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Southampton 1 Liverpool 0 (Jan 4 2021)

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Dave Usher

Anyone else wishing the footy had been put on lockdown like everything else? We need a factory reset.

 

Watching us at the moment is like when my mac freezes and I’m staring at the spinny disk thing waiting for it to correct itself. It rarely does and it usually needs switching off and on again to start working normally again.

 

The Reds aren’t going to have that luxury though. They have to play through this slump but the fixtures aren’t getting any easier for us. Not that any fixture is easy at the moment anyway. We probably wouldn’t even beat Sheffield United right now, and they’ve still got more subs than points. Shit, you just know Brewster would bang in a last minute equaliser given the way things are going for us right now.

 

Once again we weren’t good enough. One shot on target is fucking abysmal. The overall performance wasn’t bad and it was really just a lack of cutting edge that did us in. We controlled possession, moved the ball around into the right areas and I’d say did 90% of what Klopp wanted us to do. That final 10% killed us though. Zero quality in attacking areas and virtually zero for their keeper to worry about.

 

When things don’t go well the first thing I always focus on is us. How did we play? What did we do wrong? Were we unlucky or did we not do enough? I rarely look for excuses and I’m not doing that now either. I can see that our attacking play has not been anywhere near what it needs to be.

 

There are a lot of things to be concerned about currently and I’ll get to that in more detail shortly. We’re not playing well, we aren’t creating enough and the side has been unbalanced by those injuries in defence. We’re in a bad run and we have to battle through it.

 

You know what you need when you’re in runs like this? You need a break and you need to be playing on a level playing field. The only luck we’re getting is bad and the playing field is currently so slanted I’m surprised the players aren’t falling off it. 

 

We had TWO clear penalties completely ignored in this game. And fuck all is being said about it, either on commentary or in the post match analysis. Why is that?

 

I’ll tell you why. Because either consciously or sub-consciously, everyone seems to have the attitude that “well if you’re as good as everyone says you shouldn’t need any help from the refs”. 

 

The ‘sexy’ media story is “what’s wrong with Liverpool?” and no-one wants to point out that we are being held to a much higher standard than everyone else. We’ve had 12 subjective VAR decisions go against us this season. The next highest is apparently five. That’s a fucking incredible margin. Seven more subjective decisions against us than the next highest. 

 

Yet apparently mentioning this is just an excuse and we should be looking at the performances of our players and not the refs. Can we not do both then? 

 

“Crying about penalties when you only had one shot on target”. What, so because we’re struggling for form we aren’t entitled to have referees enforce the rules of the game? Get to fuck. I can say that we aren’t playing at our best but I can also say we’re continually being fucked over by officials. Both are true and pointing out one of them is not turning a blind eye to the other.

 

United are being lauded to the fucking rooftops but they haven’t been better than us this season. Not even close. It sure helps though that any time you’re struggling you can rely on the refs giving you a penalty or two to help you on your way. If we had that luxury the table would look a lot like it did last year.

 

It’s like I’ve been saying. It’s not that the penalties United get are blatantly not penalties (barring some glaring exceptions), it’s just that every appeal they have seems to be given. Whereas with us, those same type of calls are ignored. And when they aren’t given no-one cares because “they even out over a season” or “you didn’t play well enough, focus on that”.

 

Honestly, it’s fucking scandalous what we’ve been subjected to at times this season. Our players are fouled in the box and it’s “you shouldn’t need penalties to beat Newcastle / Brighton / Southampton / whoever”. It’s like there’s an unofficial handicap system that’s been introduced because of how far ahead we were last season. What do you want a penalty for, aren’t you meant to be dead good?

 

I hate blaming referees as my main focus is always on what we can do better. And there are plenty of things we can be doing better right now. I’m not shying away from that. Nevertheless, a penalty is a penalty and when you aren’t being given them for clear fouls it’s just not acceptable. If the ref and VAR did their job we’d have won this game and therefore I don’t think it’s unreasonable to be extremely fucking pissed off about that.

 

Things are tough for us right now and we’re nowhere near our best. But you can’t overlook that we’re being asked to play with a deck that’s stacked against us. They were blatant fucking penalties but not only was the ref not interested, but VAR was like “nothing to see here, move along, move along”. Compare that with any decision at the other end, where it’s a five minute forensic analysis with slo mo’s and fifty different angles. 

 

There were other mad decisions too, such as the foul that was given against Salah when a defender ran into the goalkeeper and caused him to spill a cross. Mo was merely an innocent bystander and no involvement in it at all (which could also describe his second half performance actually). The only reason that disgraceful decision wasn’t a big deal was because Bobby somehow failed to put the loose ball into the empty net.

 

That cunt Marriner couldn’t blow his whistle quickly enough there. And because of how quickly he blew, VAR wouldn’t have been able to over-rule the incorrect decision and given the goal had Bobby done his job.

 

What about the lunge by Walcott on Milner late on? Studs up, dangerous, out of control. Not even a free-kick. And again, fuck all mentioned by the commentary team. They set the narrative for these things. You can’t under-estimate how much influence they have on perception with the replays they show and what they say about them.

 

They brushed off both penalties and said nothing about Walcott’s challenge. And guess what, other than Klopp nobody else wanted to talk about them either. The TV coverage has a massive impact on storylines and narratives after games.

 

Tyler and Smith did spend a good bit of time complaining about Trent stealing six yards on a throw deep in his own half though, and how much of an ‘influence’ that could have on Southampton’s ability to get up the pitch and relieve the pressure they were under. But there’s nothing untoward about that, honest. Fuck off you agenda driven cunts.

 

It’s the two penalties that need talking about though. The one on Sadio looked a pen the first time I saw it but I wasn’t sure until I saw the replays so I understand why Marriner didn’t give it on first view. It was clumsy as fuck from the defender and it wasn’t even a case of Sadio making the most of contact. He was just fouled, pure and simple. Why is VAR not telling him to check? Cunts.

 

I’m as concerned as any of you are by how poor we’ve been in the final third for large parts of this season but you just can’t brush shit like this off. It isn’t excuse making. It’s a massive handicap to overcome. Look at that pen United got against Villa last week to turn one point into three. I’m in a minority in that I actually think it was a pen, but it was nowhere near as clear as the one on Sadio here, or on Sadio at St James’ the other night for that matter.

 

Then there’s the handball. The lad comes flying out and hurls himself in front of a goal bound shot and he blocks it with a hand that is away from his body. That’s just a stone cold penalty, no ifs ands or buts about it. Look at the one given against Gomez at the Etihad and then look at this. Now tell me that the reason we aren’t clear at the top is just because of how we’re playing. You have to be almost perfect every game to be able to overcome officials who are giving you fuck all, and no team is almost perfect every game.

 

I’ve spent a lot of time so far talking about the officiating and I make no apologies for it. I could go on, as this is such a big fucking deal and there is no doubt in my mind that we are being shafted here. But there’s fuck all we can do about it, so the only thing we can do is play so well that we can overcome this handicap that has been placed on us.

 

We shouldn’t have to play with that burden on us as it’s blatantly unfair. No-one else has to play with that burden (except Burnley, who have been getting shafted like this for years) but it isn’t something we can control so we have to focus on what we can control.

 

So the first thing I’d be looking at if I’m Klopp is that front three. Refereeing aside, they were our main problem in this game. In fact, they’ve been our main problem in this bad run we’ve been on. One goal in three games. Not good enough. 

 

I’ve been saying it for a while now but they just aren’t as good as they were, collectively more so than individually. The production has dropped off from them season by season and that trend is continuing now. I haven’t checked but I’d be fairly confident that they’re on course to score less than they did last season. It’s a downward trend and it surprises me that more isn’t being made of it.

 

The pundits are still billing them as “that much vaunted front three” and always talking about how brilliant they are. BT are the worst for it. Every time we have a Champions League game Lineker, Ferdinand, Hargreaves, Owen etc are waxing lyrical about “the front three”. Lads, 2018 called, it wants it’s analysis back.

 

The numbers paint a different picture. Much like the majority of pundits, we’re guilty of judging them on how they’ve played in the past. We judge them on their good games and gloss over the bad, but there have been too many bad ones, individually and collectively. They might be great in our next game and everyone will be kissing their collective rings again and hailing them as the best forward line in world football. They aren’t. Not no more. They have too many of these games.

 

Last season we were usually able to overcome those bad games and win by the odd goal, mostly due to being tight at the other end. We no longer have that luxury. It’s not like we’re leaking loads of goals but it now feels like any one we do concede could be crucial because, and this is a bold statement I know, we can’t rely on that front three anymore because they’re too inconsistent.

 

What’s the answer? I don’t have it. All I know is that Sadio is the only untouchable for me. What happens with the other two - if anything happens with them - is a decision for Klopp and Edwards. 

 

I tell you what they won’t allow to happen though. They won’t want to let all three of them get old at the same time, as replacing all three in one swoop would cost a fortune. So I suspect it will be broken up at the end of this season but how they do that will depend on the market and who has money to spend.

 

It’s a really difficult decision to make as all three are great players and all are still contributing regularly. My issue with them isn’t about them individually, it’s about the collective. I love them all as individuals but they seem to have lost the ability to link up with each other. It happens in flashes but it used to be every fucking week. Now when they try passing to each other it invariably breaks down.

 

The first half of this game was shit. We just weren’t good enough. We gave away a goal from a set-piece after a minute but aside from that I didn’t think we were too troubled defensively. It was going forward where we looked lost. We dominate possession, pass it around, sling in a cross, pick up the loose ball and then do it all over again.

 

Much of what we do is good but no-one really notices it because we aren’t getting it done in the final third. And any lapse at the back is costly because of that.

 

Trent didn’t cover himself in glory on their goal but he was left marking two players and that may have caused a moment’s hesitation that saw him get caught under the ball and fail to clear it. 

 

The finish from Ings was brilliant although he seemed to be hinting afterwards that it was a mis-hit cross. Looked like he meant it to me, but it would typify how things are going for us if it was a fluke.

 

They also cleverly blocked off Hendo and from their perspective it’s a good goal, well worked. I can live with that. Conceding the odd goal from a set-piece is just normal. We should be able to overcome it but right now we can’t.

 

The response was good initially. We penned them back and dominated the ball. We looked to be on the brink of a breakthrough but just couldn’t produce the moment of quality we needed. It was just highly frustrating as it felt like we were in complete control but we just couldn’t create anything.

 

We started the second half really well and set about them with a purpose. They couldn’t get out of their own half and it continued like that for more or less the entire game. The chances we created were wasted and at no point in that second half did I ever think a goal was coming. I knew we wouldn’t score when the two penalties were ignored. It never rains but it pours.

 

Shaq came on for Ox and Trent was subbed for Milner as Tyler gleefully pointed out that he’d set a new record for the amount of times he gave the ball away. That’s a bullshit stat. It’s not like he kept dribbling into trouble or passing it to the opposition. It was crosses. He kept putting crosses in and Southampton kept clearing them. Robbo probably wasn’t too far behind him as that’s how we play. It feels like we’re overdoing it though, doesn’t it? Sick of seeing crosses being slung in to a box that has ten opposing players in it.

 

And why will no fucker ever take a shot? Pass pass pass pass pass pass cross pass pass pass pass cross. Too easy to defend. Have a fucking dig from the edge of the box now and again for fucks sake.

 

Sadio lacked quality but he fought his nuts off and gave absolutely everything. The lack of protection he got from Marriner was a joke. They just wrestled and held him all night. Eventually he snapped and was booked for kicking out after he didn’t get a blatant foul. I felt sorry for Mané. Most of the others seemed to feel sorry for themselves.

 

Where the fuck was Salah in that last 20 minutes? He vanished. Bobby tried but he contributed very little. The midfield controlled the ball but provided no drive or penetration to support the forwards. Thiago was pretty average really. Wijnaldum was the pick of the midfield and he was no more than a 7 out of 10 at best.

 

Hendo was fine at centre back but it highlights a major problem that needs addressing. Not only are we without a three senior centre backs (two of them for the season and the third will probably play no more than half a dozen games) but we’re also without our best number six because he’s now needed as a full time defender. And now we’re taking away another of our first choice midfield to plug him in at the back too? 

 

Fuck that. It’s not that Hendo can’t do a job there for us, it’s about what we lose in midfield. We have a defence that is missing Van Dijk and Gomez and now we have a midfield missing Henderson and Fabinho. That’s the spine of a CL and PL winning team ripped out.

 

We still had Thiago and Wijnaldum in midfield so it’s not like we’re massively understrength but all these things add up. And it has to be said that Ox contributed the square root of fuck all before he was replaced by Shaq, who was only fractionally more productive. 

 

I don’t want to judge Ox too harshly because he was out injured for months and is still finding his way back to sharpness. You want him contributing more than this though. Not sure why Minamino has been bombed out after doing well at Palace. I’d have brought him on for Firmino with 15-20 minutes left personally as he couldn’t have been worse. 

 

The sooner Jota is back the better. We’ve missed him more than we’ve missed Van Dijk. How mad does that sound? It’s true though. We aren’t scoring enough goals and the front three are erratic as fuck. The sooner Jota is back the happier I’ll be.

 

The defence has done well statistically but it is an issue that we’re having to use our best midfielders there and we therefore end up weaker in two areas. Klopp seemed to lose confidence in Williams after he was done by a ball over the top against West Brom. And he lost confidence in Phillips after he was skinned by Calum Wilson.

 

I’m not even saying he was wrong to do so and I’d say Henderson is a better option than both, but taking him out of our midfield really hurts us.

 

So I don’t care how they do it or how much they have to spend, we HAVE to buy a centre back in the next week or so and failing to do so is just unacceptable. In fact, failing to do so is basically waving the white flag on our season.

 

And while we’re at it I’ll tell you what else Klopp needs to do. He needs to make the players watch the stoppage time periods of the last few games and ask them just what the fuck they were thinking taking short corners when we were already well over the allocated time added on. 

 

I don’t remember if it was West Brom or Newcastle, but it was defo one of them. And it happened again in this one. It’s braindead beyond belief. You could actually see Marriner looking at them like “I’m trying to give you time to take it here, but you’re taking the fucking piss”. If it happens again then fines need to be handed out.

 

We’re not in a good place mentally. You can see it. The players are shaken by what’s happening. They’ll come through it because they’re winners, but how much damage will have been done before they get their mojo back? That’s the worry. 

 

And it’s a double edged sword. As our confidence has dropped, City and United have been given a huge shot in the arm because it wasn’t so long ago that neither of them believed they had a chance. Now United can’t believe their luck. Any time they’re in trouble the refs are bailing them out and then they see us dropping points all over the fucking shop.

 

With a level playing field they’re nowhere near us but in this current climate of officiating then I don’t see how you can fail to be concerned about them. As I said, we need to start playing at a level where the referees performance doesn’t have such a significant impact on us. 

 

Our next league game is United and we’ll not only have to beat them but we’ll no doubt have to overcome whatever the officials throw at us too. It’s not fair that we should have to do that but that’s the situation. Our margin for error is tiny at the moment and Klopp needs to get that siege mentality going.

 

Ordinarily I wouldn’t give a fuck about Villa in the cup but that now has added importance. There’s enough time before and after that game to be able to go strong and we need to strike back at Villa after what happened last time. Plus we need a performance to get some confidence back. It’s a bigger game than I’d like it to be and I’m not looking forward to it if I’m being completely honest.

 

Star man is Robbo. He didn’t start well but by the end it looked like there was only him and Sadio still trying to force something. Nobody else looked like they had any belief left. Grim.

 

 

Team: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold (Milner), Henderson, Fabinho, Robertson; Thiago, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Shaqiri); Salah, Firmino, Mané:


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As pissed as I was after the game I thought I'll watch the after game analysis to see what they make of the penalty non-decisions. It got to 10.35 before the Mane fouled in the box one was spoke about and needless to say it was routinely dismissed by Carragher as it was the back leg that caught him and it wasn't clear and obvious whatever that's supposed to mean...??? Nothing about the fact Pogba got one on Friday when he tripped over his own feet which was a clear and obvious error.

Ok I thought well what about the handball and also that Klopp said in his interview that other sides are getting these decisions and we aren't, nope wasn't even mentioned as they changed tack and talked about Ince's career.

So two of the most controversial moments in the game and only one of them is briefly spoke about and the manager bringing up decisions going against us all the time is just forgotten about yet the other week Klopp had a disagreement with Des Kelly and it was a feeding frenzy on Twatter and the media 

To be honest though as much as  Marriner pissed me off over those penalty incidents I can honestly say I don't think I've seen a more dubious rereferring performance for a long long while which was summed up when Walcott summoning his inner Evertonian nearly broke Milner's ankle and both the ref and the linesman who was literally three yards away ignored it yet seconds earlier Shaq was booked for a coming together tussle which could have gone wither way 

I find that stat that we've had 12 VAR decisions go against us pretty fucking incredible and kind of negates that myth that the big sides (us) get all the decisions.....    

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Agree with so much of that. At one point you asked where Salah was for the last 20 Minutes. I'd be asking where he was for the full match. 

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Been waiting for this all morning Dave, spot on analysis there. Poor officials again, was it the Milner one right in front of the lino? Thought the early booking on Thiago affected him and it was soft as fuck, no wonder Robbo got himself so wound up. So we regain our form quickly in spite of officials and move forward whilst hope the "over a course of a season " balances out! As you state key players in key positions are being missed, however we still have the ability to remain ahead if we are able to be more clinical, just not 20 plus points this season. 

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Spot on Dave. I thought we were poor first half but improved a lot in the 2nd half. The officials are doing us over. You only have to look at the soft pens given against Joe and Robbo compared to those turned away against Sadio and Gini last night.

 

Off the top of my head, united have got 6 points from 2 games they were destined to get just 2 (points) from, Brighton, pen after the game had actually finished and pogba's against Villa. Conversely, we've had the derby, Brighton, Newcastle and Southampton where the officials have effectively taken points off us.

 

Agree about the front 3. They were on fire the first season but we seem to be in diminishing returns. My big concern is Jurgen's fierce loyalty to his main players. Is he going to bite the bullet and break up the threesome at the end of the season?

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Yep, totally nailed the officials vs our own problems issue there Dave. They're both very relevant to what's going on at the moment. 

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Absolutely spot on with the lot. Concerns over form and officiating are both growing with every game. As Klopp said after the game, the football they can do something about, the officiating....

 

No one else gives a fuck about it, they just laugh, take the piss, or gloss over it. I often question whether I'm just being too one-eyed, too biased. I watch these things over and I just can't help seeing that we are getting blatantly stiffed. That challenge on Milner, if that had been a Liverpool player it would have been more than a 50% chance of being a red card, and they would defo have VAR'd the shit out of it.

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Ref wasn't the reason we lost, but he was one of them. As you say, we didn't 'deserve' much from that performance, but the performance still warranted two goalscoring opportunities that were denied from us by a third party (and wouldn't be to certain other teams). I don't get why it's controversial to point it out.

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Excellent report. Unreal how little was made of the handball in the box. That was a penalty even by the old interpretations of the rule, let alone the stricter new ones. I always think the reactions of players are pretty telling in those incidents. Sometimes you see half-assed appeals where it's clear a player is hoping the ref will view it as a penalty but doesn't really believe it will be given. Gini was going absolutely mad over this one because he knew it was absolutely blatant. For someone to look at that on VAR and say no penalty is just a complete disregard of the rules as far as I'm concerned and every bit as iffy as the disallowed goal at Everton. It wasn't given because they simply didn't want to give it and you have to ask why that is. I don't know why it is but we're just getting fuck all this season and I've given up believing it will even out at all. More likely it will just continue all season or we'll get a few token decisions at the end of the season when the league's already gone to try and make it look as though it was fair. You've mentioned narratives and I wonder if the bullshit narrative spun by jealous opposition fans all last season of us being helped by officials has got into the officials' heads and this year it's payback.

 

Having to listen to Tyler's and Alan Smith's barely concealed glee all match made it even more of a frustrating watch. Can we just have every game on Amazon with Ally McCoist? (although even he might have struggled to find anything nice to say about our front 3 last night).

 

 

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There was also an incident in the first half where Salah is running alongside their defender trying to chase a ball and he gets put into a headlock. I mean the cunt literally wrapped his arm around Salah's neck, with the linesman just a few metres away looking at it. No foul was given. Incredible.

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I also think if Klopp is going to persist with Henderson as a center back, then Gini should be the one playing as a 6. Thiago couldn't influence our attacking play because he was too deep. He needs to be an 8 in games like those. Closer to the front 3 where he can slide through balls to them in the box.

 

We dont have any other midfielder with his level of creativity in the final third. So we just cant be wasting that by having him sit in front of the back 4.

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3 hours ago, tlw content said:

Ordinarily I wouldn't give a fuck about Villa in the cup... 

Let me help you there Dave. Give a fuck. Give a mighty big fuck. 

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A few pens would definitely help but so would getting our shit together and playing the football we are capable of.

Things have gone a bit stale up front. Id experiment with the formation just to break the cycle a bit, opposition dependent.

 

United is probably the perfect game for us now       

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53 minutes ago, Supremolad said:

There was also an incident in the first half where Salah is running alongside their defender trying to chase a ball and he gets put into a headlock. I mean the cunt literally wrapped his arm around Salah's neck, with the linesman just a few metres away looking at it. No foul was given. Incredible.

Both that incident and the Walcott foul on Milner took place right in front of the linesman. Absolutely unreal that neither was given. It wasn't just the ref last night. His assistants and whoever was working the VAR were every bit as bad.

 

 

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I sent this to our Whatsapp group last night at 6.30pm..... 'FYI, I won't be watching live, going on radio silence. I'm just getting too wound up and it's not healthy. Andre Marriner will sleepwalk through the match as usual, oblivious to a load of blatant fouls on our boys.'

It was a good decision, but nothing particularly clever about it. Just years of close observation of these people, and their performances become entirely predictable. You know Marriner and Atkinson will let loads go, especially on our lads. Just like you know which players go to ground easily, which ones engineer contact and then go down (Kane, Fernandes etc ), which defenders & DMs flop to the floor under minimal or no contact (mental image of Granit Xhaka flopping on top of the ball). This is all common knowledge to the average discerning fan - yet it still goes on, week in, week out, nothing changes.

There now seems to be an unwritten rule that ANY challenge by a Liverpool player is a foul..... but opponents can do their worst. Remember a promising counter attack at Brighton being stopped by Ben Wright (yellow card?)...... by a forearm in Jota's throat (yellow card?). We got a free kick... but there was no card. This is happening game after game. Just had a look at the last 6 matches...... fouls given against us: 57. For: 42. In those games we had the following possession stats.....67%,73,78,65,76 & 75. So, in the fleeting moments when the opposition has the ball, we manage to foul them more than they foul us in the other 3/4 of the match?!

 

I've always been more of believer in cock-up than conspiracy, but it doesn't feel like there's a level playing field at the moment. 

 

Football should be a welcome distraction at a time like this, but having to put up with this toxic mix of bad form, bad luck, injuries and awful officials isn't helping. Sky cocked up last night, mis-interpreting Johnson's announcement and saying that the PL was being put on hold. Unfortunately they corrected it quickly. 

 

I'm going to swerve our matches for the time being - maybe until we're allowed back in the ground..... at least I can make my feelings known to the lineman from where I sit! Or maybe until Mo starts scoring again. I just don't know right now.

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I believe we were given 5 free kicks , so in a game where we had two thirds of possession against a team with a full press and employing last ditch defence Marriner is telling me that we were fouled on average once every 20 minutes. 

The Salah and Milner decisions were mind-bogglingly bad.

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1 minute ago, sir roger said:

I believe we were given 5 free kicks , so in a game where we had two thirds of possession against a team with a full press and employing last ditch defence Marriner is telling me that we were fouled on average once every 20 minutes. 

The Salah and Milner decisions were mind-bogglingly bad.

And Southampton didnt get a card until the 93rd minute.

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1 hour ago, Supremolad said:

There was also an incident in the first half where Salah is running alongside their defender trying to chase a ball and he gets put into a headlock. I mean the cunt literally wrapped his arm around Salah's neck, with the linesman just a few metres away looking at it. No foul was given. Incredible.

Spot on fella, I'd forgotten about that.

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8 minutes ago, DalyanPete said:

Ha ha ha, ref watch?

We're all wrong, Dermot's called it, prick.

The only thing that worries me about ref watch is that if Gallagher is that scared of upsetting PGMOL he won't criticise any decisions and he has been retired for years, then what chance is there of any present officials going against their mates on VAR ?

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2 minutes ago, sir roger said:

The only thing that worries me about ref watch is that if Gallagher is that scared of upsetting PGMOL he won't criticise any decisions and he has been retired for years, then what chance is there of any present officials going against their mates on VAR ?

Sweet FA, Id say Roger.

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