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  1. Report by Dave Usher I’m going to ignore the huge elephant in the room and just focus on the game. I wouldn’t even know where to begin in addressing the other thing and once I had begun it would be difficult to stop. So I’ll just say that I hate the idea and that I’m massively concerned about the implications of it and I’ll leave it at that for now. I’ll write something when I’ve been able to process it all and get my head around it. Probably in the diary this week. I’ll keep this as just a match report. Not that anyone is particularly arsed about the match because none of these games mean anything now do they? Klopp and the players are trying to get into the top four but for what? The owners don’t want to be in the Champions League so it’s all moot. I was worried about how the players would come out for this game given all that had gone on. I say worried, but that would imply that I cared when the truth is I wouldn’t have blamed the lads if they were in no frame of mind to play the game. So I half expected us to be completely flat and dispirited but that wasn’t the case. The lads looked up for it and Klopp certainly was in his pre-match interview. You can tell he was fuming about what has gone on but he was also irked by the t-shirts worn by the Leeds players in the warm up and left in the visitors dressing room. He was livid about the “Earn It” slogan on the t-shirts because he and his players have fought and scrapped for everything they’ve achieved to date. Nothing has been handed to them. I understand why that annoyed him but the point was valid. It was about future qualification, not past achievements. Still, he did everything but go into Wealdstone Raider mode and giving it the “you want some?”. He was ready to fight someone that’s for sure. The players seemed similarly determined to make a point too and we started the game really well. Of course we were shite in the final third but that goes with the territory now. Doesn’t even matter which of the forwards play and which one is left out. It’s the same old toothless crap regardless. This time it was Mo on the bench, so the threat of a goal from us was even less than usual. Sadio’s raw deal from refs continued as he was blatantly hauled down on the edge of the box early on and got nothing. I would give the ref the benefit of the doubt and say he played the advantage because Jota picked up the loose ball, but the ref was Anthony Taylor so no benefit is being given to that baldy Manc turd. 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. tlw content

    Opposition View - Leeds United

    Liverpool will look to put the disappointment of their Champions League elimination behind them when they head to Elland Road to play Leeds United on Monday night. The Reds may not claim any silverware this season, but clinching a top four berth will be a significant boost to the confidence of the squad after a difficult season. Leeds have enjoyed a very solid campaign in their return to the Premier League after over 15 years. They pushed Liverpool all the way at Anfield in the first game of the season and have shown that they have no fear when coming up the teams in the upper echelon of the division. @arronsmarshall from @LS11LUFC described their progress so far and what areas they need to look at in their quest to climb the table in the seasons ahead. It was clear from our meeting to start the season that you were not going to be overawed in your return to the Premier League. How have you viewed your season to this point? This season has been fantastic. We have achieved the goal that any promoted club sets by hitting that magic 40 points mark. For us to do it with still games to play is even more remarkable. Full credit must go to Marcelo, the back room staff and the players. Leeds are truly back where we belong and I think, universally, we have been entertaining additions to the Premier League. What do you view as your standout team performance and in turn what was your low point of the season? The stand out performance has to go to City away last week. Defended, well drilled and tactically on point. To go to the champions elect and take 4 points from a possible 6 against a top class opponent is remarkable. It also showed a different side to us. We can defend and win horribly if needed. Leeds fans are not used to that style under Bielsa but that is in the arsenal moving forwards into the next season. I think the low point of the season has been VAR. It needs looking at. From goals not allowed, silly offside decisions and yellow – red cards. It needs addressing. From an outsider’s point of view, one of the biggest improvements in a player during the Marcelo Bielsa era has been Patrick Bamford. He always seemed to be someone who could never replicate his goal scoring exploits from the Championship to the Premier League. What changes have you seen in Bamford’s play in the last 12 months? Bamford was never really given a chance in the Premier League. However, his work off the hall is simply brilliant. He never stops running and can be up front one minute and defending the next. His finishing has improved this season and I am sure he will keep developing under Bielsa. He surely will be in the Euro squad for England as he does deserve it! Who has been your most consistent player throughout this campaign and what made you come to this conclusion? Stuart Dallas. He can play in any position and is extremely versatile. He could even probably play in net if needed! There is often a debate about eras in Football and how the game has progressed over time. With Leeds having returned to the top flight after 15 years, you are perfectly placed to say whether you feel the league has evolved in a technical sense and overall standard? The league has evolved. I agree. The Premier league is the top league in the world for a reason. Quality players play for each of the 20 teams. What lessons can you take from the downfall of your Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United who like yourself looked very accomplished in their first season but who have fallen by the wayside during this campaign? Firstly, I wouldn’t class Sheffield United as a ‘rival’! Recruitment has been a huge downfall for them. There are also boardroom issues that need to be addressed. They need to sort things off the pitch and the next managerial appointment is key. They could, if they don’t get it right, do another ‘Sunderland’. Which areas would you like to see addressed in the transfer window to help push Leeds to the next level? The next level for Leeds is to maintain premier league survival for the next couple of seasons. Top 8, then top 6 - then the top 4. The squad is not ready for a European campaign just yet. If you look at both Manchester clubs they are effectively running an A and B team between Europe and the League. The depth of our squad isn’t big enough, especially if key players such as Phillips, Raphinha, Bamford etc get injured. For us to break into the top 8, a left back central midfielder and another striker I feel is needed also another back up keeper. Four more recruits needed. A lot of change has occurred for Liverpool since the first game of the season. What have you made of the Reds performances this season and in what areas do you think Bielsa will look to target in his usual studious fashion? Firstly, I think Liverpool have been unlucky with injuries. That has clearly effected the type of play Klopp demands. The form hasn’t helped and neither has the Covid-19 pandemic. Home form has been poor lately and I don’t think the Anfield crowd would have put up with performances seen recently. With that said, the pandemic has thrown form and home advantage out of the window! Bielsa will go out to win the match and it will probably be similar to the first game of the season. High press, high tempo and lots of goals. Set pieces will also be an area for Leeds to exploit. Would also like to see Kalvin Phillips grab his first goal of the PL season. Have you got a score prediction? End to end, classic one this I feel. However, I think there will be goals. Leeds 2 Liverpool 2
  3. Liverpool will look to put the disappointment of their Champions League elimination behind them when they head to Elland Road to play Leeds United on Monday night. The Reds may not claim any silverware this season, but clinching a top four berth will be a significant boost to the confidence of the squad after a difficult season. Leeds have enjoyed a very solid campaign in their return to the Premier League after over 15 years. They pushed Liverpool all the way at Anfield in the first game of the season and have shown that they have no fear when coming up the teams in the upper echelon of the division. @arronsmarshall from @LS11LUFC described their progress so far and what areas they need to look at in their quest to climb the table in the seasons ahead. It was clear from our meeting to start the season that you were not going to be overawed in your return to the Premier League. How have you viewed your season to this point? This season has been fantastic. We have achieved the goal that any promoted club sets by hitting that magic 40 points mark. For us to do it with still games to play is even more remarkable. Full credit must go to Marcelo, the back room staff and the players. Leeds are truly back where we belong and I think, universally, we have been entertaining additions to the Premier League. What do you view as your standout team performance and in turn what was your low point of the season? The stand out performance has to go to City away last week. Defended, well drilled and tactically on point. To go to the champions elect and take 4 points from a possible 6 against a top class opponent is remarkable. It also showed a different side to us. We can defend and win horribly if needed. Leeds fans are not used to that style under Bielsa but that is in the arsenal moving forwards into the next season. I think the low point of the season has been VAR. It needs looking at. From goals not allowed, silly offside decisions and yellow – red cards. It needs addressing. From an outsider’s point of view, one of the biggest improvements in a player during the Marcelo Bielsa era has been Patrick Bamford. He always seemed to be someone who could never replicate his goal scoring exploits from the Championship to the Premier League. What changes have you seen in Bamford’s play in the last 12 months? Bamford was never really given a chance in the Premier League. However, his work off the hall is simply brilliant. He never stops running and can be up front one minute and defending the next. His finishing has improved this season and I am sure he will keep developing under Bielsa. He surely will be in the Euro squad for England as he does deserve it! Who has been your most consistent player throughout this campaign and what made you come to this conclusion? Stuart Dallas. He can play in any position and is extremely versatile. He could even probably play in net if needed! There is often a debate about eras in Football and how the game has progressed over time. With Leeds having returned to the top flight after 15 years, you are perfectly placed to say whether you feel the league has evolved in a technical sense and overall standard? The league has evolved. I agree. The Premier league is the top league in the world for a reason. Quality players play for each of the 20 teams. What lessons can you take from the downfall of your Yorkshire rivals Sheffield United who like yourself looked very accomplished in their first season but who have fallen by the wayside during this campaign? Firstly, I wouldn’t class Sheffield United as a ‘rival’! Recruitment has been a huge downfall for them. There are also boardroom issues that need to be addressed. They need to sort things off the pitch and the next managerial appointment is key. They could, if they don’t get it right, do another ‘Sunderland’. Which areas would you like to see addressed in the transfer window to help push Leeds to the next level? The next level for Leeds is to maintain premier league survival for the next couple of seasons. Top 8, then top 6 - then the top 4. The squad is not ready for a European campaign just yet. If you look at both Manchester clubs they are effectively running an A and B team between Europe and the League. The depth of our squad isn’t big enough, especially if key players such as Phillips, Raphinha, Bamford etc get injured. For us to break into the top 8, a left back central midfielder and another striker I feel is needed also another back up keeper. Four more recruits needed. A lot of change has occurred for Liverpool since the first game of the season. What have you made of the Reds performances this season and in what areas do you think Bielsa will look to target in his usual studious fashion? Firstly, I think Liverpool have been unlucky with injuries. That has clearly effected the type of play Klopp demands. The form hasn’t helped and neither has the Covid-19 pandemic. Home form has been poor lately and I don’t think the Anfield crowd would have put up with performances seen recently. With that said, the pandemic has thrown form and home advantage out of the window! Bielsa will go out to win the match and it will probably be similar to the first game of the season. High press, high tempo and lots of goals. Set pieces will also be an area for Leeds to exploit. Would also like to see Kalvin Phillips grab his first goal of the PL season. Have you got a score prediction? End to end, classic one this I feel. However, I think there will be goals. Leeds 2 Liverpool 2
  4. Saturday Apr 10: L 2 Villa 1 Fucking hell we’re making hard work of everything this season aren’t we? Even when we win it usually isn’t much fun. I enjoyed the late winner but there’s not too much about today that provides a great deal of encouragement for Wednesday night or indeed the rest of the season. We were alright today. It’s better than we’ve played in most home games over recent months but it was still a massive slog. Everything is just so fucking hard isn’t it? That said, that winner from Trent just felt really sweet. It might be a turning point for us and help us kick on to sneak into the top four but I wouldn’t be putting any money on that. Not the way the forward line looks. Even when they don’t play bad individually it’s just not what we had when we were at our best. Mo has generally been fine, Jota has been a real bonus and Firmino didn’t play badly today. Sadio still looks shite though and wasted a great chance at the end. But you compare how it looked to a couple of years ago and it’s just nowhere near. We’re pretty solid defensively though. The Villa goal only happened because of another blunder from Alisson. Aside from that, and a Trezeguet shot that hit the post, we defended well and that’s been a rare positive this season. The defensive collapse the was predicted when we kept losing all of our centre backs has never happened. It’s just a shame we’re showing shite at the other end now. Still, I was on a little mini-high at full time due to the dramatic nature of the winner, and it actually gave me a little bit of interest in what was happening elsewhere. For months I’ve only paid attention to our game and often didn’t even know the other scores until it came to doing the Round Up on Thursday. Today though, after we won I thought “I might have a little look at Chelsea’s game at Palace. Could be a good result for us there”. So our game finished, I went to make my tea and missed the start of the Chelsea game. Ten minutes in and they were 2-0 up so I just put the golf on instead. I’m going to stick with the policy of watching our games and avoiding everything else until I have to do the round ups. Sunday Apr 11: Had a few little bets on the Masters and one of them was a 110/1 shot who I did each way. He came 5th so I won £23 and I’ve re-invested two quid of it on Big Nat to get the first goal on Wednesday night. 50/1 it was. I know it won’t happen but there is logic to it. As long as it’s 0-0, any time we get a set-piece I’m going to have that little bit of excitement and anticipation, and that’s worth a couple of quid of anyone’s money, surely? If the game ends 0-0 then I’ll have had 90 minutes plus stoppage time of hoping that the bet might come in. *taps nose* There’s a good reason for him being 50/1 though as even though he wins every single header anywhere else on the pitch, when he goes up for set-pieces he’s just like a blind bull in a china shop, just charging around bumping into everything and causing mayhem. I don’t think I’ve seen him get his head on a ball in the opposition box, which is mad really considering how good he is at attacking the ball. It’s a completely different skill though. Look at someone like Craig Dawson who isn’t big at all and isn’t especially dominant in the air defensively. When it comes to set-pieces though he always seems to be on the end of things. Virgil is great in those situations too and we’ve probably missed that as much as anything he does defensively. We’ve coped at the back but we’re zero threat on set-pieces now, which has hurt us a lot as over the previous couple of seasons we were by far the best in the league on that front. Hopefully Nat can make himself a hero and make me a hundred quid. 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.
  5. One of the many downsides to us being shit is we can’t even enjoy a City defeat anymore. They lost at home to a late winner from ten man Leeds and I got absolutely zero pleasure from it. Imagine how that would have felt last season or the season before. Rooting for West Ham to lose to increase our chances of finishing fourth just isn’t the same. Hell of an effort by Leeds that though. Dallas gave them the lead after being set up by my boy Bamford. Cooper was then sent off after VAR told the ref to check the challenge he made on Jesus. Such a modern football red card that. He won the ball and then wiped out Jesus with the follow through. Some players made their living off those challenges back in the day. And when I say back in the day, I don’t mean the 70s or 80s. Carra and Stevie loved those ones too. They get the crowd going, they let the opponent know you mean business, and there’s fuck all wrong with it. At least there never used to be. You can’t do it now and the refs actually got this one right based on what they are told to do. So Leeds were down to ten and my boy was sacrificed so they could get an extra defender on. Torres equalised late on but City looked vulnerable to counter attacks and Raphinha was giving them all sorts of problems. He should have scored but was denied by Ederson. He then nearly set up Alioski following another swift counter, and then right at the death Alioski picked out the run of Dallas and he fired through the legs of Ederson to win it. That XG thing I mentioned last week. Leeds had an XG of 0.13 even though on the Dallas winner he was clean through on goal in the centre of the pitch. The first goal he scored was a low percentage chance as it was a shot from the edge of the box. But even if we disregard the other chances they had, does that mean they had a 13 percent chance of Dallas converting that one v one? Don’t answer that as it’s a rhetorical question. I couldn’t give a fuck what the actual answer is. I already know that XG is utterly pointless and MOTD should stop bowing to the stat nerds and fuck it right off. Load of shite. Interesting that City have fallen behind six times in the league this season and haven’t won any of them. They’re miles better than everyone else currently but they’re nowhere near as good as they were. Something I noticed in this game that has been a recurring theme all season. You can do whatever you like on set-pieces now without being called for it. The amount of shirt pulling and grabbing from defenders on set-pieces is at an all time high, when you’d think it would be the opposite because of VAR. Stones was blatantly hauled back by the shirt right in front of the ref, and VAR looked at it too and gave nothing. There’s clearly been a directive sent out to not give any penalties for this kind of thing as you could easily give a penalty following every single corner if you wanted to. Some degree of holding and shirt grabbing needs to be allowed but there have been loads of incidents when a player has been prevented from reaching the ball because he’s been yanked back by the shirt. As much as this is irritating, on a list of things that need fixing about the game in its current sorry state, it doesn’t even make the top 100. Plenty of things that need addressing before this. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that the 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. US punters have every cause for celebration as the days when Nevada was the only state with legal sports wagering are now behind us. The Silver State was the only place with legal sports betting for over half a century, offering it since 1949. Things took an interesting turn in 2018 after the US Supreme Court overturned PASPA, the notorious piece of legislation that confined sports wagering to Nevada’s borders. The repeal paved the way for individual states to legalize these activities and set their own regulations. Many states have already taken advantage of PASPA’s demise, which transformed sports betting into a multi-billion-dollar industry. Less than two years after the Supreme Court struck down the restrictive legislation, the sports betting industry witnessed unprecedented growth. American punters collectively spent an estimated $3 billion on legal sports wagers in October 2020 alone, according to figures released by the American Gaming Association. New Jersey, in particular, broke all records in December of the same year, reporting five successive months of sports betting growth. But the real questions are what has contributed to this unprecedented growth and, more importantly, will it continue in the future? US Punters Recognize the Importance of Betting Legally As sportingpedia.com reported, Punters themselves are a major contributing factor for the industry’s growth. More and more US sports fans have started to recognize the importance of betting with legal bookmakers as opposed to taking their action to unauthorized offshore bookies. There are several reasons for this transition, a survey by the American Gaming Association reveals. As many as 74% of the AGA survey participants confirmed it is important to wager with legal, US-licensed bookmakers. Indeed, a shift can be observed toward legal bookies in the states that have introduced regulations. The biggest incentive for consumers to shift to legal betting is the confidence of being paid out, followed by the desire to punt legally, the promotional incentives at regulated books, and the news reports regarding legal wagering in some states. The biggest obstacle in the path of regulated betting is the lack of consumer education. Many US punters are unsure about the legal status of offshore bookmakers, to begin with, especially in states with unregulated betting industries. Some AGA survey participants even expressed surprise when they learned they were wagering on unauthorized websites. How States With Legal Betting Are Faring So Far It would be an understatement to say the legal sports betting industry is thriving in the US. The revenues in states with legal wagering have soared during the first eight months of 2020, registering a cumulative increase of 31.5% compared to the previous year. Statisticians observed similar tendencies in terms of handle, which is the overall amount locals have wagered on sports. Much of this unprecedented growth was driven by the industry’s online segment. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and the lockdowns that ensued, many states reported record highs in betting handle in the summer of 2020. New Jersey is among the leaders in this respect, reporting the impressive $668 million in handle for the month of August alone. Handle continued to increase at a steady pace over the following months. In December of the same year, the already impressive figures in the Garden State rose further and were just $4 million short of reaching one billion. But New Jersey is hardly the only state to witness such record-breaking growth. The states of Pennsylvania, Illinois, and West Virginia also scored their highest monthly handle results in August 2020. You can find exhaustive information about individual states’ revenue in this report about the US sports betting market industry. Future Growth of the US Sports Betting Industry Over twenty states have launched legal sports betting for the time being but many others are expected to follow suit. States like Ohio, Texas, Georgia, and Kentucky have all made moves toward legalization but some of the bills were either stalled or are yet to gain the lawmakers’ approval. Arizona is among the states that stand decent chances of seeing legal sports wagering by the end of 2021. The legislature in the Grand Canyon State approved House Bill 2772 with a 23-6 vote in the Senate, paving the way for legal sports and fantasy wagering. If state Governor Douglas Ducey signs House Bill 2772 into law and Arizonians will have access to properly regulated sportsbooks. Ohio is also working hard toward the introduction of legal sports betting via mobile apps and at local casinos. The local legislature’s efforts make sense considering Ohio punters pour an estimated $5 billion into illegal offshore sportsbooks each year. Should the efforts come to fruition, the state will collect 8% from the legal bookies’ sports betting revenue. The coronavirus pandemic affected the expansion process a little bit but the US sports betting industry still shows no signs of slowing down. Bank of America analysts predict the legal sector could grow by 70% by the end of 2021, reaching punters from 27 US states.
  7. Report by Dave Usher We had a go but got what we deserved in the end. We were pathetic in the first leg and wasteful in the second. You can’t expect to beat anyone like that, never mind Real Madrid in the Champions League quarter finals. We played quite well in this game. I don’t think we were as good as a lot of people are saying we were but we were decent enough and should have won the game. I’d add a caveat to that though because Real had a two goal lead and played the game accordingly. Yes, we were on the front foot and had the most chances, but how much of that was because Madrid did what they needed to do in the first game and therefore approached this one a lot more cautiously than they would have? A lot, I’d say. Nevertheless, on the balance of chances we probably should have won this game by enough goals to go through, but shite finishing has been a big problem all season so I can’t say this was unexpected. Goalscoring is a big problem for us currently. Before the gave I gave us a one in ten chance of going through. After ten minutes that was up to around five or six as we started so well I was beginning to feel pretty confident. We looked like our old selves for those ten minutes. Then we began to resemble something between our old selves and this new, shite, lockdown version of us. By half time that five or six was more like a three or four. I still thought we could do it because we’d had very little trouble creating chances, but it was all about the first goal. If we got one I felt we’d get two, but sadly we couldn’t get the one. Some may be encouraged by how we played but I can’t say I’ve taken anything from this. We were better than we have been for most of the season but it wasn’t anywhere near the levels we’ve set for ourselves. I do think that would have changed dramatically if we’d just converted one of those chances. That’s all it would have taken. Put one of them away and the confidence would have come flooding back and we might have steamrollered them. Instead we wasted some great opportunities and then with every chance that came along we seemed more and more hesitant. By the end, Mo was having to take about six touches before even attempting a shot. He was by far the biggest culprit and had he put that early sitter away then we’d probably be talking about another great comeback while looking forward to another semi against Chelsea. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that the 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. Report by Dave Usher That was a looooooong time coming. Not just a win at Anfield, but a win of THAT type. You know, the type we used to pull out of the bag all the time back in the ‘mentality monsters’ days. I don’t remember the last time we did anything like this but it felt good. Very satisfying, especially given the way this game went. We fell behind, got slapped in the face by VAR yet again, responded superbly, equalised but then seemed to lose our way until a last, late flurry that brought us the winner. If we manage to sneak into the top four come the end of the season this is definitely the game we’ll look back on as being pivotal, because had we not bagged that late winner I think it would have been all over for us. Psychologically, failing to win yet another game at Anfield would have been too much to come back from. The performance itself did nothing to suggest we have what it takes to break into the top four but that can change. The main thing is picking up points while you wait for the performances to pick up, and we did that. I don’t feel especially encouraged or happy about where we are but it was such a relief to win this game. It was a great feeling when Trent lashed in that winner, especially as it was obvious that there was no way they could disallow this one. I actually celebrated it, which is rare these days. Still no first half goal for us though. It’s just getting really fucking weird now isn’t it? We never score in the first half anymore. And when we do, it doesn’t count, but I’ll get to that shortly. 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.
  9. Monday Apr 5: You can tell West Brom won at the weekend as Allardyce was on Talksport breakfast this morning telling everyone how he masterminded it. You can set your watch by him. Any time the Baggies have a good result he’ll be on, Monday morning, talking about how ‘he’ did it. I was in the car so I caught most of it and he’s amazing. He’s a total parody of himself these days. He says that they identified the Chelsea keeper as a weak point because he always does mad things. The lack of respect for an opposition player was staggering. I’m sure these kind of things are pointed out in team meetings but how many managers would actually come out and say it just to make themselves look clever, especially when the keeper didn't even do anything wrong? Honestly, I think he’s the only one. Not even Mourinho would single out an opposing player like that. The best thing about Fat Sam though is how he can take credit for wins and pass on the blame for losses. They’ve lost loads of games since he went there but he put that down to “players not putting away their chances”. Because obviously his gameplan was flawless. He’s one of a kind. Thankfully. Meanwhile, we’ve got Real Madrid tomorrow! How cool is that? It’s shit that fans aren’t going to be at either game, but springtime, big European nights against the top sides, this is what we live for. It’s not the same because we can’t go, I know that, but it’s still the most excited I’ve been about footy since…. actually since Atletico a year ago I think. Defo the most excited I've been for a game this season anyway. I’m genuinely looking forward to tomorrow night. Tuesday Apr 6: Real 3 L 1 Well fucking hell. Wasn’t that a massive damp squib? Remind me never to look forward to any game without fans there ever again. It just isn’t the same. It's awful, especially when we lose. I’m not saying no fans is the sole cause for what’s happening to us but it definitely makes it less enjoyable to watch these games. I’m at the end of my tether with it now and just don’t know how many more of these games I can sit through, especially when we're playing like such fucking losers. This was fucking abysmal. I can’t believe we performed like that in such a massively important game. Every single player was shite. Every one. No exceptions. That’s what has really shaken me here. Even players that we can always hang our hats on, the likes of Fabinho, Gini and Robbo, they were shite too. Everyone was shite. Klopp was shite too. He got the team wrong by picking Keita then he took him off three minutes before half time, creating a story and putting an unfair spotlight on Naby (he was shite, but no worse than anyone else), and our tactical approach to the game just seemed wrong from the start. Why were we playing so slow? Why defend with the high line when we weren’t pressing them? Whose idea was it to let Toni Kroos have as long as he wanted to pick out balls over the top? I just feel really deflated after this because we’re a shambles right now and we can’t keep blaming injuries. Other than the centre backs and Hendo we basically had everyone available tonight. Klopp said post match that the goals didn’t concern him as they were mistakes and mistakes can happen. It was how we played that was the worry for him. I agree 100% with that. We’re going out there with our 6th and 7th choice central defenders so being vulnerable in that area is almost to be expected. The first goal I can live with completely because Nat Phillips is playing against Real Madrid in a Champions League quarter final. He isn’t supposed to be here. I have nothing but love for Nat Phillips. This isn’t his fault. The second goal is a brain fart from Trent, who was also partly responsible for the first and third goals too. Alisson was shite on the third. But like Klopp said, I can live with all of that as long as we’re playing well and creating chances. Remember when we used to score three or four to compensate for those mad games when we gave away a load of stupid goals? We just don’t have that in our locker anymore. Fuck Real Madrid though, the arrogant, entitled cunts. This was supposed to be the night when we shoved it right up their arses for what happened in Kiev. If we’d played them last season or the season before it would have been carnage and we’d have utterly humiliated them. Instead, we get to play them when we’re in this fucking sorry state, and we humiliated ourselves. The ref can go fuck himself too, falling for so much of their shit but not giving our lads (especially Sadio) anything when they were fouled. The booking for Trent when he didn't even touch that Vinicius bellend was outrageous (although that was more the fault of the linesman than ref). Usually I’d be the first one banging the drum about how it isn’t over and we can turn it around in the second leg. Not. A. Fucking. Chance. Anfield with no fans isn’t Anfield. It's a field. The only thing left to hope for now is that someone can stop City from winning it. 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.
  10. Only eight more weekends and then this is over. Who knows, we might yet salvage something from this complete catastrophe of a season. A couple of weeks ago it had an 8th or 9th place vibe about it but as shite as we are, others are in the same boat. And that boat may as well be named the Titanic as everyone seems to be sinking fast. Everyone below third is shite. I still think Chelsea are probably the least shite, but losing 5-2 at home to West Brom probably flies in the face of that. Are they as untrustworthy as us? They might be. They hadn’t conceded for 12 hours but then shipped five to one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. That result was one nobody could have seen coming. Nobody except for Sam Allardyce that is. It went exactly how he drew it up on his tactics board apparently. At least that’s what he told Talksport on Monday morning. No-one blows their own trumpet quite like Allardyce. He actually said that they targeted Mendy because they’d studied him and he is prone to doing mad things. How much of a cunt do you have to be to publicly shame an opposition player like that? It’s not as if Mendy played any part in this defeat for Chelsea either. It defo wasn’t on him. Chelsea actually scored first when Pulisic reacted quickest after Alonso’s free-kick came back off the post, but Thiago Silva saw red soon after. Tuchel went mad at the time but honestly, how can they possibly have any complaints there? He lunged in and caught the lad after he’d got his shot away, and David Coote really had no choice but to give him a second booking. Chelsea were complaining but if he hadn’t produced a second yellow for that, West Brom would have been complaining and they’d have had a much bigger grievance than Chelsea had. The game then turned on its head. Partly because of the sending off, partly because of a freak injury situation. Ivanovic came on to replace an injured Baggie, and 12 minutes later he too had to go off injured. His replacement was Callum Robinson and he was the most influential player in the second half. Not really sure how a manager can say that was all part of his plan, but if anyone can, Fat Sam can. Before the Callum Robinson show began though we had big drama in first half stoppage time when Pereira scored twice in a couple of minutes. First he equalised with a cool finish from a long ball over the top. Mendy had started to come but knew he wasn’t getting there, and he ended up in no man’s land. Allardyce was pretty smug about that but that goal was on the centre backs, not the keeper. Still, anything to suit the ‘tactical genius’ narrative eh? Then, with Chelsea all over the place, he fired in a low shot to give West Brom a half time lead. He’s a good player that Pereira. I just don’t think he’s consistent. If he was he’d be playing for a better team than West Brom, but when he’s on he’s quality. Had Chelsea still had eleven men I’d have fancied them to turn it around, but losing Thiago Silva and then two goals in such a short space of time gave them a mountain to climb. And they couldn’t climb it. In fairness West Brom were sensational at times in the second half. The goals they scored were ridiculously good for what is basically an alehouse team. Robinson made it 3-1 with a gorgeous volley after a sweeping move. Most players would have lashed at it but he just guided it with his sidefoot right into the top corner. Fucking brilliant goal. All the FIFA virgins who were creaming themselves over that shitty rabona from Lamela the other week won’t have a clue how good this goal was, but it was glorious. Diagne then finished off another length of the field move full of dummies and back heels, and although Chelsea pulled one back through Mount and briefly threatened a comeback, Robinson wrapped it up with another lovely finish to cap off an amazing day. The funny thing is, every goal he’s ever scored in the top flight is against Chelsea. Five goals, all against Chelsea. Usually it’s us on the end of weird anomalies like that. Kevin Lisbie anyone? Dwight Gayle? Lots of talk afterwards about West Brom playing like Brazil. It’s the stock comment we all make whenever a team plays exciting football but I think that’s a comparison that needs retiring now as there’s absolutely nothing magical about Brazil anymore. They used to be the benchmark for flair, skill and dazzling football, but nowadays they’re no different to anyone else. There’s fuck all magical about a team that’s picking players from Everton. 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.
  11. Report by Dave Usher We waited three years for a chance for payback and THIS is what we got? Absolute fucking shite. What a massive letdown. We probably shouldn’t be surprised as revenge is not something that this team does well. You only have to go back to the insipid surrender against the Blueshite the other week to see that. With this being the Champions League though I really expected better. I had high hopes about this game because other than Porto, Real Madrid might be the weakest team we could have been drawn against. The problem is they can say the same about us, and they’d be right based on this. They won EASILY. We were fucking awful in every single area of the pitch. Not one of the players come out of it with any credit. Not a single one. Everyone was shite and it’s hard to take or understand given the importance of the game. I’d allowed myself to get excited about this one. I was really looking forward to it and believed we’d see a big performance. More fool me, I won’t be making that mistake again. We started badly and got worse. There was a decent spell just after half time but it didn’t last and we were just well beaten. It’s easy to blame it on the team selection, specifically the surprise inclusion of Keita, but that’s just scapegoating. Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Keita and if he never played for us again I wouldn't lose a minute's sleep over it, but there was far more to this than just Naby being Naby. He did nothing whatsoever but he isn’t to blame for the rest of them making the most basic of errors time and time again. If you want to say we’re a worse team when Keita plays and that we always look more open then I’ll agree with you. This shocking performance had very little to do with Keita though. Whether it was Fabinho and Wijnaldum simply passing the ball straight to Madrid players when under no pressure, Phillips not being aware of players running in behind, Trent ‘assisting’ at the wrong end or the forward players taking four touches to try and get the ball under control only to still fail, this was just one huge collective shitshow. Everyone was crap. This is just a teaser, click here 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.
  12. Report by Dave Usher Kind of feels like maybe the tide has turned a bit now doesn’t it? That horrific run we had looks like it’s in the rear view mirror and we’re looking more like ourselves again. We aren’t out of the woods yet but things do look a bit more…. dare I say, normal? This was actually a pretty big test for us. Not because it was Arsenal (they truly are pathetic), but because Chelsea’s shock loss to West Brom earlier had opened up the door to the top four. We started the day five points behind them and with them facing the Baggies and us away at the Emirates. To end the day only two points back is unexpected and feels significant. I’d given up on the top four but now it’s definitely within reach again, especially with Spurs also dropping points . This win feels like a statement of intent that we’re fighting back and ready to end the season strongly. Time will tell, but it does seem like we have a bit of momentum going at last. Even disregarding the potential impact this win could have, it feels good regardless because this is what is SUPPOSED to happen when we play Arsenal. When we lost away to them last season I was seething way more than I had a right to. We were having an incredible season, the title was all but wrapped up (we may have already clinched it, I can’t remember) and the defeat didn’t mean anything other than it ended the chance to get to 100 points, which in itself irritated me but nowhere near as much as losing to them fucking bums. Why was I so angry? Because Arsenal are shit. It offends me that we could ever drop points to them because they’re weak, spineless, and an absolute fucking embarrassment. This is the worst Arsenal team I’ve ever seen. I despise how pathetic they are. They were even shit in that game last season but somehow we let them win and it took some getting over just because I saw it as a personal affront. I’ll be honest, I was having some flashbacks of that night at half time in this one. We’d played well, completely dominated, looked in no trouble whatsoever but we hadn’t created enough chances. It was all set up for Arsenal to score with the one chance they would inevitably get while we continued to waste promising situations. And then I’d be in foul form for weeks at the embarrassment of it all. Losing to Everton was bad enough, but if we let these fucking deadbeats turn us over again I’d probably be wanting half the squad sold on the spot. That was my fear at half time but thankfully it proved to be completely unfounded. For one thing, Arsenal didn’t actually even get one chance. They offered nothing at all. We completely shut them down all over the park and as Arteta said afterwards they “couldn’t put three passes together”. This was men against boys. But we’ve seen that before and often it has counted for nothing because we didn’t convert dominance into chances and chances into goals. This time we did, although it needed the arrival of Jota to change everything. On the one hand it’s great that we have him, on the other it does disturb me a little how toothless we look with the front three that was once the envy of Europe. 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.
  13. Every avid sports fan knows that no team can keep up a winning streak without a well-structured defence. What is more, great defenders are nowadays appreciated more than ever and often get credit for their team’s overall success. You can even come across various lists of the world’s best athletes based on their defensive skills. If you’re still not convinced of how important defence is, click here to see how much credit an NBA player can get for preventing the opponent from scoring. Speaking of defence in the football world, one can’t help but think of Liverpool and their poor fortune in this aspect this season. Namely, the team trying to defend their Premier League title have had severe issues with injuries this season, particularly in their defensive line. Virgil van Dijk Unlikely to Be Back Before May The latest news regarding van Dijk’s recovery reveals significant progress. After he suffered a serious knee injury in October last year and underwent surgery soon after, the Dutchman went to Dubai to start rehabilitation at a state-of-the-art sports complex. Last month, van Dijk came back to England, where he continued the recovery process in the gym and the pitch. He seemed like he took a turn for the better as his training session also included some simple ball drills. However, no doctor has given him a chance to get back on the field before May, and Jurgen Klopp, who’s still in charge of the Reds, believes only a miracle would help van Dijk join the team for an official match this season. Joe Gomez to Miss the European Championship After van Dijk, another Liverpool defender, Joe Gomez, suffered a similar fate. He’s also on the road to recovery, but he’s taking his time based on the video he shared on his Instagram account. He’s also been out for several months after he was injured in November during a training session. Although he’s also seen jogging and playing with the ball, Gomez seems to be further away from his best than van Dijk. While there’s still a chance for the Dutchman to come back and help Liverpool get something out of this season, Gomez probably won’t have a chance of doing so anytime soon. Joel Matip Out for the Remainder of the Season Joel Matip’s departure from the field in the match against Tottenham Hotspur due to an ankle injury left Liverpool’s defence significantly damaged. Moreover, medical professionals are confident that Matip will spend the rest of the season recuperating and won’t be able to help Liverpool in any upcoming matches. Given the current situation regarding defence, Klopp has no other option but to believe in miracles and hope that the rest of his squad will do their best and help Liverpool stay on top of their game. Still, Liverpool fans have wondered whether there’s anything that could take the pressure off the team until the key defenders get back on their feet. Klopp seems to have found at least a temporary solution in the likes of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak. Only time will tell how good a move he has made with bringing these two players into the picture.
  14. Smokers love what they love and for them, it matters more than anything else. In other words, nothing can match the amusement they get out of smoking. Are you one of those smokers? If so, are you doing everything to take your experience to the next level? Well, some of us in the smokers club do not know how they can enhance their smoking pleasure. Therefore, you do not have any choice but to find out how you are going to achieve it. Here’s What A Smoker Should Get In recent years, a number of interesting gadgets have been rolled out that totally nail it when it comes to an ideal smoking session. Some of these smoking gadgets are tech-savvy while others are just cool no matter how many times you bring them out. Since we are on the same page now, it is worth every bit of it to take a look through some of the best gadgets you can buy in the market today to heighten your smoking experience: Wooden Or Metallic Stash Box Every smoker knows the pain of trying to keep all the smoking accessories together in one place. Sometimes, it is your rolling paper that goes missing, and other times you can’t find the main stuff no matter where you look. A stash box is definitely for you if you have several smoking accessories and materials. The stash box comes with compartments of different sizes - small and large to fit your glowing lighters and pipe. You can find a stash box in the style you like and undoubtedly it will be a great thing to flaunt in front of your smoking buddies. Rolling Tray Is A Must A rolling tray is a true deal for bongers and vapers. Since you do not want a mess-session, rolling papers allow you to roll up your herbs cleanly and also assure easy clean-up after the long session. You can find rolling trays in tons of designs, colours, and styles. Rolling papers are available in the market and range from having extremely cheap to extremely expensive labels. All in all, you have the option to choose what you want and what will define your style. Portable Vaporizer Can Do It For You A vaporizer, colloquially and popularly known as a vape is the best friend of every smoker. Those who know the difference between rolling and vaping will definitely appreciate what a vaporizer can do. A vaporizer allows you to smoke your herbs in the form of oil or wax which makes it cleaner than other smoking options. The best part is that the effect lasts longer with a vaporizer. With the Enail, you can also set the temperature as per your preference. A passionate smoker can carry it around everywhere they go and take delicious dabs whenever possible. You know what we are talking about! You should look for the one that fits your smoking devices. The portable vaporizer can adjust to fit almost any size of bong and recycler models. Automatic Grinder Do you also think grinding and rolling delay your smoking sessions sometimes? Well, most do feel that. Though almost everybody loves grinding their herbs, it takes a lot of time and energy, it cannot be denied. There you have it, get a grinder which is nothing but a miniature milling machine that grinds it and fills cones automatically. These little devices are battery-powered and once fully charged they can easily manage to go through multiple strong sessions. The grinding machine causes no spills or mess and gives you the perfect results as a vet smoker would do it. Do Consider A Shredder Smoking clean means smoking nice and you do not want to compromise with that. A shredder is a grinding tool that is not automatic. Pour in your herb, close the lid, grind, and you are all set. It is as simple as that. This is the right tool for every smoker out there who does not have a lot of time to grind and wants to smoke the right clutter-less material. Smoking is a pleasure - an outlet of feelings and emotions. But this is also an activity where there is no place for compromises with quality, so make sure you have the right tools and devices with you so that every time you smoke you make memorable moments for a lifetime. Pack up all your smoking kit and take a stroll to your favourite smoking spot, smoke, and enjoy.
  15. A good weekend as the Reds weren’t able to ruin it by losing and I was able to just completely avoid all footy until now, as I catch up on it by watching MOTD. I’d prefer to play on Monday nights all the time now until we’re allowed back in. I know I say this a lot, but until now I didn’t have a clue how most of these games finished. I knew Everton lost to Burnley because it was mentioned in one of the group chats. This did not surprise me in the least because Everton are fucking shit. I keep saying it and they keep proving it. They’re fucking pathetic. The horrific run we’ve been on and the countless opportunities we’ve given them to pull away from us, and they keep shitting the bed. It offends me so much that we’ve let them get this close to us and I feel like slapping our players and saying to them “you should be fucking ashamed. Look how shit they are. Now look at the fucking table!!” Their home form is almost as bad as ours. Burnley went in front very early when Tom Davies lost the ball and seconds later Wood was smashing it into the net. Burley then wanted a penalty for handball. That would be given maybe 75% of the time as the defender’s arm is up above his head as the ball hits it. I don’t want to see that given as a penalty as his arm is up because he’s jumping, but more often than not that would be given. Burnley don’t get pens though. Only when they play us. McNeill made it 2-0 with an absolutely brilliant goal. Nice drop of the shoulder to leave his marker for dead, then a perfectly placed curler from 25 yards right into the postage stamp. Goal of the month probably that. It will be enough to keep people talking about what an exciting young player he is when the truth is he’s a poor man’s Stewart Downing. I’ve said it before, but he gets overhyped because of two things. One, Burnley don’t ever give any young players a chance so the assumption is that he must be special. He isn’t. Two, Burnley don’t have any players with pace or skill, so because McNeill has both it stands out way more than it would if he played for someone else. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s alright and I’m not saying he’s shit, but two goals a season from an attacking player is Downing-esque. That was a great goal though. It almost got even worse for Everton as Gudmundsen hit the post with a low shot from 20 yards. That would have been game over but the Blues took advantage of that reprieve and pulled one back through Calvert-Lewin. The absolute state of Nick Pope again though. Making himself small, Adrian style. He did make a good stop to deny Gomes soon after though. Mee hit the bar and Vydra was denied by some jabroni keeper they brought on to replace the injured Prickford and Burnley were good value for the points. Technically they’re still in the relegation discussion but there’s no fucking way they’re going to be caught by any of those below them. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that Round Ups are 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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