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  1. Report by Dave Usher It was 10 years ago this week that we were humiliated at Anfield by Northampton. Obviously the club has come a long way since those dark days and we’re now the best team in the land, but I thought it was quite fitting to see the second string perform like they did at Lincoln. Northampton wasn't a one off either. We’ve spent decades struggling in these type of cup ties when the big hitters were rested and we had to call on the kids and fringe players. Now? I actually look forward to these games as much I do the ‘proper’ matches. Some of the most enjoyable games we’ve had in recent seasons have been when the second string has played in the cups. Arsenal and Everton last season were great. So too was the Shrewsbury replay when it was a team full of kids. This was more of a mixed line up but we had a bit of everything really. We had the star quality of Van Dijk, we had the fringe players like Shaqiri and Minamino, the wonder kids Jones and Elliott, the unknown youth teamer unexpectedly thrown in at the deep end as well as a couple of new signings making their debuts (Tsimikas looked good I thought). We also had a couple of lads in Big Div and my boy Grujic who maybe won’t be here much longer. Everyone played their part though. It was a real mish mash eleven and in the past whenever we’d done anything like this it would usually end up in a risible performance and a cup exit. Spurs away jumps out at me for some reason. I couldn’t even tell you who played that night but I remember it was a real shitshow. Probably people like Degen and Plessis were involved but I’ve kind of wiped it from memory so can’t be sure. Generally in the past when we've thrown together a team of kids and misfits, they've played like total strangers. That doesn't happen anymore. Win or lose they always look like a Klopp team. This was great. Not perfect, and the second half wasn’t good defensively after Virg went off, but scoring seven times away from home with a second string against the League One leaders isn’t anything to be sniffed at. The quality of some of the goals was ridiculous too. Shaq’s free-kick to open the scoring was a belter. I saw that coming a mile off and called goal before he even took it. I watched it at my parents house and as I'm sure I've mentioned before, Shaq is like the son my Dad always wanted. I don’t mind that, I love Shaq as well and wish he was my little brother so I could playfully slap him in a headlock and ruffle his expensive new hair. Love that little guy, he's fucking boss. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  2. There is no doubt that the internet has changed the world; anyone who has lived before the era of smartphones can confirm this. But beyond all the obvious industries that followed suit because of this and had to transform to keep up, we can also see its effects in other areas. Football and bingo started out as leisure activities, but their presence has grown and evolved throughout time. Of course, the internet had a role in their change, too; and here’s how. Football and the internet Football is, without a doubt, a British staple. Keeping up with football has always been popular, and after the emergence of television, it became much more accessible to the public. Needless to say, the internet took this to the next level. It allowed for even more attention from all over the world, and this growing popularity also naturally meant that more money was at play. Today, not only is it extremely easy to watch matches from all over the world, it is also a breeze to look up any information on your favourite team you are curious about. With teams’ prominent presence on social media as well, you can keep up-to-date with what’s happening even if you don’t have a lot of time. This applies to both league and non-league football. In fact, fans of non-league clubs are thriving in this digital era where they can connect with other fans through social media. The fact that everyone has a voice on the internet means that non-league players and clubs can also gain popularity if they are a bit more social media-savvy and people notice this. Therefore, while the internet has made the gap between league and non-league football more prominent, it is not necessarily bad news for smaller clubs. The internet’s effects on bingo Another one of Britain’s favourite leisure activities is bingo. This game has a long history dating back to the 18th century, and it is basically a tradition that was standing strong until recently. A game of bingo used to involve socializing: getting together with other people, going out and visiting a bingo hall. Bingo halls used to be everywhere, and they were frequented by local bingo-enthusiasts regularly. In the 21st century, however, this activity, like many others, has also seen some big changes. As the number of bingo halls throughout the country was on a decline, a new form to enjoy this game emerged. The internet has provided us with online bingo, which many received with scepticism at first. Fans thought that this form of bingo would kill the game’s traditional spirit, however, what it had done is actually evoke interest in those who previously were not into this activity. If you read more about some online bingo sites, you will clearly see that it’s an easy and comfortable way to enjoy this game. Just choose whether you want to play 75-ball or 90-ball bingo, enter a room of your choosing and start marking off your numbers. Online bingo became a competition to physical bingo halls, which was a good incentive for them to step up their game, too. Soon, non-traditional bingo halls emerged and they started being creative with their offer; they paired bingo with other fun activities and organized events to evoke the interest of young people. What this means is that this game is certainly here to stay. Football and bingo are more than just leisure activities; they are important parts of many people’s lives and continue to be so even in the digital era. The internet has allowed more people to get interested and involved in these activities, as well as changed some aspects of the games. Who knows what the future holds for them?
  3. Saturday Sep 19: Jota is unveiled. You’d think that there was nothing left for our fans to moan about but I actually saw some whopper complaining about how our social media team sucks because the signing videos for Thiago and Jota were too similar. At least it’s original I suppose. Also seen a lot of complaining about the fee and that if we can pay £43m for Jota why couldn't we pay £50m for Werner. *sigh*. Ok, here we go, I'm off again... Right, first of all the financial implications of both deals are completely different. Most of the Werner fee (maybe all of it?) was due up front. We're paying £4m this year for Jota. So there's no comparison. Also, Werner's wages will be double what Jota is getting. Secondly, Jota is a much, much better fit for how we play. I'm not telling you he's better than Werner and will score more goals. But he's a more natural fit for the wide attacking positions in our team than arl no finesse Timo. Werner is much more similar to Danny Ings than he is Jota, and you can't sell Ings for £20m and then pay two and half times that much for someone who is a marginal upgrade at best. I'd back Ings to outscore Werner this season but there probably won't be much in it. They'll both get more than Jota because they'll play more games and they'll be playing centre forward rather than left wing. Give me Jota over Werner all fucking day though, and I reckon anyone who is still crying over Werner will be signing a different tune by the end of the season. We're meant to be signing some kid from Motherwell too. A 16 year old defender. Totally on board with this because you always want a Scot in your side. He might not make it but it's worth the risk. I'd probably sign one Scottish kid every year just in the hope that one of them comes through. The current Scotland captain meanwhile, says that a Manchester United player will get a standing ovation at Anfield when fans are eventually allowed back in. I hope so, I'll certainly be applauding Rashford the first chance I get and I genuinely couldn't give a fuck who he plays for. I hate United but not to the point where it stop me from applauding one of their players if he deserved it. It's like the goalkeeper thing. The Kop will applaud the United keeper when he takes his place in goal. I'm not sure Schmeichel got it (he may have, my memory isn't that good) but all the ones in recent seasons have been applauded. United fans would NEVER do that for our keepers and that's the difference between us and them. Rashford is a top lad and he seems to be more popular with our fans than he is with his own at the moment, although judging by the replies to him on social media I'd say that United fans who are actually from Manchester are a lot more proud of him than those who aren't. It's fucking mad. Just look at the responses any time he tweets about how kids shouldn't be starving in this country. It's a mix of overseas United fans telling him "concentrate on your football because you've been crap for a year", Liverpool fans telling him "well in lad" and random Tories from other clubs complaining that they don't want their taxes used to feed kids "whose dads have done a bunk" or "whose mums are smackheads". Sunday Sep 20: Chelsea 0 L 2 Any time you win away at Chelsea it’s a good day. We’ve almost reached a point now whereby we’re so fucking good, even when we win games like this you find yourself over-analysing and thinking “well we probably should have been better at X and I don’t think we did Y very well” and if you wanted to you could probably do it here too. It wasn’t a perfect performance but it was pretty damn good and we were miles better than Chelsea even before the sending off. We don’t need to be at full throttle with everyone playing out of their skin to win games anymore, but on those occasions when we are there is literally nobody that can live with us. Maybe that’s why even teams like Arsenal and Chelsea are scared stiff when they face us? Chelsea were ultra defensive today. It might just be that we penned them back and they couldn’t get out, but it was probably a case of them not really wanting to come out either. We didn’t create too many chances in the first half but it always felt like we were well in control and that eventually we’d make it count. Without the ball we were brilliant and Chelsea couldn't really do anything. Their only outlet was Werner on the counter attack, but his bull in a china shop approach didn't faze Fabinho who just kept taking it off him like a bully nicking a little kid's lunch money. Still, at 0-0 its always up for grabs regardless of how much you're on top. The sending off right before half time though ended any hope Chelsea had of holding out for anything. Brilliant vision and technique by Hendo and Sadio was clever in the way he got himself in front of the defender to force the foul. Hilarious that Lampard tried to say it wasn’t a definite red. Tit. With VAR that is a red card 100% of the time. He was clutching at all kinds of straws though. “If the sending off doesn’t happen, and if Kepa didn’t gift them a goal and if we had scored the penalty then it’s 1-1”. Yeah, and if you didn’t have a big moonface I wouldn’t be able to call you moonface, would I, moonface? He seems like a man who feels under pressure already. But then Roman has always had a notoriously quick trigger finger with under-performing managers, and ‘Lamps’ doesn’t have the ready made excuse of a transfer ban hampering him and forcing him to bring through youngsters this season does he? Spending £200m brings a whole different level of expectation. I actually think he’ll get the push before Solskjaer does. Something I didn’t pick up on initially so it’s not in the match report, but I saw it on Twitter today. On the penalty save, Milner comes from waaaaay back to get there first to help Virg make the clearance. The desire is the first thing that stands out, but it’s also the professionalism. He had no idea if Alisson would save the penalty but he acted as though he would and that the rebound would need to be cleared. It’s little things like that which make him a fucking superstar in my eyes. What a man. It was funny listening to Klopp afterwards when he said that they didn’t tell Thiago anything about what to do. He just went out and figured it out for himself and controlled the game. Imagine what he’ll do when they do give him instructions on what they want from him. Even without really doing anything exceptional, Thiago just has that presence and swagger about him. He carries himself like a superstar and everyone around him seems to view him as one, even other world class players seem to look at him like he’s a level above. This is just a teaser, click to view the full article Please note that the Week that Was is only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  4. So last week I was rejoicing in it being a manc free weekend in the Premier League but both of them were back in action this week and frankly it was great. Well, half of it was. That United loss against Palace was great fun, as was the subsequent over the top reaction to it. There’s just no middle ground with them is there? When they’d beaten up on some shit teams their fans and the wider football media got far too carried away by it and convinced themselves that they were much better than they actually are. Now, after they lost at home to Palace, the opposite is happening. “Ole Out” was trending and there have been various discussions about his future on different media outlets. After one fucking game!!! There’s just something about Manchester United that provokes far more hysteria (positive and negative) than anyone else. It’s similar with us and Arsenal, but just not as ridiculous. All we’ve heard for months is how United are “back”. I didn’t buy into that and I’m not buying into the notion that they’re completely hopeless now because they’ve lost one game. They are what they are. They’ll be on a similar points total this year to what they managed last year and the year before. Not great, not terrible, just meh. Far be it for me to be the one to offer up a defence of Solskjaer, but it seems ridiculous that one loss has caused such a big about face. I think he’s shit and I hope they keep him for a long time, but this was one game and there were extenuating circumstances for how shit they were. Not least that they haven’t had a pre-season. They came in cold against a Palace team that was much better prepared than they were. I’d have been more surprised if they’d won, not least because they’re a bit shit when they can’t play on the counter attack, and Palace were never going to let them do that. Palace can do this to anyone though. Their record against top six sides over recent years is pretty good. They’ve basically beaten all of us at some point. You don’t want to fall behind against them because they can just dig in and play on the break, and they’re really good at it. There was nothing especially unusual or surprising about this result. Anyone who thinks there was hasn’t been paying attention or they were swept along by the ridiculous hype United have had since lockdown ended. The one thing that it was, of course, was fucking hilarious. It was hilarious even before it kicked off, with Patrice Evra saying live on Sky that Zaha was bombed out of United because of the rumours “true or untrue” that he was in a relationship with Moyesy’s daughter. This fella is a fucking idiot. How can you not know that there are certain things that are off limits when you’re on live telly? He shouldn’t have said anything at all but if he really felt like it was a point that needed making then you say something about ‘there were rumours about his personal life’ or something like that. You don’t just repeat what was essentially just a wild internet rumour. Of course it was hilarious, but Kelly having to apologise for him was excruciating. Make HIM apologise for it. Anyway, as has been said on countless occasions, Zaha (or more likely his solicitor) pointed out to Sky that the rumours were false and he’d never even met the daughter of David Moyes, let alone done anything else with her. So anyway, the game gets underway and Townsend gave Palace a deserved lead. He should have made it 2-0 actually as he had a couple more good chances. Palace were looking like they’d score every time they attacked, mainly because United’s defence is shite. They eventually doubled their lead from the spot in the most hilarious circumstances. Firstly, that’s never a pen in a million years. If that’s a penalty then every time the ball hits a defender’s arm in the box you’re going to have to give one, just for consistency. Or alternatively just keep giving them against United, that works too. The comedy wasn’t finished there though, as De Gea made a great save to deny Ayew and play went on for a good while before out of nowhere, BOOOOOM, the VAR ref said “nah ah Man United”. De Gea was an inch off his line so it had to be retaken. The rule is the rule and harsh as it seems, officials have been told they have to clamp down on this from now on. Solskjaer even acknowledged that was the right call but said he didn’t think it was a penalty. I agree with him, but considering how many pens they’ve had over the last couple of years sympathy will be in short supply. What makes this even better is that Palace not only got to retake the kick, they also got to change their taker. Ayew was fucked off and Zaha stepped up to bury the spot kick to add a capital ‘F’ on the Fuck you. United pulled one back through Van der Beek but Zaha punished them on the break late on to add a capital… erm.. UCK on the FUCK you. Goldbridge’s reaction to the retaken penalty was glorious. One of the funniest Goldbridge moments ever this (skip to around nine minutes in): It was raining goals this weekend though. I don’t know if that’s a result of no fans in stadiums or just because everyone is completely rusty and hasn’t had a pre-season to hone their defensive shape and organisation properly. It looks a bit amateurish though when so many goals are flying in. Makes for a more interesting MOTD on a Saturday night though. The Blues put five past West Brom in a game that was shaping up really nicely until Kieran Gibbs stupidly got himself sent off for clouting Rodriguez. Moron. 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.
  5. Report by Dave Usher On paper this is one of the three or four most difficult fixtures we’ll have to play this season. In reality though it was pretty easy. It never felt in doubt to me. Ok, the sending off just before half time helped massively, and Alisson needed to save a penalty, but this was comfortable. We had another couple of gears to go to if we needed them. We didn’t need them though. I thought Chelsea were shite but to some extent that’s to be expected. It’s a good time to play any team that’s trying to bed in new players (although it was only two, its not like they had a whole new team out there) as there’s basically been no pre-season to speak of. Chelsea were disjointed but they weren’t helped by Lampard’s insistence on playing out from the back and inviting pressure, especially in the second half when they were a man down. They didn’t do much even when they had eleven men. We penned them back and the only time they posed any threat was with the occasional counter attack. Even then Fabinho usually just snuffed it out with the minimum of fuss. He was terrific, which strangely seems to have taken some people by surprise. This isn’t anything new. He’s been great any time he’s played centre back and now that we have so many midfield options he should be regarded as a genuine option to play at the back if needed. And he will be needed, because ol’ Big Bird is injured yet again. So frustrating that. I think he’s great. I’d even go as far as to say that other than Van Dijk he’s probably the best centre back in the Premier League. He’s certainly the most under-rated, but then that’s probably because he misses so much playing time that no-one outside of ourselves would be able to pick him out of a line up. Matip is absolute quality but he’s got those same cheese string muscles that Sturridge and Lallana had, and chances are his career with us is going to end up going the same way. It’s a real shame, but thankfully we’ve got Fabinho who can just step in and perform like this. Joe was missing as well but his injury is less serious and he’s not as unreliable as Matip. His injury issues have been more bad luck that anything else and he's generally been available for most of the last year or two. I understand why plenty of Reds would like to see us add another centre back but I probably wouldn’t do it because what happens when all four are available? You’ll have one who can’t even make the bench, and that’s going to cause problems. So for now I’d stick with the three we have plus Fabinho. That’s a discussion for another time and place though really. Back to the game. As I said, Chelsea barely laid a glove on us because their only outlet seemed to be trying to get the limited Werner in on the counter, only any time he ran at Fabinho he got nowhere. Actually there was one time he got away but only because he tried to crudely run straight through him and the ball fortuitously bounced back off Fabinho’s face into his path before he shot wide. This game showed exactly why I never wanted us to sign him and why I spent months saying it in the diary. He’s a bull in a china shop and has zero guile at all. All he can do is run and shoot, which is fine when you’re playing on the break all the time, but that represents of 5% of our game these days. We rarely have that luxury. Imagine this fucker trying to play intricate little one twos around the box against a packed defence. He can’t do it. May as well ask him to tie his shoelaces while wearing boxing gloves. He's great at what he does but what he does wouldn't benefit us. The man has no finesse at all. Chelsea are welcome to him at that price. This is just a teaser, click here to view 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.
  6. Mohamed Salah put down a marker in the opening game of the season by scoring a hat-trick in Liverpool’s 4-3 win over Leeds United. The Reds needed the Egyptian to operate at the peak of his powers to overcome the newly-promoted side. He displayed composure from the spot to notch two penalties - the latter strike to secure the three points. Salah’s effort in between the two spot-kicks was a sumptuous volley that was perhaps Liverpool’s best moment of the night, drilling his effort with power past Illan Meslier in the blink of an eye. In the process of scoring his match-winning hat-trick, Salah became the second-fastest player to score 50 goals in home matches in Premier League history – reaching the feat in only 63 games. It’s achievements of that nature and his all-round brilliance on the field that have seen Salah installed as one of the top contenders in the bookmakers’ odds for the PFA Player of the Year award on a regular basis since his breakthrough season in the top flight in the 2017/18 campaign. Kevin De Bruyne won the award last season, while Virgil van Dijk claimed the prize in the previous term. The Belgian is considered the favourite ahead of Salah to win the title for the second time in a row, although Salah has solid odds of 5/1 among the leading bookmakers highlighted by SBO.net. There can be value to be found using sign-up offers and bonuses to utilise those odds, which could yield a healthy profit if the first game of the season is anything to go by for the Egyptian. Salah looked tired at times towards the end of last season, especially in the final matches of the term. He has been available to Jurgen Klopp on a regular basis throughout the past four years – he has barely missed a game due to injury – highlighting his fitness and determination. Having that extra edge on the pitch will be vital for the forward. He’s at his best when he can torment the opposition with his pace and skill as well harassing defenders in possession, creating further opportunities for himself, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino. The 28-year-old is entering the prime years of his career, and he will have been pleased to have converted all of the opportunities that came his way in the opener. If there has been a slight criticism of his play since the 2017/18 campaign – it has been a slight decline in his clinical edge in the final third. Salah’s goal production has fallen each year in the Premier League since his arrival at Anfield. It would have been an incredible feat to match the 32 goals he scored in his debut campaign in the two years that followed. However, he then notched 22 and 19 last season, missing some decent chances that he would have buried in his first year. It’s a harsh statement to make, but if Salah is to win the PFA Player of the Year award for a second time he has to be a cut above De Bruyne, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes and Raheem Sterling. Only a special campaign of the ilk of his debut season with Liverpool will cut the mustard, and his perfect start will certainly aid his campaign to be the top man in the Premier League again.
  7. Saturday Sep 12: L 4 Leeds 3. So that was unnecessarily stressful. For all the talk of how well Leeds did, the truth is that we should have won this by a landslide based on chances. Leeds scored from every chance they had and that, combined with them somehow having more possession (certainly didn't feel like it when I was watching) makes this game seem closer than it was. It wasn't that much different to Norwich last year, other than Leeds being much more clinical. As irritating as this was at times, in the end there was no harm done and actually when you analyse what happened there's not really much to be concerned about. The concern would have been if we'd dropped points, but we didn't. In terms of how the game went, the good was that we looked good going forward and created a boatload of chances. The bad was that we made errors at the back, and we have been doing ever since footy came back after lock down. That's obviously a concern but it's more of a short term worry than a long term one. We know these lads can defend well and keep clean sheets, but they seem to have lost a bit of focus and concentration. I put it down to there not being any fans in stadiums and it's not something that will continue indefinitely. Fans might not be back any time soon though so they do need to sharpen the fuck up and I expect Klopp will be drumming that into them. Personally I'd be a lot more worried if we looked bad in attack, as this is an easier fix and it's easier to overcome. How good was Mo though? This was his best performance in a long time. He just looked dynamite all game. The hat-trick was well deserved and even though two were penalties it doesn't really cheapen it because the performance was so good. I hope this is a sign of things to come and we see 2018 Mo again, but one swallow doesn't make a summer. Sunday Sep 13: What the fuck is this? Arsenal are getting £20m for that keeper who played against us in the Charity Shield and acted the cunt during the shoot out. This is mad. I’d never even heard of him until Leno got injured and he got a run of games, but now he’s worth £20m?? And what's with Villa having that kind of dosh to throw around? So much for Covid killing the market. Mind you, we’ve signed a keeper too. Not for £20m like, and we’ll probably never even see him play for us, but we’ve spent a million or so on a Brazilian kid who Alisson recommended. We seem to be stockpiling young keepers and I don’t really understand it. We must have a dozen keepers on the books now, it’s like Jurgen has a fetish for them or something. Reports today have United having agreed terms with Thiago. Absolute bollocks, I’m just not buying this for a second. Thiago is playing for a much, much better side than United and he’d have to be a fucking moron to swap that to go and play for Solskjaer. It makes no sense. So when reports like this come out, you have to question who benefits from it. The obvious answer here is Bayern. They’re trying to force our hand, whereas we seem happy to just let it play out until Barca make us an offer for Gini or we can sell someone else to raise the cash needed. All the reports from sources close to Thiago seem to suggest he’s agreed everything with us. The way it's dragging out is annoying and I can't say I'm sure we'll get him, but he's not going to end up at United, that much I'm confident in predicting. You don't leave the European Champions to sign for Old Gunnar Solskjaer. Meanwhile, Mbappe again hints at leaving PSG next summer. This is all well and good, but who can actually afford what it will cost to get him? There's only really City, and that's only because they'll disregard the rules to do it. Kloppo should be telling Mbappe to stay there for the final two years of his contract and that we'll come calling for him then. 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.
  8. The first couple of weeks of the season are a Manc free zone, so let’s enjoy that while we can because as soon as either of them has a convincing win over some turd team we’ll be subjected to the nauseating fawning over them. The back end of last season was a joke really. All that bollocks about “resurgent United” because they looked decent against a load of slapdick bottom half teams and because Leicester and Chelsea choked like dogs to let them sneak third. They’re still majorly flawed and they’ve still got a manager who got Cardiff relegated. Then we have City. Seemingly everyone is tipping them for the title, in many cases because of “how strong they looked after lockdown”. Did they really though? Or are people getting carried away by their flat track bully act? They lost the same amount of games as we did but the perception seems to be that they were great when footy came back and we were shite. This actually suits me just fine as I’d much rather not be the favourite, but it is a load of bollocks when you actually take a step back and look at it objectively. They shouldn’t be favourites because they’ve done nothing to suggest they’re better than us. Absolutely nothing at all. People have been completely fooled by City. They win so many games by cricket scores that it influences people into thinking that the bad results they have are somehow just a fluke. The bad results aren’t a fluke. They’re every bot as much who City are as the 6-0 wins. City will always finish with the best goal difference because when they get on top of a bad team they pound them into the ground and keep trying to score goals right up until the end. They’ll do it again this season. There’ll be games when they score six, seven, maybe even eight (although their personal bitch Watford getting relegated makes that less likely) and everyone will be going “oh aren’t City just wonderful”. Yeah, they are. When they have it their own way there’s nobody like them. At the risk of sounding all Neil Warnock though, the fact is they don’t like it up ‘em. Get City in a close game and you’ve got every chance of beating them. Just ask Lyon, or any of the nine Premier League sides who beat “Pep” last season. I feel like this is lost on most people though. It’s like how they’re always favourites for the Champions League even though they have zero pedigree in the competition. Why the fuck would City ever be favourites for the Champions League? There’s absolutely no logic to it as they’ve never done anything of note in Europe. Even when they seemed to have a clear path to the final this year they went and lost to a team that finished 7th in a “farmer’s league” for fucks sake. They’re about as welcome in Europe as Nigel Farage. In terms of the Premier League, on what basis do people have them being better than us? They lost nine league games last season and they finished 18 points behind us. Since then they’ve lost David Silva, while Sergio Aguero is another year older and the squad have had even more time to get sick of the sound of Guardiola’s voice, the fuckin’ weirdo. There’s only so much “guys, come on guys… we need to play better guys… ok guys, let’s do this guys” that even the most ardent professional can tolerate before he switches off completely. So I’m not sure why everyone just assumed that last year was a blip when City’s flaws have been exposed on so many different occasions. They’re a bully with a glass jaw. They look big and tough when they’re pounding on the weaker kids and stealing their lunch money, but as soon as anyone hits them back they run off crying (to the CAS when it was UEFA doing the hitting). If they sign Koulibaly that could certainly be a difference maker and if that happens then you could probably make a case for them being at least joint favourites with us. But as of yet they haven’t signed him, yet people are still falling over themselves to tip City for the title. It isn’t based in logic because over a sustained period of time (i.e. two full seasons) we’ve outperformed them massively and neither squad has changed much, other than City have lost Kompany and now Silva. So while I’m not shouting from the rooftops that we’ll win the title again, what I would say is that if you look at it rationally and sensibly then we should be seen as favourites, but I’m glad we’re not. I won’t be making any predictions in these round ups until we’re four or five games in though. Actually no, I’ll make one prediction right off the bat. Fulham are going straight back down. They’re no different to how they were last time they were up. I’ll reserve judgement on Leeds (and West Brom too, I suppose) but my mind is already made up about Fulham. They’ve got no chance of surviving, especially as that bum Tim Ream is STILL at the heart of their defence. Incredible. Nothing has changed with them since last time. They played nice football and created some chances against the Gunners, but they lost 3-0. Standard Fulham that. Lacazette got the first, new boy Gabriel shouldered in the second and Aubameyeng hit a brilliant third. That was a great move and a terrific finish. How weird was it seeing Willian playing for Arsenal though? He’s a good signing for them as he’s already their second best player behind Aubameyeng. Arsenal will definitely have a better season than last time but how much better only time will tell. Beating Fulham isn’t an indicator of anything, as everyone will beat Fulham. 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.
  9. Report by Dave Usher Not really sure what to think about this. First and foremost I’m relieved we won and contrary to what many seem to be saying, it was completely, totally, 100% deserved. We were by far the better team and created a shitload more chances than Leeds did. We made it unnecessarily hard for ourselves but as this team so often does, they came through to take the points. So that’s a good thing. The ability to just ‘find a way’ is great and that’s what separated us from Man City last year. When the going gets tough, they lose matches whereas we win them. It would be nice if we didn’t make it so hard for ourselves so often though, and just what the fuck has happened to the defence? We’ve gone from being by far the tightest unit in the league to looking like Brendan’s 2014 vintage. Since lockdown the amount of goals we’ve shipped has been alarming. At the back end of last season we could put it down to the lack of intensity after winning the league, but what’s the excuse for this one? Rustiness maybe, but I think it’s deeper than that. We’re conceding loads of goals since fans were no longer allowed in to stadiums. It’s hurting us more than anyone and I don’t just mean the ‘Anfield atmosphere’ thing either. Even having a hostile crowd helps with focus, intensity and concentration. With no fans these games look like training sessions at times and as a result we’re making stupid mistakes and generally not being as switched on as we normally would. That edge that everyone has when playing in front of a packed stadium isn’t there and it’s causing a casualness and lack of focus. The lack of intensity in games also doesn’t help us. We’re great when we’re full throttle but when we drop off a touch we’re not as good with or without the ball. I just don’t think this game plays out like this in front of a full house, but there’s no way of proving that one way or the other I guess. In fairness to Leeds, two of their goals were excellently worked. I can pick holes in how we defended them but it was nice football by them. One of their goals was a gift though, an absolute disgrace in fact. There’s been a real stench of complacency about our defensive play since football returned a couple of months ago. I’m not sure if that’s going to go away until fans are back, but hopefully this serves as the kick up the arse that we need. The back four looked ropey for all of the first half and parts of the second. It wasn’t just because of them though. Leeds players seemed to be picking the ball up in space between our midfield and defence much too easily. There were gaps everywhere and the absence of Fabinho was noticeable. Why that was I can’t say. Maybe Hendo was a little rusty or maybe it was because Naby was in the midfield three? Fabinho not being selected didn’t surprise me at all. Normally it would, but as I wrote in the diary this week, Klopp had a right go at him last week against Blackpool and subbed him at half time. I wondered if there was something to that, and him not starting this game tells me there was and that a message was being sent. The message might have been more effective if we hadn’t had to send him an SOS to go on and shore up the midfield, but hopefully whatever issue there may have been has been sorted, because we’re a better team with both him and Hendo playing rather than just the one of them. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full report Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  10. It seems like only yesterday that Liverpool’s fearless leader Jordan Henderson was doing his customary shuffle on the podium when lifting the Premier League trophy. It was a culmination of a truly fantastic two years, which has seen the Reds crowned Champions of England, Europe and the World. However with a new season on the horizon we now look forward to see whether Jurgen Klopp”s men can reproduce that outstanding consistency yet again. First up in the title defence comes an intriguing clash with newly promoted Leeds, a team who haven’t graced the top flight in over 15 years, yet remain one of the iconic names in English football. In that time they have had countless managers, players and false dawns. After coming heartbreakingly close to a return in 2018/9, they eventually conquered the mountain last season and are ready to resume hostilities with some of their great rivals, including Liverpool. Alfie from the @LS11LUFC fan hub may have not been around to see the glory days of the Yorkshire club, but he knows all too well about the hard yards they have done to get back to this point. He talks us through that time as well as why he thinks they should attack this clash with a lot of confidence. Congratulations on your promotion and it is nice to see an old rival back in the Premier League. Can you talk our readers through what the last 15 or so years have been like as a Leeds fan? The last 15 years have differed in experience from fan to fan. For me personally I was only four when we were relegated at Bolton all those years ago, so for my generation we’ve known only misery and the League 1 days are the first solid memories I have of supporting Leeds playing teams like Stockport County and Hartlepool every week. Then the last decade has just been constant mediocrity with very few bright moments. Poor ownership brought a constant string of sub-par managers who couldn’t do anything to stop us finishing anywhere outside of 13th-15th every season. Since 2016 it’s become far more interesting and Garry Monk was the first manager I saw who actually got us playing decent football but fell short. Then after a frankly embarrassing 17/18, Bielsa came in and has just turned the club (not just the team) completely around. Jurgen Klopp coined the phrase “mentality monsters” to describe Liverpool’s ability to overcome hardship and keep striving to achieve the main goal. After the heartbreaking end to your 2018/9 season, who do you believe was the catalysts to push the team to greater heights and overcome the wobbles that inevitably come during a gruelling Championship campaign? It’s a tricky question and there are many answers! I think it was a mix of improving the squad in key positions, slightly adapting tactics and working hard on changing the attitude. Pontus Jansson was a great player for us and will be remembered as a cult hero, however he was a huge disruptive influence in the dressing room and is likely part of the reason we fell at the last hurdle in 18-19. Bringing in Ben White was a master stroke, a humble young player with far better defensive and passing skills than Jansson and who allowed us to fully execute our playing style. Also in Bielsa’s first season we always seemed to go full blast for 90 minutes and be looking to score more and more, often leaving the back exposed. However last season we were able to go toe-to-toe with physical teams and grind out results when it mattered, often riding our luck with poor performances, which is what champions do. A gritty 1-0 win at home to Barnsley in the last game we actually played before being promoted and crowned champions who were bottom at the time summed this up. The mentality changed where no player ever got ahead of themselves and talked about promotion or trophies or anything, it was always on to the next challenge. Leeds had a long list of unsuccessful managers during your spell in the lower leagues, so the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa must have been a gift from the gods. Can you explain the impact that the Argentinian has brought to your club? It was a strange one because I can’t lie I’d never heard of the bloke before he came to us! However in hindsight how we got him to replace Paul Heckingbottom must be one of the best upgrades in football history. He has just created a winning mentality throughout the club from the players to the fans at home it just feels good to be a Leeds fan and we have a club we are properly proud of again. He instils an air of humbleness in the players, stemming from making them pick up litter around the local area in one of his first training sessions to make them appreciate how hard fans work to buy a ticket. Also there just seems to be a sense that we are an elite club again - we are fitter than anyone else and we play more stylish football than most. Couple that with his mysterious nature and being able to keep a respectable distance from the playing squad It is not far fetched to say that he is genuinely seen as a god around these parts. Of your current squad, who do you think will thrive in the Premier League spotlight and what makes you come to that conclusion? To be honest I think they all will! We have a well-drilled side who know how to play this system and after the performance of our reserves against Arsenal in the Cup last season, we fear no one. But to choose a few, I think the new lads (Spanish international) Rodrigo and (German defender) Robin Koch will do well of course, and in terms of the players we already have, I think Pablo Hernandez will have something special up his sleeve, I’m excited to see (Mateusz) Klich’s shithousery in the top flight, but I think the biggest expectations come for Kalvin Phillips (pictured below). He's our best player and pivotal to our style, as well as being a lovely lad and now an England international as well! He has the skillset to rocket to the top and hopefully it’s with us. Regarding the expectations for this season: Would the fans be satisfied with just surviving the drop for the first season, or do you think you can replicate your bitter rivals Sheffield United and push for a top 10 finish? We would be satisfied with anything but the drop, but seriously I think we have the players and the system to push for the top 10 it just depends on injuries and if we’re lucky with them we can do something special - I’ll say 9th. Is there a certain opposition that you cannot wait to play at Elland Road this season? A few! Just to have the big teams back will be great. Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Man City and of course the Man U game will be huge! Your return fixture to the Premier League couldn’t be a tougher challenge at the home of the Premier League champions. What is your opinion of this Liverpool team? True! But also it couldn’t be a more exciting curtain-raiser. Klopp is a fantastic manager and I’ve always liked him even at Dortmund so to see him succeed at Liverpool is fantastic. I see a lot of similarities in Liverpool and us in the passion of the fans and the big history so I don’t think there’ll be much bad blood. The team are worthy champions and it was a shame not to see them smash City’s record right at the end but let’s face it they were by far the best team in the land last year. The players you have with the system makes it almost impossible to play against Liverpool on a good day with how hard they make teams work to even play against them. Bielsa is studious in his preparation for any opposition, so do you expect any surprises in line-up or formation for this clash? Unsure. He changed system last year so he might do the same this year and it’s anyone’s guess! It might be too soon to see the new lads in but we will have to see - if we have Koch and Rodrigo in the side we will look far more competitive. While fans are unfortunately not allowed inside grounds for the time being due to COVID-19 protocols, where will you be taking in proceedings and what will your emotions be like? Either at home or in the pub! My emotions will be excited and nothing more! It’s a chance to show what all Leeds fans know we can do against the best team in the league and just to see my team in the premier league is enough for me. What is your prediction for this big clash? I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’m going to be bold! We won’t fear anyone not even Liverpool and Bielsa will have done his homework. I think it will be a cracking game as both teams will go out there to attack. We will surprise a lot of people on Saturday, 1-1. View full article
  11. Saturday Sep 5: L 7 Blackpool 2 The scoreline doesn’t really tell the story here, as we were shite for a significant part of this game and only really ran away with it when Blackpool started to make changes. We deservedly went 2-0 down. Koumetio was caught out for the opener but that was as much on Salah as it was him. The pass to the kid was shite and put him in a difficult spot. Then Alisson was culpable for the second goal. It might not have been in the box but it was close enough that he can have no complaints that a pen was given. Of course he got nowhere near the spot kick because he never does (hopefully there’s some nice reverse jinxing going on there). Matip headed us back into it just before the break and the second half was massively improved as the goals flowed. Nice for Elliott to get a goal and for Taki to get himself another. He looked lively again. I’m not reading anything into the poor first half performance as it’s pre-season and we had our entire back four away on international duty, but there’s just a weird vibe about us at the moment, on and off the pitch. Considering we should be on such a massive high, it doesn’t feel like that does it? Loads of fans are unsettled about the lack of transfer activity and the team looks a bit flat, although it is pre-season and it’s stupid to form any opinions - good or bad - based on these friendlies. I do have concerns about the front three though, as I’ve written quite regularly over the summer. Minamino has been our liveliest forward recently while Jones looks like he’s the most creative player in the squad right now. Hopefully when the season kicks off we’ll see the ‘big three’ step it up a gear but I’d feel a lot better about things if we added another one into the mix. Bobby looked very good today though, at least. Klopp wasn’t happy at all in the first half of this and the pitchside mic picked him up having a go at Fabinho telling him “make a challenge, be in the right places”. He subbed him at half time too. Don’t know if there’s anything sinister in that or if it was pre-planned. By the way, I’ve skipped a few days since the end of the last diary as I want to get back to the Saturday/Friday format now that the season is upon us again, and there’s been virtually nothing of note to talk about this past week anyway. The one significant bit of news was Messi staying put, which surprises no-one really as it felt like a power play right from the start, and as soon as it became clear that he wasn’t going to be allowed to just walk away this was always the most likely scenario. Tell you what though, he’s a proper scheming little fucking diva isn’t he? Ronaldo was always the one who got pilloried for his arrogance and selfishness but this fella is just as egotistical on the sly. Hope we play Barca this year so we can make him cry again. Sunday Sep 6: I saw Robbo was trending on twitter and I panicked and thought he might be injured. Turns out it was just a load of ‘Tierney Nonces’ posting about how shite he is when isn’t surrounded by the great players he plays with for us. If you think Kieran Tierney is better than Andy Robbo then you need to start watching a different sort, because footy isn’t for you. Meanwhile, Neco scores a last minute winer for Wales on his home debut. Nice. That’ll be great for his confidence as I don’t think he’s been at his best in the last few first team games he’s had for us. He was fucking brilliant to start with but just the last two or three times he’s played he’s had some struggles. He’ll come back flying now after this hopefully. Sheyi Ojo joins Cardiff on loan. Anyone even remember that he was still our player? I’d completely forgotten about him. I thought he was permanent at Rangers but he was only on loan. I’d imagine this will be his last loan deal and then he’ll just be sold for whatever we can get for him. Talented player but really inconsistent. Moving on, and the latest on Thiago is that he’s now saying stuff like “I’ve never said I’m leaving Bayern” and he made a comment about “going home” after international duty. Home being Bayern. Proper bored of this now. Reports in Spain today claim that Barcelona want him. You know what, they can fucking have him and we’ll keep Gini. I’m good with that. Monday Sep 7: Foden and Greenwood are sent home from international duty after bringing a couple of local girls to their room. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a big deal (unless you happen to be Foden’s long time girlfriend of course) but pulling this shit when in a bubble, in a foreign country and under strict orders to follow the rules is pretty fucking bad I reckon. It just shows a total lack of respect for Southgate. If I was Southgate I wouldn’t pick either of these upstart cunts again for a long time. Not that he’ll be there for a long time of course, but if by some miracle he is. They wouldn’t have done this if they feared or respected Southgate. That’s probably as much on him as them actually as he’s such a fucking wet lettuce. This is his chance to set an example. This wouldn’t have happened under Capello. Or Sven, albeit for completely different reasons. Capello ruled with an iron fist, whereas it wouldn’t have happened on Sven’s watch because those birds would have already been in his room, the smooth old bastard. Meanwhile, “Hamez” has signed for the Blues. Quite the fall from grace that. One minute you’re the young superstar of the World Cup and signing for Real Madrid, and then six years later you’re being unveiled at the Pit. Still, at least he’s got experience of dealing with disgusting little fucking creatures clinging onto him, so he’ll be sound when the fans are allowed back in. So Power Shift FC have won the transfer window again and they’re also declaring themselves the social media kings now because “Hamez” has around 14m more instagram followers than LFC. Mostly Real and Bayern fans who simply haven’t unfollowed him yet, but regardless, they can have this one. When’s the parade? Oh wait, hold on a second, news just in…. turns out that a lowly minority stakeholder in the Reds has…. *checks LeBron’s page* 71.8m followers. Better cancel that parade then. Unless they can somehow pull off the signing of Taylor Swift maybe? She’s got 140m followers and is probably a better keeper than Pickford. 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.
  12. tlw content

    Opposition View: Leeds United

    It seems like only yesterday that Liverpool’s fearless leader Jordan Henderson was doing his customary shuffle on the podium when lifting the Premier League trophy. It was a culmination of a truly fantastic two years, which has seen the Reds crowned Champions of England, Europe and the World. However with a new season on the horizon we now look forward to see whether Jurgen Klopp”s men can reproduce that outstanding consistency yet again. First up in the title defence comes an intriguing clash with newly promoted Leeds, a team who haven’t graced the top flight in over 15 years, yet remain one of the iconic names in English football. In that time they have had countless managers, players and false dawns. After coming heartbreakingly close to a return in 2018/9, they eventually conquered the mountain last season and are ready to resume hostilities with some of their great rivals, including Liverpool. Alfie from the @LS11LUFC fan hub may have not been around to see the glory days of the Yorkshire club, but he knows all too well about the hard yards they have done to get back to this point. He talks us through that time as well as why he thinks they should attack this clash with a lot of confidence. Congratulations on your promotion and it is nice to see an old rival back in the Premier League. Can you talk our readers through what the last 15 or so years have been like as a Leeds fan? The last 15 years have differed in experience from fan to fan. For me personally I was only four when we were relegated at Bolton all those years ago, so for my generation we’ve known only misery and the League 1 days are the first solid memories I have of supporting Leeds playing teams like Stockport County and Hartlepool every week. Then the last decade has just been constant mediocrity with very few bright moments. Poor ownership brought a constant string of sub-par managers who couldn’t do anything to stop us finishing anywhere outside of 13th-15th every season. Since 2016 it’s become far more interesting and Garry Monk was the first manager I saw who actually got us playing decent football but fell short. Then after a frankly embarrassing 17/18, Bielsa came in and has just turned the club (not just the team) completely around. Jurgen Klopp coined the phrase “mentality monsters” to describe Liverpool’s ability to overcome hardship and keep striving to achieve the main goal. After the heartbreaking end to your 2018/9 season, who do you believe was the catalysts to push the team to greater heights and overcome the wobbles that inevitably come during a gruelling Championship campaign? It’s a tricky question and there are many answers! I think it was a mix of improving the squad in key positions, slightly adapting tactics and working hard on changing the attitude. Pontus Jansson was a great player for us and will be remembered as a cult hero, however he was a huge disruptive influence in the dressing room and is likely part of the reason we fell at the last hurdle in 18-19. Bringing in Ben White was a master stroke, a humble young player with far better defensive and passing skills than Jansson and who allowed us to fully execute our playing style. Also in Bielsa’s first season we always seemed to go full blast for 90 minutes and be looking to score more and more, often leaving the back exposed. However last season we were able to go toe-to-toe with physical teams and grind out results when it mattered, often riding our luck with poor performances, which is what champions do. A gritty 1-0 win at home to Barnsley in the last game we actually played before being promoted and crowned champions who were bottom at the time summed this up. The mentality changed where no player ever got ahead of themselves and talked about promotion or trophies or anything, it was always on to the next challenge. Leeds had a long list of unsuccessful managers during your spell in the lower leagues, so the arrival of Marcelo Bielsa must have been a gift from the gods. Can you explain the impact that the Argentinian has brought to your club? It was a strange one because I can’t lie I’d never heard of the bloke before he came to us! However in hindsight how we got him to replace Paul Heckingbottom must be one of the best upgrades in football history. He has just created a winning mentality throughout the club from the players to the fans at home it just feels good to be a Leeds fan and we have a club we are properly proud of again. He instils an air of humbleness in the players, stemming from making them pick up litter around the local area in one of his first training sessions to make them appreciate how hard fans work to buy a ticket. Also there just seems to be a sense that we are an elite club again - we are fitter than anyone else and we play more stylish football than most. Couple that with his mysterious nature and being able to keep a respectable distance from the playing squad It is not far fetched to say that he is genuinely seen as a god around these parts. Of your current squad, who do you think will thrive in the Premier League spotlight and what makes you come to that conclusion? To be honest I think they all will! We have a well-drilled side who know how to play this system and after the performance of our reserves against Arsenal in the Cup last season, we fear no one. But to choose a few, I think the new lads (Spanish international) Rodrigo and (German defender) Robin Koch will do well of course, and in terms of the players we already have, I think Pablo Hernandez will have something special up his sleeve, I’m excited to see (Mateusz) Klich’s shithousery in the top flight, but I think the biggest expectations come for Kalvin Phillips (pictured below). He's our best player and pivotal to our style, as well as being a lovely lad and now an England international as well! He has the skillset to rocket to the top and hopefully it’s with us. Regarding the expectations for this season: Would the fans be satisfied with just surviving the drop for the first season, or do you think you can replicate your bitter rivals Sheffield United and push for a top 10 finish? We would be satisfied with anything but the drop, but seriously I think we have the players and the system to push for the top 10 it just depends on injuries and if we’re lucky with them we can do something special - I’ll say 9th. Is there a certain opposition that you cannot wait to play at Elland Road this season? A few! Just to have the big teams back will be great. Newcastle, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Liverpool, Man City and of course the Man U game will be huge! Your return fixture to the Premier League couldn’t be a tougher challenge at the home of the Premier League champions. What is your opinion of this Liverpool team? True! But also it couldn’t be a more exciting curtain-raiser. Klopp is a fantastic manager and I’ve always liked him even at Dortmund so to see him succeed at Liverpool is fantastic. I see a lot of similarities in Liverpool and us in the passion of the fans and the big history so I don’t think there’ll be much bad blood. The team are worthy champions and it was a shame not to see them smash City’s record right at the end but let’s face it they were by far the best team in the land last year. The players you have with the system makes it almost impossible to play against Liverpool on a good day with how hard they make teams work to even play against them. Bielsa is studious in his preparation for any opposition, so do you expect any surprises in line-up or formation for this clash? Unsure. He changed system last year so he might do the same this year and it’s anyone’s guess! It might be too soon to see the new lads in but we will have to see - if we have Koch and Rodrigo in the side we will look far more competitive. While fans are unfortunately not allowed inside grounds for the time being due to COVID-19 protocols, where will you be taking in proceedings and what will your emotions be like? Either at home or in the pub! My emotions will be excited and nothing more! It’s a chance to show what all Leeds fans know we can do against the best team in the league and just to see my team in the premier league is enough for me. What is your prediction for this big clash? I’ve thought long and hard about this and I’m going to be bold! We won’t fear anyone not even Liverpool and Bielsa will have done his homework. I think it will be a cracking game as both teams will go out there to attack. We will surprise a lot of people on Saturday, 1-1.
  13. Wednesday Aug 26: I knew it!!! I said didn’t I? I said I’d bet everything I owned that Maguire used the words “do you know who I am?” during the incident with the Greek coppers, and lo and behold, it’s being reported that he did (doesn’t mean it’s true of course, but I’m still claiming this small victory). He also allegedly said “I’m the captain of Manchester United. I’m very rich. I can pay you. Please let us go”. This whole story gets funnier each day though. His defence is that he thought he was being kidnapped by the plain clothes coppers. Jesus, that’s his worst bit of defending since the Sevilla game a couple of weeks back. Not as bad as old Hank Winter though. Mr England had this to say: “‘Those with any familiarity with Greek tragedy will recall the story of Achilles, who avoided the fighting until a loved one was injured and his subsequent actions ultimately caused his own downfall. Few will wish to paint Maguire in a heroic light, although his desire to protect Daisy, whom his legal team claimed was attacked by Albanian gangsters, is admirable and typical of the man.’ Jesus Christ. Few would want to paint him in a heroic light, yet you compare him to fucking Achilles and call him admirable!!!! He wasn’t done there though; ‘at the very least, and pending any new evidence provided during the resumption of the legal process, Maguire is guilty of folly’. “Folly” hahaha I don’t even know where to start, other than to say I think Winter might just be the only man connected with football to ever use that word. Posh cunt. Fucking hell. For the record, he was also found guilty of assault, four counts of bribery and resisting arrest. Does all that come under “folly” then? Winter is almost as out of touch with reality as Maguire’s lawyers, who actually claimed he was in Mykonos because he is “keen on the ancient Greek culture”. He ran up a bar bill of 63 grand!! He’s hardly Michael Palin is he? This whole story is fucking hilarious, but the funniest part of all is the big hitters from the English press all falling over themselves to defend him and write articles that are little more than character references for Maguire while hammering the Greek police. You have to wonder what they’ve been promised. Probably guaranteed exclusive interviews with him and any other United players they choose. United’s PR advisor is Neil Ashton, formerly of the Mail and no doubt good buddies with all these bootlickers expressing their outrage at how Saint Harry has been treated. Also today, reports that Gini isn’t being offered a new deal and may well be ‘sacrificed’ this summer so we can get Thiago in. It makes sense in some ways but not in others. Firstly, why is he not being offered a new deal? Milner got one and much as that made me happy, I can’t say that it made more sense to extend him and not Gini. Secondly, how come Gini seems completely relaxed about the whole thing and is still doing interviews talking about the upcoming season as though everything is normal? Until today though all the Thiago talk had been coming from the German end and seemingly out of the Bayern dressing room. This is the first time one of the LFC beat writers has given it any real credence and because of that I’m going to have to finally start taking this seriously I guess. Thiago is nothing like Gini as a player, so if Klopp is planing on swapping one for the other it surely means a tweaking - or an evolving - of our style. It’s going to be interesting to see how all this plays out, but I’ll be honest, I really don’t want to see Gini go. More on this Messi thing. Yesterday he told Barca he wants to quit and apparently it’s because Koeman told him “no more privileges”. I assume he means no more walking around and not bothering to close anyone down, as well as no more picking which players they buy and sell. Messi and Suarez were instrumental in tapping up Coutinho don’t forget. From reading up on all this a bit more today I now think he’s staying put and this whole thing is a political move to force the president out. And if the president goes, Koeman will too. He’s only been there a couple of days and he’s under fire by the press already for alienating Suarez and Messi. Nothing he can’t handle though, it’s not like when he had that red Crimbo tree for example. 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.
  14. While winning the Premier League, as Liverpool did in record-breaking fashion, is a tremendous feat, defending it to land back-to-back titles grants near-legendary status. This is because all of the other top teams and those who want to be a top team reinforce tremendously to mount the challenge. While Liverpool’s net spend over the last few seasons rocketed to £278 million, as favourites and defending champions, the club has spent very little. So, we’re diving into the evolving transfer policy of the Reds and seeing if it aligns with teams that have achieved the near-impossible of winning back-to-back titles in the modern game. The years of build and outlay On 8 October 2015, Liverpool appointed Jurgen Klopp as the new boss, with the go-to starting line-up five years later being predominantly made up of players that the German boss has signed. In 2016/17, the club signed Sadio Mané (£37 million), Georginio Wijnaldum (£24.75 million), Loris Karius (£5.58 million), and Joel Matip (free) to commence the moulding of the squad. The next season, 2017/18, Liverpool set a new world record for a defender’s transfer fee to get Virgil van Dijk (£75 million), and also brought in Mohamed Salah (£37.8 million), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (£34 million), and Andrew Robertson (£8 million). In what would be the last season of huge spending, 2018/19 brought in Alisson (£56 million), Naby Keïta (£54 million), Fabinho (£40 million), and Xherdan Shaqiri (£13 million). The transfer action over those three campaigns rung up a bill to the tune of £385.13 million which, considering the Reds won the Champions League and the Premier League with most of those players as the core of the team, was money well spent. However, the 2019/20 transfer windows showed a notably reduced rate of spending, as has this summer market. Last season, Adrián came in on a free transfer to play as back-up to Alisson, and Takumi Minamino joined for £7.65 million to pad the attacking corps. While Minamino has played well in limited minutes and on smaller occasions, it seems very unlikely that the 24-year-old is considered a challenge to the recognised first-choice front three, all of whom are now only 28-years-old and in their prime. To dive into the 2020/21 campaign as the defending champions, Klopp so far opted to add just one player, left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas from Olympiacos for £11.7 million. Another modest purchase who, while being highly rated by Olympiacos fans, likely won’t overtake Robertson as the go-to left-back. Moves haven’t been made to improve the team or pose significant competition to those leading the line-up for four transfer windows now. While the approach worked last season, other teams have had even more time to catch-up. The Reds managed to stop City from achieving a three-peat of Premier League titles, but between their 2017/18 and 2018/19 trophies, Pep Guardiola made a key addition. For £61 million, City brought in Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City. While Leicestershire Live says that the Algerian was out of favour for much of the season, he still scored 12 goals and 12 assists over 44 appearances. Furthermore, he pushed for a place in the team, forcing others to step-up. Of all of the managers to draw lessons from for sustained and consistent success in the Premier League, though, Sir Alex Ferguson may be the best source. It wasn’t fun for the rest of the league, but the former Manchester United boss perfected the art of cycling his team to keep it a contender each season. In 2008/09, United completed the three-peat, with the transfer windows between each trophy showing an infusion of competition. The first summer saw them bring in game-ready prospects in Anderson and Nani as well as first-team competitors Owen Hargreaves and Carlos Tévez. Next season, another top scoring option was added in Dimitar Berbatov. Through sustained success, Ferguson still brought through his top young talents, which Klopp has stated he aims to do, with players such as Neco Williams and Curtis Jones being recent examples of this, but there was still a regular infusion of competition for the starting XI via the transfer market. This season will go one of two ways: Liverpool will slip to a competitor, most likely City, and pundits will point to the lack of transfer activity and a ‘title hangover.’ Or, the Reds will reign supreme to add yet another feather to Klopp’s cap and perhaps ushering in a new age of low-spending champions.
  15. The start of the decade went off with a bang after Liverpool finally landed the Premier League title. They now have a decade ahead of them to add to that title, and the team in place has certainly been built to last, the idea is to win the league more than once. But, with the world at their feet, what will be deemed a successful decade for Liverpool? Is it possible for this talented team to win the Premier League title again but still be described as underachievers at the end of the decade? The expectations on this team at the moment are simply huge, and things are not going to be easy. Just what does this team need to do next year and beyond to live up to those expectations? How Many League Titles for a Successful Decade? The 2019/20 Premier League title win was the first, but the first of how many? Liverpool have the world at their feet, and it is unthinkable as a fan, but could they win further and be deemed a failure? If we only see this team lift the Premier League title once more, will they remain one of the greatest? It is tough to think about, but if this team is going to get spoken about as a great, they need to lift another two or three titles over the next few years, maybe more. In many ways, this team has already proven to be a success, in terms of how they have been built and how Jurgen Klopp has implemented his style. Over the next few years, the battle is all about adding league titles to give the players their reward. A Team Built to Dominate When young players are talking about retiring at the club, you know you have got something right. This Liverpool team has not been built with one season in mind, it has been built to dominate a decade. First of all, when Jurgen Klopp arrived he instantly put in place his high pressing style of play, and made sure every player bought into that. Then piece by piece, he added other players who would bring quality, solve problems, and more importantly, they also bought into his style of play. This has all made Liverpool incredibly popular with fans around the world, and their games are watched by millions. With live streaming available, watching a game has never been as easy as it is now. Sites like 101 great goals help fans find out where the live streams are available to watch. Will Others Try to Copy Liverpool? This is almost certain to happen somewhere, even if not in the Premier League. The way that this Liverpool team plays and has been built over the past few years is something that the majority of the footballing world are envious of. However, anyone who does try to copy what has been put in place will not find it easy. First, they need a style of play that is good to watch, one that wins and one that players are happy to buy into. Then you need the right players for each position, and every time a player comes into the club, they need to be the right fit otherwise they risk ruining what has already been built. The blueprint is there for those who want to try it, but what has happened at Liverpool is not going to be easy to replicate. Looking forward to next season, expectations are high and why shouldn’t they be, this could be one of the greatest Liverpool teams we have ever seen.
  16. The Reds warmed up for the new campaign with a mixed performance in their final pre-season warm up game. Blackpool were eventually swept away by a second half goal blitz but for the 7-2 win wasn’t always as convincing as the scoreline would suggest. Injury and international call ups meant that none of the regular first choice back four were available for the game and that perhaps explained the uncharacteristic uncertainty in the first half. Youngster Billy Koumetio was caught out for Blackpool’s opener, while an error in judgement from Alisson Becker gifted Blackpool a penalty which saw them make it 2-0. It was a lacklustre first half showing from the Champions and there are clearly still some cobwebs to be blown off ahead of the season opener against Leeds next week. The Reds face a tough start to the campaign and that, coupled with the lack of squad strengthening perhaps explains why Premier League betting odds have them as second favourites behind Manchester City, even though there was an 18 point gap between the sides last time out. Against Blackpool Jurgen Klopp seemed irritated on the touchline, at one point chastising Fabinho for not making enough challenges and not being in the right positions. Interestingly the Brazilian was withdrawn at half time. Perhaps that was pre-planned, or maybe Klopp was making a point. Fit again Joel Matip headed in from a corner just before the break and after that it was one way traffic. Klopp made three changes at half time, introducing Nat Phillips, Sepp Van den Berg and Curtis Jones, and his side then dominated the second half. Jones in particular really caught the eye and seems to be edging closer and closer to being a genuine contender for a starting place. Sadio Mané levelled the scores before further strikes by Roberto Firmino, Harvey Elliott, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Van den Berg gave the scoreline a somewhat misleading look. Blackpool certainly didn’t deserve to lose so heavily but when both managers started to make changes the extra quality in Liverpool’s squad proved to be too much for the Seasiders. Klopp will have some difficult decisions to make ahead of the Leeds game, not least who to start at right back. Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to be fit in time for the curtain raiser but having not featured at all in this shortened pre-season it might be considered too much of a risk. The good news is that back up right back Neco Williams was in fine form for Wales this weekend and even managed to score a last minute winner when he stole in at the back post to find the net with a well placed header. Young Dutchman Ki Jana Hoever played right back against Blackpool and gave a timely reminder of what he can do. The other big selection dilemma centres around Japanese star Minamino, who has been one of the more impressive performers in pre-season. Does he start against Leeds? And if so then does that mean a change in formation to 4-2-3-1? Klopp has flirted with that system occasionally in recent seasons, usually when he wanted to get Xherdan Shaqiri in the side. The results have been mixed, but Minamino floating around behind the front three might be a new solution against the kind of packed defences the Reds regularly come up against. Klopp has hinted that he may switch things up tactically this season and therefore we might see him occasionally move away from the tried and trusted 4-3-3 that has served him so well these past few years. Minamino might be the key to that. If he performs well enough that he can't be left out, then a change of system appears to be the only way to get him in. Whether Minamino starts might depend on whether skipper Jordan Henderson is fit enough to return. Again, having been out for so long it’s likely to be a few more weeks until Henderson is ready to start, but you can never rule him out such is his determination to play. And what of Gini Wijnaldum? The Barcelona linked Dutchman has been such an integral part of Liverpool’s success over the last few years and generally when he’s been available he’s started. It’s rare that Klopp leaves him out, but given the excellent form of Naby Keita since football resumed after lockdown, it seems unlikely that Wijnaldum will start against Leeds. Winning the title is difficult enough, but retaining it is something else entirely. The Reds showed they were the best side in the country last season but the slate is now wiped clean and rival clubs such as Chelsea and Man City will be looking to lay down an early marker. Can Klopp’s men do the same? We’ll find out soon enough.
  17. There has been a lot of transfer talk regarding Georginio Wijnaldum making the move over to La Liga this summer with new Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman keen to link up with his fellow countryman. Wijnaldum has entered the final year of his contract with the Reds and conversations about an extension on improved terms have reportedly stalled. This has greatly increased the rumours about him leaving to Barcelona and he is now currently odds on to move to Camp Nou at 1/5. Liverpool have expressed their interest in wanting to keep the Dutch box-to-box midfielder, but they do have a plan in place if that the popular Wijnaldum does move on. Rumours have been circulating all summer that Jurgen Klopp is extremely interested in the classy Spaniard Thiago Alcantara from Bayern Munich. According to reports, Thiago has privately said he wants to play in the Premier League and only for Jurgen Klopp. Thiago is currently 1/3 to move to the next before the end of the transfer window. With the season drawing to a close only a few weeks ago, many punters are using the transfer market as a way to ensure that they are still getting their in-house entertainment. There are still many betting sites not on Gamstop that are offering these sorts of odds as well as dozens of other markets that is really surging the traffic on these sites; even in the off season. With the Premier League due to start in just over a week now as well, this surge in traffic is only going to go one way. Although Wijnaldum and Thiago are both central midfielders, they both play contrasting roles in the balance of their current sides. Wijnaldum acts as a box-to-box midfielder who is a physical powerhouse, making late runs into the box, covering for his marauding full backs and also offering the high press. Thiago on the other hand, acts as an anchor of the team, although unusually he isn’t the big taller defensive fulcrum similar to Sergio Busquets at Barcelona or even Liverpool’s star holding man Fabinho. In fact, Thiago is a nippy, fast footed dribbling anchor who uses his low point of gravity to get him out of difficult situation when being pressed; and he does it more effectively than anyone. Although transfers are always a risk for both clubs, this swap could be beneficial for all parties, with Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Thiago and Wijnaldum all benefitting in some way from the transfers.
  18. Is Liverpool’s squad strong still strong enough to be able to compete again at the highest level with their competitors strengthening over the summer. Liverpool are in one of their most successful periods in their history as a football club; having won four items of silverware within a period of 13 months. This is an especially impressive feat considering they hadn’t won a first division title for over 30 years before 2020. However, Liverpool fans don’t want it to end there and will be hungry for the success to continue through the next couple years and for the Reds to stamp their dominance on all competitions that they compete in. With it currently being the off season of the Premier League, many punters are having to find other markets in which they can get online gambling fixes such as on this list of the best non UK casinos – they don’t just offer the best roulette tables, slot machines and card tables, but also give consumers some of the best welcome bonuses to capitalise on the demand during the off season and with the numbers they are producing, it doesn’t seem as if this traffic is due to slow down when the season is back up and running. However, due to the global pandemic caused by the Covid-19 that has crashed thousands of business, it has affected virtually all football clubs and the revenue that they are able to put back into football. In this transfer window, Liverpool have made it clear they aren’t in the market to purchase a marquee signing, but is this a worry amongst Liverpool fans? Liverpool have been heavily reliant on their front three of Mane, Firmino and Salah over the past couple of seasons with them all performing to an incredible standard. They have been a force to be reckoned with and virtually unstoppable to any defences in the Premier League. However, when it comes to strength in depth within their squad, their fringe players haven’t quite got the same quality as their main trio. Liverpool will be looking at their competitors in the league and seeing that they are looking to close the gap by strengthening this transfer window. Chelsea has made serious waves this market with the signings of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Thiago Silva and Ben Chilwell and are now pushing their way into conversations for winning the league next year. Also, Man City signing Ferran Torres and Nathan Ake look even stronger than last year even with the loss of Leroy Sane. Manchester United have also done some smart business and while Jurgen Klopp reportedly maintains a strong interest in Bayern Munich's Thiago Alcantara, so far there appears to be very little movement on that front. Liverpool are currently a long way ahead of the competition, but the events of the this transfer window will be key in deciding whether they can stay that way.
  19. Report by Dave Usher I didn’t particularly want to write a report on this. Partly because it was shite, but mainly because it’s not like a regular Charity Shield game which in itself is only a glorified friendly. This wasn't even that. It didn’t come at the end of a full pre-season when players are finely tuned and ready to go. It’s in the middle of a shortened pre-season and we’ve only had two friendlies to prepare. It’s the same for Arsenal and I’m not using that as an excuse, but I feel it has taken away what little prestige and value this game has in a normal season, especially as it was played in an empty stadium. I don’t think it should have even been played this year under the circumstances. All that probably sounds like sour grapes because we didn’t win. I’d be saying it even if we had won though. This game was an inconvenience and we could certainly have done without it, but because it’s relatively high profile it’s hard not to draw conclusions from the performance and judge it like a proper game, when really it’s just a friendly between two teams who are nowhere near peak sharpness. I don’t think the result or performance means anything. We didn’t even lose, we drew. What happens after that with the pens determines the outcome but it doesn’t change what happened in the actual game. It was a draw and it was probably fair as neither team deserved to win. So we drew with Arsenal. Not the end of the world and if this game had been labelled “The California Cup” or “The Sydney Shield” and had been played overseas no-one would give a fuck. Because it’s the Charity Shield it has a little bit more prestige, but this year especially it’s no different to any of those pre-season tournaments big clubs play in every summer. It means nothing. We didn’t win a pre-season friendly. That’s the upshot of all this, and it’s therefore not worth reading too much into it. That’s why I didn’t want to write a report but I assumed you’d be expecting one so here it is. Despite everything I’ve just said, I am still a little pissed off because it genuinely offends me that once again we didn’t beat Arsenal. They’re fucking shite and this is the second time in as many months that we’ve allowed them to think they can hang with us. Friendly or not, that bothers me a little and I can’t pretend it doesn’t. I have nothing but contempt for modern day Arsenal and everything they represent. Anything other than a convincing spanking of them is just unacceptable in my eyes, and friendly or not, our players should be pissed off with themselves for allowing this to happen. Arsenal are fucking shit. They’ve only got one player who is on the same level as our team. ONE!! The rest wouldn’t get anywhere near our first eleven and most wouldn’t get a sniff of the bench either. This is just a teaser, click here to view the full report Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
  20. Liverpool ran away with the championship for the first time in 30 years, bringing prestige and respect back to this great club. With new fans coming to the club in droves, it’s a great time to look at the current standings and compare Liverpool to other great teams of today. Many are wondering if they are currently the best club in the sport of football, or even the best team in the world? Let's take a look at how Liverpool measures up across the sport. Liverpool Compared to Teams in Other Sports On a global scale, everyone has realised that Liverpool is clearly one of the best teams in the world, across all sports. If you were going to draw comparisons to leaders in other sports, Liverpool in its current form is like the New York Yankees of baseball with their history and dedicated fanbase, but some immense talent as well. In a sport like basketball, they would have to be the Los Angeles Lakers of the sport for several reasons. Their extensive history, many championships, and worldwide recognisability make them very comparable. The success of Liverpool is actually being mirrored in Los Angeles right now. Currently, no team is able to truly overtake the Lakers when they are heating up. Much like Liverpool, they have one of the best lineups in the sport, with all-stars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis continuously bringing strong NBA betting odds to their squad. How Do They Compare in the Premier League? While Liverpool triumphed this past season, how does the future of the squad look? Is this the beginning of a new dynasty in the Premier League, and can they keep this momentum going into the next season? These are difficult questions to answer, but let's take a look at how Liverpool truly stacks up against other greats of the Premier League. The 2019-2020 season ended with Liverpool clearly ahead of the competition. With 32 wins and only 3 losses, they were much stronger than their competitors. Manchester City was the only team close to them at 26-9 and after them, the records dropped off dramatically, with teams like Chelsea coming in at 20-12 and Manchester United at 18-8. Throughout the season, many spectators and analysts doubted Liverpool, but they obviously showed that they were ready to take the championship. When compared with Manchester City, it's clear that both are formidable clubs, with their own strengths. Liverpool has some incredible talent in players like Sadio Mane, Jordan Henderson, and Mohamed Salah. Salah has quick reflexes and lightning speed which has led to some teams doubling up on him. He is also one of the top scorers. Sadio Mane has an enormous presence on the pitch as a fearless and aggressive player. The front three of Mane, Salah and Firmino is already being called one of the best in Europe. They are continuously bringing in new talent as well. As Liverpool’s biggest rival currently, Manchester City of course has their own top-level players. Kevin De Bruyne is the cornerstone of the squad in many ways, he is an excellent passer and can make plays out of nothing. Sergio Aguero is a top level striker with 16 goals and played for over 1400 minutes this past season. Other players like Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus certainly carried their weight as well. While Manchester City got farther in the recent UEFA Champions League than Liverpool, it’s hard to consider them a better team on any level. If Liverpool can demonstrate the tenacity they showed this past season, they will likely be the king of the hill again in the Premier League. Some people have suggested that Liverpool needs to win the Premier League again to truly prove themselves, and it seems like they are up to the challenge. What About Teams In Other Leagues? It’s hard to compare clubs from different leagues as the competition is so varied, but by any measure, Liverpool is one of the best teams in the world. Record wise, UEFA League champions Bayern only managed a 26-4 record to Liverpool’s 32-3. In La Liga, champions Real Madrid has a similar record of 26-3. Matched up against any of the top teams from Juventus to Bayern, and Liverpool can hold their own if not win outright. It’s clear by this point that Liverpool has a brilliant future ahead of them and will continue to bring championships home.
  21. Tuesday Aug 18: Lovren reveals that on the night we clinched the title he sneaked out of Formby Hall and drove to Anfield to join in the celebrations with the fans. This was pretty jaw dropping I thought. But if there was one player in the squad who was going to do something like that, he’d have been high on the list for a couple of reasons. Firstly, he’s batshit mental. Don’t forget, this is a guy who believes that COVID19 was created by Bill Gates in order to get us all microchipped when a vaccine comes out. Secondly, he was leaving so I guess he just figured he had nothing to lose. He wanted to experience being with the fans in a moment like that and he knew that it wouldn’t have any long term disciplinary implications if he broke club rules and left the hotel. Look, I get that it was irresponsible and he shouldn’t have done it. It’s not big and it’s not clever. I don’t condone his actions. I can’t help but laugh at them though. It’s the idea of him having a conversation with Adrian about it first that tickled me. “Fuck this, you are all boring bastards going to bed at midnight. I’m going to Anfield to celebrate with the fans”. “Are you fuck”. “I am. Watch me.” “Nah I don’t believe you”. “I’m going, I’ll send you videos”. And off he went! On the field tonight, PSG beat Leipzig to reach the final. I think I speak for us all when I say “come on Bayern, you can’t let the French Man City soil this competition by getting their cheating oil stained hands on the trophy”. Speaking of City, that little rat Bernardo is still tweeting about LFC fans messaging him. What does he expect after what he said the other day? It was an open invitation. He showed he was irritated by it so he opened the front door and invited us all to come in with muddy feet and walk all over his new carpets. Of course you’ll also get some who’ll break some cups, shit in the sink and take all manner of other liberties, but just remember, YOU OPENED THE FRONT DOOR SOFT LAD! Wednesday Aug 19: Ok, you know how I’ve been ranting about the way bellends have been massively over-rating Scholes since he retired? Well this might just be the ultimate example of it. Whoever picked this has actually picked Paul Scholes ahead of Zinedine Zidane and Stevie Gerrard. This is like having a discussion about best TV shows and including ‘Benidorm’ over ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘the Wire’ (Messi would obviously be the Sopranos in this reference). You all know my feelings on Zidane. He’s not as great as everyone says but I would never say he wasn’t a great player. He was brilliant, lavishly gifted and a winner. I just don’t see him as this ‘top five of all time’ that a lot of people claim him to be, that’s all. That being said, he’s an absolute fucking shoe-in for any “best ever Champions League XI”. Leaving him out for Gerrard, Keane, Seedorf, Alonso, Pirlo or any other world class midfielders would at least be a lively debate (I’m taking Gerrard all day but I am obviously biased). Leaving him out for Scholes though is just… I don’t even know. I actually think it deserves a prison sentence. I’m not joking. Whoever picked this team, lock the cunt up and throw him in the nonce wing. I reckon Xavi picked it. That’s the only logical explanation as no-one ever spoke about Scholes until that silly cunt made his outlandish statement. So yeah, lock Xavi up with the nonces. Meanwhile, Bayern swept Lyon aside to reach the final. I never bothered watching this one and it’s 50/50 whether I’ll watch the final. I’m not bothered about watching, I just hope PSG don’t win. Haha ‘Big Red Ron’ is the new Barca manager. So after being deemed not good enough for Everton, he’s managed Belgium, Holland and Barcelona. There’s hope for Marco Silva yet. 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.
  22. It has been a fantastic 12 months for Liverpool as a first Premier League title was captured by this special squad of players during the 2019/2020 campaign. There is sure to be more domestic and European silverware to follow over the next few years as long as the squad sticks together. 2021 is set to be a big year for many of Jurgen Klopp’s players as they are likely to feature at Euro 2020, the tournament which has been scheduled to take place next summer. Which Anfield favourites can you look forward to seeing on international duty at this upcoming tournament held throughout Europe? Let's take a look. Jordan Henderson Reds skipper Henderson is also England vice-captain behind Harry Kane. Although competition for places in the Three Lions midfield is strong, "Hendo" is very much a senior player for Gareth Southgate around which there's a youthful feel to the national team. Henderson scooped the Football Writers Association Footballer of the Year last season, which is a great example of highly he is regarded within the game. He can play a big role next summer for England. Virgil van Dijk The Netherlands have been in the international football doldrums for a few years, but will return to the big stage at Euro 2020. National captain Van Dijk is obviously a key player for club and country in central defence. FAB Virgil! Van Dijk has a good chance of being one of the stars of Euro 2020. Attackers from across Europe will not be looking forward to coming up against him. Georginio Wijnaldum Dutch midfielder Wijnaldum is another key part of the Dutch setup. The Netherlands could be a force again thanks to the presence of both "Gini" and Van Dijk in the spine of their side. Wijnaldum has 62 caps for his country and has scored 18 goals in those games. He was named the Dutch footballer of the year in 2015. Liverpool supporters don’t need to remind Dutch fans how important Gini is to the team as they love him just as much as those on the Kop. Trent Alexander-Arnold Anfield academy product Alexander-Arnold is in with a real shout of being England's first-choice right back at the Euros. After helping them qualify for the finals so impressively, international football betting on who will the tournament outright has the Three Lions at 5/1 among the fancied nations. Alexander-Arnold is not just an excellent attacking full-back, he is also very dangerous from set-pieces so he is sure to be a big asset to Southgate. Joe Gomez The England players from Liverpool just keeping on coming. Defender Gomez has certainly been part of Southgate's plans. It's to be hoped that the defender has put a spat with former Reds winger Raheem Sterling while on international duty, behind him come the Euros. England have struggled in this position over the last few years but hopefully Gomez can be the answer to all of their problems. Let’s hope it is a tournament to remember next summer and the players featuring from Liverpool do a great job of representing their respective nations.
  23. Tuesday Aug 11: Lots of talk about us being in for some Brazilian wonderkid. We get this every transfer window and it never turns out to be anything so I wouldn’t pay too much attention to this one. For what it’s worth (not much) his name is Talles Magno and he plays for Vasco. There are already ‘Welcome to Liverpool’ compilations of him on youtube. Why? I don’t get this. It happens all the time. No doubt there’s one for Jamal Lewis too, and every other player we’ve been linked with these last few months. Either wait until we sign them, or call the videos something else, you fucking spotty virgins. Speaking of Lewis, Norwich are reportedly unhappy with us over the non-transfer. I almost called it a saga then but it only lasted a few days so it defo wasn’t a saga. Sagas usually go on all summer. Not sure what the issue is here though. We offered them £10m, they told us to fuck off and said they wouldn’t pick up for the phone for less than £20m, so we said fair enough and bought someone else for £11m. What exactly is the problem here? They set an unrealistic valuation (which is their right) and we decided to go with a better value deal elsewhere. Now they’ve got their knickers in a knot over it. Was Michael Edwards wearing a Suarez mask on the zoom call when he put the bid in? Ah, Luis Suarez. Remember the way he’d terrorise Norwich? Some of the goals were incredible but the most satisfying one was when he put a shot well wide and their fans were ripping the piss out of him. He pretended to walk away with his head down, demoralised, but the next thing he’s robbing the centre back, then nutmegging him and scoring with an outrageous shot with the outside of his foot into the far corner. The Norwich fans were just sat there open mouthed, although that's nothing out of the ordinary. Fuck it, I’m going to watch it on youtube…. Ok, here’s the 12 goals he scored against Norwich. Enjoy. 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.
  24. It takes a gargantuan effort to win the Premier League, but it takes a lot more to retain it. While Jurgen Klopp and his men are bathing in their victorious sunshine, a few tiny cracks in the team have become apparent. Will these weak areas be exposed next season, or will the problems be addressed before the new campaign kicks off? The Issues. No team is perfect and the team that covers their weakness best usually takes the silverware home. While Liverpool might have a perceived weakness or two, they did run way with the Premier League last season. Despite this, most football betting sites have Manchester City as favourites for the title. That seems crazy considering Pep Guardiola's men lost nine times in the league last year are creaking like a rusty barn door. Liverpool's starting eleven is as good as anything out there, so presumably it's the lack of depth in certain areas that has the bookmakers favouring City? Here are some of the issues Klopp needs to address this summer to ensure his team has the best chance possible to retain the title. Reduce the drop off with replacements The Reds have had injuries in recent season but they have generally been in positions where there is adequate cover. The most important players have stayed injury free. What would happen if Sadio Mané or - God forbid - Virgil Van Dijk were to be missing for an extended period of time? There are issues that need addressing. The exit from Europe at the hands of Atletico Madrid was largely due to Alisson Becker being unavailable. With the big Brazilian between the sticks, that result would never have happened. Adrian held down the fort well earlier in the season but the more he was asked to play the more his limitations were exposed. The front three play most games but when one or more of them is missing the level of replacement is not up to the job. Take Salah or Mané out and there is no natural replacement and Klopp often tries to fit a square peg into a round hole. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain isn't a suitable replacement for Mané and Takumi Minamino is no Mo Salah. . Van Dijk seems pretty indestructible but both Joe Gomez and (especially) Joel Matip have been hit by injuries, while Dejan Lovren has moved on. Fabinho is an option, but is there enough depth at the position? Increase midfield flair It's something that has often been said about the Reds midfield. Not enough creativity, too workmanlike, inferior to Manchester City. It's unfair and lazy. Liverpool's midfield has functioned exactly how Klopp has wanted it too. That might change though. Klopp has evolved the way the team plays each season and we might see another stage in the evolution this summer, perhaps involving the midfield. The links to Thiago suggest this might be the case, but even if that doesn't pan out expect to see the Reds midfield being more progressive this season. Much will depend on the progress of Naby Keita, who ended the last season in exciting form following two years of inconsistency. It's fair to say that Keita is yet to show his true potential but the signs are promising at last. Faith in Youth Needs to be Rewarded Liverpool aren't going to be splashing the cash this summer. For one thing, they don't have it, but even if they did Klopp has already shown that he is a manager who will only spend when it's necessary. He paid big money for Alisson, Van Dijk and Fabinho, but all three filled a glaring need in the team. Klopp won't spend big on squad players, preferring instead to promote talented youngsters into the squad and looking for the next Trent Alexander-Arnold. Neco Williams, Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are all regular members of the matchday squad but this year they will be looking to take the next step to becoming semi regular starters. None will become first choice any time soon, but it's vital that they are able to come in and play at the required level when opportunities arrive. The policy of promoting youth rather than spending big on players to sit on the bench is an admirable one, but it is only viable if the kids perform well enough to justify their place. The Bottom Line? The Reds have every chance of retaining the title even without any further transfer activity. They won the league by a whopping 18 points from City, while third placed Manchester United were 33 points back! That's a huge gap to claw back for the chasing clubs, even if Liverpool were to take a significant step back this year for whatever reason. If, however, Klopp is able to address the areas in which there are question marks, then it's difficult to see anyone being able to stop Liverpool once again.
  25. Report by Dave Usher How do I even begin to describe that? Some will say it’s the greatest comeback in our history. Not for me. Istanbul is the greatest comeback because it was a final and because we only had 45 minutes to turn it around. Also, that team (with all due respect to them) were massively outgunned. That Liverpool team were vastly inferior to AC Milan. Hell, that 2005 team finished below Everton in the table. What they did was a miracle. This wasn’t a miracle, it was just the best performance in the club’s illustrious 127 history. It wasn’t a miracle because these boys are so good. They’re better than Barcelona and they should be beating them. They proved it last week, despite the scoreline. And they put that injustice right at Anfield with a performance that, for me, blows away anything else I’ve seen. To win 4-0 without Bobby and Mo and with absolutely no margin for error just makes it even more of an accomplishment. Seriously, tell me a performance better than this? I'll wait. You can come up with some heroic against the odds wins (we’ve had plenty) but you can’t tell me that the team has ever played better than this, against world class opposition, while needing to score four goals without reply to win. The best player in the world, perhaps of all time, came to Anfield and was kept quiet. An away goal might have killed us off but it didn’t come because the entire team defended like heroes. The entire team attacked like heroes too. This was a complete performance and it was as close to perfection as you’re ever likely to see. Honestly though, I wasn’t surprised. That’s not to say I expected the lads would do it, but it didn’t shock me that they did. Klopp’s pre-match rallying cry to them summed it up. “It’s impossible, but because it’s you, there’s a chance”. And also because it’s Anfield. My expectations prior to the game were that we’d win and that we’d score at least three or four. I was just as convinced that we wouldn’t be able to keep them out though, so whether we would go through would depend on if we could get five, which I saw as probably being a bridge too far. Going into the game I’d have given us a 20% of going through. After the early goal, it was up to 50%. By the time it went to 3-0 it was up to 85% and when the fourth went in I’d have put it at 95%. How could I be that confident with a 3-0 deficit and Messi and Suarez in opposition? It sounds corny, it sounds like a cliché and everyone who isn’t us absolutely hates it being mentioned, but it’s proven fact that there is nowhere in the world quite like Anfield on a European night. Nothing is impossible. We've seen the impossible before, so why would we not think it could (though not necessarily 'would') happen again? If we’d needed to score five to win this game we probably would have. Maybe even six. No Salah or Firmino? No problem. You could have taken Mané out to and started Rhian Brewster, and the outcome would still have been the same because it’s us, at Anfield. Barcelona will get stick for collapsing, but the Spanish media shouldn’t be too harsh on them. They played as well as they were allowed to. This wasn’t about them and their ‘failings’. It was about our lads. These incredible players who are doing superhuman things. Remember when we thought they were mentally weak? Not any more. There's no-one like these lads. To quote Klopp they're 'fucking unbelievable'. There seems to be no hurdle they can't overcome. I’ve genuinely never seen anything like this. 94 points with a game to go and they’re in second place. They saw City scrape a spawny win the night before thanks to a one in a million pot shot from a player who normally couldn’t hit Romelu Lukaku’s arse with a cricket bat. It knocked the stuffing right out of me, so it has to be demoralising for them. Yet 24 hours later they take to the field, 3-0 down against Messi’s Barcelona, and they do THAT?? No wonder Klopp can’t stop dropping F bombs everywhere whenever a microphone is put in front of him. How do you describe these lads without swearing? Somehow ‘they’re unbelievable’ or ‘I love them’ just doesn’t cut it. It needs a ‘fucking’ thrown in there for added emphasis. Ask the Pope what he thinks of this team and I expect his response will be “yeah they’re fuckin’ boss aren’t they?”. Barca rested all eleven starters at the weekend in preparation for this game. Good job they did, imagine how many they’d have lost by if they didn’t have fresh legs. This is just a teaser, click to view the full report Please note that Match Reports are only available to website subscribers. Subscriptions cost just £2 a month (you need to register first) and can be purchased here.
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