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  1. Saturday Feb 8: The wives of Hendo and Mo both gave birth in the last day or so, pretty much exactly nine months since we beat Barca at Anfield. The first thing that came to my mind was fair play to Hendo considering the absolute state he was in at the end of that game. Mo had the night off so obviously he was full of beans, but Hendo collapsed in a heap at full time, his knee was in bits and he’d been pumped full of pain killers, so that’s a proper captain’s knock that. Milner took to social media to congratulate Hendo and quipped “assist by Origi” and hash tagged it #cornertakenquickly. What a man. Meanwhile, the investigation into our supposed ‘hacking’ of Man City’s scouting database has been closed. City will be livid but there’s fuck all they can say, publicly at least, because they accepted a £1m pay off with a legal binding agreement on both sides to make no comment on it. City weren’t arsed at the time because we were shite and posed no threat. Then, a few days after a meeting of the PL clubs in which some, including us, asked the PL just what they were doing about City’s blatant breaching of FFP rules, this story resurfaced in the Times, six years after the actual incident. Some co-incidence that, eh? The investigation was dropped by the FA because of the amount of time that has passed and because City had already accepted a settlement. Liverpool admitted no wrong doing, but because they coughed up a million quid that sort of implies guilt. From what I’ve been told, there was no ‘hacking’ and that’s a proper disingenuous way of putting it. The way these scouting systems are set up, the higher up the chain you are the more access you have. So, if you’re Michael Edwards for example, you’d be able to log in and you’d have access to all the scouting reports from everyone beneath you. If you’re one of the scouts on the lower rung of the ladder, you only have your own reports. Dave Fallows left City but he never ‘hacked’ anything to get back in. If he could still see the reports from the scouts who worked under him, it’s clearly because they never revoked his access. It’s claimed that he was looking at the reports for players they were scouting, and I’m sure he was because why the fuck wouldn’t you? It’s unethical and you can argue it’s poor form, but it’s not exactly crime of the century is it? Which is why we gave them a million quid by way of apology. The only reason it even reared it’s head again is because we became dead good and also because City were wanting to deflect from their own cheating. Classic case of ‘whataboutery’. Sunday Feb 9: Man City’s game is postponed due to the weather, meaning we might have to wait a bit longer to wrap up the title, depending on when that game is rescheduled for. Be funny if they stick in the middle of their winter break. It’d be even funnier if they were actually in a title race and could cry ‘conspiracy’. Difficult to do that from 22 points behind, although I’m sure that won’t stop the loons on Blue Moon. Saw a tweet today from Pedro Chirivella in response to something the clubs official account had put out about him. I had a little look at the replies and saw some fella saying he’s not going to make it here because he doesn’t have the physicality and he’s a yard slower than the other midfielders. That’s probably true, but what possesses someone to be tagging the player in on something like that? If I ruled the world, I’d find out who he was and I’d send the boys around to give him a kicking. It winds me right up. If he wants to tweet his opinion on Pedro and say he won’t make it here that’s fine. No problem at all as we all have opinions and social media gives us a platform to express them. When you tag the player in though, seriously, what the hell is wrong with you? Not just any player either. A young lad who has been sensational for us when he’s been drafted in for these cup games. I had a look through his account and Pedro often replies to fans who message him, so that tells me he reads his mentions and will have seen what this goon was saying. I’m sure it won’t have bothered him, but it bothers me as there’s just no need for it. So many people in this world are just fucking turds. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that the Week that Was is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  2. These 5 Youngsters Could Be Liverpool’s Future If you are a club with a huge reputation like Liverpool, you want to win all the games and lift all trophies. Unfortunately, that often means there isn’t a lot of room for youngsters and talented players to get an opportunity to prove themselves. Guessing which one will regularly feature in the future is like guessing all correct numbers in Virgin Bingo and winning the grand prize. On the other hand, Jurgen Klopp loves giving young players a chance on the field, which is a part of what makes him a great coach. But what about Liverpool’s future when it comes to players? The truth is that the club has plenty of youngsters with huge potential. They often get a chance in domestic cup competitions, and here is a list of those to focus on in the future. Curtis Jones If anyone was ever slated to be the next Steven Gerrard for a reason, it is Curtis Jones. He played great in pre-season games, but it is not easy to give him room to play next to Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Gini Wijnaldum, Naby Keita & co. The good news is that whenever Jones is on the field, he shows his skills like heavy-style pressing and desire to control the play. You will remember Jones for that great strike that sealed the victory against Everton in the fourth round of the FA Cup. It is a shame that there isn’t more room for this great player to demonstrate his capabilities. The good news is that time is on his side since he only turned 19 in January. Harvey Elliott If Mohamed Salah plays in your position, it is quite obvious you won’t get plenty of opportunities on the pitch. That is true for Harvey Elliott, who dreams of replacing Salah in Liverpool’s starting lineup. Nobody denies that Elliott has the required potential. If that weren’t the case, the staff wouldn’t insist on his signing from Fulham. It seemed that that transfer could get more media attention, but maybe it is for the better because it won’t burden the young talent as much. Harvey Elliott is only 16 years old, but he played for Liverpool in the League Cup and the FA Cup. His assists in youth squads and performances for the first team make us believe that he will be a decent replacement for Salah one day. In the meantime, Elliott needs to train hard and prove he should be the best choice after the Egyptian player for that position. Neco Williams We have to be honest and say that Liverpool doesn’t have fierce competition at the position of the right-back. Fortunately, Alexander-Arnold has been doing a magnificent job. The alternatives include Joe Gomez and Nathaniel Clyne, although injuries have affected the latter’s career and he will be departing soon. Klopp might have a great alternative in Neco Williams, the future star of Welsh football. Williams is a right-back with an attacking mindset. He already plays in both domestic cup competitions, which proves that the German manager seriously considers him for the right-back position. Nathaniel Phillips Phillips might not be a total youngster anymore, but since he is 22 years old, it is obvious that the best lies ahead for the centre back. The reason why he is most famous now is his height, but Phillips once to prove himself a defender that Klopp can rely on in the future. Both will have to be patient because Phillips is at Stuttgart on a season-long loan. For now, he and his new team are on the right path to getting Stuttgart back to the Bundesliga. As we mentioned, Liverpool is struggling for depth in the backline, which is why Phillips could be a serious consideration for next season. That is especially true since Joel Matip struggles with injuries and Dejan Lovren's future is far from clear. Phillips performed well against Everton in the FA Cup and if he can impress in pre-season he might have a shot at that fourth centre back spot. Rhian Brewster The entire country expects a lot from Rhian Brewster since he is the hero of the England U17 national team. He helped the squad win the World Cup with a hat-trick scored against Brazil. Unfortunately, Brewster suffered knee and ankle injuries and didn't play at all for over a year. That is how Divock Origi took a spot that may have initially been reserved for him in the squad. Now, the forward needs to prove himself and return to form. That is why Klopp sent him on loan to Swansea, and it seems that Brewster is playing well there. However, he will need to be patient before he plays for Liverpool again.
  3. tlw content

    Opposition View: Norwich City

    This Saturday sees top play bottom as the Reds make the trip to East Anglia to take on Norwich City. Despite their current position on the table, the Canaries have held their own against some of the big hitters in the division. Video producer for Total Football NR @ben_ambrose23 gives a detailed rundown of their season to date and explains why Daniel Farke is still seen by the fans as the man to lead them up the table. It has been six months since the two teams opened the Premier League season, so how have assessed your campaign and what has been the high and low point so far? As crazy as it sounds, I have been genuinely impressed with Norwich this season. If you look at the table you’d naturally assume that I’d be slightly more negative, but for me to assess the campaign so far you have to look deeper than that. The performances of the pitch have, in the majority, been excellent from Norwich. You look at games such as Newcastle at home, Man City, Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves and a few more and our performances have been superb. We’ve played with confidence, created some free flowing attacking moves that are very easy on the eye and scored some fantastic goals. But sadly not enough, which I’m sure I’ll speak about more later on. Beating Manchester City at home has got to be the highest moment of the season for me. How could it not be? This was a Norwich City team plagued with injuries, most noticeably with only one fully fit centre back. But, very fittingly, Norwich showed no fear and took the game to a Manchester City side that had just dominated England for two seasons, and quite comfortably might I add. The game was the best atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of at Carrow Road. Norwich set-up to play on the counter, but with style, and they absolutely nailed the plan. Obviously there was some luck in Man City wasting a couple of decent chances, but it was a fantastic and deserved win. For me, the lowest point was losing by a goal to nil away at Aston Villa. The game came towards the climax of what was a really unlucky spell for Norwich where we would take the lead in games, but not see it out. Of course, in that game we created some fantastic chances in the first half, some of which leaving me scratching my head as to how we didn’t lead by three or four at the break; again, much like the games prior and a few following. Given where Villa were at the time, it made it hurt more as it was a sign that we couldn’t even beat the teams around us. Fans closely dissect decisions made by their manager on a game to game basis, so how would you view Daniel Farke's performance across this season and has he maintained the faith of the supporters? If there’s one thing 99% of City fans agree on, it’s that we love Daniel Farke. The guy has come into this club, and worked absolute wonders with his colleagues on and off the pitch. His style of football, for me, is the way every team should strive to play, consisting of being brave with the ball and playing through the opposition, rather than over. That said, he’s not immune to criticism, of which there’s one piece I and a few others continue to give which is his substitutions. For me, he leaves them too late. If you look at the context of some of our defeats this season you’ll notice that we concede in similar periods within the second half, which has been costly this season. To address this I think Daniel needs to be looking to make more proactive substitutes to prevent this from happening, rather than reactive subs in the 80th minute and sometimes even later. You could argue it’s because of a lack of depth due to our financial situation, as well as the injury crisis that I’ve already alluded to. But every manager is open to criticism. Overall, Farke has our full support and will continue to for a very long time.. Can you talk about some of your players, which have greatly impressed the Canary fanbase in adapting to Premier League Football, and perhaps a couple who you need a lift from? There’s a handful of players that have impressed. You’ve got the likes of Emi Buendia, Teemu Pukki, Tim Krul, Ben Godfrey, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons. I’ll pick out Buendia & Pukki as the two for me, for the same reason. That being they're two fantastic footballing minds. They might play in different positions, but the way they read the game is something that I haven’t seen with my yellow glasses on for a while. Their movement on and off the ball is what has been fundamental to the scoring of goals both this season and last season. Buendia is definitely up there as one of the best dribblers in the league, when you see him with the ball at his feet you get the sense that the man is destined for greatness. It’s almost crazy to think that he’s still only 23 years old. If he could add finishing to his game a little more, he’d be one of the best attackers in the league. Players who I think need a lift? That’s a tough one. Onel Hernandez would be one, and also Marco Stiepermann. It’s tough to say that as they’re both players who were so important last season and two of my favourite players coming into this season. But that said, it’s just not really worked out for them this season. Both play with little confidence, which shows on the pitch as they don’t look to offer the team much at this point. However, it can be argued that neither have had a fair run in the team, as well as enough time to be able to adapt to what is the biggest step up in football. Is there an opposition team that have impressed you more than anyone else this season and if so, what made them stand out? Well, I could take the easy road and say you boys; that I shall not and will instead opt for Sheffield United. Chris Wilder has done an unbelievable job and it’s important to stress that it’s no fluke either. For the past two or three years they’ve been knocking on the Premier League’s door and they finally find themselves here and my God they are taking advantage of it. Some of the business has been key this season, but it’s worth noting that before the season started most would’ve called Wilder crazy for some of it! You look at £15m on Mousset, who’d never scored in the Premier League and Oli McBurnie who was bought for £22m after a decent season in the Championship. But they’ve proven to be decent signings. Although, the most impressive aspect of their team has to be the players who’ve been kept in the team from the championship and done so well. John Fleck, Dean Henderson, Ollie Norwood, John Egan, George Baldock. It’s a credit to both themselves and the manager for finding a way to, not only adapt, but to thrive in the Premier League and I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish in the top six by the end of the season. Any promoted team will testify to how difficult life can be in the top league. So in saying that, how do you view the performance of Sheffield United and do you think they can be the template for teams coming from the Championship on a seemingly low budget compared to their rivals? I wouldn’t say Sheff Utd have a low budget, as they have splashed out on a few aforementioned names, but they’re definitely a team to study and to learn from. I’d look at the way they play instead, in that their speciality is not conceding which at any standard is vital; especially in the Premier League. Wilder quite clearly focused on that in the season, which saw them promoted, and they are reaping the rewards of it now. They have a clear no-nonsense approach to defending, which is as simple as the fine balance between clearing the ball and playing your way out. It’s as simple as that. It was then a matter of if they could add goals and with a few decent signings, they have. Currently seven points from safety, is there a belief among your fans that Norwich can produce the great escape? ‘The great escape’ is a phrase ringing around Carrow Road both in the mouths of those with genuine belief and those who mock the idea. Football is a funny old game and it would be naive to just write Norwich City off, despite no team ever coming back from this position before. Although it’s worth mentioning back in the 04/05 season Norwich almost pulled off the unlikely in the PL until we got battered on the final day of the season at Craven Cottage. However, given our consistent conceding of cheap goals I think it’s fairly unlikely, although that said if we were to take a few more of our chances, which is easier said than done, then I couldn’t see why we wouldn’t have a good go. What are the games left on your fixture list that you have earmarked as potential 'six pointers? Every single game for the rest of the season is a must win, given our position. It’s as simple as that. While many would see this fixture as an insurmountable challenge for Norwich, it can also raise a team to inspirational heights. What you you like to see from your team and from those supporters wearing yellow and green colours inside Carrow Road on Saturday evening? From the team, I would love to see bravery on the ball, much like we saw at Anfield, back when the sky was more blue than grey. From the fans, I’d like to see relentless support through a fantastic atmosphere. Of which is a given. Norwich’s support at Carrow Road over the past two seasons has been the best it ever has. I genuinely believe we’ll see another fine display from the fans in the ground, as well as a performance to match it on the pitch. Best of luck to you guys for the rest of the season, you deserve everything that you’re going to win this season.
  4. This Saturday sees top play bottom as the Reds make the trip to East Anglia to take on Norwich City. Despite their current position on the table, the Canaries have held their own against some of the big hitters in the division. Video producer for Total Football NR @ben_ambrose23 gives a detailed rundown of their season to date and explains why Daniel Farke is still seen by the fans as the man to lead them up the table. It has been six months since the two teams opened the Premier League season, so how have assessed your campaign and what has been the high and low point so far? As crazy as it sounds, I have been genuinely impressed with Norwich this season. If you look at the table you’d naturally assume that I’d be slightly more negative, but for me to assess the campaign so far you have to look deeper than that. The performances of the pitch have, in the majority, been excellent from Norwich. You look at games such as Newcastle at home, Man City, Spurs, Chelsea, Wolves and a few more and our performances have been superb. We’ve played with confidence, created some free flowing attacking moves that are very easy on the eye and scored some fantastic goals. But sadly not enough, which I’m sure I’ll speak about more later on. Beating Manchester City at home has got to be the highest moment of the season for me. How could it not be? This was a Norwich City team plagued with injuries, most noticeably with only one fully fit centre back. But, very fittingly, Norwich showed no fear and took the game to a Manchester City side that had just dominated England for two seasons, and quite comfortably might I add. The game was the best atmosphere I’ve ever been a part of at Carrow Road. Norwich set-up to play on the counter, but with style, and they absolutely nailed the plan. Obviously there was some luck in Man City wasting a couple of decent chances, but it was a fantastic and deserved win. For me, the lowest point was losing by a goal to nil away at Aston Villa. The game came towards the climax of what was a really unlucky spell for Norwich where we would take the lead in games, but not see it out. Of course, in that game we created some fantastic chances in the first half, some of which leaving me scratching my head as to how we didn’t lead by three or four at the break; again, much like the games prior and a few following. Given where Villa were at the time, it made it hurt more as it was a sign that we couldn’t even beat the teams around us. Fans closely dissect decisions made by their manager on a game to game basis, so how would you view Daniel Farke's performance across this season and has he maintained the faith of the supporters? If there’s one thing 99% of City fans agree on, it’s that we love Daniel Farke. The guy has come into this club, and worked absolute wonders with his colleagues on and off the pitch. His style of football, for me, is the way every team should strive to play, consisting of being brave with the ball and playing through the opposition, rather than over. That said, he’s not immune to criticism, of which there’s one piece I and a few others continue to give which is his substitutions. For me, he leaves them too late. If you look at the context of some of our defeats this season you’ll notice that we concede in similar periods within the second half, which has been costly this season. To address this I think Daniel needs to be looking to make more proactive substitutes to prevent this from happening, rather than reactive subs in the 80th minute and sometimes even later. You could argue it’s because of a lack of depth due to our financial situation, as well as the injury crisis that I’ve already alluded to. But every manager is open to criticism. Overall, Farke has our full support and will continue to for a very long time.. Can you talk about some of your players, which have greatly impressed the Canary fanbase in adapting to Premier League Football, and perhaps a couple who you need a lift from? There’s a handful of players that have impressed. You’ve got the likes of Emi Buendia, Teemu Pukki, Tim Krul, Ben Godfrey, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons. I’ll pick out Buendia & Pukki as the two for me, for the same reason. That being they're two fantastic footballing minds. They might play in different positions, but the way they read the game is something that I haven’t seen with my yellow glasses on for a while. Their movement on and off the ball is what has been fundamental to the scoring of goals both this season and last season. Buendia is definitely up there as one of the best dribblers in the league, when you see him with the ball at his feet you get the sense that the man is destined for greatness. It’s almost crazy to think that he’s still only 23 years old. If he could add finishing to his game a little more, he’d be one of the best attackers in the league. Players who I think need a lift? That’s a tough one. Onel Hernandez would be one, and also Marco Stiepermann. It’s tough to say that as they’re both players who were so important last season and two of my favourite players coming into this season. But that said, it’s just not really worked out for them this season. Both play with little confidence, which shows on the pitch as they don’t look to offer the team much at this point. However, it can be argued that neither have had a fair run in the team, as well as enough time to be able to adapt to what is the biggest step up in football. Is there an opposition team that have impressed you more than anyone else this season and if so, what made them stand out? Well, I could take the easy road and say you boys; that I shall not and will instead opt for Sheffield United. Chris Wilder has done an unbelievable job and it’s important to stress that it’s no fluke either. For the past two or three years they’ve been knocking on the Premier League’s door and they finally find themselves here and my God they are taking advantage of it. Some of the business has been key this season, but it’s worth noting that before the season started most would’ve called Wilder crazy for some of it! You look at £15m on Mousset, who’d never scored in the Premier League and Oli McBurnie who was bought for £22m after a decent season in the Championship. But they’ve proven to be decent signings. Although, the most impressive aspect of their team has to be the players who’ve been kept in the team from the championship and done so well. John Fleck, Dean Henderson, Ollie Norwood, John Egan, George Baldock. It’s a credit to both themselves and the manager for finding a way to, not only adapt, but to thrive in the Premier League and I genuinely wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish in the top six by the end of the season. Any promoted team will testify to how difficult life can be in the top league. So in saying that, how do you view the performance of Sheffield United and do you think they can be the template for teams coming from the Championship on a seemingly low budget compared to their rivals? I wouldn’t say Sheff Utd have a low budget, as they have splashed out on a few aforementioned names, but they’re definitely a team to study and to learn from. I’d look at the way they play instead, in that their speciality is not conceding which at any standard is vital; especially in the Premier League. Wilder quite clearly focused on that in the season, which saw them promoted, and they are reaping the rewards of it now. They have a clear no-nonsense approach to defending, which is as simple as the fine balance between clearing the ball and playing your way out. It’s as simple as that. It was then a matter of if they could add goals and with a few decent signings, they have. Currently seven points from safety, is there a belief among your fans that Norwich can produce the great escape? ‘The great escape’ is a phrase ringing around Carrow Road both in the mouths of those with genuine belief and those who mock the idea. Football is a funny old game and it would be naive to just write Norwich City off, despite no team ever coming back from this position before. Although it’s worth mentioning back in the 04/05 season Norwich almost pulled off the unlikely in the PL until we got battered on the final day of the season at Craven Cottage. However, given our consistent conceding of cheap goals I think it’s fairly unlikely, although that said if we were to take a few more of our chances, which is easier said than done, then I couldn’t see why we wouldn’t have a good go. What are the games left on your fixture list that you have earmarked as potential 'six pointers? Every single game for the rest of the season is a must win, given our position. It’s as simple as that. While many would see this fixture as an insurmountable challenge for Norwich, it can also raise a team to inspirational heights. What you you like to see from your team and from those supporters wearing yellow and green colours inside Carrow Road on Saturday evening? From the team, I would love to see bravery on the ball, much like we saw at Anfield, back when the sky was more blue than grey. From the fans, I’d like to see relentless support through a fantastic atmosphere. Of which is a given. Norwich’s support at Carrow Road over the past two seasons has been the best it ever has. I genuinely believe we’ll see another fine display from the fans in the ground, as well as a performance to match it on the pitch. Best of luck to you guys for the rest of the season, you deserve everything that you’re going to win this season. View full article
  5. Not much of a weekend as all of the relevant teams had the week off due to the winter break. Ok, I said ‘teams’ there when I really meant ‘team’. We had the week off and no-one else really matters now. No-one else is relevant other than Man City, who are still just about clinging on to relevance, but their game fell foul of the weather so both Match of the Day shows this week were pretty grim. So grim they had to lead the show with Everton. Imagine giving the Blues top billing. Jesus. They did their best to hype them up by pointing out that over the last ten games the only team to pick up more points than them are the Mighty Reds, but they failed to quantify that by saying that since Don Carlo came in they’ve played the Dog & Duck, Slapdick United, Jabroni Albion and Nomark Athletic. And Crystal Palace, who I’ve been telling you all season are fucking dreadful and had been in the falsest of false positions. Palace being in the top half is like Boris Johnson being Prime Minister. You look at it and go “just how the fuck is this happening? That can’t be right.” Sadly, Johnson is still Prime Minister and will be for some time, whereas Palace have long since dropped from the top half and are back in something approaching their rightful place. One day Johnson will be in his. Burning in hell with Thatcher. But anyway, to get back on topic. I imagine this week will have been MOTD’s lowest ever viewing figures, but those who swerved it missed out on yet another Jordan Pickford ‘moment’ as well as an event that has become so rare in recent years. No, I’m talking about Bernard scoring. No, I’m not talking about Walcott setting one up with a great cross either (yes, that actually happened). I’m referring to Benteke finally getting a goal. It was a strange old day at Goodison. As I said, Everton took the lead through Bernard from a Walcott cross. No-one could have predicted that but good old Theo at least reverted to type soon after by going off injured. He was replaced by Sidibe, but not before he had to make a quick dash back to the dressing room when he realised he was missing a sock. Seriously? How the fuck does that happen? I know I say this all the time, but I could never be a manager because I just couldn’t tolerate that kind of shit. How hard is it to put a fucking football kit on? I don’t understand how you can put a kit on and forget to put on a fucking sock. Did he not realise when he put his boot on, that the foot he was putting the boot on didn’t have a fucking sock on it? He only realised the sock was missing when he went to pull it up and grabbed a handful of nothing. He was stood next to the fourth official ready to come on, and he then had to run back to the dressing room. I’m irrationally livid about this. Really, it shouldn’t matter to me at all, yet it does. I’d never play him again if it was me, but that’s as much to do with the fact he’s shit as it is the missing sock. If he was any good I might give him a second chance, but then again I might not. Can you imagine James Milner doing that? Exactly. It’s inexcusable. Anyway, Benteke equalised when his tame shot went right through Pickford. On a day of so many rare sightings Pickford’s howler was the only thing you could have predicted beforehand (along with Walcott’s injury of course). Fucking clown. I’ve got to hand it to Benteke though. For one thing it’s impressive that he even remembered what his celebration was after all this time, but the thing I really need to tip my cap to him for is that he was acting like this was perfectly normal, just another day at the office. He’s a £30m striker who hadn’t scored for a year. If that’s me, I’m probably going down the route of the Newcastle fan at Oxford. Not Benteke though, he’s like “yeah, just gonna bust out my old shitty thigh slap celebration. Nothing to see here, just me back in the old routine”. Have to admire his chutzpah. Maybe he felt that it wasn’t a big deal because it was only against Pickford? Probably felt like scoring against one of his kids in the back garden. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that PL Round Ups are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  6. Football is complex and very difficult to predict. This is largely because there are so many factors that have a significant impact on the game. It’s not a repetitive sport which takes place under near-identical conditions each match — like darts. Every game of Football is entirely unique. Then outside of the game, there’s the rumors, touchline dramas, paper-talk, speculation, injuries, transfers, bust-ups, bans, sackings — and of course the fans — which all play a part in altering our perception of teams and their players. It’s not easy for any football fan to remain rational. So how can you dismiss the noise surrounding Premier League football and start betting with your head? Here’s some general advice for any Premier League bettor. Football is an entertainment business. It’s all about hyping up matches, signings and the trivial little dramas from the pitch or touchlines. It sells. But I’m a believer that this is one of the reasons why value presents itself in the betting markets. Football (soccer) is the world’s most popular sport. Millions around the globe tune in to celebrate, agonize, and wager over scores and you can check out the latest betting offers at Max Free Bets for the upcoming game/match/round / results, and championships. Experts suggest that worldwide the sports betting industry is worth up to 1 trillion USD. With so much money at stake on the outcomes of football matches, being able to accurately predict a team’s results using past data is a tantalizing prospect. Using past results from the English Premier League, the most lucrative league competition in the world, let’s see if we can build a model that correctly predicts enough results to beat the bookies and record a profit across a season of betting. This is a feature that intends to incorporate mentality and team confidence into the model. We might expect that when a team wins a game, their odds of winning the next game are improved due to the team being in ‘good form’. Of course, this could also be a pure observation or confirmation bias. In particular, it might be related to the NBA hot hand hypothesis that has been consistently disproved. Implementing this feature should not turn out to be too difficult. In much the same way as above, we’ll have to iterate over a list of all the teams, pull out a slice of all their games, update a ‘Streak’ column, and concatenate all the updated slices together. Using an inner for loop and the data frame method .iterrows() will allow us to initialize a streak counter, check our team’s result, append that value to a list, and update the counter. After iterating over every row in our slice, we’ll have a list that contains the win streak for our team of interest (resets to 0 if the team loses or draws). This list can be translated directly to the ‘Streak’ column as it is the same length. Let’s also do a quick check to see if this feature will have any amount of predictive strength. In the plots below I’ve looked at 8 teams and their respective win percentages during a win streak and all time. The first plot shows 4 of the most successful teams in Premier League history and the second plot shows 4 of the less successful teams. What we notice is that the number of wins in a streak likely doesn’t have any bearing on win percentage. That is, a team will not win more games after a 3 win streak than after a 5 win streak. However, most teams win at a higher rate during a winning streak, as compared to their all-time percentage. This feature looks to be somewhat predictive.
  7. Summer Transfer Window: Who Are Liverpool’s Targets? The season has been going great for Liverpool FC. The Reds are close to finally winning the Premier League title, and they still have the chance of lifting the trophies in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. You could bet that Liverpool would win at least one competition or play at Roulette77 if you prefer table casino games that are fun and exciting. It doesn’t sound as strange that Klopp didn’t want to change the structure of the team significantly during the January transfer window. The Reds acquired Minamino from Salzburg, and that was the only change made to the team. However, the rumour is that Liverpool is planning on signing several players during the summer, especially as long-term targets. It might be a bit early, but let’s take a look at how the squad could look next season. Is Diego Carlos a Realistic Transfer Target? Brazilians play a huge part in the success that Liverpool enjoys these days. Roberto Firmino is an important piece when attacking, and Fabinho is there to keep the midfield organised. On top of that, Alisson proved on numerous occasions that he is a trustworthy goalkeeper. It seems that the Reds are only missing a defender of Brazilian nationality. That is a gap that Diego Carlos could fill. The center-back currently plays for Sevilla, but he changed several clubs throughout his career. In Europe, Carlos played for Estoril and Nantes before joining the Spanish club. Although it took a while for Diego Carlos to establish himself as an amazing defender, the robust Brazilian is now one of the key players in Sevilla. According to reports, Liverpool would like to sign him during the summer transfer window. The only problem is that Real Madrid is also considering Carlos, and they consider him to be a replacement for Sergio Ramos, who will be retiring soon. Can Klopp Return Jadon Sacho to England? Jadon Sacho is a 19-year-old who already has 11 appearances for the English national team. Although his parents are from Trinidad and Tobago, he was born in Greater London. Sacho spent his youth career in Watford and Manchester City, but none of these clubs realized the gem they had in their academies. That is why the winger moved to Borussia Dortmund, where he was given a chance to play regularly. Sacho used that opportunity, and the award came in the form of being a part of the Bundesliga Team of the Season in 2018-19. Jurgen Klopp is not only of German nationality, but he worked in Borussia Dortmund for years. The manager and the player’s time there didn’t overlap, but we do not doubt that Klopp is aware of this amazing talent. Liverpool will try to bring him back to England during the summer transfer window. However, the fact that Sacho was a big fan of Chelsea growing up might become a problem. Who Else Could Liverpool Acquire in the Summer Transfer Window? Everyone is talking about Kylian Mbappe, but there are two problems. The first one is that it will take a lot of cash to acquire him, and we are not sure Klopp wants to spend that much. The second is that the German manager would have selection problems because the attacking trio seems flawless at the moment. Liverpool is reportedly interested in Sandro Tonali, the Italian midfielder playing for Brescia, as well as Leon Bailey, the Jamaica international playing for Bayer Leverkusen. Bailey could be an alternative if Sacho doesn’t pick Anfield as his next destination. Who Could Leave Anfield in the Summer? It wouldn’t come as strange if Nathaniel Clyne is the first one out the door. The right-back has been struggling with injuries, which affected his entire career. He still hasn’t played for Liverpool this season, and it seems obvious that Clyne is not a player the Reds need at the moment. Although Georginio Wijnaldum said he loves the club on multiple occasions, he didn’t deny the option to leave the team during the summer. The good news is that we expect him to stay because Liverpool isn’t keen on letting go of a player who fits in that well. Another player who Klopp might want to get rid of is Xherdan Shaqiri. It seems that his performances aren’t quite up to the standard of a big club like Liverpool, which is why he might be moving to Sevilla or Roma during the summer.
  8. The season is well on its way, and no one knows what level of success Liverpool will achieve this year and next. Even though there are some uncertainties, the anticipation and excitement are growing as fans start to speculate on what will occur during the summer transfer window. And if you are a sports bettor, you will be following this news even more closely than the average fan. Understanding what changes will happen and be able to place your sports bets early can mean a big payout for you. To successfully place bets with Casumo, you’ll have to know the answer to the question: Will Liverpool be able to hold up the form for next season? Unstoppable Squad Currently, Liverpool seems to be unstoppable. On Boxing Day, Liverpool demolished Leicester—who has been undefeated at home—in a 4-0 performance. In the first 18 games of the season, Liverpool hasn’t lost yet. With one draw and 17 wins, it seems like the club is on top of the world. But can Liverpool hold on and get their first title in 30 years? During the match against Leicester and the second half against Salzburg during the Champions League, we were able to get some insight into Liverpool. We truly saw the impact of coach Jurgen Klopp and his management of the games. This was the first time we really saw the squad working together and performing to their full potential. The ability to keep believing in the club and keep finding last-match goals might be the key to Liverpool’s continued success. Constant Worry of Injuries Virgil van Dijk is one of the biggest worries currently because of the impact he has had on the squad for the past two years. If he were to be plagued with injuries, it could have a huge impact on the team because the club doesn’t have a deep midfield. That means if he or any of the other valued midfielders were to be injured, it could have a seriously negative impact on the success of the team. Possible Moves Right now, Liverpool is one of the most attractive teams for a footballer to end up on next season. Jurgen Klopp has achieved impressive levels of success at Liverpool, which is helping to further attract the top talent. In fact, Klopp recently stated that he has “never seen the consistency of Liverpool in [his] life.” However, the team can’t take everyone, and of course, the club doesn’t have the budget to welcome many of the best of the best. Currently, the three players that keep getting linked to Liverpool as possible trade options are Kylian Mbappé, Kai Havertz, and Jadon Sancho. These three players are all wildly talented, young, and ambitious and could help continue to keep Liverpool at the top. But because of their success on the pitch, it means that they won’t come cheap. Havertz is worth a reported £80million ($103million) by Bayer Leverkusen, and Sancho and Mbappé could go for two or three times that figure. Maybe even more after Euro 2020. So if Liverpool wants them on the team, the club will have to pay quite a bit. Other than the initial fees to acquire and sign these top players, Liverpool will also have to budget for their huge salaries. But this goes against Liverpool’s current strategy. So far, Klopp and his management team have been very shrewd with their spending and spend just £74.5million ($96million) on the squad of players. In addition to the smart budgeting of the team, the recent success Liverpool on the field has meant that they have enjoyed more commercial success as well and have almost as much financial power as the other top football clubs. While they can afford to attract some of these top talents, the question is if Liverpool even wants to pay? The old adage is “don’t fix what isn’t broken,” so should Liverpool spend a lot of money to attract more talent, when their current formula on the pitch is doing just fine? Chances are, we won’t see Liverpool making any huge jumps and blowing their budget on acquiring just one or two powerhouses. Their current strategy of carefully budgeting and spending has worked for them, and it is likely that they will continue using this method in the future. If our speculations are correct and they don’t acquire Havertz, Sancho, or Mbappé, who might they take? Our best guess is they might take a young player who has flown under the radar so far who could be acquired at a lower fee and salary. This player will continue to help build a strong Liverpool team for years to come. Will Liverpool be able to hold up the form for next season? It seems that Liverpool can’t do anything wrong right now. If we were to place our own spots bets, we would think that Liverpool will overcome any injury woes and continue making smart trades to continue to hold up the form for next season.
  9. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about Jamie Carragher’s podcast is the incredible forthrightness of the interviews. The shared context, friendship and experiences with his guests provides an incredible platform for honest conversations – far exceeding the cookie cutter Q&As we hear in the vast majority of interviews conducted by actual journalists. Carra’s standing, and aversion to sugar-coating anything, enables him to frame questions in a way that would be downright insulting coming from a reporter. It’s what made the recent episode with Michael Owen such a startlingly brutal and uncomfortable listen. If you came out of that interview still unwilling to bury the hatchet with Michael Owen and finally welcome him home, then I’d advise you to contact someone with a stethoscope. Michael’s story, as told on The Greatest Game, sounded like the clichéd sports movie, charting the incredible highs, then the depths of despair. It was set-up for the final act – the inevitable, uplifting redemption, but in Owen’s case, there is no feel-good ending. If the Robbie Fowler story could draw comparisons to Rocky, Owen’s could be likened to the end of Raging Bull. Put it this way: Michael Owen, who scored 158 goals for his club and thrice tried to get back home after his initial departure, now feels intimidated when he walks into Anfield. “Any Liverpool fan has the power to break my heart,” he said. Jesus, I don’t know about any of you, but hearing that just about broke mine. It’s not right. Owen brought as much joy to the old stadium as any individual in the last quarter century; that much is indisputable. Yet, as Carragher brutally pointed out, Owen gets no love, his career and contributions are glossed over. Or, to use Carragher’s word “dismissed”. I’ll be honest with you. Michael was my guy. At the time I’d have argued “Michael over Robbie” with anyone. My best mate and I still joke about it to this day (how lucky were we to have those two to playfully argue over by the way?). I’d never really resented him for leaving, but it did break my heart. I never hated him for signing for Newcastle because I was privy to information he desperately wanted to come home and was distraught to be going there. I wasn’t among those screaming “where were you in Istanbul?” in his face, because what was the point? It wasn’t even as if I felt signing for United was unforgivable given his predicament. For me, a fissure tore into a gaping crevasse the day he scored the winner in that Manchester derby (as unreal a finish as it was). I hadn’t seen him celebrate quite so exuberantly in a decade. I hadn’t seen that joy since he was a teenager and, as he raced behind the Stretford End goal, hadn’t seen him run that fast either. How could he be that happy doing that, there, for them? At the time when we were in the utter depths of the Gillet and Hicks era, with Rafa’s tenure coming to an end, it was an absolute sickener. For many, it confirmed what they had felt all along. It was the first time I believed it too – that Michael Owen cared only about Michael Owen. It didn’t matter which shirt he was wearing. On that day he was happy for himself, not for Man United. And now, in the context of his interview with Carragher, it’s a little bit easier to see why. Many will still feel like Owen got what was coming, that he made his own bed and thus doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as other Liverpool greats. That’s fine. But there’s also a staggering hypocrisy here that’s bothered me for decades. It seems you can be terrible, as a man and a footballer, but as long as you’re pushed out of the door, rather than leave on your own terms, you’re welcomed back to Liverpool with open arms. The ovations afforded to a returning David James down the years, for example. Here’s someone that made an absolute mockery of us, his manager and the entire club, quantifiably costing us a title during his time on his PlayStation, or modelling, or whatever else he was doing while flailing around between the sticks. James and Owen both broke my heart. Michael for leaving us when he did, James for being abjectly terrible at his job and causing us to lose football matches. One of the two feels intimidated walking into Anfield for fear of abuse, the other would probably get a standing ovation if he turned out for one of those Liverpool Legends games. More recently, the reverse is somehow true. It seems a player can force his way out in the most egregious manner and still be remembered fondly. His recent roasting at Anfield aside, the esteem in which Luis Suarez is held absolutely staggers me. Carra mentioned this too. Some of my best mates have him in all-time Liverpool five-a-side teams. I can’t scream this loud enough, but to Hell with Luis Suarez. This bloke went on strike to force a move to Arsenal (to Arsenal), bit opponents and racially abused others. Our reputation is yet to fully recover from our association with that ‘loveable little scamp,’ as evidenced by the recent, long overdue apology to Evra and the coverage it received. I feel ashamed for supporting him at the time. Between Owen and Suarez, which is the club annually falling over itself to wish a happy birthday? Here’s a clue: It’s not the one who ran himself into utter physical degradation before his mid-20s, while wearing the red shirt. Nor is it the one who won a Ballon D’Or in the same year he helped us to a cup treble. Owen’s contribution to the modern history of Liverpool far eclipses Suarez’s season or so of giving a damn. Even Stan Collymore enjoys a higher standing than Michael Owen among some Liverpool fans on social media. Seriously. Even the aversion to Fernando Torres has faded these days. Everyone seems alright with him again with the club often commemorating his contribution more and more often. I promised myself I’d never love another footballer again after he went to Chelsea; then Klopp’s lads came along and now I’m besotted with the lot of them, but that’s beside the point. Speaking of Chelsea, remember when Steven Gerrard tried to force a move there? If Gerrard’s explanation for how that situation came to pass (Papa Rafa didn’t show him enough love, etc.) is understood then why can’t Michael’s reasons for heading to Real Madrid, when all along his plan was to just “do a Rushie” and come back after a year? The answer’s rhetorical, if we’re honest with ourselves. After developing an Alan Shearer-like reputation for bland, guarded interviews during his playing career, Michael has been an open book since his retirement. Especially regarding his injuries and his self-professed rapid decline. We’ve had a window into Owen the person. Maybe that’s what has me warming to him again? The fact that, away from his horses, his millions and his media career, he’s a guy with insecurities, with regrets, with fears and apprehension. It’s a great leveller. I don’t know how the current impasse changes. Maybe it starts with the club affording him the same respect it does to other, less deserving folks, through its constant content output? If they can get off Suarez’s lap for five minutes that is. For all their talk about the “LFC family” they aren’t half choosy about who is treated as such. People shouldn’t need reminding just how good Michael Owen was, but if that’s what needs to happen, it should. There’s no reason for this continued antipathy or, perhaps even worse, utter apathy. That might be the hardest thing about this for Owen. Right now, he doesn’t matter. He’s not loved, nor particularly hated. Just irrelevant. Some will say that’s his punishment. After listening to his side of the story, I’d counter by saying, “for what exactly?” Carragher brutally pointed out that, while he finished his career with a guard of honour and a Kop mosaic, Michael went out coming off the bench for Tony Pulis’ Stoke. Wasn’t that punishment enough? Enough is enough. It’s time to recognise Michael Owen’s contribution for what it was. On the stat sheets, to the numbers on that increasingly-active “Wall of Champions” and in our mind’s eye. “One-nil down, two-one up, Michael Owen won the cup.” Remember that? Like many others, the story isn’t straight forward. There are complications. But Michael Owen is unquestionably a Liverpool great and deserves to be spoken of as such. It’s time to end the story in the right way. Chris Smith @ByChrisSmith
  10. The thing I’ve enjoyed most about Jamie Carragher’s podcast is the incredible forthrightness of the interviews. The shared context, friendship and experiences with his guests provides an incredible platform for honest conversations – far exceeding the cookie cutter Q&As we hear in the vast majority of interviews conducted by actual journalists. Carra’s standing, and aversion to sugar-coating anything, enables him to frame questions in a way that would be downright insulting coming from a reporter. It’s what made the recent episode with Michael Owen such a startlingly brutal and uncomfortable listen. If you came out of that interview still unwilling to bury the hatchet with Michael Owen and finally welcome him home, then I’d advise you to contact someone with a stethoscope. Michael’s story, as told on The Greatest Game, sounded like the clichéd sports movie, charting the incredible highs, then the depths of despair. It was set-up for the final act – the inevitable, uplifting redemption, but in Owen’s case, there is no feel-good ending. If the Robbie Fowler story could draw comparisons to Rocky, Owen’s could be likened to the end of Raging Bull. Put it this way: Michael Owen, who scored 158 goals for his club and thrice tried to get back home after his initial departure, now feels intimidated when he walks into Anfield. “Any Liverpool fan has the power to break my heart,” he said. Jesus, I don’t know about any of you, but hearing that just about broke mine. It’s not right. Owen brought as much joy to the old stadium as any individual in the last quarter century; that much is indisputable. Yet, as Carragher brutally pointed out, Owen gets no love, his career and contributions are glossed over. Or, to use Carragher’s word “dismissed”. I’ll be honest with you. Michael was my guy. At the time I’d have argued “Michael over Robbie” with anyone. My best mate and I still joke about it to this day (how lucky were we to have those two to playfully argue over by the way?). I’d never really resented him for leaving, but it did break my heart. I never hated him for signing for Newcastle because I was privy to information he desperately wanted to come home and was distraught to be going there. I wasn’t among those screaming “where were you in Istanbul?” in his face, because what was the point? It wasn’t even as if I felt signing for United was unforgivable given his predicament. For me, a fissure tore into a gaping crevasse the day he scored the winner in that Manchester derby (as unreal a finish as it was). I hadn’t seen him celebrate quite so exuberantly in a decade. I hadn’t seen that joy since he was a teenager and, as he raced behind the Stretford End goal, hadn’t seen him run that fast either. How could he be that happy doing that, there, for them? At the time when we were in the utter depths of the Gillet and Hicks era, with Rafa’s tenure coming to an end, it was an absolute sickener. For many, it confirmed what they had felt all along. It was the first time I believed it too – that Michael Owen cared only about Michael Owen. It didn’t matter which shirt he was wearing. On that day he was happy for himself, not for Man United. And now, in the context of his interview with Carragher, it’s a little bit easier to see why. Many will still feel like Owen got what was coming, that he made his own bed and thus doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same breath as other Liverpool greats. That’s fine. But there’s also a staggering hypocrisy here that’s bothered me for decades. It seems you can be terrible, as a man and a footballer, but as long as you’re pushed out of the door, rather than leave on your own terms, you’re welcomed back to Liverpool with open arms. The ovations afforded to a returning David James down the years, for example. Here’s someone that made an absolute mockery of us, his manager and the entire club, quantifiably costing us a title during his time on his PlayStation, or modelling, or whatever else he was doing while flailing around between the sticks. James and Owen both broke my heart. Michael for leaving us when he did, James for being abjectly terrible at his job and causing us to lose football matches. One of the two feels intimidated walking into Anfield for fear of abuse, the other would probably get a standing ovation if he turned out for one of those Liverpool Legends games. More recently, the reverse is somehow true. It seems a player can force his way out in the most egregious manner and still be remembered fondly. His recent roasting at Anfield aside, the esteem in which Luis Suarez is held absolutely staggers me. Carra mentioned this too. Some of my best mates have him in all-time Liverpool five-a-side teams. I can’t scream this loud enough, but to Hell with Luis Suarez. This bloke went on strike to force a move to Arsenal (to Arsenal), bit opponents and racially abused others. Our reputation is yet to fully recover from our association with that ‘loveable little scamp,’ as evidenced by the recent, long overdue apology to Evra and the coverage it received. I feel ashamed for supporting him at the time. Between Owen and Suarez, which is the club annually falling over itself to wish a happy birthday? Here’s a clue: It’s not the one who ran himself into utter physical degradation before his mid-20s, while wearing the red shirt. Nor is it the one who won a Ballon D’Or in the same year he helped us to a cup treble. Owen’s contribution to the modern history of Liverpool far eclipses Suarez’s season or so of giving a damn. Even Stan Collymore enjoys a higher standing than Michael Owen among some Liverpool fans on social media. Seriously. Even the aversion to Fernando Torres has faded these days. Everyone seems alright with him again with the club often commemorating his contribution more and more often. I promised myself I’d never love another footballer again after he went to Chelsea; then Klopp’s lads came along and now I’m besotted with the lot of them, but that’s beside the point. Speaking of Chelsea, remember when Steven Gerrard tried to force a move there? If Gerrard’s explanation for how that situation came to pass (Papa Rafa didn’t show him enough love, etc.) is understood then why can’t Michael’s reasons for heading to Real Madrid, when all along his plan was to just “do a Rushie” and come back after a year? The answer’s rhetorical, if we’re honest with ourselves. After developing an Alan Shearer-like reputation for bland, guarded interviews during his playing career, Michael has been an open book since his retirement. Especially regarding his injuries and his self-professed rapid decline. We’ve had a window into Owen the person. Maybe that’s what has me warming to him again? The fact that, away from his horses, his millions and his media career, he’s a guy with insecurities, with regrets, with fears and apprehension. It’s a great leveller. I don’t know how the current impasse changes. Maybe it starts with the club affording him the same respect it does to other, less deserving folks, through its constant content output? If they can get off Suarez’s lap for five minutes that is. For all their talk about the “LFC family” they aren’t half choosy about who is treated as such. People shouldn’t need reminding just how good Michael Owen was, but if that’s what needs to happen, it should. There’s no reason for this continued antipathy or, perhaps even worse, utter apathy. That might be the hardest thing about this for Owen. Right now, he doesn’t matter. He’s not loved, nor particularly hated. Just irrelevant. Some will say that’s his punishment. After listening to his side of the story, I’d counter by saying, “for what exactly?” Carragher brutally pointed out that, while he finished his career with a guard of honour and a Kop mosaic, Michael went out coming off the bench for Tony Pulis’ Stoke. Wasn’t that punishment enough? Enough is enough. It’s time to recognise Michael Owen’s contribution for what it was. On the stat sheets, to the numbers on that increasingly-active “Wall of Champions” and in our mind’s eye. “One-nil down, two-one up, Michael Owen won the cup.” Remember that? Like many others, the story isn’t straight forward. There are complications. But Michael Owen is unquestionably a Liverpool great and deserves to be spoken of as such. It’s time to end the story in the right way. Chris Smith @ByChrisSmith View full article
  11. Saturday Feb 1: L 4 Southampton 0. Imagine being an opposition manager trying to prepare a team to face us right now, especially at Anfield. It’s virtually impossible. Usually, even with the really good sides, there’s a weakness you can identify and try to exploit. Maybe they aren’t good defending crosses, or they’re susceptible to pace. Or perhaps the left back isn’t the best or one of the centre backs gets dragged out of position too easily. These are always things the analysts would spot and you’d try to take advantage of, but so many knowledgeable people are saying this Liverpool side has no weaknesses and we’re seeing this on a weekly basis. How the fuck do you beat us? The only way a team is going to beat us is if we have a huge off day (like at Old Trafford), and even then they’d have to produce their best game of the season to still win (unlucky, United!). Southampton were superb today. I couldn’t have been more impressed with them. They had a go, they played on the front foot and they were really well drilled in what the coach wanted them to do. For 45 minutes they gave us all we could handle. And then they lost 4-0 because that’s what we can do. At least they went in with the approach that they would stand or fall by doing what they do. One of things that isn’t really talked about but for me is one of the key factors in why we’re able to do what we do, is the level of analysis we do on the opposition. The Southampton boss said we’re so great because we never underestimate anyone, and that’s true. It’s also true that we study the shit out of everyone we’re going to play. I guess those two things are linked together. Look at today. Southampton caused us so many problems in the first half, but Klopp says that at half time his boy Pete picked out three examples of passages of play where we just needed to do something a bit different to open them up. This no doubt involved changing how we used Fabinho when playing through their press, and lo and behind in the second half we were just popping it around them and then finding space to run at them. This is what I mean. No stone is left unturned when it comes to preparation and as a result of that we can adjust to overcome any type of tactics or style. Of course it helps when you’ve got world class players all over the park, but other teams have had that too. They’ve never been able to do what we’re doing right now though. Meanwhile, the Hendo for POTY campaign is really rolling now. Shearer threw his weight behind it on MOTD tonight, Lineker agreed and Ian Wright offered up no argument against either. It might actually happen you know. Sunday Feb 2: What’s this bullshit? Juve ready to bid £150m for Virgil, apparently. Biggest load of clickbait shite since… since… well since that Richarlison story last week. Who in their right mind is swapping us for Juve, especially after seeing what happened to Big Sexy who is now at Dortmund. You don’t leave us and better yourself. Not any more. Meanwhile, City lost again. I’ll be covering this in the Round Up so won’t dwell on it here. One thing I want to mention though is how fucking frazzled Guardiola is. His post match interview with Sky was really uncomfortable viewing as he had that weird kind of forced smile you see from movie bad guys before they slit someone’s throat. He then went off on one about something Peter Scudamore said two years ago. Even leaving aside the way he’s twisted what Scudamore meant, this was fucking nuts. I’ve been telling you for ages how there are people behind the scenes at that club who are utterly obsessed with Liverpool and this is just the latest example of it. There’s no way Guardiola thought of that by himself. He’s not someone who sits there reading all the papers to see what’s being said about his team and I doubt he even knew who Scudamore was before today. For him to have said what he did after the game just tells me he’s been fed that by someone else there. Probably in the press office, as if you talk to anyone who’s had dealings with them they’ll tell you that they’re batshit fucking mental over there. So someone has told him he should bring that up and they’ve made him look like an absolute fucking tool. Not that he needs much help, but still. I reckon he’ll quit at the end of this season as he knows he’s beaten and unless he’s given another billion pound to spend (which he won’t be, as the FFP scrutiny on them is such that not even they would dare to be so brazen again) that City squad is not closing the gap on us any time soon. We’ve broken him like we broke Barcelona. Maybe he’ll go back and they can try to fix each other while sharing their traumatic experienced at the hands of the Mighty Reds. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that the Week that Was is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  12. Watford’s revival has ground to a shuddering halt after successive stoppage time defeats. They lost the Z-Cars derby 3-2 despite leading 2-0 and despite Everton having to play a large part of the second half with only ten men. Watford’s opening goal was a work of art. Absolutely sensational football from front to back, it had back heels, glorious crossfield passes, stunning control and eventually a fine finish from Messina. It was a Liverpool goal, and I can pay them no higher compliment than that. Their second was decent too, capped by a lovely finish by Pereyra. The first half was all Watford and they were well in control. Then they gave up two goals to Yerry Mina in stoppage time and went in at 2-2. Crazy stuff. Delph then saw red after two quick bookings. The second one was fairly soft but when you’ve been booked already you just don’t dive in like that unless you’re a fucking moron, which of course he is. The problem with Delph is that everything about his entire demeanour screams out ‘book me, ref’. He’s permanently snarling and aggressive, he’s always fouling and he’s a mouthy prick. He’s just not getting the benefit of the doubt. I'd book him in the tunnel before the game just to save time. Watford couldn’t take advantage of the extra man and got caught in stoppage time when Richarlison got away down the left and picked out Moise Kean who as usual completely fluffed his lines. Unfortunately the ball rolled perfectly into the path of Walcott to present him with a chance that not even he could squander. Several Watford players have spoken recently about how Pearson’s disciplinarian approach was just what they needed. I don’t expect to hear any of them talking like that now though, as it’s hard to talk when you’re wearing your own tongue as a tie. Big Nige isn’t going to stand for that kind of ineptitude. Any more of that and I can see him marching into the dressing room dressed like Stallone in First Blood, complete with the big fuck off knife. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that PL Round Ups are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  13. Report by Dave Usher Who’s disrespecting the cup now, eh? I really hope we win thing now, not just because it would be part of an historic double or hopefully even treble (or quadruple if we’re counting the World Club Cup), but because it will be a big ‘fuck you’ to all those who threw shade our way for fielding such a young side. Disrespecting the cup? No, you disrespected our kids, because they’re fucking boss. All this overly nostalgic bullshit we hear about the ‘magic of the cup’ does my head in. The FA Cup has changed. Football changes. Shit, everything changes. THIS is the new magic of the cup. Not Ronnie fucking Radford scoring a screamer on a ploughed field in the 70s, and not Shrewsbury fans invading the pitch after drawing with a Liverpool side minus all of its regular starters. What is more magical than a group of talented teenagers being given the chance to play for the biggest club in the country, in front of a sell out crowd, and playing like THAT??? Nothing, that’s what. This is the new magic of the cup, embrace it. I’m made up I went to this game. I wasn’t going to bother but a mate couldn’t make it and offered me his ticket so I thought why not. So glad I did, because it was so much fun. I walked out of Anfield with a massive grin on my face and it’s still there now as I write this. What a fun season this has been so far and it’s not just because of the senior lads running away with the league. Some of the most enjoyable moments of the season have been in the cups where the kids have just been sensational. I don’t think the club has every been in a healthier state than it is right now. Everything is running exactly how you’d want it to. It’s mad really when you think about what we’ve done in these cups. Up until now, the impressive cup wins were achieved with a sprinkling of experienced players mixed in with the most talented youngsters. The one time the kids had been left to fend for themselves they lost 5-0 at Villa, but even that game was enjoyable in a lot of ways. The boys were the better side that night but Villa just had more experience and physically at both ends of the pitch. Not to mention we were without some of our best youngsters that night, as Jones, Brewster, Williams, Lewis and Larouci were all unavailable. This was different. Larouci and Brewster weren’t there but it as an altogether stronger looking side than the one that lost at Villa. Besides, Shrewsbury didn’t have the quality that Villa had. Even so, they had given us all we could handle at their place so on paper it looked like a tough game. Not that anyone wanted to talk about football in the build up to this. It was all about Klopp staying away, disrespecting the cup, screwing Shrewsbury out of money and all sorts of other nonsense. Lost in all of it was that Neil Critchley genuinely thought his lads could win the game. You could see it in his press conference. The little glint in his eye when he was told that people had been writing his boys off. “Have they?” he said. He never said it but it was obvious he was thinking “ok well we’ll fucking show them”. This is just a teaser, click to view the full report Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  14. Report by Dave Usher I don’t even know what to say any more. Could this season possibly go any better? It feels as though we increase our lead every week. When we led by 14 or something not so long ago, there were still fans not wanting to count their chickens. Understandable, but not really based on anything other than an irrational fear of what has happened before. At no point this season have Manchester City looked like a team capable of going on one of their trademark winning runs, and at no point this season (Old Trafford and Villa Park apart) have we looked like losing a game. The more likely scenario back then wasn’t us being caught, it was us increasing our lead. And lo and beyond, here we are 22 points clear. And the scenario hasn’t changed. It’s far more likely we extend the lead than see it reduced. It’s not a matter of will we win the title, it’s just how soon will we win it. We’re making it look easy but it really isn’t. Just because we can win games when not playing at our best doesn’t mean that this shit is easy. If it was easy, a side as accomplished as Man City wouldn’t have lost six games. It’s not easy doing what we do. Winning games in the Premier League isn’t as routine as we make it look. Just ask Arsenal, who have won only six games all season. The claim that this is the weakest league in years doesn’t hold water. Most of the traditional ‘big six’ aren’t as strong as usual, but even if they were they’d still be miles behind us. Only Man City in their ‘Centurion’ season would be capable of keeping it close, but don’t tell me that the standard of the rest of the league is any worse now than it was. Even the shite teams have squads packed with international players. Klopp said prior to this game that the two teams you don’t want to face at the moment are Wolves and Southampton. I’d probably add Sheffield United to that too, but you can see why he said that. Southampton are a right fucking handful at the moment. They play with now fear and hold nothing back. In that first half they gave us all we could handle and they probably should have led at the break. They were more positive than any side we’ve faced all season. They pushed high up the pitch, they played with two strikers and two out and out wingers and it felt like they had about 20 attempts at goal in that first half, half of them in the last five minutes when they just kept taking the ball off us and peppering our goal. We definitely contributed to our own problems but I don’t want to take anything away from Southampton’s performance because it was their aggressive pressing that forced us into those mistakes. Ultimately it counted for nothing and they lost 4-0, but we are so good these days that no matter what the opposition do at Anfield they’re almost certainly going to lose anyway. Sitting back doesn’t work and although the Saints ultimately got hammered, their positive approach could easily have yielded better results on another day. And it definitely would have against another team. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  15. Saturday Jan 25: Charlie Adam says Hendo should be player of the year. Now it’s fair to say that what Charlie Adam says about the Reds doesn’t carry much weight, but I thought this was interesting just because there really seems to be momentum building towards this now. Half the reason players end up being put up for these awards is because the voters are often swayed by public and media opinion. The more people in the media discussing it, the more likely it is to happen. Adrian Durham has been banging the drum on Talksport and I’ve seen a few journalists also suggesting it. The maddest part for me is that the first person I heard putting Hendo’s name forward was my Dad during one of our home games several weeks ago. He said Hendo should be player of the year but he’s got no chance because it always goes to the goalscorers or fair players. Thing is, Virg got it last year so maybe the tide is turning on that. Hendo is a really popular figure with his peers and also with most of the national media. He might win it you know. And if he did, I don’t think there’d ever have been a more worthy individual to get it, as he’s such a fucking great lad. Layton Stewart bags a hat-trick for the u18s today. He’s a big talent who is apparently really highly thought of within the club, but it;s interesting that unlike some of his team-mates he isn’t being fast tracked into the 23s. In fact, rather than rush him they went out and signed Joe Hardy to replace Brewster. Stewart is class though, defo one to keep an eye on. Sunday Jan 26: Shrewsbury 2 L 2 That was everything the Everton game wasn’t. The senior players didn’t lead the way today, they let the kids down. The kids were hit and miss. Jones was good, Williams was alright, Elliott very quiet, Pedro had a great first half and a quiet second, while Larouci struggled. Still we were 2-0 up and that should have been game over. Then Matip, Lovren and Fabinho took it upon themselves to continually invite pressure by arsing about by their own box and giving Shrewsbury hope. I put this result 100% on those three. Origi was shite too but he’s not the reason we blew a 2-0 lead. Klopp must have been so pissed off that he had to throw Bobby and Mo on there to try and win it late. They should have been given the day off completely, but you can maybe see now why they weren’t. Now Klopp is insisting that he and the squad will take no part in the replay and it’s going to be an Aston Villa type situation with Critchley and the kids taking on Shrewsbury. I get that he’s trying to make a point, but it doesn’t really sit right. I’m not especially arsed either way, but I think he’s got this wrong. I’m all for Hendo, Virg, Bobby, Mo and the rest getting a week off, but Klopp should be here and so should some of the squad players who need playing time, not least those who were so fucking shite today. He’s going to get shit from the usual talking heads but for once it’s difficult to argue his corner. Anyone trying to suggest an FA Cup replay should take priority over the players getting a break can fuck off. That’s just a stupid take and I’ll fight our corner all the way on that. If someone wants to say that Klopp should be taking charge of the game and that the likes of Keita, Shaqiri, Lovren, Matip, Lallana etc should all be playing, then that’s at least worthy of a discussion. I can see why Klopp wants to honour the break and why he doesn’t want to operate the squad and have some stay behind. I don’t necessarily agree with it, but I can see the logic in his thinking. I’d rather he was there for the game but only if he’s going to be picking some senior players. If it’s a team like the one that faced Villa then there’s no point him being there as they aren’t his players. They’re Neil Critchley’s players. He works with them every day so if that’s the team that faces Shrewsbury then Critchley may as well be in charge and Jurgen can go and sit on a beach somewhere with a few beers. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that the Week that Was is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
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