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  1. Report by Dave Usher It's not quite the Champions League but it was still a nice feeling seeing Hendo and the lads repeating their trophy lift routine. It was also nice not to lose a penalty shoot out. The game itself provided more cause for concern than reasons to be cocky, but we won so that makes it easier to put those concerns to one side. I’m sure Klopp and his staff will have seen things they want to iron out as quickly as possible though, as I didn’t think we played well at all. We didn’t deserve to win the game but we didn’t deserve to lose either. We should have beaten City the other week and losing on pens was a bit of a kick in the teeth. Had we lost this one, I don’t think we’d have had too much cause to feel hard done by, other than by VAR which I’ll get to in due course. The Super Cup isn’t the biggest trophy in the world, but I’ve got a spring in my step today. There isn’t that euphoric buzz of winning a Champions League, but it still feels good doesn’t it? UEFA will be delighted too. A packed crowd, great atmosphere, exciting game and the winning side celebrating like it genuinely means something. They couldn’t have asked for more. It was also the first game to be officiated by an all female refereeing team and they did well. That too has to be seen as a success, despite the cack handed attempt to help them out by the VAR crew. Again, I’ll get to that in a bit. As Big Virg said afterwards, it was a good game for the neutrals. Chelsea probably feel a lot like we did after losing the Charity Shield. The loss stings but they’ll have taken a lot of positives out of the way they played. For us it’s a case of just grabbing the trophy and getting the hell home to rest up. Forget about the performance, but take some lessons from how easily Chelsea were able to open us up at times. Chelsea were good to be fair. I was a bit surprised at how well they played, but I wonder how much of that was down to us not being at the level we expect. Norwich looked good too, let’s not forget. There’s something not quite right with us at the minute. Everyone is talking about this high line we’re playing and it’s clearly not working exactly as it’s supposed to. Teams are getting behind us too easily, but Chelsea were also running at us as well as in behind us. We looked all over the place at times. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  2. I’ve had a great summer. It started in June with us winning number six. It got even better a few weeks later as I sat on the Kop watching Bon Jovi performing “Livin’ on a Prayer”. Then we got a new puppy. So life was good, it was a dream summer. And then the new season starts, Man City win 5-0 away and all of a sudden I’m sat here thinking “winter is coming”. I expect in a few weeks I’ll end up on a self imposed boycott of their games but for now I’m going to soldier on and report back with my thoughts on the fuckers. In fairness I can’t say what City did this weekend surprised me too much as West Ham are dreadful. They’re starting Jack Wilshere, for fucks sake. That tells you all you need to know. Fortunately for the Hammers he’ll be injured in a few weeks and Mark Noble will be back in. Noble has his critics but I always feel that West Ham are better with him than without. West Ham had a club record signing starting up top against City. £45m he cost and I’ve never even heard of the cunt. He’s bound to be shit, although I thought that about Felipe Anderson last year and he’s been very good. Still, they had to get one right eventually. Jesus set City on their way but the goal was all about the raw blistering speed of Walker. Obviously we all know he’s quick, but fucking hell that was mad how he just burned off Cresswell. Last time I saw pace like that it was Gabby Agbonlahor at Anfield, before he went fat and shit. Walker was like the fucking road runner. Honestly, if I had ever been able to run like that I’d have been utterly unbearable as I’d be shouting “Beep Beep” every time I sprinted past someone. De Bruyne put the second on a plate for Sterling, and seconds later it looked like it was three when Jesus tapped in Sterling’s cross. VAR chalked that one off though. Sterling was literally an inch offside, and even that was only visible by the lines drawn on the screen, as to the naked eye he looked well on. Sterling made it 3-0 with a lovely composed finish. VAR had a look at that too, as it looked more offside than the first one in real time. This one was an inch onside and the goal stood. Is this really what we want though? Technically both decisions are right, but the whole thing is a fucking farce and fans and players aren’t celebrating goals properly because they’re worried it will be chalked off. It intervened again when Aguero’s shit penalty was saved by Fabianksi, only for it to be retaken because VAR spotted that Rice had encroached and because he cleared the rebound, Aguero got a second chance which he buried. VAR was brought in to remove the controversy over incorrect decisions and stop people talking about bad decisions. Instead everyone is talking about VAR. It hasn’t made anything better, it’s just a different kind of shit. I hate it. Sterling broke clear for his hat-trick in stoppage time. He’s a good bet for the Golden Boot this year I reckon, he seems to score every fucking week and he’s hardly ever rested either. If he keeps improving the way he has been he might be worth us taking a look at in a year or two. 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.
  3. Going into the season the likeable Dutchman seemed to be one of those most under threat by the arrivals of Fabinho and Naby Keita, yet he was our best midfielder in the opening months. By some distance. His start to the season was fantastic. He had a little dip in the middle (actually 'dip' might be overstating it to be fair) but he came back strong again and he was almost superhuman in that Barcelona game. He’s such a clever, versatile footballer. He's been brilliant whenever he has had to play as a number six and this time last year that was a position I thought he might settle down into. Then we bought Fabinho, and the impact made by the Brazilian in the second part of the season means we're unlikely to see Wijnaldum there much in the future. He'll probably be the one to fill in for Fabinho now though, with Henderson finally released from those shackles and allowed to run free again. The thing Klopp seems to love most about Wijnaldum is that he’s so tactically aware he can be deployed virtually anywhere and will carry out his manager’s instructions to the letter. He was even asked to fill in for Bobby in the Nou Camp, a move that surprised everyone, including Wijnaldum himself. In some ways Gini is a lot like Milner (and even Hendo, to a degree). On paper you look at all the players vying for those midfield positions and think “he’s not going to get too much playing time”. Then at the end of the season you look and he’s got 35 starts or something. Managers love players like them a lot more than the internet does. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note, 'Season Report Cards' are only be available to TLW subscribers. Subscriptions are just £2 per month and can be purchased here.
  4. Report by Dave Usher A 4-1 home win to kick off the season isn’t anything to be sniffed at, which is why I had to chastise myself at full time when I realised that my pleasure at the result was tinged by mild disappointment and a sense of missed opportunity. I’m aware that’s daft and goes against every traditionally held viewpoint, and that’s why I had to check myself. That being said, City’s win the next day does kind of validate my initial reaction, to some extent at least. Before you stop reading, log off and call me a miserable, impossible to please bastard, allow me to explain. It’s a mark of how special this team is - and also of the almost impossibly high bar that has been set by Guardiola’s side - that a 4-1 win isn’t wholly satisfactory anymore, especially when it was 4-0 at half time. This team is so good that winning by three goals at home is almost level par, nothing special, just what we’ve come to expect. That’s the standard they’ve set for themselves in recent years. Unfortunately the standard City have set is marginally higher, which they demonstrated again by topping our 4-1 result with a 5-0 win away at West Ham. Annoying bastards. Despite the tinge of disappointment at letting a really big score get away from us, I’m trying not to allow what City do lessen the enjoyment I get from watching the Reds. It isn’t always easy though. After how last season went it’s always in the back of your mind that we need to try and match them, not just point for point but also goal for goal, in case it comes down to that. Trying to do that and constantly thinking about it is fucking tiring though, isn’t it? Last season was torture at times, and it’s almost like the summer never happened as I’ve just picked up those exact same emotions I was having last year. Even though it’s fucking August!! We can’t control what they do except when we play them but if we’re going to challenge them again like we did last year then we’ll need to take every opportunity that comes our way. From that perspective, I think we let one slip through our grasp a little here, because goal difference might end up being important. That said, I enjoyed the game and it was refreshing to come up against an opponent that didn’t just pack their own box and try to stifle us. Norwich’s approach to the game was actually quite astonishing I thought. Other than Man City, I bet we won’t see anyone else try to play that way against us. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. The amount of times Tim Krul just passed it five yards to his centre back from goal kicks was incredible. They tried to play their way out time and time again and in fairness they managed it more often than not. They’re going to be fun to watch this season. I thought it was foolhardy but that’s how the coach wants his team to play and fair play to him for being brave enough to do that against us, especially at 4-0 down. At times early in the second half it looked like we were going to overwhelm them as they were trying to play out from inside their own box while we were pushed right up on them. Doing that against us is like throwing a used tampon into a shark tank. Our lads were swarming all over them and the only surprise was that we didn’t score from one of those situations. We almost did when Salah bent one inches wide after Fabinho had won the ball in their half, but overall Norwich played through our press far better than I would have expected them to. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  5. Saturday Aug 3: Klopp makes a completely innocuous comment about our spending capability in relation to other clubs (“we don’t live in a transfer fantasia” or something), and City got their knickers in a knot. I’ve said before about how their press office are utterly obsessed with us and what they see as the unbalanced reporting in our favour, so it’s no surprise they saw their arses over this. I expect that of them, because they’re a mixture of small time dickheads who have no idea how big clubs are supposed to be have, and Abu Dhabi trained zealots who think they can control everything said or written about them (see the leaked emails from that chief exec fella). It’s a bit much when old Baldiola weighs in talking absolute bollocks as well though. “We don’t get enough credit wah wah wah” “Kevin De Bruyne should have been player of the year but you gave it to Salah wah wah wah”. “We won five trophies wah wah wah”. How does he not get this? When you spend what they spend, it’s expected that you’ll win everything. It’s only a story when you don’t. Spending what they’ve spent isn’t a guarantee of anything of course, but it does make it easier. Still, not even I would try to suggest he hasn’t done a great job. He really has. His squad is full of £50m players but he’s taken the sum of those parts and built a team that’s greater than it, which is far from easy. He’s a great coach, but Klopp finished one point behind him on a fraction of the budget and he also won the Champions League. So pipe down, baldy, you’re getting the credit you deserve, it’s just that we deserve more. Tell you what winds me up though. City keep using the wage bill thing to show that they aren’t spending more than us and United. Firstly, the figures they are putting on their accounts are obviously complete horseshit and I’d estimate there’s at least £100m a year they aren’t declaring. Secondly, even by their own cooked books the difference is still only £4m a year between us and them, but they’re spending quadruple what we are on transfer fees. Thirdly, Man City are fucking minuscule in comparison to us and United, so how is it possible they can spend more without breaking the rules? The answer is that it isn’t possible. I’m not arsed about the Charity Shield itself one tiny bit but I desperately want to fucking smash them everywhere tomorrow. Sunday Aug 4: Aaaaaargh fuck off. We should have won that, we were better than them and they got out of jail. We didn’t start well and the organisation at the back wasn’t quite there, but we had no problems creating chances and the longer the game went on the more we just got a stranglehold on it. It was impressive stuff and in time I’m sure I’ll be able to focus on that. Right now though I’m just so pissed off we didn’t beat them. They celebrated a little too exuberantly I’m told. I wouldn’t know as my toys went out the pram as soon as the whistle went and I turned the TV off, but it probably tells you a lot that they reacted like that. City know they were second best but it doesn’t really matter when they also know they’ll have very little trouble with the rest of the league. From their point of view, they need to avoid defeat in the games against us and they’ll probably be ok. So we need to fucking beat them, preferably twice. To do that we need to be much more clinical than we have the last few times we’ve played them. Did we learn anything about Klopp’s plans for this season? I think we did. There were some interesting selection decisions. Gomez starting over Matip for example. That tells me that Joe will start the season and has regained his spot as Virgil’s main partner. It’s hard to argue with that but it’s not what I’d have done. Maybe Gomez is better than Matip, but for me Matip was in possession of the shirt and did nothing to deserve losing his place. The only thing that happened was the season ended. Right now I think he’d my first choice and Joe would have to wait for his opportunity. It’s not something I feel especially strongly about and I’m not moaning about it, but that’s just how I see things. Divock on the left was significant too. Not because he’s likely to play there often, but because he’s clearly the next in line when ANY of the front three are missing. He’ll play left when Sadio isn’t there, central when Bobby isn’t and I’d guess that he’d also get the nod when Mo isn’t playing, albeit he might be on the left with Sadio switching over. For all the whining from some about us needing to sign someone, I don’t see too many players out there that would even make our bench. Ideally I’d have wanted a fourth match winner that we could rotate in and out with the rest of the front three, but that ship sailed when Klopp decided to give Divock a new deal. He’s put his faith in Origi and although I still feel he has plenty to prove (he’s played well in spurts but we need to see him do it consistently) but if Klopp believes in him then who am I to doubt that? He knows what he’s doing, so instead of cryarsing about us not buying new players, how about putting faith in the ones we actually have, because let’s face it, after 97 points and a European Cup they deserve it. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full article Please note that 'the Week that Was' is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  6. Divock Origi has spoken about the importance of building momentum in the early stages of a new campaign.The striker got a start alongside Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah with Sadio Mane only returning to training on Monday after a well deserved break following international commitments.The Belgian made a impression in the first ten minutes of the game when his cross was steered by Norwich captain Grant Hanley into the back of his own net.After goals by Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk, Origi put a exclamation mark on a terrific first 45 minutes of the season when he headed home from a trademark pinpoint pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold.It continued a rich vein of form for Origi as it was his fifth goal in his last six games for the Reds in all competitions.While the pre-season form of the Reds was understandably scratchy with key players absent, the community shield against Man City was a key step forward, and the clash against the Canaries followed in the same fashion. The Official site reported Origi as saying:"As a first game, we wanted to make another step from the game against [Manchester] City and obviously winning 4-1 against a very good team is good for us."I think there's a lot of good elements, some elements where we can still improve. But it's still the start of the season, so I think it's very positive."We had a lot of respect for this team and we knew that if we didn't play at 100 per cent we could have problems."You could see in some instances that they had a lot of quality but I thought we dealt with it well. "In the end, 4-1 is a very good performance for us."The games keep coming thick and fast for the European Champions early in the season where they take on Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday evening in Istanbul.The opportunity to play for these kinds of honours is what Footballers live for and Origi said the level of expectation within the squad is high."I think there's something special going on."Last year we could finish the season off with a cup and that was good for us. "But now we have to make the next step. "Also in the Premier League, we have a lot to play for, a lot of prizes to play for this season."I think we have a very good group and we're all very motivated."
  7. Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his joy as the the European champions opened the new Premier League season on Friday evening with a 4-1 victory over a gallant Norwich outfit. However, the manager was quick to point out that that there is plenty of room for improvement.The Reds had put the game to bed in the first 45 minutes, with goals to Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Divock Origi and a own goal by Norwich captain Grant Hanley.But the Canaries gave the scoreline some respectability in the second half courtesy of Finland striker Teemu Pukki. Sky Sports reported the manager saying that the the game was split into two sections. "It [the scoreline] tells the story of the first 60 minutes. "We were really sharp from the first whistle, we did what we wanted to do and we scored goals. Klopp was very impressed with what he saw from the Canaries."Norwich are good and now a lot more people know it."They showed up and it was difficult for them in the first 60 minutes but after that, staying that cheeky and staying that lively is impressive. "It was really good and there are so many good, young players in that squad. I liked a lot what they did. Klopp said after a somewhat disjointed pre-season with many absentees, he was just happy to clinch the three points as they look to negotiate the early stages of a new campaign."We have to learn some things that are not completely new, and if someone had told us before the game we were going to win 4-1, we would have taken it."They were good but we deserved the three points, which is the most important. Klopp pinpointed defensive intensity as something the team can work on in the weeks ahead."The main problem today defensively was the reaction to the second balls. " We won all the headers but none of the second balls in the first half and that kills you. "They were really good and have really interesting young players, but in the end, you have to deal with it in these different situations."There's a lot of space for improvement but a lot of things were there today as well. The main blow on the evening was the injury to goalkeeper Alisson who was helped off the ground after suffering a calf injury giving former West Ham keeper Adrian a competitive debut for the club in the same week he signed on as a free agent." The Alisson situation is a shadow on that game. "He has injured his calf, and we have to see how much time he is on the sidelines."
  8. Divock Origi has spoken about the importance of building momentum in the early stages of a new campaign.The striker got a start alongside Roberto Firmino and Mo Salah with Sadio Mane only returning to training on Monday after a well deserved break following international commitments.The Belgian made a impression in the first ten minutes of the game when his cross was steered by Norwich captain Grant Hanley into the back of his own net.After goals by Mo Salah and Virgil Van Dijk, Origi put a exclamation mark on a terrific first 45 minutes of the season when he headed home from a trademark pinpoint pass by Trent Alexander-Arnold.It continued a rich vein of form for Origi as it was his fifth goal in his last six games for the Reds in all competitions.While the pre-season form of the Reds was understandably scratchy with key players absent, the community shield against Man City was a key step forward, and the clash against the Canaries followed in the same fashion. The Official site reported Origi as saying:"As a first game, we wanted to make another step from the game against [Manchester] City and obviously winning 4-1 against a very good team is good for us."I think there's a lot of good elements, some elements where we can still improve. But it's still the start of the season, so I think it's very positive."We had a lot of respect for this team and we knew that if we didn't play at 100 per cent we could have problems."You could see in some instances that they had a lot of quality but I thought we dealt with it well. "In the end, 4-1 is a very good performance for us."The games keep coming thick and fast for the European Champions early in the season where they take on Chelsea in the UEFA Super Cup on Wednesday evening in Istanbul.The opportunity to play for these kinds of honours is what Footballers live for and Origi said the level of expectation within the squad is high."I think there's something special going on."Last year we could finish the season off with a cup and that was good for us. "But now we have to make the next step. "Also in the Premier League, we have a lot to play for, a lot of prizes to play for this season."I think we have a very good group and we're all very motivated." View full article
  9. Jurgen Klopp has spoken of his joy as the the European champions opened the new Premier League season on Friday evening with a 4-1 victory over a gallant Norwich outfit. However, the manager was quick to point out that that there is plenty of room for improvement.The Reds had put the game to bed in the first 45 minutes, with goals to Mo Salah, Virgil Van Dijk, Divock Origi and a own goal by Norwich captain Grant Hanley.But the Canaries gave the scoreline some respectability in the second half courtesy of Finland striker Teemu Pukki. Sky Sports reported the manager saying that the the game was split into two sections. "It [the scoreline] tells the story of the first 60 minutes. "We were really sharp from the first whistle, we did what we wanted to do and we scored goals. Klopp was very impressed with what he saw from the Canaries."Norwich are good and now a lot more people know it."They showed up and it was difficult for them in the first 60 minutes but after that, staying that cheeky and staying that lively is impressive. "It was really good and there are so many good, young players in that squad. I liked a lot what they did. Klopp said after a somewhat disjointed pre-season with many absentees, he was just happy to clinch the three points as they look to negotiate the early stages of a new campaign."We have to learn some things that are not completely new, and if someone had told us before the game we were going to win 4-1, we would have taken it."They were good but we deserved the three points, which is the most important. Klopp pinpointed defensive intensity as something the team can work on in the weeks ahead."The main problem today defensively was the reaction to the second balls. " We won all the headers but none of the second balls in the first half and that kills you. "They were really good and have really interesting young players, but in the end, you have to deal with it in these different situations."There's a lot of space for improvement but a lot of things were there today as well. The main blow on the evening was the injury to goalkeeper Alisson who was helped off the ground after suffering a calf injury giving former West Ham keeper Adrian a competitive debut for the club in the same week he signed on as a free agent." The Alisson situation is a shadow on that game. "He has injured his calf, and we have to see how much time he is on the sidelines." View full article
  10. Report by Dave Usher This game was a microcosm of last season. We gave them a huge scare, we were the better side, but we missed chances while the woodwork and a goal-line clearance meant that we had to watch them walk away with the silverware. Firstly, let me state that I know this game is just a glorified friendly. I think that teams who list the Charity Shield on their honours list are embarrassing and I’m fully on board with the notion that how we played in this game bodes well for the season ahead. There’s no reason to be discouraged about what we saw and there are lots of positives to take from it. My confidence in what then team can achieve this year has not been knocked in any way by this, far from it. It’s all good. You know there’s a ‘but’ coming here though, don’t you? And the 'but' is that despite all I've just said above, I was still gutted when we lost that shoot out. I know I shouldn't be, and my head is telling the rest of me to stop being a dickhead, but it is what it is. You can't help how you feel. If you have shrugged it off and are genuinely not bothered about us losing on penalties then more power to you. That’s the sensible, rational way to look at things. Me? The train to sensible and rational pulled out of the station as I was getting there, so I had to jump the 'fucking hate these FFP dodging manc pricks' train instead. I’m far more pissed off about this than I should be. It's irrational but I’m proper wound up and that’s not a good sign because if I’m this bothered about a relatively unimportant game like this, then this season is going to be fucking hard going for me. It might be even more stressful than last year. The price of success I guess. This is the problem now. The bar has been set so high by City that every game matters, every chance is important, every mistake can be crucial. Especially when it’s against them. Fucking hell, there’s so little margin for error that the games against them are going to be pivotal. We didn’t win the title last season because of the head to heads with City. We know we can go toe to toe with them and this was further proof. We need to make that count though because a lot of teams don’t even try against them *cough* Everton *cough* which makes it vitally important that we take points from them. There were no points at stake in this one but I felt like it was still really important just for the psychological aspect. Beating them would have seen the seed of doubt they already have grow significantly. We know we’re in their heads and they see us as the only threat to their dominance. Beating them would have helped with that, but I suppose this was the next best thing. We didn’t lose (the penalties were irrelevant in the grand scheme of things as it's not a proper trophy) and we outplayed them. Moral victories are hollow as fuck though. I wanted to win though. I badly wanted to win. And it’s put me in a bad mood that we didn’t. Not because “it’s a trophy”. I could not give less of a fuck about that. It’s not a trophy, no more so than any of the other pre-season trinkets you see teams winning when they go on tour. Fuck the Charity Shield, we were only in it by default anyway as we didn’t win the league or the cup. The ‘trophy’ itself was meaningless, I just wanted to beat City. We should have done too. The penalty shoot out shouldn’t have been necessary because they should have been dead and buried long before then. How many chances did we squander? Six? Seven? May have even been more. So that’s a positive in the sense that we had no trouble whatsoever carving them open and creating great opportunities. We didn’t take the opportunities but we’re still in pre-season and the cobwebs are being blown off. We made them look ordinary in that second half though and on the balance of play we should have won by a couple of goals at least. We didn’t though, and I’m pissed off about it. Not pissed off at any individual, just pissed off about not winning. It’s easy to point the finger at Salah for how incredibly wasteful he was, but he’s been back in training for less than a week and frankly, his performance was bordering on sensational all things considered. It’s just that his finishing was shite in the first half and he was a little unlucky in the second. He tormented them all day though. 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. tlw content

    Opposition View - Norwich City

    This season TLW will give the readers a look into the opposition camp as we progress through what should be another thrilling season. The opening game against newly promoted Norwich on Friday night is the perfect launching point for this piece. Connor Southwell (@cjsouthwell1902) and Anita Byrne (@anitajbyrne) from @NorwichCityMFW give an insightful viewpoint about what it means to be back in the Premier League, the impact of their impressive manager Daniel Farke and who their key players are to keep an eye on throughout the season. Before we look ahead, belated congratulations for your return to the Premier League. Can you talk our readers through what it means to be back in the top tier of English Football and perhaps a personal highlight or two from your outstanding Championship winning season? CS: Thank you! The majority of the Canary nation would proclaim that the feeling is one of profound sweetness. To contextualise, you have to rewind two seasons previous, where Daniel Farke had just been installed, and the club felt like it was in somewhat of a slump. Disconnect between the players and the supporters became fractious with the general perception of underachievement because of the highest ever wage budget Alex Neil oversaw. The last two years have proved transformative. Sporting Director Stuart Webber has instigated the most significant culture change the club has ever experienced, with a lower budget being embraced and youth were provided with a chance. The bridge between the first team and the academy has been non-existent for a while. From there, it was all down to Farke. He’d experienced a tough first season which was put down to the transitional state of the club. Recruitment was a key factor, but the German deserves all the praise for sculpting a side to play football that was aesthetically pleasing but equally effective. The combination of youth and entertaining football made for a season that will be confined to the history books forever. That underdog spirit was something special and, at times, Carrow Road was a cauldron of noise. In terms of highlights, there are two that stand out in my mind. That win at Elland Road where Norwich schooled Marcelo Bielsa’s men and tactically outthought them. That was the night many Norwich fans became believers and then Blackburn at home, the game that secured promotion. It’s good to be back, but now they need to prove they deserve to stay there. Can you give an insight into your manager Daniel Farke. From an outsiders point of view he has come to the club, assessed what needed to be done and went about it in a methodical fashion, much like what his countryman Jurgen Klopp did for the Reds. What has impressed you most about the man and his methods? CS: I think there’s an assumption about every German coach who comes to these shores that their methodology and philosophy is identical to that to Jurgen Klopp because of the impact he’s made at Liverpool. The influx of German coaches with Farke, Wagner, Siewart, Stendel and Hassenhuttel (although Austrian) has altered the dynamic with fresh ideas and a style of football that places entertainment at the forefront of the game. Spanish possession and tika-taka have been developed with ideas of pressing. However, with Farke, Norwich has seen a more Thomas Tuchel approach whereby it’s all about being the protagonists in-game and using that possession-based approach to create overloads with an emphasis on attacking phases. The full-backs occupy high positions, and the wingers become number tens. It’s all about locating space between the lines. His ability to get an extra percentage out of players has been a massive strength. Players like Moritz Leitner, who was on the bench for Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League Final and have lost their way slightly, he’s managed to rejuvenate players careers on a shoestring with a style suited to the Premier League. He’s proven himself to be an adept and pragmatic operator. What’s impressed me more than anything is his temperament. Regardless of the club’s fate or situations, he always remained level headed. After a 4-0 defeat to Millwall, he was calm and rational, and equally so after the game that sealed promotion. Football is an emotional game, but it shows his composure. For fans all over the footballing landscape, the new season breeds plenty of hope especially in terms of a newly promoted club. Some promoted clubs like Huddersfield and Cardiff see the first season almost as a free hit and a true adventure, whilst others like Bournemouth, Burnley and Wolves seemingly have a structure in place to have a long term stay. Of course there are plenty of variables to take into account throughout the course of a season, but do you feel the club have a strong structure in place to become an established Premier League club? CS: The structure has been built over the last two years. I don’t see anything dramatic changing, particularly. They are ahead of the curve in terms of their long-term project to become established. They’ve developed the training ground and also have several assets on the pitch in terms of young talent so relegation wouldn’t be harmful in that sense. Naturally, the aim is to survive and prosper in the Premier League, but it’s about cultivating that underdog spirit and thriving off it. Every pundit, predictor and supporter outside of Norfolk will undoubtedly have Norwich in their bottom three, that’s what Norwich have developed momentum from. That attitude of overcoming adversity and proving people wrong. The group they’ve constructed has been designed purposefully to have the characteristic of being on the football rejection line. That culture they’ve installed is due to stand the test of time, regardless of who occupies the dugout. So in that regard, Norwich won’t alter their core beliefs irrespective of the league they are in. There was a point where relegation was feared, now, because of that strong structure, if they go down, then there is a belief they’ll come back. If they stay up, then the potential is there to sustain themselves. AB: Norwich have not changed our squad significantly or spent big money in the transfer market, which has targeted the club for some negativity and accusations of “lack of ambition” and “naivety." However, if you look at Fulham and its spending last season it doesn’t always amount to success. We have a team we don’t have individuals that think they’re bigger than the club. The camaraderie and bond has extended itself to the fans, which in return has increased atmosphere, it’s a double-edged sword. Any players that would come into the club would have to buy into its philosophy. Also making too many changes could alter that balance, let’s reward our players that got us promotion. Some of our players proved they are worth more than our rival teams are spending. Talk us through some of your squad. Who are some of your key players that Liverpool need to keep a close eye on and who do you feel have the qualities needed to thrive at this level? CS : Teemu Pukki is going to be a primary protagonist for Norwich’s survival mission. His 30 goals in all competitions were bettered only by James Norwood in the EFL. In terms of free transfers, he has to be one of the best in the club’s history: a natural goalscorer but an intellectual mover who can finish from all angles. Another is Emi Buendia, a name that I’m sure will be accustomed to all come May. The Argentinean is one of those footballers capable of provoking emotion with his creative style. His ability to impact games and produce moments of genuine quality excites the Canary faithful. Buendia can unlock doors that many can’t. His temperament is a concern, and his relentless graft often becomes aggression. Another intelligent operator, Buendia’s game, is reliant of locating those spaces between the lines and turning on the half turn. He’s a technical footballer whose ceiling is way beyond his current level — one to watch. Then, of course, there is a plethora of young talent at Farke’s disposal. Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, the two full-backs, have been pivotal for asserting Farke’s possession-based philosophy. Their dynamism and physicality are vital to providing width and an out ball when the space in the central phase is condensed. Which of your summer signings have impressed you most in the pre-season? AB: Man City winger Patrick Roberts (pictured below) who has joined on a season long loan is a player I could see getting some valuable minutes on the pitch, lets hope he can reproduce his success at Celtic. Injuries have hampered him and our coach has already got the best out of players who feel they need a second chance and got it all to prove. This could also apply to former West Ham and Leeds right back Sam Byram. Just as being the first match on centre court for the Wimbledon Championships or facing the first ball in a Lords test match is a massive occasion, there must be great sense of pride for the club to be involved in a stand-alone season opener under the Anfield lights? AB: In my eyes Anfield is the best way to kick off our start in the top flight of football. Klopp v Farke, two German coaches both from Borussia Dortmund, with mutual respect. Klopp was known to be following the Canaries results closely last year having worked with Moritz Leitner, Mario Vrancic and Marco Steipermann in the past. First game against the champions of Europe, a huge stage to start on. I would love Farke to become as successful as Klopp, there is no doubting how both have won the hearts of their fans. CS: This is what the players worked so tirelessly for last season, for nights and opportunities like this. Without pressure, they can go and showcase themselves on one of the most famous sporting backdrops in the world. There is pride, but Norwich has a group who will travel to Anfield with a desire and belief that they can win. They don’t fear anyone, nor will their natural inclination to be to put men behind the ball. Norwich will come to Anfield believing they can return with three points, of course, they won’t possess the same amount of the ball, so it’ll be interesting how they approach it but, of course, it’ll be an uphill battle. Thankfully for the Canaries there is no Luis Suarez in the Liverpool lineup. But in an opposition fans’ opinion, who are the key men that Norwich need to contain in your quest to get a result? CS: Haha! Thank goodness for no Luis Suarez! Whoever Liverpool deploy will ooze quality, so dismantling the Reds system and nullifying the supply line to that potent front three is key. What Liverpool possess is a game that doesn’t provide respite, whether they are on or off the ball or in transition. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Canaries… Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are undoubtedly the operators Norwich to somehow contain but reducing Liverpool’s time in possession and attempting to stop the ball as it travels through the thirds is the challenge. It’ll be a counter-attacking performance at Anfield from Norwich; I think that’s the case for every team who finds themselves in the opposing dressing room. I’m intrigued to see how it pans out, but that front three is mortifying for every team in the division. With their extended summers for varying reasons, hopefully, they have a rare off day come August 9th. If money was no object who is the one player which current Liverpool player would you love to have in your lineup? AB: Without hesitation PFA player of the year... Virgil Van Dijk would be the player I would jump at having in our line up. He must be one of or if not the best Centre back in the world. He has it all! Good on the ball, pace and can even use his head. A defender who is as equally great in both boxes, hard working and still young enough to improve. Worth every penny of his huge transfer fee, not something us as Norwich fans could ever believe we could spend under our current module. CS: The obvious answer would be to say any of the front three. That would be tremendous fun to consume every week. Instead, I’ll apply it to Norwich at the moment; the goalkeeping situation is still not fixed, so Alisson would be perfect for occupying that spot. With the youthful exuberance in the defence, then an assured, positive influence in goal who can win points singlehandedly, that could be a massive asset in the bid for survival. One of the best goalkeepers in the world, you can’t turn your nose up at that! So what is your score prediction for this fixture? CS: I think it’ll be an exciting game with a curious dynamic, but I’ll be pragmatic and go with a humbling 3-0 defeat. As long as it isn’t humiliating, then Norwich can dust themselves down and go again. And in broader terms where do you think you will finish in 2019/20? AB. Survival is crucial this season for us to then learn and build the following season. I would be happy with 15th however if we could finish above that i would class that as a huge success. Watching Nuno’s Wolverhampton proves that a club can come up from the Championship and build on their success, let’s hope Norwich can do just that.
  12. This season TLW will give the readers a look into the opposition camp as we progress through what should be another thrilling season. The opening game against newly promoted Norwich on Friday night is the perfect launching point for this piece. Connor Southwell (@cjsouthwell1902) and Anita Byrne (@anitajbyrne) from @NorwichCityMFW give an insightful viewpoint about what it means to be back in the Premier League, the impact of their impressive manager Daniel Farke and who their key players are to keep an eye on throughout the season. Before we look ahead, belated congratulations for your return to the Premier League. Can you talk our readers through what it means to be back in the top tier of English Football and perhaps a personal highlight or two from your outstanding Championship winning season? CS: Thank you! The majority of the Canary nation would proclaim that the feeling is one of profound sweetness. To contextualise, you have to rewind two seasons previous, where Daniel Farke had just been installed, and the club felt like it was in somewhat of a slump. Disconnect between the players and the supporters became fractious with the general perception of underachievement because of the highest ever wage budget Alex Neil oversaw. The last two years have proved transformative. Sporting Director Stuart Webber has instigated the most significant culture change the club has ever experienced, with a lower budget being embraced and youth were provided with a chance. The bridge between the first team and the academy has been non-existent for a while. From there, it was all down to Farke. He’d experienced a tough first season which was put down to the transitional state of the club. Recruitment was a key factor, but the German deserves all the praise for sculpting a side to play football that was aesthetically pleasing but equally effective. The combination of youth and entertaining football made for a season that will be confined to the history books forever. That underdog spirit was something special and, at times, Carrow Road was a cauldron of noise. In terms of highlights, there are two that stand out in my mind. That win at Elland Road where Norwich schooled Marcelo Bielsa’s men and tactically outthought them. That was the night many Norwich fans became believers and then Blackburn at home, the game that secured promotion. It’s good to be back, but now they need to prove they deserve to stay there. Can you give an insight into your manager Daniel Farke. From an outsiders point of view he has come to the club, assessed what needed to be done and went about it in a methodical fashion, much like what his countryman Jurgen Klopp did for the Reds. What has impressed you most about the man and his methods? CS: I think there’s an assumption about every German coach who comes to these shores that their methodology and philosophy is identical to that to Jurgen Klopp because of the impact he’s made at Liverpool. The influx of German coaches with Farke, Wagner, Siewart, Stendel and Hassenhuttel (although Austrian) has altered the dynamic with fresh ideas and a style of football that places entertainment at the forefront of the game. Spanish possession and tika-taka have been developed with ideas of pressing. However, with Farke, Norwich has seen a more Thomas Tuchel approach whereby it’s all about being the protagonists in-game and using that possession-based approach to create overloads with an emphasis on attacking phases. The full-backs occupy high positions, and the wingers become number tens. It’s all about locating space between the lines. His ability to get an extra percentage out of players has been a massive strength. Players like Moritz Leitner, who was on the bench for Borussia Dortmund in the 2013 Champions League Final and have lost their way slightly, he’s managed to rejuvenate players careers on a shoestring with a style suited to the Premier League. He’s proven himself to be an adept and pragmatic operator. What’s impressed me more than anything is his temperament. Regardless of the club’s fate or situations, he always remained level headed. After a 4-0 defeat to Millwall, he was calm and rational, and equally so after the game that sealed promotion. Football is an emotional game, but it shows his composure. For fans all over the footballing landscape, the new season breeds plenty of hope especially in terms of a newly promoted club. Some promoted clubs like Huddersfield and Cardiff see the first season almost as a free hit and a true adventure, whilst others like Bournemouth, Burnley and Wolves seemingly have a structure in place to have a long term stay. Of course there are plenty of variables to take into account throughout the course of a season, but do you feel the club have a strong structure in place to become an established Premier League club? CS: The structure has been built over the last two years. I don’t see anything dramatic changing, particularly. They are ahead of the curve in terms of their long-term project to become established. They’ve developed the training ground and also have several assets on the pitch in terms of young talent so relegation wouldn’t be harmful in that sense. Naturally, the aim is to survive and prosper in the Premier League, but it’s about cultivating that underdog spirit and thriving off it. Every pundit, predictor and supporter outside of Norfolk will undoubtedly have Norwich in their bottom three, that’s what Norwich have developed momentum from. That attitude of overcoming adversity and proving people wrong. The group they’ve constructed has been designed purposefully to have the characteristic of being on the football rejection line. That culture they’ve installed is due to stand the test of time, regardless of who occupies the dugout. So in that regard, Norwich won’t alter their core beliefs irrespective of the league they are in. There was a point where relegation was feared, now, because of that strong structure, if they go down, then there is a belief they’ll come back. If they stay up, then the potential is there to sustain themselves. AB: Norwich have not changed our squad significantly or spent big money in the transfer market, which has targeted the club for some negativity and accusations of “lack of ambition” and “naivety." However, if you look at Fulham and its spending last season it doesn’t always amount to success. We have a team we don’t have individuals that think they’re bigger than the club. The camaraderie and bond has extended itself to the fans, which in return has increased atmosphere, it’s a double-edged sword. Any players that would come into the club would have to buy into its philosophy. Also making too many changes could alter that balance, let’s reward our players that got us promotion. Some of our players proved they are worth more than our rival teams are spending. Talk us through some of your squad. Who are some of your key players that Liverpool need to keep a close eye on and who do you feel have the qualities needed to thrive at this level? CS : Teemu Pukki is going to be a primary protagonist for Norwich’s survival mission. His 30 goals in all competitions were bettered only by James Norwood in the EFL. In terms of free transfers, he has to be one of the best in the club’s history: a natural goalscorer but an intellectual mover who can finish from all angles. Another is Emi Buendia, a name that I’m sure will be accustomed to all come May. The Argentinean is one of those footballers capable of provoking emotion with his creative style. His ability to impact games and produce moments of genuine quality excites the Canary faithful. Buendia can unlock doors that many can’t. His temperament is a concern, and his relentless graft often becomes aggression. Another intelligent operator, Buendia’s game, is reliant of locating those spaces between the lines and turning on the half turn. He’s a technical footballer whose ceiling is way beyond his current level — one to watch. Then, of course, there is a plethora of young talent at Farke’s disposal. Max Aarons and Jamal Lewis, the two full-backs, have been pivotal for asserting Farke’s possession-based philosophy. Their dynamism and physicality are vital to providing width and an out ball when the space in the central phase is condensed. Which of your summer signings have impressed you most in the pre-season? AB: Man City winger Patrick Roberts (pictured below) who has joined on a season long loan is a player I could see getting some valuable minutes on the pitch, lets hope he can reproduce his success at Celtic. Injuries have hampered him and our coach has already got the best out of players who feel they need a second chance and got it all to prove. This could also apply to former West Ham and Leeds right back Sam Byram. Just as being the first match on centre court for the Wimbledon Championships or facing the first ball in a Lords test match is a massive occasion, there must be great sense of pride for the club to be involved in a stand-alone season opener under the Anfield lights? AB: In my eyes Anfield is the best way to kick off our start in the top flight of football. Klopp v Farke, two German coaches both from Borussia Dortmund, with mutual respect. Klopp was known to be following the Canaries results closely last year having worked with Moritz Leitner, Mario Vrancic and Marco Steipermann in the past. First game against the champions of Europe, a huge stage to start on. I would love Farke to become as successful as Klopp, there is no doubting how both have won the hearts of their fans. CS: This is what the players worked so tirelessly for last season, for nights and opportunities like this. Without pressure, they can go and showcase themselves on one of the most famous sporting backdrops in the world. There is pride, but Norwich has a group who will travel to Anfield with a desire and belief that they can win. They don’t fear anyone, nor will their natural inclination to be to put men behind the ball. Norwich will come to Anfield believing they can return with three points, of course, they won’t possess the same amount of the ball, so it’ll be interesting how they approach it but, of course, it’ll be an uphill battle. Thankfully for the Canaries there is no Luis Suarez in the Liverpool lineup. But in an opposition fans’ opinion, who are the key men that Norwich need to contain in your quest to get a result? CS: Haha! Thank goodness for no Luis Suarez! Whoever Liverpool deploy will ooze quality, so dismantling the Reds system and nullifying the supply line to that potent front three is key. What Liverpool possess is a game that doesn’t provide respite, whether they are on or off the ball or in transition. It’s going to be an uphill battle for the Canaries… Mo Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino are undoubtedly the operators Norwich to somehow contain but reducing Liverpool’s time in possession and attempting to stop the ball as it travels through the thirds is the challenge. It’ll be a counter-attacking performance at Anfield from Norwich; I think that’s the case for every team who finds themselves in the opposing dressing room. I’m intrigued to see how it pans out, but that front three is mortifying for every team in the division. With their extended summers for varying reasons, hopefully, they have a rare off day come August 9th. If money was no object who is the one player which current Liverpool player would you love to have in your lineup? AB: Without hesitation PFA player of the year... Virgil Van Dijk would be the player I would jump at having in our line up. He must be one of or if not the best Centre back in the world. He has it all! Good on the ball, pace and can even use his head. A defender who is as equally great in both boxes, hard working and still young enough to improve. Worth every penny of his huge transfer fee, not something us as Norwich fans could ever believe we could spend under our current module. CS: The obvious answer would be to say any of the front three. That would be tremendous fun to consume every week. Instead, I’ll apply it to Norwich at the moment; the goalkeeping situation is still not fixed, so Alisson would be perfect for occupying that spot. With the youthful exuberance in the defence, then an assured, positive influence in goal who can win points singlehandedly, that could be a massive asset in the bid for survival. One of the best goalkeepers in the world, you can’t turn your nose up at that! So what is your score prediction for this fixture? CS: I think it’ll be an exciting game with a curious dynamic, but I’ll be pragmatic and go with a humbling 3-0 defeat. As long as it isn’t humiliating, then Norwich can dust themselves down and go again. And in broader terms where do you think you will finish in 2019/20? AB. Survival is crucial this season for us to then learn and build the following season. I would be happy with 15th however if we could finish above that i would class that as a huge success. Watching Nuno’s Wolverhampton proves that a club can come up from the Championship and build on their success, let’s hope Norwich can do just that. View full article
  13. tlw content

    Hall of Fame - Class of 2019

    In the summer of 2017 we decided on the four founding members of the TLW Hall of Fame and then added four more inductees as the ‘Class of 2017’. Another four went in a year later and every summer four more legends will be inducted. However, we need your help to do it. HOW IT WORKS The voting panel consists of representatives from TLW, the media, the former players association and also a popular fan vote, which is where YOU come in, by voting below. Each year there will be a group of ten nominees, from which four will be voted in. The six who don’t get in will remain on the ballot for the following year and beyond, until they are eventually selected. Those voted in will be replaced by four new names for the following year. In 2017 Ian Rush, John Barnes, Billy Liddell and Ian Callaghan were voted in to join the four founding members; Bill Shankly Bob Paisley, Kenny Dalglish and Steven Gerrard. Last year saw Emlyn Hughes, Roger Hunt, Alan Hansen and Graeme Souness selected. There will be a separate category for managers & coaches (with one inductee every four years), but for now we’re just concentrating on the players. The six remaining candidates who did not get in last year will now be joined by four new nominees this year. Those four are Terry McDermott, Steve Nicol, Ian St John and Phil Thompson. As explained in previous years, it was not just a case of picking the ten greatest players, which in itself would also have been incredibly difficult. Other factors come into it, although only great players will be considered. For example, few would claim that Phil Neal was one of Liverpool’s ten most talented players of all time, but nobody can match his medal haul or achievements. We also felt that it was important to have a mix of players from across several eras rather than just selecting the greats of the 70s and 80s for example. None of us saw Elisha Scott play but excluding him on that basis wouldn't be right. His career record speaks for itself. Some missed out on the initial ten as a result of the decision to spread it across all eras, but over the coming years they’ll all be added to the mix, usually when someone from their generation has just been voted in (Roger Hunt went in last year so has been replaced by Ian St John in this year's list). We would really appreciate your support and participation, both in terms of voting and spreading the word by telling your friends and sharing on social media. Hopefully this can pick up momentum and grow each year. So without further ado, here are this year's nominees... JAMIE CARRAGHER Second on the appearance list behind Callaghan, Bootle's finest represented the Reds 737 times over a 16 year first team career, winning everything except the league title. Brave, loyal, committed and talented, Carragher's finest hour was his courageous display in Istanbul when he fought through severe cramp in both legs to help keep AC Milan at bay and secure number five. ROBBIE FOWLER The most natural goalscorer to pull on the famous red shirt. Toxteth born Fowler burst onto the scene as an 18 year old and for the next few seasons took English football by storm, becoming the quickest Liverpool striker to reach 100 goals when he achieved the milestone in only his 165th game. A succession of injuries prevented him from sustaining that blistering form, but in two spells with the club Fowler amassed 183 goals and is one of the most loved players in club history. IAN ST JOHN The man known affectionately as 'the Saint' is one of the most important signings Liverpool ever made. Bill Shankly would later describe the arrival of St John and fellow Scot Ron Yeats as 'the turning point' in the club's history. The Reds were languishing in the second division when St John arrived, but promotion was secured soon after and St John's prolific partnership with Roger Hunt fired the Reds to the league title two years later, and St John was on the scoresheet when the club won the FA Cup for the first time in it's history in 1965. KEVIN KEEGAN When Bill Shankly paid fourth division Scunthorpe £33,000 for an unknown 20 year old in 1971, no-one could have foreseen that within a few years Keegan would be one of the biggest stars in world football. Described by some as Liverpool's answer to George Best, Keegan became the club's first superstar and helped inspire the Reds to their first European Cup win in 1977 before departing for Hamburg, where he was twice named European Footballer of the Year. PHIL NEAL Phil Neal was a Liverpool player for 11 years, making 650 appearances and chipping in with 59 goals, many of them vitally important penalty kicks. A solid, dependable right back who rarely missed a game and even played with broken bones, Neal is the most decorated player in club history, having won eight league titles, four European Cups, one FA Cup, one UEFA Cup and four League Cups. PHIL THOMPSON A boyhood Kopite who lived the dream, 'Thommo' spent 13 years as a player and many more on the coaching staff and is an undoubted Anfield legend. Handed his debut by Bill Shankly as an 18 year old, Thompson went on to make 340 appearances for the club over the next decade and more, forming almost impregnable defensive pairings with Emlyn Hughes and then Alan Hansen. Thompson skippered the Reds to European Cup success in 1981, becoming one of only five Liverpool captains to lift the trophy. STEVE NICOL Regarded by many fans as the club's best ever full back, Nicol enjoyed a stellar 13 year career at Anfield where he excelled in a variety of positions. He took over from the ageing Phil Neal at right back during the 1985/86 season and helped the Reds win the league and FA Cup double, but it was on the opposite flank where he enjoyed his best form, combining with John Barnes to wreak havoc during the 1987/88 season when he was named Player of the Year by the football writers. TERRY McDERMOTT The scorer of one of the most iconic goals in club history when he headed in at the Anfield Road end in a 7-0 win over Spurs in 1987. Terry Mac was a local lad who had to make his name elsewhere before getting his chance to shine with the Reds. He started at Bury and moved to Newcastle, where he was part of the side that lost to Liverpool in the 1974 FA Cup final. A few months later he was signed by Bob Paisley. He won five league titles, three European Cups and a host of other trophies, as well as being named PFA and Football Writers Player of the Year in 1979/80. ELISHA SCOTT The Ulsterman joined Liverpool in 1912 and left in 1934, meaning he was between the sticks for an incredible 22 years. In that time he won two league titles but, more importantly, he captured the hearts of those on the Kop. Scott was idolised by the fans, so much so that when the club attempted to sell him (to Everton!) it was the reaction of the supporters that forced them into changing their mind. Legendary Everton striker Dixie Dean described him as the best keeper in the world, and a fan poll in 1939 saw him voted Liverpool's greatest ever player. TOMMY SMITH The Anfield Iron. The man who according to Shanks "was not born, he was quarried". Smith was the hardest man in an era of hard men but he was also a terrific footballer who excelled in a number of positions. He made his debut in 1963 and his final appearance came 15 years later. In that time he won everything there was to win, with his finest hour coming in Rome in 1977 when he found the net with a thumping header in the European Cup Final. Tommy played 638 times for the club and paid a heavy price for that in later life with numerous ailments including severe arthritis and dementia. He passed away in April of this year, aged 74. Loading… View full article
  14. tlw content

    Time to bring back Philippe Coutinho?

    To say Philippe Coutinho’s switch to Barcelona hasn’t gone to plan would be an understatement following his £105m move in January 2018, but should Liverpool even entertain the idea of bringing him back to Anfield? The Brazil midfielder failed to demonstrate his quality under Ernesto Valverde last season, netting five times and registering just two assists in 34 La Liga appearances. In that time, Liverpool reached the Champions League final for the second time in two years, this time winning their sixth European trophy againstTottenham Hotspur. With Barcelona’s recent acquisition of Antoine Griezmann for £107m and their attempt to lure Neymar back to Camp Nou, the Catalonian giants are actively seeking to sell players, with Coutinho among that bunch. Neymar’s time at PSG looks to be coming to a premature end, so one Brazilian could fund the move for another. After leaving Liverpool to pursue a childhood dream of playing for Barcelona, it didn’t work out and just 18 months later Coutinho has been left wondering where the next step in his career will take him; could it be a return to Merseyside? Following rumours linking the 27-year-old with a move to Manchester United, Coutinho’s agent Kia Joorabchian stated it would be very difficult to switch to a direct rival of Liverpool. He said: “I think Liverpool lies very, very deeply in his heart. He was a big fan of them throughout the campaign [last season]. “He was wishing for them to win the title and he has a very strong affinity there, so I think it will be very difficult for him to go to a direct competitor of Liverpool from a personal standpoint.” Coutinho’s transfer to Barcelona sparked mixed opinions among the Liverpool fan base, questioning his morals and actions during the process. The Brazil midfielder reportedly faked a back injury to assist in forcing the move through, which angered some fans and left a sour taste on what was a magnificent six-year tenure at the club. However, Jurgen Klopp’s side have proved their quality without Coutinho, competing at the highest level in both European competitions and the Premier League. There is a split in opinion for the Reds fans as they debate whether they would take him back, and if you fancy betting on the outcome, click here to get football betting offers as Coutinho is currently 5/1 to switch to Liverpool. If you look at Coutinho’s statistics during his time at Liverpool, he scored 54 goals and registered 45 assists in 201 appearances. The Brazil midfielder possesses an abundance of quality and would undoubtedly be an excellent asset for Liverpool. He has proven himself in the Premier League, and if a deal was available, it would be difficult for Klopp to turn him down given how familiar he is with his ability. Reuniting Coutinho at Anfield would be an unexpected turn of events, but the Reds would be thoroughly aware of what an outstanding talent they would be acquiring. Again, his ethical approach is questioned among the fans for the way he left, but overall, it would be difficult to reject him after the magic and affection he displayed towards Liverpool. However, the Brazil midfielder’s future remains firmly in the balance and could still play a key part in helping Barcelona reach the heights they desire to reach, with Champions League the main target. Griezmann arrived from Atletico Madrid and there was debate as to whether he would take the number seven shirt which Coutinho currently occupies. It was recently announced, however, that the France striker will wear the number 17 shirt, which could suggest that Coutinho still has a future at the Camp Nou, but it will be interesting to see what happens over the next few weeks.
  15. Saturday Jul 27: Arsenal are paying £70m for a winger. That’s the most Arsenal transfer move of all time. Everyone knows they have no defenders worthy of the name and that their midfield is shite, but as usual they just disregard that to get some random French speaking flair player in. They can’t blame Wenger anymore either. What this does do though, is leave Wilf Zaha hanging in the wind. Arsenal looked to be his best hope of joining a top six club. Now the only team in for him is Everton, and they’re not even serious about it based on the derisory offers they’ve made so far. £50m is the latest one. So let’s get this straight. Palace sell their right back for £50m, and Everton think they can get their most important player and fan favourite for the same price? Whatever Zaha’s worth is, you can probably add another £30m on top of that to get what his worth to Palace is. Besides, why the fuck would Zaha leave Palace to join Everton? It’s a sideways move and he’d be leaving a place where he’s happy, comfortable and loved. I think he’ll stay at Palace…. …until Chelsea are allowed to sign players again. Harvey Elliot has no officially signed and will be in the squad tomorrow. Saw another old tweet of his from a few years ago, he’s dressed head to toe in club swag and he’s stood next to the Shankly statue. Apparently every single tweet he ever made back then was about the Reds. I like this kid, he’s absolutely fucking obsessed with this club. Had to laugh though when I saw this quote from him. “To have joined the club I supported as a boy is a dream come true”. As a boy? He’s only fucking sixteen now! He’s scrapped that original account and started a new one. Just had a look now and his twitter header is a picture of him and his girlfriend. It’s funny as fuck, he looks like an East 17 tribute act. In fact no, it's like East 17 have had kids and the kids have formed a new band and he's the frontman. Seriously, look at this pic and tell me that isn’t Brian Harvey and Daniella Westbrook’s kid…. Stay now (stay now).... Baby if you've got to go away, don't think I can take the pain.... won't you stay another day. Sunday Jul 28: L 0 Napoli 3. Well that was fucking shit. Most of pre-season has been fucking shit actually. I’m not worried at this point and I don’t think it means anything in terms of the season itself, but fuck me, it’s been a chore even bringing myself to watch these games. I watched this as it was at a civilised hour, unlike the US tour games. I really wish I hadn’t though, as there was nothing to take from this at all. In fairness, I almost swerved it when I saw that Gini and Ox were in the front three. That was never going to end well. Ox is almost as useless in the front three as Lallana is. He’s a midfield player, simple as that. Don’t play him anywhere else as he’s shite. Wilson would have been a better option, but then you have to take into account that it’s pre-season and it’s all about fitness. Ox getting a load of minutes under his belt is far more beneficial than the shape of the team looking marginally better because Wilson is in there. That’s what this is about. Klopp is trying to get his main players as fit as possible, and if it means results suffer then so be it. There are also suggestions that players are doing double sessions on the day of games. That might be exaggerated but the legs are definitely heavy in these games and it’s going to have a negative impact. Really, the sensible thing is to just not watch these games at all. My mate John never watches them. Not even a minute of them. Just avoids them entirely and then checks back in when the real stuff starts again. I need to pay attention as it’s my job, but if it wasn’t and I could get away with paying no attention then I think I’d take that route. Especially when there are no new signings to watch. We did see young Harvey for a few minutes today and he looked good. Lots of confidence and swagger about him. He’s going to be a player I think. Meanwhile, strange goings on in Madrid where Real have now pulled the plug on Bale’s move to China. I’d be seething if I was him. They’ve been trying to force him out ever since Zidane came back and now that he’s lined himself up a move for crazy wages, they pull the rug out on him as they want a higher transfer fee. Bale is reportedly on 600k at Madrid though (I had no idea, I thought he was on half that). No-one else in Europe is giving him that, and he’s not going to take a pay cut so Madrid are going to be on the hook for some of that salary no matter what. If I was him now, I’d just refuse all offers and stay put, just to spite the fuckers. Besides, they’re going to be shite under that bald fraud so it won’t be long until he’s back in the team. Yeah that’s right, I called Zidane a bald fraud (again) and I’m not arsed about his Champions League trophies. I’ll say it one more time... in fact I’ll spell it. B.A.L.D. F.R.A.U.D. What’s his playing style? All the best coaches have an identity, a way of playing that their teams are identifiable by. We know Klopp’s style. We know Guardiola’s. And Pochettino’s. And Simeone’s. What’s Zidane’s though? It used to be “shithouse as much as possible lads, and then give it to Ronaldo”. Can’t do that now though, can he? They’ll do well to finish in the top three this year, despite the hundreds of millions he’s spent. He’s even more over rated as a manager as he was as a player and that’s saying something. So yeah, sit tight Gareth as this egg head might be out of a job even before Solkskjaer. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that 'the Week that Was' is only available to website subscribers. 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  16. Pep Guardiola has claimed that winning the Champions League is similar to a spin of a roulette wheel at a casino and he much prefers the success of a title winning campaign.In a clear attempt to downplay the achievement of his closest rivals Liverpool ahead of their first meeting in the community shield this afternoon, Guardiola left no one in doubt to where his priority lies.The Mirror reports Guardiola as saying:" The Premier League is always the most important thing, the stand-out competition, because it is every weekend.“I think we will be closer to achieving in Europe when we have more Premier League titles. That is the right process at Manchester City. The furthest that City have gone in Europe's elite competition in a semi final in 2015/6 when they lost to Real Madrid 1-0 over two legs. City are always one of the favourites with online betting sites but despite their domestic dominance they have under-achieved in Europe. The manager who won the competition twice in his time with his time with Barcelona admits that his team has to do better in the competition but it is not his number one priority."Of course we have to win in Europe because it’s an important tournament and difficult to win."But I am not going to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket on just seven games.“From my point of view, that’s too risky. "To maintain the health and focus of the team, it always has to be the Premier League." Why am I going to wait until February for seven games and put everything on black? Guardiola who clearly wanted to get a few things of his chest before the season started, felt that his players have been under appreciated as not one City player made the cut for the FIFA Best Football awards.In comparison the Reds had three nominations in Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane due to their outstanding triumph in Europe." Of course we would like to win the Champions League - so big respect to Liverpool.“But is why is that a higher (achievement) than what we did in 11 months?" I am pretty sure Liverpool would have liked to have won the Premier League, because it is 29 years since they last did."It’s incredibly good what they did in the Champions League, but we were better in the league."What we did (domestic treble) has never been achieved before. "It was awesome – and I think my colleagues and football players worldwide know how difficult it is." It doesn’t matter if the people who consider the UEFA awards or FIFA awards don’t select one of our players."But I don’t think one player had a better season that Bernardo Silva, for example, who also won the Nations League with Portugal."And the year we won the title with 100 points, there was huge respect for Mohamed Salah – but come on, guys!“Kevin De Bruyne, that season, was above and beyond any normal situation."Of course, it is about opinions – and of course we accept it if our players don’t deserve to win."Maybe we have to win five titles - or maybe Bernardo has to win six"Or maybe we have to get 250 points next season – but we are going to try"The fuse has been lit for another fascinating battle between the two current powerhouses in English (and quite possibly world football.)Let's hope come this time next year, the Spaniard has plenty to whinge about courtesy of an empty trophy cabinet from this season.
  17. Pep Guardiola has claimed that winning the Champions League is similar to a spin of a roulette wheel at a casino and he much prefers the success of a title winning campaign.In a clear attempt to downplay the achievement of his closest rivals Liverpool ahead of their first meeting in the community shield this afternoon, Guardiola left no one in doubt to where his priority lies.The Mirror reports Guardiola as saying:" The Premier League is always the most important thing, the stand-out competition, because it is every weekend.“I think we will be closer to achieving in Europe when we have more Premier League titles. That is the right process at Manchester City. The furthest that City have gone in Europe's elite competition in a semi final in 2015/6 when they lost to Real Madrid 1-0 over two legs. City are always one of the favourites with online betting sites but despite their domestic dominance they have under-achieved in Europe. The manager who won the competition twice in his time with his time with Barcelona admits that his team has to do better in the competition but it is not his number one priority."Of course we have to win in Europe because it’s an important tournament and difficult to win."But I am not going to go to the casino and gamble everything I have in my pocket on just seven games.“From my point of view, that’s too risky. "To maintain the health and focus of the team, it always has to be the Premier League." Why am I going to wait until February for seven games and put everything on black? Guardiola who clearly wanted to get a few things of his chest before the season started, felt that his players have been under appreciated as not one City player made the cut for the FIFA Best Football awards.In comparison the Reds had three nominations in Virgil Van Dijk, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane due to their outstanding triumph in Europe." Of course we would like to win the Champions League - so big respect to Liverpool.“But is why is that a higher (achievement) than what we did in 11 months?" I am pretty sure Liverpool would have liked to have won the Premier League, because it is 29 years since they last did."It’s incredibly good what they did in the Champions League, but we were better in the league."What we did (domestic treble) has never been achieved before. "It was awesome – and I think my colleagues and football players worldwide know how difficult it is." It doesn’t matter if the people who consider the UEFA awards or FIFA awards don’t select one of our players."But I don’t think one player had a better season that Bernardo Silva, for example, who also won the Nations League with Portugal."And the year we won the title with 100 points, there was huge respect for Mohamed Salah – but come on, guys!“Kevin De Bruyne, that season, was above and beyond any normal situation."Of course, it is about opinions – and of course we accept it if our players don’t deserve to win."Maybe we have to win five titles - or maybe Bernardo has to win six"Or maybe we have to get 250 points next season – but we are going to try"The fuse has been lit for another fascinating battle between the two current powerhouses in English (and quite possibly world football.)Let's hope come this time next year, the Spaniard has plenty to whinge about courtesy of an empty trophy cabinet from this season. View full article
  18. Trent Alexander Arnold has poured cold water on any possibility of a late transfer signing as the deadline approaches.Metro reports the right-back as saying that Jurgen Klopp is content with who is has at his disposal. " I think the manager has said this is the team that’s going to get us through the next season."So we need to embrace it and buy into the idea of what the manager tells us about how he wants us to play."I am sure we’ll try to go out there every game, put in performances and I am sure we will stay in and around winning things and keep pushing other teams to do well as well.’Alexander Arnold said in addition to the confidence that the squad has following their Champions League triumph, that winning culture has spread into the off-season. "Obviously we’ve all come in off the back of winning the Champions League, but Sadio [Mane] getting to the Africa Cup of Nations final [and] the Brazilians (Alisson and Roberto Firmino) winning the Copa America was good around the team with our countries and also as a team, we’re getting close to winning things and we are winning things. "It’s important to have that mentality and to keep building on it. I think the club is in a really good place for that. Despite being only 20 himself, Alexander-Arnold sees himself as a mentor to the younger brigade such as Ki-Jana Hoever and new signing Sepp van den Berg."I think I understand that I have a responsibility for the young players; I try to make sure I am there for them and they know they can come and speak to me. "Hopefully they know I have been in their situation and I know what they’re going through – coming in and out of teams, being rotated, not getting the minutes you want, finding it a little bit too hard or intense, or struggling with fitness and whatnot. "I have been through it all. I hope they understand that I have, that I am always here for them and that I am always available for them to come and talk."It is refreshing to have the young lads around. "When we’re travelling throughout the season, I’m normally the youngest lad – the other youngest is maybe Robbo and people who are like 24 or 25 – so I am always around [players] that are a bit older than me."So it’s refreshing to have young lads in and around, to be able to be a bit silly around them, take a little bit of weight off and not think about what I am saying and stuff like that a little bit too."While there is a fair bit to live up to, the next generation of Liverpool stars couldn't ask for a better person to look up to than Trent. View full article
  19. Trent Alexander Arnold has poured cold water on any possibility of a late transfer signing as the deadline approaches.Metro reports the right-back as saying that Jurgen Klopp is content with who is has at his disposal. " I think the manager has said this is the team that’s going to get us through the next season."So we need to embrace it and buy into the idea of what the manager tells us about how he wants us to play."I am sure we’ll try to go out there every game, put in performances and I am sure we will stay in and around winning things and keep pushing other teams to do well as well.’Alexander Arnold said in addition to the confidence that the squad has following their Champions League triumph, that winning culture has spread into the off-season. "Obviously we’ve all come in off the back of winning the Champions League, but Sadio [Mane] getting to the Africa Cup of Nations final [and] the Brazilians (Alisson and Roberto Firmino) winning the Copa America was good around the team with our countries and also as a team, we’re getting close to winning things and we are winning things. "It’s important to have that mentality and to keep building on it. I think the club is in a really good place for that. Despite being only 20 himself, Alexander-Arnold sees himself as a mentor to the younger brigade such as Ki-Jana Hoever and new signing Sepp van den Berg."I think I understand that I have a responsibility for the young players; I try to make sure I am there for them and they know they can come and speak to me. "Hopefully they know I have been in their situation and I know what they’re going through – coming in and out of teams, being rotated, not getting the minutes you want, finding it a little bit too hard or intense, or struggling with fitness and whatnot. "I have been through it all. I hope they understand that I have, that I am always here for them and that I am always available for them to come and talk."It is refreshing to have the young lads around. "When we’re travelling throughout the season, I’m normally the youngest lad – the other youngest is maybe Robbo and people who are like 24 or 25 – so I am always around [players] that are a bit older than me."So it’s refreshing to have young lads in and around, to be able to be a bit silly around them, take a little bit of weight off and not think about what I am saying and stuff like that a little bit too."While there is a fair bit to live up to, the next generation of Liverpool stars couldn't ask for a better person to look up to than Trent.
  20. It is fair to say that the summer transfer window has been a quiet one for the Reds. There has been no shortage of speculation, but there has been little to report on in terms of incoming talent. Youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott have been the only two arrivals to walk through the doors at Melwood so far.Depending on which camp you sit in, the measured approach that the club have undertaken this off-season will have either frustrated you greatly, or you feel similar to Jurgen Klopp and have full faith in the squad that did so superbly and exceeded all expectations last season .In terms of a players point of view, Andy Robertson is more than content with the way things currently stand.The Mirror reported the left-back as saying:"The same got said about Tottenham last season, that they wouldn’t kick on without signings, but they went on and had a more successful season."For us, the most important thing was keeping all our players, and we’ve managed to do that. have all stayed together, and that’s a big thing."It’s about sticking together and getting even more familiar with each other. "We’ve had players that have been in their first seasons - Keita and Fabinho their first season is over now and they’ve settled in, so I’m sure they will be looking to kick on and so will everyone else.”Robertson said the overall depth of the squad was there for everyone to see last season, and with key members returning after off-season international duty, they will be well and truly ready for the challenge of the new campaign."Look, we’ve still got 5-6 players to come back who are crucial to this squad, and that will be make a big difference. "Then this season, I am sure it will be a good one…it’s about showing it now."So this is a competitive squad. You look and we have options all over. It’s about needing them - we’ll need them this season and we’ll need to use all of them, and then we will be fine. We are not worried at all."We will look forward, next week is the start of the season against Man City and we know how hard this season is going to be, but it’s one we really look forward to.” Before Wednesday night's 3-1 win against Lyon, Liverpool had gone four games without victory in the pre-season.However, the Scottish captain said this time is perfect for preparation for the long season ahead, and overall results are secondary.“It’s pre-season. "It’s about trying to get ready. We need to cram a lot in, in a short space of time. We have been doing double sessions before games, our legs are maybe a wee bit heavy.Robertson is certainly looking forward to the reunion of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with the Senegal star due to return to the club on Monday after enjoying a break following the African Cup of Nations tournament.“The forwards, the three of them are massive characters, not only world class footballers, but massive characters in the squad."It will make a big difference having them around, we’ll welcome them back with open arms. You’ll see the difference.”
  21. It is fair to say that the summer transfer window has been a quiet one for the Reds. There has been no shortage of speculation, but there has been little to report on in terms of incoming talent. Youngsters Sepp van den Berg and Harvey Elliott have been the only two arrivals to walk through the doors at Melwood so far.Depending on which camp you sit in, the measured approach that the club have undertaken this off-season will have either frustrated you greatly, or you feel similar to Jurgen Klopp and have full faith in the squad that did so superbly and exceeded all expectations last season .In terms of a players point of view, Andy Robertson is more than content with the way things currently stand.The Mirror reported the left-back as saying:"The same got said about Tottenham last season, that they wouldn’t kick on without signings, but they went on and had a more successful season."For us, the most important thing was keeping all our players, and we’ve managed to do that. have all stayed together, and that’s a big thing."It’s about sticking together and getting even more familiar with each other. "We’ve had players that have been in their first seasons - Keita and Fabinho their first season is over now and they’ve settled in, so I’m sure they will be looking to kick on and so will everyone else.”Robertson said the overall depth of the squad was there for everyone to see last season, and with key members returning after off-season international duty, they will be well and truly ready for the challenge of the new campaign."Look, we’ve still got 5-6 players to come back who are crucial to this squad, and that will be make a big difference. "Then this season, I am sure it will be a good one…it’s about showing it now."So this is a competitive squad. You look and we have options all over. It’s about needing them - we’ll need them this season and we’ll need to use all of them, and then we will be fine. We are not worried at all."We will look forward, next week is the start of the season against Man City and we know how hard this season is going to be, but it’s one we really look forward to.” Before Wednesday night's 3-1 win against Lyon, Liverpool had gone four games without victory in the pre-season.However, the Scottish captain said this time is perfect for preparation for the long season ahead, and overall results are secondary.“It’s pre-season. "It’s about trying to get ready. We need to cram a lot in, in a short space of time. We have been doing double sessions before games, our legs are maybe a wee bit heavy.Robertson is certainly looking forward to the reunion of Roberto Firmino, Mo Salah and Sadio Mane with the Senegal star due to return to the club on Monday after enjoying a break following the African Cup of Nations tournament.“The forwards, the three of them are massive characters, not only world class footballers, but massive characters in the squad."It will make a big difference having them around, we’ll welcome them back with open arms. You’ll see the difference.” View full article
  22. Adam Lallana says a change in position during the pre-season has been a enjoyable learning curve.Jurgen Klopp has been playing the veteran in a deeper role and while the move may have raised some eyebrows, Lallana says that is a challenge that he has taken on board.The England international spoke on the matter to the Official site after Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Lyon in Geneva on Wednesday evening." It’s nice. I found myself playing there a few times this pre-season and I’m happy to play anywhere. I’ve enjoyed it, obviously getting on the ball."There are still aspects of the game I need to improve on and I’m sure I’ll learn the more I play there. I’m delighted to get some more minutes and build my fitness.Lallana doesn't need to look too far for support with the manager being a true believer in his qualities that he can bring to the position. "(The manager) has mentioned I can play there, that I’ve got the ability to play there. "There’s not been any formal chat but I’m happy playing there. "I see a lot of the ball and I’m the type of player that wants to be on the ball; I feel I can get us moving, get us out of tight situations and bring a different aspect to Liverpool."As long as I can stay fit – and I’ve been working hard on my fitness – then I think I can bring quality to this Liverpool team.”The work out against Lyon was just what Klopp's side needed ahead of this weekend's Community Shield clash with Manchester City, a game so close to call it's a real challenge for anyone who likes a football bet. The pre-season form of the Reds had been patchy to say the least, and it didn't look it was going to take a turn for the better in the early stages of this contest against the French side.In his first outing for the Reds during the pre-season Alisson conceded a early penalty due to an uncharacteristic error which the manager referred to as 'slapstick.'However the early deficit was overturned through goals to Roberto Firmino, an own-goal to Joachim Anderson and another stunner by Harry Wilson. Lallana said it was nice to get back on a winning track and solid preparation for the season ahead."It’s not the be all and end all in pre-season but it’s good to get into good habits. I thought all round everyone played a good part and it was a good runout for us."A little bit of a dodgy start but a good reaction. We’re going to go behind in games this season, I’m sure, so I thought the boys showed good character to get back into it against a good Lyon side."The manager said he wanted to use this game to get everyone up to scratch and give everyone the minutes they needed to have depending on what level they’re at, and I thought we coped with that really well.” Lallana is unlikely to start against City due to the wealth of other options available to Klopp, but his pre-season displays may have at least given the boss another option to consider.
  23. Adam Lallana says a change in position during the pre-season has been a enjoyable learning curve.Jurgen Klopp has been playing the veteran in a deeper role and while the move may have raised some eyebrows, Lallana says that is a challenge that he has taken on board.The England international spoke on the matter to the Official site after Liverpool's 3-1 victory over Lyon in Geneva on Wednesday evening." It’s nice." I found myself playing there a few times this pre-season and I’m happy to play anywhere. I’ve enjoyed it, obviously getting on the ball."There are still aspects of the game I need to improve on and I’m sure I’ll learn the more I play there. I’m delighted to get some more minutes and build my fitness.Lallana doesn't need to look too far for support with the manager being a true believer in his qualities that he can bring to the position."(The manager) has mentioned I can play there, that I’ve got the ability to play there. "There’s not been any formal chat but I’m happy playing there. "I see a lot of the ball and I’m the type of player that wants to be on the ball; I feel I can get us moving, get us out of tight situations and bring a different aspect to Liverpool."As long as I can stay fit – and I’ve been working hard on my fitness – then I think I can bring quality to this Liverpool team.”The pre-season form of the Reds had been patchy to say the least, and it didn't look it was going to take a turn for the better in the early stages of this contest against the French side.In his first outing for the Reds during the pre-season Alisson conceded a early penalty due to an uncharacteristic error which the manager referred to as 'slapstick.'However the early deficit was overturned through goals to Roberto Firmino, an own-goal to Joachim Anderson and another stunner by Harry Wilson. Lallana said it was nice to get back on a winning track and solid preparation for the season ahead."It’s not the be all and end all in pre-season but it’s good to get into good habits. I thought all round everyone played a good part and it was a good runout for us."A little bit of a dodgy start but a good reaction. We’re going to go behind in games this season, I’m sure, so I thought the boys showed good character to get back into it against a good Lyon side."The manager said he wanted to use this game to get everyone up to scratch and give everyone the minutes they needed to have depending on what level they’re at, and I thought we coped with that really well.”
  24. Saturday Jul 20: Robbo discusses what happened with the spider bite that caused him to come back with a big bandage on his hand. He got bitten on holiday and it ballooned up. Stuff like that terrifies me as I’ve seen so many of those horror stories when a bite turns into a big lump, and then out of the blue a load of fucking baby spiders burst out and start running around. If that happened to me I might have to end it all, simply because I couldn’t cope with the post traumatic stress of it all. I’d be having nightmares for the rest of my life. I’m not that bad with spiders. I never kill them and most types I find in the house I’ll just pick them up with my bare hands and put them outside. So I’m not a massive shithouse like I am with wasps, for example. I don’t like those big common house spiders though. They give me the fucking hereby jeebies. I’ll pick them up, but only with a bit of tissue. Anyway, I’ve gotten sidetracked here. Back to Robbo. He reckons some of the lads have been making spiderman gags and calling him Peter Parker. By ‘some of the lads’ I assume he means Milner, as it’s defo gonna be him isn’t it? Here’s the thing though, imagine this was a Peter Parker situation and Robbo got these powers that made him a super hero. How would we even be able to tell the difference? Speaking of left backs, we’re meant to be after one from Augsburg. I’m all in on that, as the last player we got from Augsburg was arl Ragnar, and he was boss. Actually it may have been Manninger, I can’t remember. Anyway, this lad is called Phillip Max and he’s a former Bayern and Schalke player. He’s 25, so not sure how reliable this story is. I mean, it’s basically like a back up goalie situation. Any left back who comes here knows he ain’t gonna play because Robbo is the best in the business. The other team that want him are Barca though, so it’s a similar situation there as you’d have to assume he’s not getting much game time ahead of Alba. They had Digne there and he couldn’t get a game. Look at him now, he’s thriving at the Pit and he’s their best player. It’s not going to be easy signing a specialist left back, so it’s either go with Milner and the kids or bring in someone who can play more than one spot. Sessegnon would have been someone who might fit that bill but we’ve shown zero interest in him since we tried to buy him two years ago. Weird one that. He’s close to joining Spurs apparently, and such is the confidence I’ve now got in our transfers, that immediately makes me think he can’t be as good as everyone thought he was going to be. It’s a great place to be, considering it wasn’t that long ago I was putting a curse on them all and their children after the Deli All debacle. Sunday Jul 21: So we had a ‘friendly’ with Sevilla tonight. Who’s fucking bright idea was it to play these cunts? Actually it was Jurgen’s. He ought to know better than that. These are dirty bastards. Horrible, cheating, diving, dirty, snide bastards. They were like that in the Europa Final. They were like that in both Champions League group games, and they were even like that when we played them in the kids version of the Champions League. That was one of the occasions when Brewster was racially abused, and both games against them were proper bad tempered, nasty affairs. They’re a fucking horrible club, and tonight proved it behind all doubt. It wasn’t just the horror ‘tackle’ on poor Larouci. Even before that they were kicking us off the park. Their centre half spent the entire first half trying to Funes Mori big Divock. They were surrounding the ref at every opportunity and celebrated their goals like this was a proper match. Everyone is kicking off about the lad who booted Larouci, but he’s not the problem here. He’s a symptom of it. He’s basically just the spot, while Sevilla themselves are the measles. That assault on Larouci was a result of how their whole team (and presumably coach) approached the game. He doesn’t do that if they aren’t all completely fucking hyped up and looking for a war. The most telling aspect of the whole thing was after the assault, with Larouci on the floor in agony, their players didn't check on him to see if he was alright, they surrounded the fucking ref to complain about a decision he hadn't given seconds before. One of the cunts even yelled in Yasser's face as he lay on the ground. The challenge was scandalous though, and although he at least had the good grace to issue what was actually a pretty decent apology as these things go, it doesn’t make up for what happened. Don’t fucking play these twats in a friendly ever again, Jurgen. Meanwhile, Zidane says of Bale “we hope he leaves soon. If tomorrow it’d be better”. Disrespectful bald fuck. I’ve got no love for Gareth Bale but I do respect him, because how can you not? Great player who has done remarkable things for Madrid that would be enough to make him a legend literally anywhere else. Yet they’re running him out of town and Zidane is saying shite like that? Hair envy is a terrible thing. Also today, a new six year contract for De Gea that will earn him £112m in wages. See, he boxed himself in with the last deal he signed, because in the meantime all of the big clubs that could have afforded him have all filled their keeper position and he was literally left with nowhere to go, so he’s just taken the dough and stayed at United. I reckon he’s lost his motivation now, which is why he was shite last year. 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.
  25. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher has urged the Reds to break the bank in order to sign former playmaker Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona. The Brazilian left in January 2018 after declaring his intention to win major trophies alongside Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp. Yet Liverpool dumped his Barcelona side out of the Champions League on a stirring night at Anfield last season and went on to clinch Europe’s most coveted prize. Now Barca want to cut their losses on Coutinho and Carragher reckons Liverpool should welcome him back with open arms. “I still think they could add a creative player,” said the former centre-back. “I’d love to see Liverpool bring back Coutinho if that was possible in any way. Obviously, it hasn’t worked out for him at Barcelona. I just think he would be a great addition. You’ve got Lallana and Shaqiri in those positions, but they’re not Coutinho. He would give something that they don’t have compared to City.” The bookmakers are anticipating another two-horsed Premier League title race between Liverpool and Man City next season. Pep Guardiola’s men won their final 14 games of the 2018/19 campaign to overhaul the Reds and win the title by a single point. Now they are bidding for a third Premier League triumph in a row and the leading betting websites make them the odds-on favourites to pull it off. Liverpool are out at around 5/2, while Tottenham are 16/1, Chelsea are 25/1, Man Utd are 30/1 and Arsenal are 50/1. It is hard to see any of the other so-called Big Six sides threatening the duopoly of Liverpool and Man City next season. They were all well off the pace last term, and none have significantly improved this summer. Man City secured 98 points last season, the second highest tally in Premier League history, and they still felt the need to invest in their squad this summer. Rodri has joined in a club record deal from Atletico Madrid, and more signings are likely. Liverpool have been inactive in the transfer window, and that is beginning to cause consternation among fans. They say that if you stand still you go backwards. Bringing in fresh faces during the summer can galvanise a squad by injecting an exciting new dynamic into proceedings and increasing the competition for places. There is an argument that Liverpool do not need much in the way of reinforcements, as their key players are all the right side of 30, they have the energy to adhere to Jurgen Klopp’s Gegenpressing style, and they also have the experience to grind out important results. It is true that there are no obvious gaps in the Liverpool first team, but scratch beneath the surface and the picture is not quite so rosy. Klopp has a number of midfield options at his disposal, while Joe Gomez provides strong competition for Joel Matip and Trent Alexander-Arnold. But Liverpool could do with another forward to cover for Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mané and Roberto Firmino. It might seem ludicrous to splash the cash on Coutinho if he is not guaranteed a starting berth, but that is the enviable position Liverpool are in. He is versatile enough to play out wide in a front three, while he could also operate at the point of a three-man midfield when more creativity is required. Liverpool ultimately lost out to Man City last season because they drew too many games in which they dominated possession but struggled to make a breakthrough. We all know that Coutinho’s has the ability to unlock the tightest defences around, while his ability to shoot from long range would add another dimension to Liverpool’s attack next season. He is proven in the Premier League and he could walk straight into the team in the opening week if Mané is still tired from the Africa Cup of Nations. He has played alongside Coutinho for Brazil in their successful Copa America campaign this summer, but his legs should be reasonably fresh after a light schedule in May. He would certainly be a controversial signing, and many fans would not welcome him back, but Coutinho would soon be forgiven if he fired Liverpool to the title.
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