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Wow, look what happens when Liverpool have to actually play a good team.
Klopp got rattled
There are certain managers who have Klopp’s number. Ancelotti, Mourinho and now Simeone. These are really good managers, so no shame in them confounding Klopp every time. For starters, let’s state Atletico Madrid for what they are – world-class players playing an extremely defensive game. Add that to their world-class managers nous of setting up a system, and you have Liverpool’s kryptonite, every f***ing time.
Klopp is rattled. He issued warnings to AM for the second leg, something a person in control would not do. The fear wafting throughout the interview is real. Liverpool is going out and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do. This is Klopp’s “Twwiicceee!” moment, losing all control in the knowledge that the chance to win silverware has evaporated. It was a good run, but no team gets to the final three times in a row, RM being the outlier.
Now let’s focus and go win the Premier League.
Vinnie ‘Quatro Centuro Pointo’ Pee
…I assume since Klopp has now picked up two yellow cards in this season’s Champions League for his technical area histronics when he felt aggrieved by the state of play, and confronted the referee post-match to air same, that he will be cast as the villain as much as Simeone would be if he acted the exact same way?
I mean it was hilarious when a frustrated Pep was sarcastically sticking his two fingers in the air at the linesman that time.
Or is Klopp more holier than thou than every other manager that has ever graced the game?
Just asking for a friend.
Brian (Thomas Partay is a beast- take him at OT for whatever the price), Wexford
Some Liverpool conclusions
What a strange night. For a game that ended 1-0 there is a lot to break down, so I’ll take a page out of your book and do some conclusions.
1) We didn’t play very well. We weren’t bad and Atletico defended very well. But overall we were far from our best. Our sloppiness is perhaps best summarized by how many mistakes Van Dijk made. Considering he really didn’t have a lot to do, he seemed surprisingly ruffled when Atletico did go on the attack.
2) That being said, this was some of the worst officiating I’ve seen all season. At one point, the linesman who was about 6 feet away from Salah saw no foul play, only for the referee to race over from about 75 yards away and declare a foul. In the second half, in particular, the sheer number of fair challenges we were penalized for was astounding. Eventually ending with a booking for Klopp.
3) I’m directing my attention at the ref because I can’t actually find fault with anything Atletico did. What a magnificent display of sh*thousery from start to finish. They played him like a fiddle. Their fans were awesome. Simeone was awesome. It must have been a pretty spectacular night for the home players and supporters.
4) Once we went behind early on, it was obvious this was going to be a long night. They wasted no time retreating into their own half and invited us onto them, knowing they could deal with our crosses into the box. We played into their hands.
5) I don’t think I’ve been able to say this at any other point this season, but I was genuinely baffled by Klopp’s subs tonight. Atletico played so narrowly, that there was no space in the middle for our front 3 to operate. Bobby and Mane, in particular, couldn’t get on the ball at all and Salah was largely restricted to the corner flag. Our midfield 3 can wrestle control of any game. But there was no fight to be had here. Atletico surrendered the ball at every opportunity. We were crying out for a more direct or creative midfielder to create some space in the middle and also get closer to the Firmino when the ball does come into the box.
6) Instead, Origi came on for Mane. And Ox for Salah. Both were forced into the exact same wide positions as their predecessors. And the pattern continued. Fabinho, Henderson and Wijnaldum are brilliant players. But more often than not their mandate is to recycle the ball to the fullbacks and let them do their thing. For a team with so many weapons in our arsenal, we simply didn’t identify any other ways to try and hurt this Atletico side. It was almost as if we thought a late goal would just happen, like it often has this season.
7) For the love of God, please don’t let Henderson be injured.
So back to Anfield we go. Needing pretty much to beat them by two clear goals. It’s a big ask given how they defended tonight, and we’re gonna have to be back to our absolute swashbuckling best by then to pull it off.
Ryan C, LFC
That was magnificent sh*thousery
I’m a Liverpool fan but I want to commend Atletico for tonight’s performance.
The defensive aspect was reminiscent of Benitez hatchet jobs against better teams in Europe in 05 and 08.
The other aspect was the stupendous, magnificent shithousery, all orchestrated by the master conductor Simeone.
I know I’m in the minority when I say this but I really appreciate and enjoy the pantomine of the dark arts. Drogba is one of my favourite ever players, and Simeone has a team of 11 Drogbas. Even the Oblak was at it.
In reality, the top managers make the most of any possible minuscule advantage. It’s why Klopp hired a throw in coach. For Simeone, it’s shithousery.
Could be worse
Disappointing result and performance against an incredibly, and unsurprisingly, well drilled Athletico.
On the plus side, the atmosphere looked amazing, Athletico weren’t total sh*tbags (although limited possession probably helped with that) and a fair enough result.
Makes for a cracking 2nd leg and as long as we win the league I won’t be too upset whatever happens.
Aidan, Lfc (would rather not lose on away goals mind)
Cum on feel the noize
I don’t often get to see the Reds play live on account of where we live but a business trip to Madrid happened to coincide with last night’s match and after hours messing about online I managed to get hold of a ticket.
The noise inside at times really was impressive but the general consensus amongst most of us was that I wouldn’t pay to watch that being served up every week. Fair play, it’s obviously effective and all that but my God it’s tedious to watch.
It’s all to play for in the second leg but breaking them down won’t be any easier than it was last night I wouldn’t imagine. Score first and I think we will turn them over. If they score first, I can’t see that defence conceding three in one match.
But the noise in that place? My ears are still ringing.
How good is Haaland though?
Well last night I chose to watch Dortmund vs PSG, two teams who have incredible attacks, yet questionable defenses, at HT we were still waiting on he games first goal but it was quite an open end to end affair, great for the neutral like myself.
Then the second half happened, or to be more precise eight minutes in which three goals were scored and that Erling Braut Håland scored not only a screamer but just shows how one day he could truly rival the likes of Mbappe for the Ballon d’Or, of course he is still very young and my Ballon d’Or comment is said tongue in cheek, however after the Messi vs Ronaldo rivalry over the past decade, you do wonder if Håland vs Mbappe could be the next one to watch out for.
Overall an exciting match up, but PSG have an away goal to take back to Paris, it’ll be interesting how they set up for the second leg without the now suspended Meunier and Verratti.
Some fanmail for William
I thought we’d debunked the ‘strong team in a weak league’ argument that William put forward yesterday. Apparently not. According to William, Liverpool have suffered from a lack of proper challenger, unlike the United treble winners. However, In ’99 second-placed Arsenal finished with 78 points. Man City, second in the league today, are currently on track to get…78 points.
The achievement of winning the treble is undoubtedly the greatest achievement in English football. But United’s league performance that season was nothing special. In fact their winning total of 79 points is one of the lowest in Premier League history and would not have been enough to win the league in any season since then.
And I really don’t buy any argument that says the league was stronger in 1999 than now. Or were Derby, Middlesborough, Charlton, Coventry, Wimbledon, Blackburn, Nottingham Forest etc. superior to the teams we have now? This is not to in any way detract from United’s achievement, merely to point out the ‘lack of challenger’ argument doesn’t stand up at all.
The staggering fact about this Liverpool team, isn’t the gap between first and second. It’s the fact that we’re in February and they’re dropped two points. That has never been done before in the history of Europe’s top five leagues. So unless anyone is arguing that this is the weakest league in the history of football, I think it’s OK to praise them.
Winning the treble was a phenomenal achievement. But so is what this Liverpool team are doing. It’s OK to praise United’s team and praise Liverpool’s at the same time. We don’t need to compare and rank and it’s pointless to do so. Don’t try and put an asterisk next to what they’ve done, acknowledge this as one of the greatest seasons in the English game, just as United’s was 21 years ago.
Oh, and on a final point: This side, that apparently have “not won anything yet”, have actually won the European Super Cup, the Club World Cup and, oh yes, the Champions League! They are literally the current European Champions.
Mike, LFC, London
…William Douglas Foster I will start this off by saying you’re an idiot. You actually gonna say that 98/99 season was chockablock full of strong teams? Liverpool were a shambles and finished seventh. Leeds were a bit of an enigma. Blackburn had their day and were pants. Forest, less said about them the better that year. Spurs were spurs. West Ham we’re fifth ffs! Chelsea weren’t what they became yet. Now let’s go back to United. Never be bettered? I’d say you missed a letter there. Nobody has ever been BATTERED that much in one game as they were against Bayern for 89 minutes and won. Thoroughly outplayed. Arsenal in the semis of the FA Cup that year was the better team and but for Bergkamp fluffing his penalty would and should have won.
Your team was good, no doubt. I’m not disputing that but by trying to diminish Liverpool’s achievement is quite pathetic and symptomatic of a united fan. We had a race last season and STILL got 97 points. Teams back then were full of all English, kick em up and down the pitch, type players. There was nowhere near the skill and technique and coaching as these days. English players now are so much better than back then. Comes from foreign influence in your league.Don’t dare say the league now is not competitive. This Norwich team would have given your united team a game. They can play. VVD is better than anyone of your united defenders from back then. I have huge reservations about Trent for example and as a defender would put Neville ahead. Becks was a money making machine. Good player but he wasn’t anything special but for being a great dead piece specialist so he wouldn’t get in a combined XI . Keane was special. Yorke snd Cole deadly as a pair but our front three is more prolific especially seeing as we have no midfield creativity. Anyway I hate this combined eleven shit. They are both league champions although we’ve yet to be crowned. I will say though that Europe is very much harder to conquer now then back then.
Jealousy clouds our minds. I hate United and that team I despised but cos they were good. Liverpool are walking the league. We are good. Not because the league is weak but because we are ruthless and get it done. Your 99 team did the same. You won many a game in the last few minutes too after playing badly. If you watch games back you’ll see you weren’t the amazing team you are still envisioning. But that’s not because the league was harder. Get that out of your head.
Three players to transform United
One of the biggest issues that United have had since Ferguson left is that despite the amount of money spent, there have been gaping holes on the field which have just not been filled up. Despite the concerns over OGS, he can at least be credited for good recruitment with the effect that United’s defence line looks like that of a top 4 side. With the addition of 3 more players; Sancho, Haaland and James Maddison, this side could be transformed into a definite title challenging side.
Bissaka has issues with going forward (something that could probably be fixed with proper training) but makes up for it with excellence in defence. Maguire and Lindelof or Bailly have the makings of a great centre-back partnership. They do still have the odd mistake in them which probably stems from lack of proper training. Brendon Williams has shown he is more than capable of being a first team player with Luke Shaw also improving perhaps incentivised by the competition for places. De Gea remains the best shot stopper but Dean Henderson once available from next season might be a better option having a much better all round game.
The attack remains lacking in goals with only Rashford proving himself worthy of a first XI place. Jadon Sancho may cost around 100 m but may be the perfect partner for Rashford on the right. United may have missed out on Haaland but United could try tempting him again with the player having a rather low 60m Euro release clause. Even if they fail, there remain other options in the market such as Timo Werner who has scored 25 goals already this season.
The other conundrum remains the midfield. The addition of Bruno suddenly provides United options. It may be possible to deploy a 4-2-1-3 system using a mixture of Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Matic or Pogba (preferably Pogba and Fernandes) as central midfielders with the addition of James Maddison in a more attacking role.
This starting 11 could easily guarantee at least Champions League qualification for United next year and even compete for the title. The caveat being of course that United do need to replace OGS.
It is possible that Woodward is also looking at newspaper and reaching a similar conclusion and deciding on that basis that he does not need a Director of Football after all. Because that is how easy recruitment is….NOT!
Mail from a lifelong City fan
We signed up to the rules and if we broke them there should be consequences. Furthermore I disagree with aggressively attacking the investigators or trying to get off on a technicality.
However, although I’m not one to sign up to conspiracy theories, this certainly feels like the so called “big” clubs reacting to another club encroaching on their patch.
Money has always talked in sport, now more so than ever. It can clearly be argued that the ‘big’ clubs have always bought success. Their argument is that they have a bigger revenue stream. So, let’s be very clear here, this current situation is not about “buying success” or “cheating your way to success”. There has always been a direct correlation between money and success (with the very notable and admirable exception of Leicester City). This is about where the money comes from.
And let’s just think about that ‘cheating’ accusation for a minute. City have not been accused of match fixing (Juventus) or trying to bribe officials or trying to line their own pockets. They have merely operated in the murky world of football governance. And while two wrongs don’t make a right, I think we can all agree that UEFA (and FIFA) are not exactly role models when it comes to ethical behaviour. Wouldn’t you agree Mr Blatter? Mr Platini? Mr Warner? Mr Blazer? etc. etc. etc.)
Personally, I would accept a salary cap. City might not be as successful but I’m all for levelling the playing field. However, I suspect the ‘big’ clubs still wants to maintain their financial domination over others, they are just arguing that because they might fill more seats, sell more merchandise or have a better recognized brand, they should be allowed to continue to dominating. It takes time and focus and success to build up a global brand image and City are well on their way to achieving that. Sounds like others do not want them joining the club!
I’m genuinely upset with what has happened, not because we are banned from Europe but because the club reputation has been tarnished and the supporters warrant no part of that. The same supporters who loyally supported their team even when in the 2nd and 3rd tiers of English football. The same supporters who have proudly watched the sublime football we have seen in the last 3 or 4 years and joyfully celebrated their success for the last 10. The same supporters who never lost their humility and or forgotten what it’s like to be an underdog.
I’m proud to have been a life long City fan who stuck with them during the long dark years and I hope some good will come of all this. But for now I would lie if I did not very, very despondent.