Comments Off on February 4 was the night Liverpool lost the PL title race

February 4 was the night Liverpool lost the title

So perhaps you could acknowledge that those of us who pointed out after Liverpool’s draw v West Ham that the jig was up were right?

A win that night would have kept the gap at five points. Two games later it’s down to one, and we all know who’s got the better goal difference.

City are relentless, with more money, and quality, than anyone. Look at their bench. You won’t find any Sturridges or Origis there.

To win a title over a team like that, you have to take virtually every chance you can get. As brilliantly as Liverpool have done this season, West Ham was the night we all knew the title wasn’t going to happen.

Pointing that out does not make us weak-minded supporters. It means we know a psychological turning point when we see it.

Dave (LFC), Galway

Penalties

Ignoring all the Kepa crap, which may or may not have been a big deal. We may well never know.

I wanna talk about the camera angles of the Pens. Just because you have one of those fancy floaty camera things, that let you hover over the takers head, does not mean you should use it for the penalty shootout.

The normal ¾ angle side view we have used for years was fine, it gave you a good angle of the goal, you could tell the trajectory of the ball and all was good. Just keep doing that please.

Hazard’s cheeky dink would have looked even cooler if you could see it properly.

Bit surprised to see in 16 conclusions you knocking Chelsea’s choice of takers, Azpi’s was our best pen and David Luiz has to my knowledge never missed one before for us in a shootout (including the champions league final). Jorginho’s pen though…

Chris

Footballers don’t need more than 200k a year…

But simple demand and supply economics determine this is what they are worth. Football clubs are businesses, with large annual revenues, motivated by increasing their bottom line and profitability. To maximise their bottom line, football clubs must aspire to be successful, and to do so, requires them to buy short term, liquid and measurable assets – footballer players. To acquire football players, clubs must partake in a transfer market which dictate the prices of the assets available based on demand and supply. In turn, these assets, having an intrinsic value themselves, negotiate their value (a salary) based on the very same principles. Again, these tend to be based on measurable and quantifiable metrics (statistics, trophies, resale value and sponsorship potential etc). Proponents of capitalism will argue it an efficient economic system, but the downside of course is that it cause inequality. The same proponents will argue this is arbitrary. The sad truth that we live in a hyper capitalist society governed by greed and in my view, football and footballer players more specifically, are merely the tip of a giant, immoral, unethical, dishonourable, corrupt and nefarious iceberg.

Amine MUFC (In no way defending Sanchez)

Triggered

John Nic, I agree that nobody needs 15 million pounds a year to live but I think 220k a year is also excessive.  You argue 50k is the level at which happiness stops accruing and since the goal is happiness, what say you we cut the Neurosurgeons pay by 50K too? Surely we want him to be happy? And for everyone ready to accuse me of jealousy how can you justify 100k a year when there’s a famine going on in Yemen with the UN predicting the death of THOUSANDS of children. Just imagine how many lives could be saved. Palestine, Syria, parts of Africa, surely there is enough suffering in the world that we can just cut any position that earns over 50k a year to stop those disasters. Just imagine what we could do with Warren Buffets billions?

The question of course will then be posed as to why anyone would strive for greatness when most people will achieve the level of 50k and those that don’t will surely be saved by the money saved from cutting the salaries of those that did? What will push people to DO anything?

This is why we need a second part of the final solution. And that is to implement work quotas BUT on fields that actually benefit society. No more wasting time kicking a ball hard into the net. I’m sorry but  what actual good does that do anyone? And not only is football completely irrelevant to the greater good it also very strongly promotes tribalism and nationalism. It trains people to root for something for no distinguishable reason. Most fans of Manchester United don’t even live in the same country as the club and yet they have this unexplainable wish for the club to do well and will even support it financially or through other means. Imagine if United was a country? It would be a dictators dream. And the same applies to other forms of endeavours that produce nothing of quantifiable value to society. Such as writing about football. I am sorry John but can you really justify spending your time writing about football and music while children are dying of hunger? Just imagine what you could do just by using your time to obtain food and deliver it from GB to those humanitarian crisis zones? Surely with your down to earth communication skills you could persuade a many few to part with money or food itself that you could then deliver to places that really need them. Obviously it would be better if you were a doctor, but that ship has sailed. In the future we should look to point our children to careers that actually make a difference. Fields such as medicine or engineering. No more music, art, creative writing and all that nonsense that has saved 0 lives and built 0 shelters or other forms of useful stuff.

I look forward to living the Revolution John.

Dino

Kepa trouble

Surely if Kepa didn’t intend to ‘disobey the coach or any of his decisions’, he could have quickly run over to the touchline to clarify that he’s actually fit to continue (if indeed that’s what he was trying to signify) rather than appearing to engage in a stand-off?  By staying put he appears (however unintentionally) to be disobeying.  And why did David Luiz hide his mouth when he was speaking to Kepa, unless he was saying “No, stay here, this is exactly the way to resolve this issue”?

Jamie Waller

You’ll be inundated with mails about Kepa (appalling, petulant) and Sarri (weak, position now untenable) but the thing that really gets me going is why didn’t the ref send him off? Or at least give him a yellow?

I get fed up to the back teeth to see players pretending to be injured to waste a bit of time. Kepa goes down twice claiming he had cramp. On go the medical team to give him a bit of a stretch. They seem to say to the bench that he’s not quite right. Sarri – quite understandably – doesn’t want his keeper even at 90% when about to face a penalty shoot-out.

In all the waving backwards and forwards and Sarri half-flouncing down the tunnel why doesn’t Jon Moss go up to Kepa and say, ‘Hang on – are you injured or not?’ If Kepa says no, I’m fine, then it’s completely clear that he was cheating. That’s a card. Two yellows as he did it twice.

I know this will never happen but I get fed up as a supporter watching players flop about and demand treatment at key points of the game just to jog back on as if nothing has happened. Send them all off, I say.

Paul Jones

Just a quick one (for a change) to LOL at all these Chelsea fans (mostly) who are downplaying the Kepa incident in your latest mails and brushing it off as no biggy.

Quite frankly, I couldn’t give a toss if Kepa was saying “It’s ok boss, I’m ok now, it’s cool, I’m fine!!! LET ME PLAY ON!! DON’T BOTHER WITH THE SUB I’M OK!!!!”…if the manager makes a decision, then you respect that decision and get the f off the pitch! I mean, Kepa’s actions makes players who throw a hissy fit upon being taken off look perfectly respectable – at least the man-toddlers actually listen to the rules and come off ffs!

And for all this nonsense about Sarri apparently only making the change because of thinking that Kepa was injured…I’m sorry, I don’t buy it. Caballero was 100% (in my opinion) coming on because of his knowledge of the City players, not to mention having been in a peno shootout before (vs Liverpool). Kepa could have maybe come out with some level of justification had Chelsea won the shootout…but nop, he couldn’t even save Aguero’s tame shot. I suspect Sarri will be off in the summer (cos they’re not gonna bin a 70m keeper now are they?!), and the ridiculous saga that is Chelsea Football Club continues. I wonder who the next poor sod will be to have his reputation take a knock?

Mohsin (ok that wasn’t actually short after all), Dubai

I think last night confirmed what we’ve been hearing about player power at Chelsea over the last few years. For a 24 year old keeper who has been at the club for less than a year to behave so in public, clearly disobeying and disrespecting your manager to the full glare of millions, I believe the issues are much deeper than we thought.

The sack and replace culture for managers at the club has gone full circle and finally come to bite us on the arse with disrespect for mangers now being portrayed openly once again. After such petulance from a young relatively new and inexperienced keeper, which manager worth his salt would consider managing a squad as these? Such an entitled, underperforming bunch of players who have clearly shown how rotten they are.

No one believes the BS about the “misunderstanding” explanation being put out there. Sarri was probably fed that response to help the club save face over what looked set to be a delicious night for journalists.

Asked about his opinion, stand in captain Azpilicueta blurted out the words ” he was on the other side of the pitch and doesn’t know what went on”. Such a classless comment from someone who is supposed to be a leader. He should immediately be stripped of the captaincy and given to Rugider or Luiz who at least have shown some balls when it comes to leadership.

It is at this time the club should even back Sarri more and help him clear out all the petulant self entitled spoiled brats which was delayed due to Conte’s sacking. Ban or no ban, real hard decisions should be taken on these players starting with Kepa being benched for the rest of the season and all the mutinous players being cleared off in the summer.

KojoCFC, Accra

Ummmm…..injuries

John, LFC there’s a lot of positivity around United because they’re the top of the Post-Christmas table. There’s a lot of negativity around Liverpool because their front three isn’t firing lately, which this game showcases perfectly.

Also you say that Liverpool was forcing the attacking play, and they did had more possession but they only had an XG of 0.38 vs United’s 0.48. In game you can see this from some of the saves Allison had to make while De Gea had a stroll in the park (compare this to what Spurs made him do some time back). Most would agree that United had the better chances in both halves as well.

Liverpool played more like the Mourinho side here, plenty of possession with no final penetration.

United also had to take out a few of the first eleven in the game in addition to the ones lost in the game and had non first eleven reserve players in. Granted Liverpool lost Firmino and some others pre-game but there should be more than enough firepower there to overpower a in game-injury disruofed United team with zero subs for most of the game and a limping Rashford.

Man United was basically there for the taking for most of the game and Liverpool blew it.

Yaru, Malaysia

Man Utd’s next match

Man Utd could be fielding an interesting line up against Palace on Wednesday. Given the current injuries to Martial, Lingard, Herrera, Mata, Matic & Rashford and assuming Utd will play their back 4 that is looking surprisingly solid of late then they need to find 6 midfield and attacking players out of the following 8 most likely options – Pogba, Fred, McTominay, Pereira, Gomes, Chong, Sánchez, Lukaku.

Unless a couple of players shake off their knocks before Wednesday, it’s going to be a severely weakened Utd side. Pereira and McTominay probably did enough against Liverpool to join Pogba and Lukaku as starters, the underwhelming Sanchez has no competition for his place and the even more underwhelming Fred might have to play from the start. While I’ve seen more potential in the limited appearances of Fred than I have in Sanchez’ whole Utd career, he clearly isn’t doing anything in training to suggest he’s ready for game time. Maybe playing Jones in the Matic role is going to be a better option.

With games coming thick and fast, I think Ole is going to have his work cut out for the next few games.

Jon, Cape Town (Scholes was a utd legend but admittedly part of the golden generation that made England much worse than the sum of their parts as successive managers shoe-horned the best players into unfamiliar roles – Scholes was best when he had Keane just behind him, just as Pogba is best with Matic behind him)

Chris Sutton

I normally ignore the annoying whining on radio that is Chris Sutton, or take the positive view that at least it isn’t Robbie Savage.  However his histrionics about the need for Chelsea to sack the world’s most expensive goalkeeper were comically over the top.  I would have thought he would have significant empathy for a player who made a decision to defy his manager in the heat of the moment which might lead to lasting regret.  At least Kepa’s decision was to play on, unlike Sutton’s refusal to play for England B which unnecessarily limited his international career to 11 minutes.

As for claiming he has never seen anything like this – what nonsense.  I clearly remember “Hot Shot” Hamish Balfour doing the same thing at Princes Park.  I believe Ian McWhacker was manager at the time, and I seem to recall Hamish continued his career with much success.

PK

A sign of how far Liverpool have come

For me Clive, it’s just a sign of how far Liverpool have come this year that a draw at Old Trafford and going *top* is somehow disappointing.

Sure we didn’t play well and haven’t all year really. But top of the Premier League y’know? I can think of 90 odd teams that would like a piece of that disappointment.

City look the more likely right enough, but they were pretty tired yesterday. The quadruple chase, after a World Cup year, means fatigue will definitely be a huge factor in the run in. So let’s not panic too much yet. It’d definitely help if the front 3 would click again mind you.

And am I the only one expecting a massive ironic cheer when Chelsea next play and the player actually goes off when subbed? What a womble Kepa is.

James, Liverpool

The real talking point

Can we all just focus on the main talking point from yesterday.

In the midst of all the madness, like a beautiful unicorn in his own little world, Eden Hazard stepped up and made Ederson look like the worst goalkeeper to ever play the game.

What a thing of beauty. No joke, I got a tingle in my nether regions.

Conor(Dublin)

Team of the week

Peter G’s halo has fallen. How a man who loves a stat can put Henderson in the team of the week for that performance is beyond human comprehension.

With as many tackles made in 72 minutes as Herrera made in 20 Henderson wasn’t even the beat player in his side let alone the game so how on earth does he make it into TOTW? Henderson did absolutely NOTHING against a United side that was missing 2/3 of its midfield, 2/3 of its strike force, had made 3 subs by half time and had its remaining fit striker hobbling round for about 80 mins. Oh actually that’s what Henderson did manage to do, injure Rashford with one of his crap tackles. If you had to give a Liverpool midfielder a spot in team of the week then surely Fabinho was a better shout as he was far superior.

Henderson is one of the most consistent 6-7 out of 10 players I have ever seen and I’m amazed that there are so many Liverpool fans that are happy to compare him to better midfielders (ok not that surprised) though I know plenty that think he’s awful. If Liverpool win the league this year it will be despite Henderson, not because of him.

I’m just disappointed in Peter G. 🙁

Ashley (What’s Fat Man Scouse been smoking up there on Merseyside?!) Metcalfe

Plucky Jurgen

City didn´t play in the league yet they are now nailed on to win this title . Liverpool along with Tottenham have been the plucky underdog ( you can´t compete against the financial doping of an entire oil country ).

I am just left hoping that they may find the energy to play the high tempo pressing game to stop the league decending into a skyblue cake walk.

It seems the Ox has become a bigger miss than expected .   I´m also curious to know how much they also miss the man Klopp called ”the brain”.

Who in the Champions league can beat City from here ? . Would it not be a bit depressing to have a Paris Saint Germain versus Man City final ?

Peter ( Perhaps Atletico over 90 minutes ? ) . Andalucia

One of the Saturday teatime games featured players play-acting to exaggerate the effects of contact and appealing to the referee for calls in their favour, and the other did not.  Why, oh why, oh why can’t rugby union be more like football?

*Quick tip: avoid being barred from your Leicester City-supporting friend’s pub by going in before Palace tear them a new one, rather than after.

*It’s been overshadowed by various substitution shenanigans and dull as ditchwater 0-0s, but for 45 minutes on Saturday night Crystal Palace were absolutely magnificent against Leicester.  On the quiet, the Eagles have put together a good run of results against City.

*That said, City dominated the first half and absolutely battered Palace.  For the visitors, however, their fluke goal against the run of play was the exact opposite of the sort of luck they normally have, so there is a degree of sympathy for the Foxes.  There was a lot of fortune about the goal – bouncing off Michy Batshuayi’s knee – but he was a handful all afternoon.  That was the first Palace goal scored by a proper striker since Christian Benteke received his teammates’ sympathy to put away a penalty against City last season.

*City’s equaliser was, at the point they scored it, a fair reflection of the game given their dominance of possession and  the number of chances they created.  However, in their attempts to press home their advantage, they left themselves exposed in defence.

*Roy Hodgson is now the oldest manager to ever take charge of a Premier League game, overtaking Sir Bobby Robson.  That’s not bad company to be in.  Anyway the conflation of different worlds last week led me to realise that Sir Bobby Robson and Yoko Ono were born on the same day (as was my grandma).

*Hodgson’s best trick this season has been to get more than the best out of limited players game after game.  The two best examples of this are in midfield: James McArthur and Jeffrey Schlupp.  On paper there is no reason why they should start every week while Cheikhou Kouyate and Max Meyer sit on the bench, but in reality both have played well at times this season, typified by McArthur registering two assists in a Premier League game for the first time in his career.

This does mean every team selection is a bit of a gamble between form and ability, both of which bring their own advantages and disadvantages. Still, you don’t last in management as long as Hodgson has without backing yourself to make the right calls more often than not.

*This was a massive win for Palace, not just in terms of a scoreline given more than one coat of gloss by the end.  After hosting Manchester United on Wednesday night, the Eagles face Burnley, Brighton & Hove Albion, Huddersfield Town and Newcastle United in their four subsequent Premier League games.  None of these games are guaranteed wins but victory is not beyond the realms of possibility.  With the right results, it could be time to start looking up the table rather than down, although this is Crystal Palace we’re talking about, so four defeats from four are still a very likely outcome.

Ed Quoththeraven

VAR

A genuine question about VAR – I haven’t read the rules but the general consensus is that the linesman should have kept his flag down and allowed Hazard to continue through on goal, and then referred it to VAR once he had scored. What if the keeper had tipped it wide for a corner instead. Does it still get referred to VAR? It’s a clear disadvantage for the defence to have conceded a corner vs having a free kick in their own half.

Adam H, CFC, London

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