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  1. VAR really is a waste of time the way they're using it. Constantly slows the game down checking back on nothing incidents and then when there's the chance to actually correct a match changing decision like that they refuse to use it to overrule the original decision. My thoughts watching in real time were it was a clumsy challenge by Robertson and it was a penalty, but the replays clearly showed there was no contact and the player just threw himself to the ground. If that's not a clear and obvious error then what is? Does it need the diving player to wink at the camera before he chucks himself to the ground? VAR isn't the problem - it's the fact it's being used by utter imbeciles. The performance wasn't great but we were heading for a solid enough away draw before that, which would have left most of us happy enough. If the front 3 hadn't all been completely off all night then it probably would have been an away win and we'd have been hailing Klopp for his tactics being perfect. It was a better performance than in this fixture last year at least. The response after the goal was pretty woeful, but there wasn't a great deal of time to sort it out and Napoli are probably one of the worst teams in Europe to be chasing a game against. It's a long time since we've lost, and weirdly one defeat in this competition is a lot less damaging than a premier league defeat would be. Plenty of chances to sort it out at least, and it doesn't really matter too much whether we finish first or second. Need to make absolutely sure we do the job at home to Leipzig next time though or we really will be making qualification difficult for ourselves.
  2. Great reports throughout the year, Dave. Always enjoyable to read. Well worth the £2 subscription fee alone for anyone who doesn't subscribe. Should be an enjoyable summer. Think I'm actually looking forward to a break from football for a few weeks after tension filled match after match in the last few months.
  3. mike23

    Liverpool 4 Barcelona 0 (May 7 2019)

    We seem to be back to like it was under Rafa when every team in Europe would think 'oh shit' if they drew us in a two legged tie. Manchester City are probably the only team I wouldn't be entirely confident of beating over 2 legs these days. I'd probably make it 50-50 with them. Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern, Juventus, PSG … we'd batter the lot of them. Barcelona had an incredibly jammy first leg and it still wasn't enough for them. I fancy us for the final whoever we get, but I'd feel a lot happier if it was being played over 2 legs. Weird one with the ref. He was driving me potty in the first half. Seemed to fall for it every time one of their players went down but theatrically wave away any fouls on our players. But in the second half I can't recall even noticing him - usually a good sign for a ref. Impossible to pick a motm. Was reading some of the newspaper ratings earlier and ridiculously one of them awarded Milner a 6 and Fabinho a 7 (they gave a lot of the Barcelona players a 6 as well, so it's not like they'd just set a ridiculously high scoring scale). I'd love to know what game they were watching.
  4. mike23

    Barcelona 3 Liverpool 0 (May 1 2019)

    As bad as the English referees are, the ones we've had in some of the big European games in recent years have been even worst. I just don't think he was prepared to make any sort of decision that might upset their fans last night. Some of the tackles their players didn't get punished for were ridiculous. And whilst the amount of cheating and moaning from a lot of the top sides is pretty hard to watch these days, no one else ever seems to be anything like the level of the big 2 Spanish teams. Sadly, we've found that out to our cost in the last 2 seasons. To be honest, I wouldn't mind if we did try it ourselves against them next week. Fuck playing nicely against a team like that. But I'd hate it if our players acted like that on a weekly basis. God knows how Messi is seen as some sort of bastion of great sportsmanship whilst Mo seems to have acquired a reputation for being a cheat.
  5. mike23

    Liverpool 2 Chelsea 0 (Apr 14 2019)

    Ah, the Higuaín chance was the other chance they had. I was reading BlueMoon last night and they were all moaning about Chelsea missing 3 great chances in quick succession. I shit myself on the two Hazard ones and was just waiting for the net to bulge, but I think I was so convinced that Higuaín would fuck it up in that position that I just ended up erasing the chance from my mind. I do vaguely recall it now. Ridiculous how he's developed a reputation as a diver this year. He's one of the most honest players around. It often looks a bit forced when a player running at pace goes down when he's caught slightly. The challenges aren't usually enough to knock them down completely, but they're always enough to knock the player out of their stride and lose the chance. But the refs never give anything if they don't go to the ground, so it's hard to blame anyone for going down easily.
  6. mike23

    Liverpool 2 FC Porto 0 (April 9 2019)

    The offside goal did go to VAR. Even on the replays it was extremely hard to tell and looked to me like a defender's outstretched arm was maybe keeping Mane level. There was certainly no benefit of the doubt given. I always thought the linesman was supposed to keep his flag down in such tight scenarios, too. I don't even really know how it's supposed to work entirely. Is it like the NFL where they always go with the original decision unless there's clear evidence to overturn it? Had the goal been given originally then it might have been hard to overturn it in that case. VAR was just doing my head in even watching it at home last night, and it must have been much worst for anyone at the ground. I can't imagine anyone in the ground had a clue what they were checking for on the Lovren penalty incident in the second half. It's going to seriously slow the flow of the game down if they're constantly stopping to check for things like that (didn't exactly make any difference in the second half last night as there was never any game flow to slow down). One step from the semi finals and yet there seems to be a general air of indifference amongst people about the champions league this year because everyone's so wrapped up in the title challenge. What a lovely contrast to the state we were in a few years back, though, when we'd have all been happy with a run in just about any competition. On to Chelsea. I didn't see Chelsea's game on Monday, but the commentators last night were raving on about how great Hazard was in it. Good to know he's come into form just before he faces us just for a change. No idea what will happen but can guarantee Chelsea won't just wave the white flag like they did at City. Hopefully this is the month where the fixture pile up will weigh City down. Last night was a good start, with them finally being given a game, as it wont make much difference how many fixtures they play if all their games continue to be the glorified training sessions they've been playing for the last few months.
  7. mike23

    Everton 0 Liverpool 0 (March 3 2019)

    Good report. I'm starting to think we're just cursed in the league. We finally sort out the defence after years of keystone cop defending, and the forwards go to shit instead. If the front 3 had performed anything like they had last season then we would have absolutely walked the league, even up against the financially doped juggernaut that is City. Mane has probably been about the same as last year - he's been inconsistent this year but he was by far the least consistent of the front 3 last year, too - but the form of Salah and Firmino has just fallen off a cliff. As you say, I think it's more likely Salah was having the season of his life last year and we're getting his general level now - a very decent player but too inconsistent to really be considered world class. They've not really shown up in any of the big away games this year - other than at maybe Spurs, and even then they were wasteful as hell. The failure of Keita to make an impact has perhaps highlighted the contrasting situations at the two clubs. Every big signing we make has to be an instant success, while they can get away with signing a few expensive duds. They signed Mahrez for a similar amount and he's had a pretty minimal impact on their season (I know he scored the winner at the weekend, but they've basically had a 50 million fringe player with him). Good point about the difference in efforts teams make against us and City, too. We all knew it would be the case with Everton - our failure is their only hope of success - but the fans of other clubs definitely want City to win it over us, and I think a lot of the players do, too. Certainly with the fans it's down to a hatred of us while no one really cares about City, but I think players of teams like Chelsea and United would find City winning it more bearable as it would be a lot easier to justify their only failure to win the league. If City win it then they can just say they lost out to a team with a much more expensive squad, but if we were to win it they'd have no such excuse.
  8. mike23

    West Ham 1 Liverpool (Feb 4 2019)

    Definitely true about the performances this year. We're doing so much better in terms of points than last season and yet there barely seems to be have been any games where we've completely blown teams away like last year. It briefly seemed to be clicking around December, but we seem to just be back to the start of the year now but without the clean sheets to bail us out. I just don't get why the players look so knackered. They always seemed to be a step or two too late to every challenge last night. I'm definitely starting to worry. In terms of the fans being split - this week has reminded me a lot of the week under Rafa where we had back to back draws with, if memory serves me correctly, Fulham and West Ham in December, and Anfield was a mixture of agitation at the dropped points from some and others getting annoyed with them and chanting about being top of the league. If we could get over this long title drought then everyone would probably have a much greater sense of perspective in future challenges, but as it is we just seem to become a tenser and tenser fanbase with each year it continues.
  9. mike23

    Brighton 0 Liverpool 1 (Jan 12 2019)

    I've always found just how little effort most teams put into researching opposition penalty takers baffling as well. You'd think the goalkeeper and goalkeeping coach would spend a long session going over where players are likely to take it in the week before a game, but most keepers seem to just randomly make some half-hearted dive and hope for the best. Obviously the taker is the favourite in the situation and if he hits it perfectly into a corner will score every time, but there are definitely patterns with some takers which keepers seem to pay no attention to at all. I'm amazed no keeper has ever just decided that they're just not going to dive when Hazard takes a penalty no matter how much he tries to convince them otherwise that he's not going to just roll it down the middle again. Salah certainly never really fills me with much confidence on penalties. It probably is only a matter of time before he misses one and let's just hope it's in a game we're winning by a few goals rather than late on in a 0-0 draw or something. The trouble is there's not really anyone else in the squad who looks a better option. Firmino has missed a fair few, Mane seems to be terrible at them. Milner is probably the most reliable but even he's missed some and he's not always on the pitch to take them anyway. Wasn't Fabinho supposed to have an outstanding penalty taking record? Yet he's never seemed to show any inclination to take any. I guess maybe the worry would be what the reaction would be if a defensive midfielder took the ball away from an attacking player and then actually missed.
  10. mike23

    Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1 (Jan 3 2019)

    Yep, you're right. Certainly was a bad time for it to run out last night though. I hope we now get ridiculous good luck in every league game between now and the end of the season.
  11. mike23

    Manchester City 2 Liverpool 1 (Jan 3 2019)

    Good report. Agree with pretty much every part of it. So sick of City and their obnoxious fans. They were much more fun when they were a complete irrelevance before winning the lottery. I'm mainly sick of how we never seem to get the rub of the green and/or competent referees whenever it seems to really matter. Last 2 Champions League finals, the Europa League final, the Chelsea game at Anfield, even the 2-1 loss at City in the same season as the Chelsea game when a clearly onside Sterling was flagged offside when clean through - it always seems as though every major factor that influences the result seems to go against us. But we still have a 4 point lead. Who knows what happens next. Maybe in a week's time we thrash Brighton and then Wolves go and do a job on City like they did at Spurs and the gap opens up again. It's still in our hands at the moment anyway, and hopefully it will stay that way.
  12. mike23

    Liverpool 1 Napoli 0 (Dec 11 2018)

    It wasn't just people in the ground; the decisions of the ref were just as perplexing and infuriating watching at home on tv. I hadn't realised it was the same guy as the Roma tie so, yeah, definitely a good thing that he never got an opportunity to make any really pivotal decisions such as awarding them a penalty as we'd probably be out now. The only decision he made which might have maybe made a difference in terms of the score was the one he gave for the non-existent foul on their keeper when he just flapped at the ball and fell over; we'd have been in a great position to score with the way it fell and the keeper still down on the floor. Matip injured as well? Suddenly starting to look rather thin at the back with Gomez out injured. Not a good situation with the busy Christmas schedule coming up.
  13. Both penalties were very soft, but I did think a clear foul on Firmino in the box was missed just a couple of minutes before the first one was awarded. That definitely seemed to be the usual case of the player not going down so having nothing given. Anyway, it was nice to see us look a bit more like the side from last season. Red Star might not be a very good team, but I'm not sure they're any worst than some of the teams in the bottom half of the premier league. Maybe it was simply a case that this time we got the second goal and could afford to play with a bit more freedom. Our pressing at the start of the second half seemed to be way more intense than at any other point this season.
  14. mike23

    Manchester City 1 Liverpool 2 (Apr 10 2018)

    Yeah City fans are just odd with the Champions League (just odd in general really actually). I've seen some of them comment that it's 4th on their list of priorities. Fair enough the league should always be most important for anyone but who on earth thinks the FA cup and the league cup are more important? Never seen so much bitching about refereeing decisions either. They lost 1-5 over two legs, the one goal they did score shouldn't have counted, yet them being knocked out is all on the officials - ok then. On bluemoon the first leg has now been rewritten and they were actually brilliant instead of utter shite, and last night they'd have been 20 goals up by halftime if not for a UEFA conspiracy to prevent them from winning the Champions League. On to the semis now. Not really fussed who we get. Roma might be the easiest but they can't be too bad if they can outplay Barcelona like that. Unlike with the other 2 teams (assuming there are no mental comebacks tonight) we'd be in the position of favourites against them too and the underdog role seems to suit us. It's mostly just nice to be relevant in Europe again. Feels like the days under Rafa when no one wanted to draw us. That season in the competition under Rodgers and the realisation that we were a complete irrelevance at this level was really depressing.
  15. Our record at Old Trafford for the last 20 odd years really must be appalling. We had a little run under Houllier where we seemed to do well there and the spectacular 4-1 and 3-0 wins under Benitez and Rodgers, but other than those games it always just seems like we completely forget how to play football when we go there. Time after time I've just found myself wondering what the hell has happened to some of our players when they step out onto their pitch.. Anyway it's out of the way now. Hopefully that will be it for this season. Agree that I'd rather have anyone other than them in the Champions League. Maybe Sevilla will take away the worry of drawing them by knocking them out tomorrow night. Can't really see it though. Every other result went against us this weekend so it seems to be shaping up to be one of those weeks where nothing good happens.