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  1. Report by Dave Usher Another one down, another step nearer. Nothing was decided by this victory but some people seem to be seeing it as “the day the title was won”. I’m not sure why, to be honest. Remove the name of the opponent and the situation is just that we beat an average team at Anfield. Would the reaction have been the same if we’d beaten Palace or West Ham? No. But because it’s United we’ve got Gary Neville talking about the Salah goal as “the moment the title was decided”. That goal didn’t even decide the game as we’d won anyway. In terms of results that showed the title was heading to Anfield, this is way down the list for me and it’s giving United far too much credit to suggest that this was some kind of ‘signature win’. United are a mediocre team right now and to be completely honest I’m frustrated we didn’t beat them by more goals. I suppose City dropping two points the day before plays a part, but we’re miles ahead anyway and, funny as it was, I don’t think the Palace equaliser was especially significant. Hopefully City continue to drop points though just so we can wrap this up as soon as possible. It’s hilarious listening to Solksjaer trying to cling to little positives. “We did better than in the game here last year”. Not really. It was pretty much the same type of “please don’t hurt us” type of performance that we’re seeing from virtually every opponent we come across these days. In terms of what we’ve seen at Anfield of late, United’s display was slightly better than Sheffield United and significantly worse than Watford and Wolves. If they want to take some positive little crumbs from that, let them. I think it’s fucking hilarious. Ole is hilarious. He’s so deluded and so cheerful I just don’t have it in me to dislike him. He’s a funny guy. Like a clown. He amuses me. I mean come on, “They don’t carve you open” is an all time classic. The stuff about us being direct and playing a lot of long balls is 100% true, but to suggest we don’t carve teams open is embarrassing for him. Almost as embarrassing as his lowering of expectations and attempts to give himself credibility with claims like “it shows how much we’re respected that Man City didn’t rest players against us”. He’s like a little goblin faced Norwegian Hodgson. 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.
  2. Saturday Jan 11: Spurs 0 L 1 We were nowhere near our best today but we were still way better than sorry shithouse Spurs, who went out there just hoping not to get smacked around. Just because Mourinho said afterwards that they did well and deserved a point, a lot of people seem to have bought into it. They deserved nothing. They played like a plucky little underdog in the cup. I was embarrassed for them as they’ve always been able to go toe to toe with us since Klopp has been here. Now look at them. Pitiful. You know the great thing about our lads though? They won at Spurs but they were pissed off. You could see it. They were genuinely disappointed in themselves. Hendo was fuming afterwards and you could see him say to Klopp on the pitch “not good enough. That was fucking shit”. Virgil wasn’t happy either, and Klopp reckons when he went to congratulate Bobby he was met with “I know, I should have scored more. I’m sorry”. The standards they are setting for themselves are the reason that I’m so sure this title race is over. There’s just no way these lads are going to lose six or seven games. There’s more chance that the gap gets bigger rather than smaller. We’ve now officially had the best ever start in the history of the big five European leagues. What we’re seeing it truly historic shit. It’s literally never been done before. 20 wins from 21 games. Incredible stuff. We are a few months away from this team being the reigning champions of England, Europe and the World. Who’d have thought. Even just a couple of years ago it seemed well out of reach, but look at us now. The u18s won again too. They went behind int he first minute and Stoke but equalised before half time and won it with five minutes left. These boys love a late goal even more than the senior lads. Sunday Jan 12: City smash Villa into the middle of next week but Guardiola is still saying the title has gone and we’re too far ahead. Why do so many people think he’s just playing mind games here? Guardiola has a higher opinion of Klopp and his team than pretty much anybody in football. He’s always talking about how good we are, and he was doing it before we were even challenging them. So now he finds himself 14 points behind having played a game more. Of course he thinks it’s over, why wouldn’t he? It isn’t mind games, he just knows how good we are because we matched them stride for stride last season when they had to be absolutely perfect over the last few months to hold us off. He knows they aren’t clawing back a 17 point deficit. Nat Phillips is going back to finish his loan spell in Germany. He’s probably never going to play for us again but what a cool story he’s got to tell, cutting short a loan spell to come back and help us beat Everton, before then giving it the arl Josemi “and now my work here is done”. Great stuff. Almost as great as this story from a London journalist about Berbatov from yesterday… "Dimitar Berbatov came into the media cafe at Spurs about 10 minutes before kick off, looking for food. Grabbed a roll, but the catering manager came over and asked him where his pre-match meal voucher was (all media get given them). "While his colleague argued his case, having taken one himself, explaining who the Bulgarian was, Berbatov casually buttered his roll, stuffed the whole thing into his mouth and stood in front of the woman with it hanging half out as if to say 'what you going to do about it now?' "This sent the catering manager to a new level of outrage at this Bulgarian and his devil may care attitude. While she raged, Berbatov simply smiled with buttered roll still hanging out of his mouth before walking out of the room. Dimitar Berbatov - doing what he wants since 1981." Meanwhile, Fabinho says he wants to welcome his mate Mbappe to Liverpool. You and me both, son. You and me both. This is just a teaser, click here to view 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.
  3. I’ve got a mate who is a Leicester fan and I told him on Friday that they’d have their hands full with Southampton. The most obvious result of the weekend was City winning at Villa, but the next best bet was that Leicester wouldn’t beat Southampton. When you beat a team 9-0 they’re going to be like men possessed when you face them again. We know that from experience. Southampton are a hugely different kettle of fish to the side that were embarrassed at St Mary’s by Brendan’s boys and there was no way they were going to lose to Leicester again. Leicester did take the lead though when Vardy crossed for Praet to finish from close range, but Southampton equalised soon after when Armstrong’s shot deflected in off Maddison. Vardy had a goal ruled out for offside and Ings hit the bar as both teams traded blows. Ings then hit the bar again with a fucking thunderbolt, having earlier been denied by a double save from Schmeichel. Southampton were awarded a penalty when Shane Long did a Shane Long. He got in front of the defender then just stopped running and allowed the defender to clatter into him. Classic Long. VAR showed him to be fractionally offside though so no pen. The Saints went ahead when Evans released Ings and he toe poked it through Schmeichel’s legs for his 16th of the season. He was then denied again by the keeper, while Leicester had two more goals disallowed by VAR, including what would have been a stoppage time equaliser by Evans. Leicester aren’t a threat to us but they were second in the table going into this game so in one respect the more games they lose the better for us. Really though, I think I want them to keep winning for the time being at least just to keep Man City occupied. Southampton’s turnaround has been remarkable. They’re level on points with Everton and Arsenal now. Their goal difference is -12 which when you consider they lost one game by nine goals is pretty impressive. This is the level they should be. It’s why I was saying they needed to bin that manager because they should never have been as shit as they were. He’s got them flying now though and they aren’t a side you’d want to face at the moment as they’re full of energy and Ings is scoring every week. He’s in such electric form right now. Leicester should probably be looking at him as a partner / alternative to Vardy, as he’s miles better than that Iheanacho cunt. Not sure Ings would want to leave Southampton though as that’s his boyhood team so he’s probably loving life at the moment. So pleased for him and long may it continue. 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.
  4. Report by Dave Usher Theres been a lot of bollocks spouted in the aftermath of this game so let me cut through all that before going any further: The truth is that Spurs were shite and deserved nothing. Anyone suggesting otherwise is talking a steaming pile of pure Zlatan. I know they missed chances and some of them are kidding themselves into thinking they were ’unlucky’ (if they want to completely overlook the chances we missed at the other end). That’s the predictable narrative spun by Mourinho, but it’s fucking nonsense. It’s all about trying to justify his cowardly approach to a crowd who have always been staunchly against that type of ‘football’. Maybe some Spurs fans will swallow it, but that doesn’t make it true. Here’s what happened. Tottenham tried to Mourinho the shit out of the game and to some degree it worked, but they lost. Tough shit. If you play with that kind of cowardice you don’t get to cry about what you ‘deserve’, especially when you ‘deserve’ nothing. Maybe if you’d shown even the tiniest bit of ambition you might have gotten something, but you didn’t, and you didn’t. So fuck off. The only time Spurs looked dangerous was when we gave them the ball through our own complacency. Why were we so complacent? Because they were fucking shite and it was too easy for us. They played like a plucky underdog in a cup match. Or to put it another way, they played like a Mourinho team. He did this with Chelsea and Man United and he did it against far less accomplished Liverpool sides than this one. So Jurgen will have known exactly what to expect. This is who he is. It’s what he does. He was probably made up that Kane was injured as it gave him the excuse he needed to park the bus. “Look at us with all of our injuries, trying to take on the best team in Europe so short handed. We had to play like that, aren’t my lads brave”. His brand of football is ten years past it’s sell by date. Enjoy, Spurs fans. This is your new reality. It’s incredible how far we’ve pulled away from Spurs in the last 12 months and with him in charge that’s not going to change any time soon. From the first few minutes of the game I thought it was glaringly obvious just how big the gulf was between the sides. They looked terrified of us. It shouldn’t have been like that because Spurs have got loads of good players and have shown plenty of times they can win without Kane. In fact, Son and Lucas Moura worry me far more than Kane does. We’ve generally edged the meetings we’ve had in recent seasons but they’ve always gone toe to toe with us and given us some of the most difficult games we’ve had. They could have tried to go toe to toe with us again because they know they can do it and besides, what did they have to lose really? The league table shows how much better than them we are but in head to head games it’s always been difficult for us. It’s not as though the result was going to be season defining for them, so they could have given it a go. It says everything about Mourinho though that nobody ever thought for a second they would. This game was too easy for us and that was the thing that caused us a problem. It really shouldn’t have been as close as it was because Spurs played with a massive inferiority complex and we should have buried them by half time. This is just a teaser, click 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.
  5. Saturday Jan 4: Ancelotti talked about how close he came to joining us in 2015 but says we made the right choice in Klopp. He’s a good egg is Carlo, and at the time I wanted him rather than Jurgen. I know, what a fucking goon. It looks utterly insane now, but I think my main reasoning was that footy hipsters all loved Klopp and Dortmund and I just rebelled against that. I also thought there was a boom or bust element about Klopp whereas Ancelotti was more of a what you see is what you get. I was half right on that as things have definitely gone BOOM in a big way under Jurgen. Mad that Ancelotti has ended up on Merseyside four years later though, on the other side of the park. It won’t work out for him but that’s not a reflection on him as a manager. He’s won everything there is to win and his credentials are impeccable. But this is Everton we’re talking about here. Failure is what they do and not even he will be able to change that. The other thing that counts against him is he’s a nice fella who has a soft spot for the Reds. Ask Big Red Ron and Marco Silva how that worked out for them. In other news, hey he broke his Cherry!! Dom Solanke finally scored! He’s been there a year and it’s taken him until now to break his duck. Made up for him though, I always thought he was a really good player and although he wasn’t a fit for us I assumed he’d have a good career elsewhere. He still might, but 12 months without a goal is fucking grim. It must be doing his head in seeing Calvert-Lewin scoring freely even though he’s only half the player Solanke is, but it’s up to him to prove it now. Bournemouth are in real trouble as their squad has been ravaged by injury, so he needs to step up and score the goals that keep them up. Nice little win for the u18s today. 3-0 at home to Blackburn. The team is so young now it’s hard to keep track of who’s who. Most of the regulars have moved up to the 23s but the 18s still seem to keep getting results no matter who they pick. Sunday Jan 5: L 1 Everton 0 That was just one of the most enjoyable derby games ever and it’s one of my favourite games of the season so far. I loved the Arsenal game but this was even better. For all the praise that our lads deserve, you have to take into account how fucking woeful Everton were. I’d like to say that was because of how well we played, but it was mostly just them being massive cowards who bottled it because of Anfield. Poor Carlo is maybe now getting an idea of just what a hopeless task he has on his hands. Still, he’s being well compensated for the hit his reputation is going to take. They actually started well and had obviously taken encouragement by the team we’d sent out, but when they missed those three chances they lost all hope and spent the rest of the game just expecting to lose. It’s what they do. Don’t forget, they’ve had games when they’ve come here on an equal footing in the table (sometimes they’ve been above us) but without fail they’ve shit the bed. Any time there is any expectation on them to do anything they just can’t handle it. You know the one thing that summed Everton up today? They won the toss and chose to change ends, even though they had 8,000 fans in the Anny Road. We could have played the under 9s today and Everton would still have had an inferiority complex. To put this in perspective, this wasn’t our second team, it was more like our third. Several players in this line up would not make a second XI and there are one or two who might not make the third. Richarlison cost more than our entire line up. So did Sigurdsson. This was a derby win for the ages, one we can gloat about for generations. We beat Everton even though we didn’t pick Alisson, Trent, Robbo, Matip, Van Dijk, Lovren, Fabinho, Hendo, Keita, Wijnaldum, Salah, Mane, Firmino and Shaqiri. In addition, Milner only played six minutes and Ox only came on for the last 20. I wasn’t even surprised. Origi plus any ten was always going to be enough. What a goal by Curtis though. Doesn’t get any better for a young Red that. 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.
  6. tlw content

    Liverpool’s Record-Breaking Season

    As if sitting 13 points clear at the top of the top-flight standings, with a game in hand, was not enough, Liverpool are set to continue to break records as they close in on a first ever Premier League title. The Reds have now gone an entire year without losing in the Premier League, while their unbeaten run at Anfield in the same competition dates back to April 2017. Jurgen Klopp has led his side to 19 wins from their opening 20 Premier League matches this season, with many now backing Liverpool to go the entire season unbeaten, matching the famous Arsenal side of 2003-04 in the process. The records are likely to continue to fall over the coming months, with a win over Tottenham Hotspur this weekend meaning that they will have the greatest number of points after 21 matches in Premier League history, with reigning champions Manchester City currently holding the record after reaching 59 points in the 2017-18 campaign. Pep Guardiola’s City are 14 points behind Liverpool, meaning that it comes as little surprise that leading UK betting apps have marked them as the clear favourites to win the title this season. Meanwhile, the Reds can also break another of City’s records over the coming weeks, should they win their next three home matches in the Premier League. As well as this, Arsenal’s 49-match unbeaten run in the top-flight is also under pressure, with Liverpool having gone 37 games without suffering defeat. Their bid to record the biggest points tally is also one to keep an eye on, with 112 points being the maximum amount in which they can reach. City reached the 100-point mark in 2018, with those at Anfield likely to be highly motivated to go beyond this number. The Reds still have to take on Everton, Manchester City and Arsenal on the road, however it would take a brave man to back against Klopp & Co breaking this record too. Individually, Alexander-Arnold has entered the Guinness book of Records of late, with the 21-year-old having recorded the most assists by a defender in Premier League history. The full-back registered 12 assists last season, while he already has eight in 20 matches this time around. Only Kevin De Bruyne has more than the England international, with the full-back potentially beating his own record come the end of the campaign. So, just how many of these records will Liverpool actually break? Having rested many of their big names in their recent FA Cup victory over Everton, Klopp will be confident of his side overcoming an inconsistent Tottenham Hotspur side on Saturday evening, while three points over Manchester United a week later would provide another massive confidence boost. Eight consecutive wins would see the Reds break Manchester City’s record of the most wins on the bounce, however this remains up in the air.
  7. Report by Dave Usher “We expected to win” said Adam Lallana afterwards. So did I. Seriously, I did. Even after I saw the team we picked I was confident we’d win. Why? Because it’s Anfield, it’s Everton and because every player who in this squad is a mentality monster, even the kids. Any time they’ve been selected we’ve seen the confidence in the younger players, so it shouldn’t really be surprising. It’s unusual and it’s rare that you see kids performing so well in limited appearances, but there is a simple explanation for it. Part of it is that Klopp can make players feel ten feet tall, but it’s not just that. It’s about how these kids are integrated into the group and how they are made to feel. Let’s say you’re Harvey Elliott for example. You’ve probably spent a lot of time up against Andy Robbo in training. Why would you then be even the slightest bit fazed about facing any other left back? It goes right throughout the squad. Curtis Jones trains every day alongside and against people like Fabinho, Henderson, Milner, Wijnaldum. As if he’s going to be even the tiniest bit intimidated coming up against Schneiderlin or Sigurdsson. I think Yasser Larouci is the only one not with the seniors on a full time basis, so Neco Williams and Nat Phillips for example, are used to coming up against Salah, Firmino and Mané every day. Seriously, it must almost be a relief to face Richarlison, Walcott and Calvert-Lewin. And I’m not saying this to be derogatory about the Blues’ players. They’re seasoned Premier League footballers, but most of our young lads train with the best team in the world day in day out so why would they be nervous about facing inferior players to those they pit themselves against every day? That no doubt sounds arrogant but it’s true. Those young players train with and against some of the world’s best players every single day, and even when they aren’t involved in the match day squad they are still there in the dressing room, or travelling to away games. Watch those ‘Inside Training’ videos on LFC TV and you’ll see that there isn’t an “us” and “them” situation. The senior lads are always joking around and mixing with the kids, and the result of all this is that the lads see themselves as Liverpool players and not just reserves. In the past it was often intimidating for a young player to be plucked out of the reserves and thrown into the first team. Now they’re so close to it every week they’re just desperate to be involved. They aren’t scared, they’re just hungry as fuck and they’re completely comfortable in their surroundings. 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.
  8. West Ham picked up a much needed win as they smashed Bournemouth 3-0 to kick off their New Year - and of course the Davie Moyes era - in style. Not really a surprise, they’ve got ‘the Chosen One’ now and as the man himself says “winning is what he does”. I’m just glad we’ve got such a big lead over him or we might be in trouble. Mark Noble’s deflected strike set them on their way and Sebastian Haller added a brilliant second with a bicycle kick. He was giving it the sulky / not celebrating celebration to the fans as he’s taken a lot of stick recently. Sorry lad, but you cost big money and you’ve done fuck all in a team that has been so bad that they’re in relegation trouble and had to sack a Premier League winning manager. You don’t get to give it the big ‘un just for doing what you’ve been bought to do. Noble made it 3-0 from the spot after being brought down by Harry Wilson, who did everything in his power to not make contact but just couldn’t avoid it. Thats why you don’t want players like Harry back in his own box defending. Felipe Anderson finally did something worthwhile and made it 4-0 with a nice individual effort. Good player him but he’s been a massive let down this season. Creswell was sent off for a reckless challenge on Fraser but VAR downgraded it to a yellow. Not sure how I feel on that, but it didn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things as Bournemouth were already dead and buried. Bournemouth are in real trouble now but they’ve just been ravaged by injury recently. If they get their main players back I think they’ll just have enough to pull out of it as when they’re at full strength they’re a decent side. Poor Dom Solanke still can’t find the net though. He hit the post late on and I just feel really bad for the lad. Hopefully he can start scoring in the run in to keep them up. After all, if he fails, we can forget about getting any more cash from Nice Guy Eddie for our kids. Mind you, that ship may have already sailed after Jordon Ibe got himself nicked for allegedly driving his Bentley into a coffee shop and leaving the scene. Fucking hell. Am I the only person who read that and found the most disturbing aspect of it that Jordon Ibe has a fucking Bentley? The shitness of modern football. Update: Solanke scored in the FA Cup. Good for him, hopefully now the monkey is off his back he can get rolling. If that Calvert-Lewin bum can manage double;e figures there’s no reason Solanke can’t, as he was always the better of the two in all of the England junior sides. 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.
  9. Report by Dave Usher Whatever happened to those roller coaster games when we couldn’t hold onto a lead? We’d play the likes of Palace or West Ham or Norwich and it’d be 4-3 or 5-4 or something wild, because we couldn’t control games. The way the team has evolved was never more in evidence than here. We completely strangled Sheffield United and amassed the most passes in a league game since records began. To think that a lot of fans were worried about this game. I wouldn’t say I was worried as such, but I can’t say I was fully confident either. I thought we’d win but I expected a tough game, probably similar to the Wolves game three days earlier. Turns out it was quite easy. Or at least that’s how the lads made it look. No doubt a lot of hard work went into it but to the untrained eye it looks like we rarely had to get out of second gear. I’m sure that’s not the case, and the distance covered stats for the players would attest to that (Milner especially). It helps when you score inside four minutes of course. Lovely goal it was too. Ok, the defender fell down and that helps, but I’m not sure he would have been able to cut out that pass from Virg anyway. Robbo collected the ball, got his head up and picked out Salah’s run. Mo did the rest. Lovely goal and I wish I’d celebrated it properly. I didn’t though. Why? Firstly because from where I was sat it looked like the ball might have brushed off Robbo’s hand as he controlled it, and secondly because there was no way of knowing whether Salah was onside or not. As it turns out the ball was nowhere near Robbo’s hand and Mo was well onside. I didn’t know that though from the opposite end of the stadium. I didn’t celebrate the second either because I thought it was probably offside. I hate this, but what can you do? That opening goal is another example of how the team has developed. Those long balls played from the defenders are killing opponents. We can hurt teams in so many ways that we’ve become almost impossible to stop. Sit back against us and we can play around and through. Push up and we’ll hit the ball over the top. If we don’t get you in other of those ways, then there’s always counter attacks or set-pieces. This is just a teaser, click 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.
  10. tlw content

    Opposition View: Sheffield United

    After a memorable 2019, the Reds get back to business with their first game of the new decade against Sheffield United. on Thursday evening. The Blades have been one of the great stories of the 2019/20 season to date. Through impressive manager Chris Wilder, the pre-season relegation favourites have refused to take a backward step against any opposition they have faced with their outstanding record away from home in this campaign being true testament of that. The fans from @Blades_Mad gave TLW an insightful description into the impact that Wilder has made to the club in his tenure and what players have taken to Premier League football like a duck to water. Can you talk our readers though the job that Chris Wilder has done since his appointment and what do you see as his key strengths as a manager? To put it simple; he's dragged this club off the canvas and propelled it back into the big time and in such a short space of time as well. He took the club over three and a half years ago, when it was at its lowest having finished a paltry 11th in League One under his predecessor. 46 games and 100 points later, United had romped to the League One title in style, meaning an end to six years of hurt, languishing in English football's third tier. A season of consolidation in the Championship and a top half finished followed, and then a promotion charge which couldn't have been foreseen by many, with United still recording one of the lowest budgets in the Championship. United managed to stave off competition from Leeds United and secure an automatic promotion spot alongside fellow unfancied outfit - Norwich City. The start to life back in the Premier League has been nothing short of remarkable really. We were tipped by many to be a dead certainty to go straight back down and although many Blades fans felt that was unjust, this ridiculously terrific start by Chris Wilder's men couldn't have been foreseen. The gaffer has many strengths. He's a huge motivator and passion certainly is one of his traits if you like, but underneath all of that is a revolutionary football manager. United play in a way which has never been seen before, keep an eye out for the overlapping centre-backs if they get the chance at Anfield! He's one of our own. He's the greatest manager in this club's history. We often see the usual suspects being linked with managerial posts (case in point David Moyes and West Ham), do you think there will come a time when clubs come calling for Wilder? What I would say is that quite a few "high profile" jobs have become available recently and Chris Wilder (thankfully for us) was never genuinely linked with the managerial hot seat at any of those clubs. Surely if he was ever to be offered a job at one of the country's top clubs it would have been now as his stock has never been higher. So long as the board at Sheffield United are on the same page as Wilder, in terms of continuing to levitate this club, then he has the dream job and don't see any reason he'd want to leave. Wilder has never stood still in his managerial career, and now he and Sheffield United are in the dizzy heights of the top half of the Premier League, I'm sure he wants to put no stop to that. In his early days at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp coined a phrase that he wanted to turn the fans from doubters into believers. Do you think the remarkable exploits of last season in winning automatic promotion has carried over to this campaign giving everyone associated with the club a new sense of confidence? I think that's a fair comparison, for sure. There's certainly some momentum there, if you like, but we've been on an upward curve since Chris Wilder took over back in 2016. We suffered our first defeat on the road at Man City on Sunday (in controversial circumstances may I add), and that run stretched all the way back to January. The lads have certainly settled to life in the Premier League, and certainly look a lot more comfortable as the games are ticked off. Bear in mind this is the first real taste of top flight football for many of these lads. I think the reverse fixture with yourselves at Bramall Lane in September gave the boys a huge amount of confidence, because we proved we can put it up against the big boys in this league. Arguably we should and could have got something out of that fixture. Add victories over Arsenal and Everton, and draws against Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United into that and that proves we are capable of matching it up against the very best. Which of your player(s) have pleasantly surprised you in their ability to adapt to Premier League Football? You could say all of them, to be honest! There's a few we knew could adapt to Premier League football, but they've all gone way and above beyond that. I'll go for John Lundstram. He was out of the picture last season and played only a bit part in our promotion campaign from the Championship. This season, he's started every game up to last Sunday (missed due to injury), and has really given us a new dimension as we altered to a flat midfield three. He’s Fantasy Premier League God, also! Haha. What do you believe should be your obtainable goals in the second half of the season? It's a tough one. For now, still get to that magical 40 points mark. And then take it from there really. Without trying to put the mockers on it, I do feel as though we'll comfortably survive. Blades fans have been singing about going on European tours and away trips to Napoli, and whilst most of it is said in jest, who knows what we can achieve? I'm not sure what the ceiling of achievements are under Chris Wilder. I wouldn't rule anything out. This one is a general question especially as it has been over a decade since you were last in the top flight. Is there anything different you have noticed in terms of strength of depth in the Premier League, the quality of player that teams sign nowadays and indeed the style of football that teams play? Absolutely. It was 12 years ago since we were last in the Premier League. A lot has changed. Just the exposure it gets is ridiculous to be honest. And the arrival of the world's best managers into our league, particularly Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola to name a couple, has really propelled football in this country. Some of the best teams ever to grace our leagues have been present in these past 12 years, none more so than the current crop you have at Liverpool right now. It's a great league to be a part of, VAR aside, and we are loving the journey! Is there a particular opposition player or team which has impressed you most this season? Opposition player is an easy one. Virgil Van Dijk. And I'm not just saying that because I'm chatting to a Liverpool fan site. I thought we played phenomenally well against Liverpool earlier in the season, but I just seem to recall Van Dijk getting his body in the way of every ball that came near him. He just seemed to be there all the time, which was increasingly frustrating for us, but very impressive at the same time. Team wise, I wouldn't say there's been a stand out one to be honest. Wolves are a tough nut to crack. Manchester United turned it on for 10 minutes and we couldn't do much about it for that period of time. But we've coped well against pretty much every side this season. The Blades certainly gave Liverpool a real test at Bramall Lane early in the season, do you think the manager will set the team up in a similar way in this fixture? The set up will be pretty familiar, yes. Whether we "go for it" as much remains to be seen. I find that unlikely. Lys Mousset will start this one you would imagine, and will provide United with a real threat on the counter. He caused Man City all sorts of problems at the weekend and could have had a hat trick but for VAR and some unfortunate finishing. You have not been daunted by any opposition you have faced so far, so as a fan how excited are you to come to Anfield in such a confident frame of mind? Very excited to come to Anfield! This is one of the games I've been looking forward to the most, and I reckon I vouch for most Blades fans with that one. Can't wait to see how we cope against the European champions on their own patch. Under the lights. I think we'll put up a real fight and effort. Can't wait! Is there a particular Liverpool player that you would love in Blades’ colours if money was no object. I do think Van Dijk is a colossus, but I'm pretty happy with our centre-halves to be honest haha! So I'll say Sadio Mane! Fantastic player. Great finisher. Has really blossomed this season. What is your score prediction for this clash? I'm going to back us to get something! The odds are unlikely, but if we play anything like we did at Man City in Sunday and the ref doesn't decide to assist the opposition for their opening goal, then I fancy us for a draw. Let's say 1-1!
  11. After a memorable 2019, the Reds get back to business with their first game of the new decade against Sheffield United. on Thursday evening. The Blades have been one of the great stories of the 2019/20 season to date. Through impressive manager Chris Wilder, the pre-season relegation favourites have refused to take a backward step against any opposition they have faced with their outstanding record away from home in this campaign being true testament of that. The fans from @Blades_Mad gave TLW an insightful description into the impact that Wilder has made to the club in his tenure and what players have taken to Premier League football like a duck to water. Can you talk our readers though the job that Chris Wilder has done since his appointment and what do you see as his key strengths as a manager? To put it simple; he's dragged this club off the canvas and propelled it back into the big time and in such a short space of time as well. He took the club over three and a half years ago, when it was at its lowest having finished a paltry 11th in League One under his predecessor. 46 games and 100 points later, United had romped to the League One title in style, meaning an end to six years of hurt, languishing in English football's third tier. A season of consolidation in the Championship and a top half finished followed, and then a promotion charge which couldn't have been foreseen by many, with United still recording one of the lowest budgets in the Championship. United managed to stave off competition from Leeds United and secure an automatic promotion spot alongside fellow unfancied outfit - Norwich City. The start to life back in the Premier League has been nothing short of remarkable really. We were tipped by many to be a dead certainty to go straight back down and although many Blades fans felt that was unjust, this ridiculously terrific start by Chris Wilder's men couldn't have been foreseen. The gaffer has many strengths. He's a huge motivator and passion certainly is one of his traits if you like, but underneath all of that is a revolutionary football manager. United play in a way which has never been seen before, keep an eye out for the overlapping centre-backs if they get the chance at Anfield! He's one of our own. He's the greatest manager in this club's history. We often see the usual suspects being linked with managerial posts (case in point David Moyes and West Ham), do you think there will come a time when clubs come calling for Wilder? What I would say is that quite a few "high profile" jobs have become available recently and Chris Wilder (thankfully for us) was never genuinely linked with the managerial hot seat at any of those clubs. Surely if he was ever to be offered a job at one of the country's top clubs it would have been now as his stock has never been higher. So long as the board at Sheffield United are on the same page as Wilder, in terms of continuing to levitate this club, then he has the dream job and don't see any reason he'd want to leave. Wilder has never stood still in his managerial career, and now he and Sheffield United are in the dizzy heights of the top half of the Premier League, I'm sure he wants to put no stop to that. In his early days at Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp coined a phrase that he wanted to turn the fans from doubters into believers. Do you think the remarkable exploits of last season in winning automatic promotion has carried over to this campaign giving everyone associated with the club a new sense of confidence? I think that's a fair comparison, for sure. There's certainly some momentum there, if you like, but we've been on an upward curve since Chris Wilder took over back in 2016. We suffered our first defeat on the road at Man City on Sunday (in controversial circumstances may I add), and that run stretched all the way back to January. The lads have certainly settled to life in the Premier League, and certainly look a lot more comfortable as the games are ticked off. Bear in mind this is the first real taste of top flight football for many of these lads. I think the reverse fixture with yourselves at Bramall Lane in September gave the boys a huge amount of confidence, because we proved we can put it up against the big boys in this league. Arguably we should and could have got something out of that fixture. Add victories over Arsenal and Everton, and draws against Chelsea, Spurs and Manchester United into that and that proves we are capable of matching it up against the very best. Which of your player(s) have pleasantly surprised you in their ability to adapt to Premier League Football? You could say all of them, to be honest! There's a few we knew could adapt to Premier League football, but they've all gone way and above beyond that. I'll go for John Lundstram. He was out of the picture last season and played only a bit part in our promotion campaign from the Championship. This season, he's started every game up to last Sunday (missed due to injury), and has really given us a new dimension as we altered to a flat midfield three. He’s Fantasy Premier League God, also! Haha. What do you believe should be your obtainable goals in the second half of the season? It's a tough one. For now, still get to that magical 40 points mark. And then take it from there really. Without trying to put the mockers on it, I do feel as though we'll comfortably survive. Blades fans have been singing about going on European tours and away trips to Napoli, and whilst most of it is said in jest, who knows what we can achieve? I'm not sure what the ceiling of achievements are under Chris Wilder. I wouldn't rule anything out. This one is a general question especially as it has been over a decade since you were last in the top flight. Is there anything different you have noticed in terms of strength of depth in the Premier League, the quality of player that teams sign nowadays and indeed the style of football that teams play? Absolutely. It was 12 years ago since we were last in the Premier League. A lot has changed. Just the exposure it gets is ridiculous to be honest. And the arrival of the world's best managers into our league, particularly Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola to name a couple, has really propelled football in this country. Some of the best teams ever to grace our leagues have been present in these past 12 years, none more so than the current crop you have at Liverpool right now. It's a great league to be a part of, VAR aside, and we are loving the journey! Is there a particular opposition player or team which has impressed you most this season? Opposition player is an easy one. Virgil Van Dijk. And I'm not just saying that because I'm chatting to a Liverpool fan site. I thought we played phenomenally well against Liverpool earlier in the season, but I just seem to recall Van Dijk getting his body in the way of every ball that came near him. He just seemed to be there all the time, which was increasingly frustrating for us, but very impressive at the same time. Team wise, I wouldn't say there's been a stand out one to be honest. Wolves are a tough nut to crack. Manchester United turned it on for 10 minutes and we couldn't do much about it for that period of time. But we've coped well against pretty much every side this season. The Blades certainly gave Liverpool a real test at Bramall Lane early in the season, do you think the manager will set the team up in a similar way in this fixture? The set up will be pretty familiar, yes. Whether we "go for it" as much remains to be seen. I find that unlikely. Lys Mousset will start this one you would imagine, and will provide United with a real threat on the counter. He caused Man City all sorts of problems at the weekend and could have had a hat trick but for VAR and some unfortunate finishing. You have not been daunted by any opposition you have faced so far, so as a fan how excited are you to come to Anfield in such a confident frame of mind? Very excited to come to Anfield! This is one of the games I've been looking forward to the most, and I reckon I vouch for most Blades fans with that one. Can't wait to see how we cope against the European champions on their own patch. Under the lights. I think we'll put up a real fight and effort. Can't wait! Is there a particular Liverpool player that you would love in Blades’ colours if money was no object. I do think Van Dijk is a colossus, but I'm pretty happy with our centre-halves to be honest haha! So I'll say Sadio Mane! Fantastic player. Great finisher. Has really blossomed this season. What is your score prediction for this clash? I'm going to back us to get something! The odds are unlikely, but if we play anything like we did at Man City in Sunday and the ref doesn't decide to assist the opposition for their opening goal, then I fancy us for a draw. Let's say 1-1! View full article
  12. Liverpool added further silverware to their trophy cabinet by winning the Club World Championship by seeing off Flamengo in Doha. The Reds are becoming the most dominant side in the game after adding the world title to their Champions League crown. Jurgen Klopp’s men are on course to end their title drought in England after 30 long years without the trophy. Everything is perfect at Anfield at the moment, and the prospect of the January transfer window will allow the German to plug up any potential holes in his squad – or better yet plan for the future to ensure that the club remain at the top of the Premier League. The Championship has a mine of young quality players available to the Reds, and here are three players that could appeal to Klopp to become part of his squad. Kalvin Phillips (Leeds) Phillips is one of the most-sought players on the market in the second tier due to the quality of his performances for the Whites. However, the 24-year-old has insisted that he will remain at Elland Road, especially considering that Leeds are the leading contenders in the Championship betting odds to be promoted to the Premier League. Having come through the academy at the Yorkshire outfit, Phillips won't be easily swayed. Liverpool should be in the market for a midfielder as Jordan Henderson is approaching his thirties, while James Milner is nearing the end of his career at the top. Phillips provides the same energy and combative edge needed to thrive in the middle of the park. It might take a fee in the region of £20m to lure him to Anfield, but it worked in the past for Henderson. Eberechi Eze (Queens Park Rangers) Eze is a player on the rise in the Championship, offering a goalscoring threat from the midfield. The 21-year-old has taken a huge step forward in his development under the tenure of Mark Warburton at Loftus Road. Eze has come through the ranks with the club and has found his form with devastating effect, leading the R’s in the goal column at time of writing by scoring nine strikes in 21 appearances this term. He has made three appearances for the England Under-21s and will still be a work in progress should the Reds move for him, but there is undoubted potential and is a different player from what Klopp currently has in the middle of the park. They could face competition from Tottenham, pressing the need for Liverpool to be assertive. Ollie Watkins (Brentford) Watkins has developed this season, adding a clinical edge to his game that was in need of refining in his previous two years at Griffin Park. At the age of 23, he’s ready for the step up to the top flight, and he has been linked with Sheffield United and Crystal Palace. However, Watkins has a lot of potential and has the ability to play across all three spots in the front three. That could appeal to Klopp to provide Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane with respite at times, especially the latter, who has played a lot of matches this term. Watkins has scored 13 goals in 23 games in the second tier and he should have no problem elevating the level of his game for the Premier League.
  13. So much to get through here to get this out before the New Year games, so I’ll dive straight in to the Boxing Day fixtures and start at Old Trafford where the Mancs were given several late Christmas presents by Steve Bruce’s Newcastle. Matty Longstaff had all but disappeared after scoring against United earlier in the season, but Newcastle wheeled him out again for the return fixture and he scored again to put them in the lead. Lightning couldn’t strike twice, surely? No, it couldn’t, unfortunately. Solskjaer’s side were given gift after gift after that and ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. Dubravka’s error allowed Martial to equalise, then Schar’s howler allowed Greenwood to make it 2-1 with a thunderous shot. United’s third came via the head of Rashford from a Wan-Bissaka cross. The ginger Longstaff had been smashed in the face by a McTominay elbow in the build up but as we know VAR won’t disallow Manchester United goals at Old Trafford for clear fouls in the build up. Maybe that elbow gave him a concussion as not long after he played a backpass straight to Martial to send him clear for the fourth. Basically three of the four goals were handed to them by Newcastle and the fourth was a present by the officials, but to be fair they were all finished superbly. United do have quality in the final third, even if they’re massively flawed everywhere else on the pitch. United twitter was cock a hoop with the Wan-Bissaka assist (his first of the season, for the record). Cries of “Trent who?” and “this is England’s best right back” rang out all over social media. Trent v Wan-Bissaka is actually a thing, believe it or not. Granted, it’s only a thing on United Twitter and nobody else gives it the time of day, but if you don’t believe me just do a search and enjoy. You can thank me later. The jist of their ‘argument’ seems to be that Wan-Bissaka is a ‘proper’ full back who can defend, and if he can just improve a little going forward then he’ll therefore be miles better than our boy. Here’s the thing. I’ve had a theory on this type of thing for a while. If you’re a full back who is shit going forward (Wan-Bissaka, Eric Pieters, Paul Dummett etc) then the general consensus is that you must a boss defender. Conversely, full backs who specialise in going forward (Dani Alves, Trent, Digne, Marcelo etc) are all seen to be lacking defensively. In some cases it’s true but it also tends to be wildly exaggerated on both ends. Ashley Cole would be the most obvious example I suppose. Believe it or not, there are people (mostly Evertonians) that don’t think Robbo is a good defender. It’s very rare you get someone who is lauded for his play at both ends. Generally though it’s just lazy, stereotypical analysis. Good going forward = shite defender. Shite going forward = strong defensively. Yet this so called elite defender Wan-Bissaka gave away a stupid penalty at Watford with a wild lunge last week. I also remember him being embarrassed by Josh King for Bournemouth’s winner. There’s two howlers just off the top of my head and I don’t even watch them every week. So he’s not that great at defending, is he? And he gives you fuck all going the other way. Trent isn’t perfect defensively but he’s better than he’s given credit for (he’s been a mainstay of the best defence in Europe for the last two years) and he’s by far the best attacking right back in world football. Trying to compare Wan-Bissaka with him is laughable, but this is where United are right now. Always looking for these little ‘victories’ that they can claim because they’ve got fuck all else to shout about. I even saw one of their fan accounts tweeting the goal totals for Martial, Rashford and Greenwood compared with Salah, Firmino and Mané. The United trio have scored more, which apparently means something (even though half of those goals have come against farmers and plumbers in the Europa League). You can have your little ‘win’ there lads, good for you. We’ll just completely gloss over the fact that the rest of our team have scored shitloads more than the rest of yours and we aren’t completely reliant on three forward players. We’ll also completely gloss over the 24 point lead we’ve got over them with only half a season played. You sit there knocking one out to your one assist right back and your three strikers who are apparently better than Sadio, Mo and Bobby. Good for you, Man United fans. Good for you. *condescending pat on the head* This is just a teaser, click here 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.
  14. Report by Dave Usher Good old VAR eh? Slag it off all you like, and God knows I have, but without it we’d have dickheads like Anthony Taylor and Martin Atkinson shafting us without impunity. Put it this way, if we’d had VAR last season we’d have won the league. Unfortunately there was no video to over-rule Taylor when he failed to send Vincent Kompany off at the Etihad, or to correct the errors of Atkinson when he didn’t send Harry Maguire off and later waived away a blatant penalty when Keita was upended against Leicester. We’d have been screwed in this game too without the video cleaning up Taylor’s mess. Manchester’s finest did his best to screw us over again when he scandalously tried to disallow a perfectly good Sadio Mané goal. His whole performance was exactly what you'd expect if you put someone from Manchester in charge of a Liverpool game. I'd be the same if you let me loose at Old Trafford or the Etihad, only I'm not a qualified referee and even if I were they wouldn't let me anywhere near those games, and rightly so. Taylor is allowed to have his fun with us a few times a year though, for some reason. It was 40 minutes before he awarded us a free-kick. Is that a record? He only gave us three free kicks in the entire game. THREE!!! Again, that has to be a record, surely? A foul every half an hour of play in a game in which we dominated possession. Dodgy little baldy twat. Most refs are shit and Taylor falls into that category for sure, but just like Atkinson there’s more to it than that. I’m not suggesting he’s been paid off, I’m just saying that consciously or subconsciously, he’s out to do us over. Let’s look at the Mané goal for example. Firstly, even I could see from my seat on the other side of the ground there was no handball there. It was obvious it was Lallana’s chest with a little bit of shoulder to assist with the controlling of the lay off. If it had come off his arm the flight of the ball would have been vastly different. So that was never a handball in a million years. That being said, if Taylor thought there might be a hint of an arm, that’s fine, let VAR check it. The one thing he should not be doing in that situation is making that call himself and blowing his whistle. Yet he did. Interesting. The VAR check took ages, which made me believe that Taylor’s decision would be upheld because if there is doubt they are supposed to side with the on field decision. The delay suggested there was doubt but it turns out there wasn’t. They knew immediately there was no handball. So why the delay? Because that cunt Taylor blew his whistle, that’s why. If he’d managed to get that whistle blown a split second earlier then VAR wouldn’t have been able to do anything about it. Thankfully the ball was in the net before he blew. So again, why is he getting involved in that situation when there is quite literally no need for him to do anything? If Lallana had handled VAR would pick it up and there’s no harm done by him not interfering. By him getting involved though the whole thing could have been fucked. He’s a disgrace. Mind you, so were the Wolves players, led by Conor Coady (more on him later). Why exactly were they surrounding Taylor before and after the VAR decision? He fucking disallowed the goal you soft cunts. He’s on your side! Some fella in Stockley Park overturned him, but the Wolves players were giving Taylor grief. Gang of mings. This is just a teaser, click 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 Dec 21: L 1 Flamengo 0 We never do it the easy way do we? The only surprise is it didn’t go to penalties. Watching it live I wasn’t particularly impressed with our performance, especially in the first half, but I watched the whole game again later and with the nerves and emotion removed it was much better than I initially thought. Firstly, they’re a good side. Steamrolling them was never going to happen. They had a good go but we took their best punches and eventually just overpowered them. Andy Robbo’s handling of Rafinha was brilliant. I couldn’t possibly love him any more than I do. He’s a little bastard and every team needs one of those. Funny how they’re often Scottish! Hendo was great as well, and you’ve gotta love his trademark trophy lift. All those years he had to battle to win people over and he had all kinds of shit thrown his way, and now he’s lifting the biggest prizes in the game as our captain, and he’s doing it in his own unique way. I’m just made up for him. There are still some weirdos out there on social media who want him replaced, but every trophy he lifts makes them look more and more ridiculous. I only wish his brilliant shot in the last couple of minutes had gone in so he could have scored the winner. That was an incredible save actually. So pleased for Bobby as well. It’s always about Sadio and Mo as they get the goals, and this season especially Bobby has struggled to score. But this tournament is a massive deal in Brazil so for him to score the winner in both games will have meant the world to him. As much as Flamengo were bad shithouses, I like the fact we’ve played the South American Champions and wish we could do it more often (in other words let’s win more European Cups!). It should be seen as a bigger deal than it is really. Even some of our fans weren’t really on board with it, but seeing how much it meant to the lads probably swayed their opinion. Finally, I have to tell you this as you’ll love it. At the start of the game when the camera showed Jorge Jesus, I laughed and said to myself “look at the state of that Peter Stringfellow looking prick”. A bit later on, Adrianna comes in to see how the game is going. He comes on the screen and she goes “he’s got hair like you”. “You cheeky get, his hair is nothing like mine”. “What about it is not like yours? Name one thing that’s different?”. “The colour for a start”. She didn’t say anything, she just gave me the Ancelotti eyebrow, shook her head and walked out. The lack of respect I get in my own house is almost as bad as it is on here. Sunday Dec 22: Some sections of the media still talking about it like it’s some glorified friendly. Makes me laugh really. You know why no-one in this country gives a fuck about this tournament? Because our teams our usually not good enough to be in it, and when they are everyone else wants to talk about how shit it is. It’s understandable really. If City or Chelsea had been playing in this, I’d have been downplaying it too. No-one wants to see another English side crowned ‘World Champions’ so of course the importance of it is going to be dismissed. Fans of most other teams will never ever see their team competing for it, so why would they attach any importance to it? If the competition were expanded and there were 32 teams from around the world involved it would be viewed differently, but hopefully that never happens as nobody needs that. Bottom line is we’re the European Champions and we just beat the best team in South America, so now we’re officially the best team on the planet. I don’t care if some chin stroking journos on Sunday Supplement are pontificating about it not being a big deal. Look at how our players have reacted to it. Their joyous celebrations tells me all I need to know. Meanwhile, while we’re basking in the glow of becoming World Champs, the Mancs were losing 2-0 at bottom club Watford and Mourinho was getting schooled by Frank Lampard. Great stuff. These really are halcyon days. 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.
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