn’t greedy at all and it was all Salah.  It’s like listening to Trump supporters going on about how corrupt the democrats are.

 

Salah has had his moments where he’s clearly tried to reconcile with Mane by playing him in but it had clearly gone too far with Mane by that point.  That’s why it isn’t completely on Salah for me any more but if we had to keep one of the two it would be Mane because he can play with anyone.  I don’t think Salah will flourish wherever he goes if he leaves here.  He needs the other forwards to create the space and the chances unselfishly for him and not many or even any of the top clubs have forwards will to do that for him.

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Good post, TheGuest. I think it's absolutely nailed on one of them leaves this summer. I'd imagine Mane hopes Salah goes. 

 

I think he will as well. One of the big two in Spain or PSG depending on what happens with Mbappe. 

 

Aside from all the "who your favourites are" stuff, financially it probably makes sense to sell one of your 29 year old forwards for huge money if possible as the opportunity to get big money for them won't last for much longer. 

 

Should be an interesting summer for us because as good as our first eleven is, there are several areas of the squad that need sorting out. 

 

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Weird when you consider this thread is about Thiago! I just want the front 3 to get the love (and shitload of goals!) flowing between them again and piss off the oppos instead of each other!

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On 19/01/2021 at 23:55, MegadriveMan said:

 

That's a good point about the press. I'm sure I read last season we weren't pressing as much though? Again I do think think that the lack of pace in defence is a big contributing factor as we can't press as high up as normal as we have to defend deeper. 

I read something this week talking about the press. So this isn't a go at thiago individually, although he is clearly a part of it over the last few games, but it's bigger than that. But apparently all teams are pressing less than last season, but we're massively top of that last, something like 25% down (this is not running, but direct presses on the ball). And all teams are also having less success in the press and we're also big on that stat. I don't quite know what to make of it.  Maybe it's just everyone is fucked, but I'm not sure the schedule is that tough for the teams not in Europe, so why are they down? Maybe the lack of summer break and pre-season. The top and bottom is if football has been stripped of intensity, the team that will suffer most is the team that relies on intensity the most. Then take out the world's best centre back and 2 players who read 2nd balls best in the league from midfield (fabinho and Henderson) it's easy to see how we've flopped. 

 

What I'm absolutely certain of though as this is a thiago thread and I'll get hammered again no doubt, but he's no answer to the problems we have right now. Perhaps if we can push him up the pitch he could have more impact, but mostly he's pretty pedestrian at the 6 position. He can't tackle, he looks too slow to do so. For me the times he looks best are when he plays short, quick verticle passes of 5-15 yards. He's so deep, even when he plays them, they just go into someone else before the forward line. Like Shaq, pick it up, hold, hold, here comes the tackle, hold, hold, shit better pass, hold, stub a toe and poke it forward, and roll on the floor. So maybe we need to move him from 6 to 8, but we have no 6, because he's now a 4. And his backup is injured after playing 5. It's all such a fucking shambles. 

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12 hours ago, Barrington Womble said:

I read something this week talking about the press. So this isn't a go at thiago individually, although he is clearly a part of it over the last few games, but it's bigger than that. But apparently all teams are pressing less than last season, but we're massively top of that last, something like 25% down (this is not running, but direct presses on the ball). And all teams are also having less success in the press and we're also big on that stat. I don't quite know what to make of it.  Maybe it's just everyone is fucked, but I'm not sure the schedule is that tough for the teams not in Europe, so why are they down? Maybe the lack of summer break and pre-season. The top and bottom is if football has been stripped of intensity, the team that will suffer most is the team that relies on intensity the most. Then take out the world's best centre back and 2 players who read 2nd balls best in the league from midfield (fabinho and Henderson) it's easy to see how we've flopped. 

 

What I'm absolutely certain of though as this is a thiago thread and I'll get hammered again no doubt, but he's no answer to the problems we have right now. Perhaps if we can push him up the pitch he could have more impact, but mostly he's pretty pedestrian at the 6 position. He can't tackle, he looks too slow to do so. For me the times he looks best are when he plays short, quick verticle passes of 5-15 yards. He's so deep, even when he plays them, they just go into someone else before the forward line. Like Shaq, pick it up, hold, hold, here comes the tackle, hold, hold, shit better pass, hold, stub a toe and poke it forward, and roll on the floor. So maybe we need to move him from 6 to 8, but we have no 6, because he's now a 4. And his backup is injured after playing 5. It's all such a fucking shambles. 

He'd be a decent 6 against a top team with 2 good defenders behind him, but not against bus-parking opponents playing on the break and with a makeshift defence. As you say, we're really playing without a 6. Opponents bypass him in that position and he's not mobile enough to fill in for the attacking fullbacks as  Henderson does. He can offer us a lot in games like last might playing much further forward.

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22 minutes ago, TheHowieLama said:

Thiago is pretty darn good defensively - nicks in there early and is in top 5 in interceptions. Was in a top pressing side, don't think he has anything to do with it tbh.

In what top 5, in this league over his 5 games? 

 

He hasn't pressed much for us from what I've seen. I'm aware it's something he did for Bayern. 

 

And my point was as much about his tackling. He's just not very good at it. He seems to go to ground quite a lot and doesn't win the ball, which you have to do if you go to ground as you're taking yourself out of the game. 

12 minutes ago, rubble-rouser said:

He'd be a decent 6 against a top team with 2 good defenders behind him, but not against bus-parking opponents playing on the break and with a makeshift defence. As you say, we're really playing without a 6. Opponents bypass him in that position and he's not mobile enough to fill in for the attacking fullbacks as  Henderson does. He can offer us a lot in games like last might playing much further forward.

The thing is, the top 6 park the bus against us except city. That's everyone's go to plan and even guardiola has often played quite a stalemate and not pushed his full backs on. But when fabinho plays there, he's fucking brilliant at nipping in and winning the ball back high up the pitch, so even though he's making defensive moves, winning the ball high naturally becomes an attacking play. 

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2 minutes ago, rubble-rouser said:

She's getting her tit pierced and growing a mohawk for starters.

 

Her aim is true?

 

 

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Games behind closed doors have completely stripped the team of intensity. For me this is the single biggest reason for the malaise we are in currently.

I can't see us winning the league this year barring a huge turn around in form, but we should have the quality to make Top 4 and then hopefully get back to normality next year with supporters back in the grounds.

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I'm intrigued to see what the long term vision is for Thiago and the team.

 

His vision and ability on the ball is exceptional but I think his lack of pace could become an issue in the way we play.

 

Twice yesterday he was unable provide cover for the full backs out wide and had United players going away from him who weren't at full pace as he struggled to stay close. Both times they were easily able to cut into the box and it probably should have led to goals.

 

It feels like he needs to be further up the pitch and Fabinho in midfield would help that to happen but does he have the legs to do the running that would be needed of him there?

 

I don't have the answer and other than the odd Champions League game didn't watch him a lot at Bayern but from what I've seen it is a little bit of a concern to me.

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14 minutes ago, Turkish Delight said:

I'm intrigued to see what the long term vision is for Thiago and the team.

 

His vision and ability on the ball is exceptional but I think his lack of pace could become an issue in the way we play.

 

Twice yesterday he was unable provide cover for the full backs out wide and had United players going away from him who weren't at full pace as he struggled to stay close. Both times they were easily able to cut into the box and it probably should have led to goals.

 

It feels like he needs to be further up the pitch and Fabinho in midfield would help that to happen but does he have the legs to do the running that would be needed of him there?

 

I don't have the answer and other than the odd Champions League game didn't watch him a lot at Bayern but from what I've seen it is a little bit of a concern to me.

He's not looked like a decent number 6 so far for the reasons you point out. Perhaps this is exasperated by what is behind him. I'd like to see him further up the pitch, but I am worried by how little running he appears to have in him, our number 8s need to really work. But from what I've seen his best passes and quick, short vertical passes and I'm sure he'd get more chance to do them (or for them to have an impact) closer to the front 3. We may see what the real plan is if we can get matip and Henderson on the pitch at the same time. 

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Thiago is a problem right now, the last shield we have before getting at our inadequate CB's is a 5ft nothing, 9 stone La Masia graduate still adapting to the English game. He has lost more 50/50s in the last 3 games than Fab has in 3 years. Its not his fault, he has been up against giants and been left in situations were he would normally draw a foul in Germany or Spain but in England the refs think he needs toughening up. He also has CB's behind him that are reluctant to thread balls through the lines, he's invariably heading to the flanks to pick up safe passes.

 

He will be a superstar but not until we get Fab beside him or Virgil behind him.

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He can play as the #6, but what he needs in that case is a functioning system. He should not have to be plugging gaps and running back towards his goal non stop because we're getting caught out with players up the pitch all the time. It's no surprise he won't look his best in those circumstances. For us, he'd probably be best in Gini's position anyway, but he should absolutely still be an option as the deepest midfielder as well. We just need to get our shit together.

 

If Toni Kroos was left 1v1 against the likes of Rashford, he wouldn't look good either but that's not a commentary on any lack of ability Kroos may have, it's a commentary on the failure of a system.

 

And yes, he's not been at his best either. He has still been good in many ways, though.

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