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  1. Report by Dave Usher I’m more annoyed by this than I have a right to be. After the season we’ve had - actually make that two seasons - complaining about an under-strength side drawing away in the cup would make me seem like a bit of a grumpy bastard with a misplaced sense of entitlement. I’m going to do it anyway. Well, maybe a little bit. I’m conflicted on this. We’re still in the cup and an extra game presumably means more opportunities for Jones, Pedro, Neco and Elliott (unless Klopp sees them as ‘first team’ and gives them a week off). That’s no bad thing, as the more games they get the better. So a replay is a positive from that point of view. Also, I’d be lying if I said that either of the domestic cups are particularly high on my priority list. If we don’t win them, then *shrugs shoulders* whaddayagonnado. So the result itself didn’t bother me. It was the performance, especially after the break, that I found infuriating. After the way this side played against Everton in the last round I was really looking forward to this. The performances were like night and day though. We were great against Everton and we were utter garbage against Shrewsbury. There was no comparison between the two displays. Why was that? I think I can sum it up in three simple words - Matip, Lovren and Fabinho. There’s the problem right there. Those three. Top players who’ve been great all season, but they were all absolutely fucking shite. Not just below par, but genuinely terrible. Others didn’t cover themselves in glory either *looks disapprovingly at Origi* but to me it was glaringly obvious how we allowed Shrewsbury to get back into the game. It was down to three players who ought to have been leading the way but who looked like Sunday League lads playing with a stinking hangover. The common denominator with all three is that they’re all just back from fairly long term injuries. That goes some way towards explaining it, but their body language all evening screamed out “this is beneath me”. That’s probably harsh, but it’s how it looked. 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.
  2. The FA Cup fourth round takes place this weekend and the Reds make the journey to New Meadow to play League One side Shrewsbury Town. The Shrews also made this round in 2019 taking Wolves to a replay after previously knocking out Stoke. This season they have defeated Bristol City and will be certainly up for the challenge in taking on the best team in Europe. @B_and_A_Fanzine creator and Podcast host of @salopcast Glyn Price talks us through the recent history of the club, which players to keep an eye on and his recollections of being at Anfield for some memorable moments. Can you talk a bit about Shrewsbury Town and the ups and downs you have been through as a club over the years? The last ten years or so have been one of an upward trajectory for Shrewsbury Town. Having been relegated to the conference we escaped after one season, then established ourselves as a league club. We progressively got better in League Two, as well as building a new stadium, incurring no debt and finally achieving promotion to League One. After a yo-yo period, we have now settled in League one and starting to consider ourselves better than constant relegation battles. Paul Hurst took us ninety minutes away from the Championship, but that last hurdle alludes us. It has been well documented how tough it is for clubs in the lower leagues to make ends meet in the current Football environment. So can you explain what this tie means for a club like Shrewsbury? Like most clubs, the TV money is the big one for us, and it’s one of a few televised games we have had in the last few years, which is more than welcome. But one thing we pride ourselves particularly in this climate is that we are one of a handful of clubs doing things the right way and not gambling with our future. We are debt free with money in the bank and a decent turn over and great grasp of wage controls as well as a stadium we entirely own. We work smart and there is little worry whether will have a club to support in 10 years. It’s not the most exciting, but as clubs have gone boom and bust in lower leagues; we have slowly edged ourselves up. So games like this are an added bonus to secure our strategy. We won’t waste it; it will be reinvested in infrastructure and the right players who will have a sell-on fee. Supporters are so often the lifeblood of clubs like yours, so how excited are they and can the Reds expect a hostile reception? It’s a great reward for us as club and fans for digging through from round one and of course fans are looking forward to playing Liverpool. More so I guess due how good Liverpool (and your reserves) are at the moment. It will be a sell out and due to how we have sold tickets it will be pretty much all STFC fans in the home end. Last year against Wolves the tickets were sold differently and loads of Wolves fans got in and no one enjoyed that! In terms of the reception, it will be loud and passionate for our team. When we get these games the club pulls together and both our singing areas get in tune. It likely won’t phase any experienced pros though. You have a very young manager in charge in former Bolton Wanderers and Hull City full-back Sam Ricketts. Have you been pleased with his tenure so far and what is his customary style of play? Tough one. In the league the form since he took over has been pretty average. We don't score many as we play a very defensive formation. But we are very hard to break down and that’s something to be proud of with three experimental centre backs. But he does deserve credit for his FA cup management. Last year he brought us back from 2-0 down at half time against Stoke to win 3-2. Then he came very close to masterminding a win over Wolves. We were 2-0 up with not long to play before Wolves brought on 40 million pounds worth of players to rescue a draw. Even the replay was a good battle. No reason why the same can’t happen this week! In general though, the fans are content with Ricketts this season as long as he keeps us well clear of relegation trouble. Who are some of the players that Liverpool fans should keep an eye on during this fixture? Arron Pierre is a Centre back we signed in the summer, who’s running away as our player of the season and capped it all with the winner late in the game in the last round. He’s all action. Piles forward and is as solid as a rock at the back. We also have a striker called Jason Cummings who if we are to do anything, he could be the one to find a bit of magic. Natural finisher, tricky and mad as a box of frogs to be honest. If we play him up front with the equally impressive (former Liverpool junior) Callum Lang then we might have some joy! Do you keep half a eye on the Premier League and if so, what do make of the work of Jürgen Klopp and the progress of Liverpool under his tenure? Yes and a bloody brilliant job he is doing. As a kid I grew up with football in the blood. My Dad took me to all the Shrewsbury games, but as Liverpool was my Prem team growing up he regularly took me to Anfield as a kid. Was at both Newcastle 4-3 games (where as a young lad my dad tells me it was the first time he heard me swear when Collymore scored) saw loads of UEFA cup games and the Cup Winners Cup semi final against PSG. So growing up in the Man United dominated era, which along with Salop being rubbish at times kind of ruined being at school. I’m more than happy to see Liverpool back on their perch. Klopp seems like a rare breed, a manager who is perfect for the club. Is there one particular Reds player that you admire the most? They are all pretty good, but I have a very big soft spot for Firmino. Absolutely love the way he plays, skill, determination and fun. A joy to watch when he’s at his absolute best. Big fan of the Andy Robertson story too, particularly his shithousing. They are all great to watch at the moment though, I think it’s an era for Liverpool fans that will be up there with their very best when it is all said and done. And for a club with the history of Liverpool, that’s saying something. The majority of football loving fans across the nation will be cheering on The Shrews on Sunday. What are your realistic hopes regarding how the game will play out? Depends on just who turns up but it’s going to be very tough. We won’t come out and attack other than the occasional structured counter attacks, so the game will come down to how long (or if) Liverpool can score. A replay would be absolute magic. It’s a long shot but we have to dream of that and more. Would love to score at least one, and that player will go down in folklore for us likely. Probably it will be 3-1 or 3-0 as we are hard to break down, but if you don’t score into the second half, that spark of the dream draw will fire our fans up massively!!! Either way, I can not wait. View full article
  3. Saturday Jan 18: Klopp says we have ‘more natural enemies’ than other clubs and uses the example of St James’ Park last season (where Newcastle players and fans were frothing at the mouth trying to beat us) to emphasise his point. This is the kind of thing we as fans notice and comment on, but it says a lot about Jurgen that he recognises it too even though he completely avoids social media and all that shite. Even he can see that all these fuckers were so desperate to see us not win the league, but it makes it all the sweeter this time. I do think it will change once we finally win it. To be fair, I understand it to a degree. This silly ‘not won the Premier League’ thing is one of the few weapons opposing fans can use against us. There’s very little else for them to taunt us with so naturally they don't want to lose it. It’s so fucking stupid though, particularly the Leicester thing where they’ll sing to us, Everton and Villa “Champions of England, you’ll never sing that”. I don’t get this whole ‘Premier League’ bollocks at all. How is it any different to the League Cup? That competition has changed names loads of times too, but we don’t always have to hear about how Liverpool have ‘never won the Carabao Cup’ do we? It’s fucking stupid but in a few months it’s not going to matter anyway because they won’t have that stick to beat us with anymore. Not even City can live with us anymore and today he Hodge put one over on ‘Pep’ once again as Palace snatched a hilarious draw at the Etihad thanks to a stoppage time own goal from Fernandinho. It’s mad how they always seem to give City so much trouble. As a rule, City roll over shite ‘park the bus’ type teams with ease but for some reason Hodgson’s prehistoric approach tends to work against them. Elsewhere today, Rhian Brewster got his first goal for Swansea. Good to see, hopefully that’s the first of many. Meanwhile, ‘Big Sexy’ is being linked with the Blues. That’s just not going to happen, surely? Emre Can has a high opinion of himself and making a move like this would be like Scott ditching Charlene and then a couple of years later shacking up with Mrs Mangle. There’s no way his ego would allow it, even if they made him a stupid offer. Sunday Jan 19: L 2 Man Utd 0 Mixed feelings. Happy we won, frustrated we didn’t embarrass the shit bastards and dish out the kind of hammering that will haunt them for generations. It’s coming. It’s only a matter of time before we put five or six past them as the gulf between the sides hasn’t been greater since we were in different divisions. These things go in cycles and now it’s our turn. It’s mad when you look at that United squad now and realise just how fucking woeful it is. There’s a handful of good players, a collection of bang average ones and Rashford is the only genuine star they have. Greenwood might become one too, but when you compare them to us now it’s just night and day. There’s a thirty point gap but by the end of the season it’ll be closer to fifty because they’re hopeless. We utterly dominated them today but the one ‘weakness’ you could maybe say we have was evident again as we didn’t kill them off and then had to work much harder in the closing stages than we should have. If we become more adept at getting that second goal to give us breathing room then we’ll start hammering teams. Mind you, if we were to become more clinical then maybe the Premier League would have to introduce a handicap system to keep things competitive. Maybe make the strikers only shoot with their wrong foot, or have Virg play blindfolded or something? We’d still win 75% of our games. Meanwhile, we’re being linked with Timo Werner again. This is going to be one of those where we’re linked with him in every transfer window for about six years until he eventually signs for someone else and it turns out we were never even interested in him in the first place. I’m not basing that on anything other than a gut feeling, and the fact that we’re signing Mbappe so there’s no room for him here anyway. 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.
  4. Report by Dave Usher Another step closer and another game that has probably taken a month or two off the end of my life. The stress of these games is draining. The funny thing is, it should be a time for relaxing and enjoyment. We’re 16 points ahead with a game in hand. The title is done, has been for weeks, yet I’m still watching these games with both arse cheeks tightly clenched. Why? It’s not because of the title, it’s because I don’t want us to drop any points. A defeat would feel terrible, even though in the grand scheme of things it means virtually nothing. It’s a peculiar sense of entitlement we’re feeling at the moment. Usually, even the very best teams will lose a few games on their way to the prize but if these lads were to lose a game it would really upset me. I want us to go unbeaten. I want these boys to break the points record. I want them to win every home game and go 100% at Anfield. I want my cake and I want an extra helping of it, with double chocolate icing and yeah of course I want to eat it too (never understood that saying, it makes no sense). I want to gorge on that cake. And when it looks like I might have to share it, I don’t like it. So bollocks to defeats, and even draws can fuck right off. Its that simple really. Every game we play in now has great meaning and it wouldn’t make any difference if we were forty points clear with only ten games remaining. It’s not the fear of being caught, it’s the desperation to win every game that is making these games almost unbearable at times. What this game showed me is that the players feel exactly the same way. They won’t say it. They’ll talk about focusing on the next game and not thinking of anything else. I’m sure they are doing that, but I’m just as sure that no matter how far ahead they are they badly want to win every game regardless. You could see it in this one. When this game was threatening to get away from us after Wolves equalised and were piling on the pressure, it would have been easy for the players to buckle. After all, they’ve got such a huge cushion that a draw or even a defeat wouldn’t really cost them. It had all the ingredients of the end of the streak. We were not playing well, we’d lost Sadio, we were changing formation seemingly every ten minutes or so and we were up against an opponent who were hellbent on turning us over. It was all set up for us to drop points and to perhaps even lose. All good runs have to end sometime and I said last week this was the toughest game we had left. There would have been no shame in drawing - or even losing - at Wolves but this squad don’t think that way. They’ve forgotten how to lose. Shit, I think they’ve forgotten how to draw too. 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. Loads to get through as there’s the weekend game plus a full midweek schedule to cover. Ideally I’d like to just skim through everything else and spend the whole article discussing Everton shitting the bed against Newcastle, but I’m a pro so I’ll resist the temptation and stick to the usual format. So, where to start then? May as well kick things off with the second funniest thing to happen this week. The Etihad. City against Palace. Pep vs Roy. Roy actually coming out of it winning on points. Again. It’s mad how much trouble his Palace team have given City over the last few years. Other than us, they’ve probably done better against City than anyone. Maybe that’s why Roy was so offended when he was asked what he can learn from Guardiola. “How to lose” was his somewhat bizarre, hilarious and completely unwarranted response. I have no idea if he meant to say that or if he was trying to make a different point, but it was fucking funny nonetheless. Only David Moyes has a bigger distance between opinion of ones own abiltity versus actual ability. I’ve been saying it all year. Palace are a bottom six team at best but somehow they keep getting results they shouldn’t and more often than not they look dreadful in doing so. Add this one to the list. Having taken the lead completely against the run of play (through Cenk Tosun no less! Bet that went down brilliantly across the park) they held out for a long time. They even survived the award of a penalty which was then correctly overturned by (Li)VAR(pool). Just as it was beginning to look like they might pull off another shock win, Aguero popped up twice in the final eight minutes. That looked to be that. Except it wasn’t. Deep in stoppage time Zaha escaped down the left, drilled in a low cross and there was Fernandinho to blast it past his own keeper. Too fucking funny. Speaking of funny, that stoppage time winner from Newcastle at home to Chelsea was comedy gold. Not just because Chelsea lost with the last kick of the game. Obviously that’s enough to make anyone smile, but it was what followed that was so hilarious. Hayden scored (look at that Kepa loser trying to keep it out though) and ran to the corner to celebrate. Matt Ritchie followed and - as he’s known to do - booted the corner flag. Except this time the corner flag took off and torpedoed into the crowd, where it hit some baldy arl fella in the bollocks and prevented him from celebrating. It’s a sign of me getting old that my take on this is that while it’s side splittingly funny because it hit him in the nuts - and people getting hit in the nuts is the funniest thing in the world along with farting - I couldn’t help thinking what if it had hit him in the eye? I can’t believe I’m saying this, but “pack that in, Ricthie. You could take someone’s eye out with that”. Yep, I’m now officially old. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that PL Round Ups are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  6. tlw content

    Opposition View: Shrewsbury Town

    The FA Cup fourth round takes place this weekend and the Reds make the journey to New Meadow to play League One side Shrewsbury Town. The Shrews also made this round in 2019 taking Wolves to a replay after previously knocking out Stoke. This season they have defeated Bristol City and will be certainly up for the challenge in taking on the best team in Europe. @B_and_A_Fanzine creator and Podcast host of @salopcast Glyn Price talks us through the recent history of the club, which players to keep an eye on and his recollections of being at Anfield for some memorable moments. Can you talk a bit about Shrewsbury Town and the ups and downs you have been through as a club over the years? The last ten years or so have been one of an upward trajectory for Shrewsbury Town. Having been relegated to the conference we escaped after one season, then established ourselves as a league club. We progressively got better in League Two, as well as building a new stadium, incurring no debt and finally achieving promotion to League One. After a yo-yo period, we have now settled in League one and starting to consider ourselves better than constant relegation battles. Paul Hurst took us ninety minutes away from the Championship, but that last hurdle alludes us. It has been well documented how tough it is for clubs in the lower leagues to make ends meet in the current Football environment. So can you explain what this tie means for a club like Shrewsbury? Like most clubs, the TV money is the big one for us, and it’s one of a few televised games we have had in the last few years, which is more than welcome. But one thing we pride ourselves particularly in this climate is that we are one of a handful of clubs doing things the right way and not gambling with our future. We are debt free with money in the bank and a decent turn over and great grasp of wage controls as well as a stadium we entirely own. We work smart and there is little worry whether will have a club to support in 10 years. It’s not the most exciting, but as clubs have gone boom and bust in lower leagues; we have slowly edged ourselves up. So games like this are an added bonus to secure our strategy. We won’t waste it; it will be reinvested in infrastructure and the right players who will have a sell-on fee. Supporters are so often the lifeblood of clubs like yours, so how excited are they and can the Reds expect a hostile reception? It’s a great reward for us as club and fans for digging through from round one and of course fans are looking forward to playing Liverpool. More so I guess due how good Liverpool (and your reserves) are at the moment. It will be a sell out and due to how we have sold tickets it will be pretty much all STFC fans in the home end. Last year against Wolves the tickets were sold differently and loads of Wolves fans got in and no one enjoyed that! In terms of the reception, it will be loud and passionate for our team. When we get these games the club pulls together and both our singing areas get in tune. It likely won’t phase any experienced pros though. You have a very young manager in charge in former Bolton Wanderers and Hull City full-back Sam Ricketts. Have you been pleased with his tenure so far and what is his customary style of play? Tough one. In the league the form since he took over has been pretty average. We don't score many as we play a very defensive formation. But we are very hard to break down and that’s something to be proud of with three experimental centre backs. But he does deserve credit for his FA cup management. Last year he brought us back from 2-0 down at half time against Stoke to win 3-2. Then he came very close to masterminding a win over Wolves. We were 2-0 up with not long to play before Wolves brought on 40 million pounds worth of players to rescue a draw. Even the replay was a good battle. No reason why the same can’t happen this week! In general though, the fans are content with Ricketts this season as long as he keeps us well clear of relegation trouble. Who are some of the players that Liverpool fans should keep an eye on during this fixture? Arron Pierre is a Centre back we signed in the summer, who’s running away as our player of the season and capped it all with the winner late in the game in the last round. He’s all action. Piles forward and is as solid as a rock at the back. We also have a striker called Jason Cummings who if we are to do anything, he could be the one to find a bit of magic. Natural finisher, tricky and mad as a box of frogs to be honest. If we play him up front with the equally impressive (former Liverpool junior) Callum Lang then we might have some joy! Do you keep half a eye on the Premier League and if so, what do make of the work of Jürgen Klopp and the progress of Liverpool under his tenure? Yes and a bloody brilliant job he is doing. As a kid I grew up with football in the blood. My Dad took me to all the Shrewsbury games, but as Liverpool was my Prem team growing up he regularly took me to Anfield as a kid. Was at both Newcastle 4-3 games (where as a young lad my dad tells me it was the first time he heard me swear when Collymore scored) saw loads of UEFA cup games and the Cup Winners Cup semi final against PSG. So growing up in the Man United dominated era, which along with Salop being rubbish at times kind of ruined being at school. I’m more than happy to see Liverpool back on their perch. Klopp seems like a rare breed, a manager who is perfect for the club. Is there one particular Reds player that you admire the most? They are all pretty good, but I have a very big soft spot for Firmino. Absolutely love the way he plays, skill, determination and fun. A joy to watch when he’s at his absolute best. Big fan of the Andy Robertson story too, particularly his shithousing. They are all great to watch at the moment though, I think it’s an era for Liverpool fans that will be up there with their very best when it is all said and done. And for a club with the history of Liverpool, that’s saying something. The majority of football loving fans across the nation will be cheering on The Shrews on Sunday. What are your realistic hopes regarding how the game will play out? Depends on just who turns up but it’s going to be very tough. We won’t come out and attack other than the occasional structured counter attacks, so the game will come down to how long (or if) Liverpool can score. A replay would be absolute magic. It’s a long shot but we have to dream of that and more. Would love to score at least one, and that player will go down in folklore for us likely. Probably it will be 3-1 or 3-0 as we are hard to break down, but if you don’t score into the second half, that spark of the dream draw will fire our fans up massively!!! Either way, I can not wait.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Sadio Mané has reiterated his love for Liverpool and has put to bed once and for all any doubt that he was contemplating leaving the Reds.Despite only signing a long term contract in November of last year, the Senegal star was linked to Real Madrid in the summer with Zinedine Zidane a declared fan of his.However, knowing that the club was on the verge of something special, the thought of leaving never really had crossed his mind.The Mirror (via Complex) reported Mané as saying:“I really struggle to describe how happy I am to be here.“To be honest, I’m really happy to be a part of the club, the family here.“We have the best fans in the world here, so I’m always so thankful for the support.“It’s not just great for me too – it gives the whole squad more motivation to perform. "It keeps us hungry to get better and better together - I really struggle to describe how happy I am to be here.Mane said the squad have specific goals that they want to accomplish this season.“It’s very early to say of course, but our target, as everyone knows, is to win the league this season. “We’re targeting the Champions League as well. Mane reflected on the memory of winning his first piece of silverware for the club in June and the reaction from the fans will be something he will never forget.From a young age, it’s been my dream to win these kind of trophies.“After scoring in it the season before but losing, going on to win it is an incredible feeling. I could not believe it!“When we came back to Liverpool with the trophy, it was just incredible to discover how much it meant to the people here. The mood of the city was just crazy!“Winning it and seeing how much it meant has given us all more motivation this season to perform, and win more trophies for this club.“From a young age, it’s been my dream to win these kind of trophies.Mane has continued on from his outstanding form of last season despite a busy off-season of international duty and his confidence is sky high.“I’m in a good stage of my career for sure, and I feel the whole squad is thinking the exact same right now. “I’m trying to keep up my consistency now, and just work hard to keep up the high levels expected of us” View full article
  15. Report by Dave Usher Wow. How impressive was that? Leicester are our nearest challengers and we just went into their back yard and stole their dinner money. It was an absolute mauling and 4-0 flattered them. First versus second shouldn't look like this, but with the Reds in this mood Leicester had no chance. This should have been our toughest game of the season but the lads made it look easy. We just went to the second placed team and didn’t let them have a shot on target. The most dangerous striker in the league didn’t get a kick and we put four past a team who had only conceded five at home all season. The best word to describe the performance is 'imperious'. We were right on them from the opening whistle and never let up at any stage. Incredibly, we could have scored twice inside the opening 60 seconds. First Trent brought a save out of Schmeichel with a rasper from 25 yards. Seconds later Salah had the ball on the right and picked out Mané with a brilliant ball. It seemed a certain goal but Sadio got it all wrong and missed by miles. Still, what a start. And it carried on. We created loads of chances and Leicester couldn’t get out of their own half due to the way we completely smothered them. We’re fucking horrible to play against when we’re in this mood. Leicester are taking a lot of stick for how they played but in this mood we’d smash anyone. We’re the best team in the world and anyone having a go at Leicester should look at the league table. They’re pushing us harder than anyone else. The only thing standing between Leicester and the kind of beating they themselves dished out to Southampton earlier in the season was our wastefulness. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. 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!
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. The weekend kicked off with one of the worst games of football I’ve ever seen. It was so bad I wasn’t even mad, I was impressed. The bizarre thing was that I couldn’t switch it off as it was so terrible that it was fascinating to watch. So many bad passes, mis-controls, awful decisions and clumsy fouls. It was completely inept from both teams. I saw all but ten minutes of it and in that time I didn’t see either keeper make a save. Apparently the only shot of the game came when I wasn’t watching. Arsenal’s players celebrated their point like they’d just pulled off a heroic European away display. Calum Chambers was talking afterwards about what a battling display it was and how pleased they are with the clean sheet. Fuck me. You’re Arsenal, not Accrington. I know I’m repeating myself every week, but Arsenal’s utter shitness just makes me so angry. They’re an absolute fucking disgrace, so much so that Freddie Ljungberg decided to give himself the ready made excuse for not winning by ditching the likes of Pepe, Lacazette and Ozil and picking a load of kids. The idea that Arteta is going to walk in there with his PlayMobil haircut and turn that mess around is preposterous. If he’s still there in 12 months I’ll be staggered. He won’t know what’s hit him, going from working every day with Man City’s squad with their ultra professionalism, unrelenting work ethic and single minded winning mentality, to that fucking spineless rabble of shthouses. The game itself was fascinating though. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible for players at this level to look as bad as this. Every pass was either underhit, overhit, misplaced or when it eventually got there it was mis-controlled. There were just clumsy tackles all over the place and everyone seemed to just be making the wrong decision every time. So many passes were put straight out of play it was like a rugby union game. It was so bad it was almost good. Almost. There were weird scenes at full time where Dunc was saying his ‘goodbyes’. He isn’t going anywhere, but this was his last game as caretaker boss, so he was out there on the pitch milking the adulation of the crowd and then spoke proudly to BT about how he’s unbeaten in his time in charge (technically he’s not as they lost a penalty shoot out, but I tend to agree with him that they don’t really count). Then he goes “What a fantastic performance we put in”. Ok, slow down, Tonto. I know you’re excited and caught up in the moment, but let’s not get silly here. Fantastic performance? Even the Hodge would have struggled to describe that as ‘fantastic’. Fuck me. I wish he’d been given the job full time as it would have been a disaster, but to his credit he knows that and he’s said from minute one he wants Everton to get the best manager available and that he knows that isn’t him. He’s made the most of every second he’s had the job and he’s actually been a fun watch if I’m honest. Of course I’ve found myself laughing at him but it wasn’t even in a malicious way. He starts every game with the suit jacket on but it always comes off as he’s prowling the touchline in his shirt and tie. And the blue sweatband is incredibly fucking sad yet somehow quite endearing. He even bought a load of them so he can give them away to his adoring public. He gave that to a girl in a wheelchair at full time as he went over to see everyone in the disabled section. It was a nice touch. Then he grabbed an arl fella in a wheelchair and kissed him on the head. It’s really funny how a player who did so little is such a huge legend with the Blues and it basically shows just how little they’ve had to cheer for since the 80s. The way they idolise Ferguson is desperately sad, but it’s nice to see someone interact with his fans the way he has. I’m sure he’ll get to do it again when the fans turn on Ancelotti and hound him out like they have with everyone they’ve had since Moyes. Eyebrows were certainly raised when they went for him, none more so than from Carlo himself when he saw how much they were offering him. 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.
  25. Jurgen Klopp says young defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has turned out to be the biggest surprise since he took over the reins at Anfield, describing the player as a “machine.” The 21-year-old was given his senior debut in October 2016, a year after Klopp took over from Brendan Rodgers and has since gone on to cement his place in the starting 11. He’s also forced his way into the England squad, having become one of the most highly-rated defenders in Europe. Alexander-Arnold is a player who typifies the modern-day full-back, effective both in defense and attack as he marauds up and down the right flank. Klopp has known the youngster for a few years now but he admits he didn’t think he would show that much improvement this quickly. "I have known Trent Alexander-Arnold since he was 17 years old,” the German said after being asked what the biggest surprise of his Liverpool career has been so far by BBC Sport. "He was a big talent but we were not sure he could do it physically. Now he is a machine - so he is a big surprise." The 21-year-old, now a Champions League winner, was named Liverpool’s Young Player of the Season for two consecutive campaigns (2016/17 and 2017/18) and was an inclusion in last term’s PFA Team of the Year. He was also nominated for the Ballon d’Or this year. Klopp is certainly owed a lot of the credit for Alexander-Arnold’s development. The coach has his work cut out for him when it comes to keeping his squad fresh and competitive, however. Asked how he maintains respect while making difficult decisions, he said: "All my former players have my number and we stay in contact. "I support them still, apart from the moment we play each other. If we win 5-1 I would prefer my former player scores the one. It is like a family and friends forever. "When I was a very young manager [at Mainz] and I knew my players did not earn very much, I had to tell some of my best friends they would not get another contract and I did not know which way it would go for them. "Now it is a different level and I do not put the players on the streets, they will find another club.” Meanwhile, Liverpool are on course to win their first title of the Premier League era, having just lifted the FIFA Club World Cup. They’re 10 points clear at the top of the league table with a game in hand and are 1/7 to claim the coveted title at the end of the season with Betfair, who are handing customers the opportunity to win £100 in free bets. The sportsbook has several other offers and promotions available which, coupled with the above, is thought to be the reason why Betfair are one of the top bookmakers in the UK. They have reigning champions Manchester City at 6/1 to win the league for a third successive time but the Reds are the clear favourites after dropping just two points in 17 games so far this season. Leicester City are 60/1 while Chelsea are a huge stretch at 500/1, as are Tottenham Hotspur.
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