Now that’s the way to lose, Jose. And other mails…

Keep your mails coming to…

Fixing Liverpool
A few months ago, I wrote that this will be Klopp’s greatest challenge and probably his greatest coaching success. I wrote that at a time when things were a lot less simpler and Guardiola hadn’t redesigned his winning juggernaut. I still stand by it.

This can be a fantastic season and here are my suggestions on how to go about it.

1. Remove Fabinho and Henderson from the defence: I love klopp and he has earned the right to go almost unquestioned but I wonder exactly why he believes that Nat Philips at 23 is not good enough to play regularly. He is certainly not a kid wonder but the guy seems very eager to make an impression. Even young Rhys has done well whenever he has been called upon. Now we have two extra defenders, for goodness sake, just play 2 CBs in CB. I have been reading about the negative effects of the lack of VVD and Joe but I have really understood it the way I did during the City game. I noticed that Liverpool were pressing from the back. The forwards and midfield were just dropping back towards Hendo and Fabinho. It was like they needed to be close to these guys before they had the confidence to press. This meant that Liverpool started attacks much more backwards than they did for the last 3 seasons. On one occasion, I saw Wijnaldum run with the ball for almost half of the pitch before he could cross the City part of the centre circle, just as he got there, the cameras flashed on him and just as I expected, he looked tired, and guess what, he was dispossessed. Fab and Hendo (our player of the season again) need to be in midfield.

2. By-pass Thiago when not protecting a lead: Thiago is a metronome and I love him, but when Liverpool are not in need of safety, why give him so much of the ball? We have a team which is on their day the best pressing team in Europe, why not let them press? If we get a goal, we can now activate Thiago mode. Thiago can be more of a recycler between the CBs and the midfield when we are searching for a goal and more of a number 8 when protecting a lead. Let him control the play behind the midfield when we are hungry and control the play in front of the midfield when we are protecting a lead. That way, he can pass them to death and leave Hendo and Fab to take turns resting for the next pressing phase.

3. Play ox more: Ox is for me, the most explosive LFC player. In a season of numbed minds and bodies, remembering that Hendo, Thiago, Wijnaldum and Milner are all over 30 or almost there, why not let AOC play more? He has always created chances because opponents do not know whether he will pass or shoot. Play him more and introduce a bit of unpredictability in the team.

4. Start considering resting the LB and RB more. We have Tsimi and Williams for goodness sake, let them play. An eager novice will do more on the pitch than a tired expert. Obviously TAA and Robbo need a break. I am sure if you ask them if they do need a break in an interview which will not be published, they will most likely say yes. Please rest them for a few matches.

5. Become a basketball team again. Liverpool at best and its most fun style is a high scoring team. Let the team play with more abandon. There is nothing to lose and we will not meet any team as good as city, whether in Europe or in the EPL again till next season. Let them run wild and free. Let the joy come back. Let the winning machine just become a football team again.

6. This is not for this season but Klopp must surely sell Salah next season. Salah is a Liverpool legend and since I started supporting Liverpool in 2005, we have not had anyone with his level of consistent output, but he needs to be sold to fund a rebuild of the team. Jota, Jones, Firmino (for one more year), Mane (for 2 more years), ox (for 3 more years) should be the team’s major front players. Plus if we can get a year off Shaq in midfield and two from Minamino, then we should be fine. As for Origi, there will always be “the Wanda” but he must join Salah in exiting. Salah should be sold as a sacrifice for the future, like Coutinho was and Origi as a tribute to the gods for a good number of years.
A believer not a doubter


Seen it before
In reply to Jo from Kent, if only there was some precedent of the PL holders who had won the Champions League 2 seasons previously having to play 2 midfielders at centre back. It’s not like Man Utd ever had to play with a centre back pairing of Carrick & Fletcher away against Fulham & in the Champions League because all 5 (five) centre backs were out injured, along with captain Neville leaving a young left back (De Laet) and left winger (Park) to fill in at right back over the 2 games. Though at least Carrick had some experience at centre back due to 4 out of 5 centre backs being injured at any given time not being irregular occurrence around the turn of the decade.

But I’m sure Van Dijk returning from injury will solve all of Liverpool’s issues, it’s not like a team containing his presence would concede 7 goals against Villa, 3 at home to Leeds, or 3 against relegated Watford. Of course he would’ve stopped the City onslaught at the weekend and prevented them from scoring 4 goals, it’s not like they stuck 4 past Liverpool last season with him on the pitch.

But titles can be won & lost on fine margins, Man Utd lost 3-0 to Fulham that day and finished behind Chelsea by 1 point that season. I’m sure the 10 point (plus a game in hand) chasm to City would’ve been wiped out by the return of one of your centre backs from injury. Just like how Arsenal would’ve won the title every year from about 2008-2012 if it wasn’t for their pesky injuries to various midfielders, of course if only their playmakers would stay fit then it would’ve stopped them from being rolled over every time they came up against a well organised team.
Mick, Cardiff

Thrilling Spurs
It’s 4-4 as I write this, even if we don’t make it through, I leapt up out of my chair for the first time in a LONG time.

Jon (What a cross from Son), Lincoln


…And do you know what, I’d rather that than another insipid, joyless performance, any day of the week.

Jon, Lincoln


…Dear Jose,

For the record, losing 5-4 playing like that was infinitely more fun than playing the whole game around our box for 90 minutes and then losing 1-0.

Dave Hone
PS I doubt even you could blame that loss on Dele, but I’m sure you’ll try.

READ MORE: Disgraceful from Mourinho, Spurs as Sigurdsson shines

Seven conclusions
1. What a game!
2. Apologies to BT Sport who are clearly devastated that Spurs didn’t win. Especially poor Jermaine Jenas, your boys took one hell of a beating.
3. Actually, the in game commentary from Ian Darke and Glenn Hoddle was pretty spot on – Spurs only have themselves to blame for not taking their chances in the first 30 minutes.
4. What to make of Olsen. There’ll be a rush to slate Pickford, and he made some fine saves, but we looked so vulnerable at every set piece. This continues the theme from McTominays goal on Saturday – Olsen needs to bear criticism and scepticism if he can’t manage his box. Nevertheless, the guy made some huge saves and deserves the plaudits.
5. Speaking of someone who deserves plaudits. Tom Davies, take a bow… Maybe it’s not the best to highlight a midfielder when the opposition have walked through you for 4 goals, but Davies was great. Special praise as he’s a guy who takes a lot of stick on the Everton forums and subreddits and had right to be downtrodden when we bought Doucouré and Allan but fair play – he was awesome today.
6. Always liked Spurs, they played well and I was genuinely surprised how well given how poor the press had been towards them. They were really bad in that last 20 minutes of the 1st half and then let Everton take the lead twice more after that. That doesn’t seem very ‘Mourinho’ like.
7. Biggest problem for Everton was the same as against United; started slow. This was worse given we scored 3 unanswered but contrived to let Spurs end 1st half on a high by scoring to make it 3-2 rather than us going in with 3 straight. We can be better.
Cheer, Matt, EFC


Don’t stifle pundits even more 
On the subject of Mike Dean and the death threats – I’m not going to dwell on the lunacy and clear wrong wrong wrongness of it, it’s obviously beyond awful – I am concerned about the effect this is going to have on punditry and the media. And before anyone thinks I care more about this than a man and his family being targeted with death threats, no, I do not, it’s just very well covered already, no one needs my opinion on that.

UK sports presenting and punditry is already as painfully stifled as an ex-footballer in a suit(Micah Richards I’m definitely looking at you) and safe for fear of offending anyone either professionally associated with the given sport or the viewers or otherwise. I find it terminally dull and always skip it when I can, in game this obviously isn’t possible.

Obviously I don’t mean protecting the right to bark out racist or sexist commentary, but more straightforward opinions on aspects of the game etc. Referees are ridiculously well protected, and need offer no explanation. Any, even slight perception that someone is unhappy with them is met with an investigation. The dynamic is not just between professionals and referees, they are just the example here. Another example is the constant and cringing apologies for bad language that may have been heard during play.

I’m not sure if this is partly cultural, a British thing, the very idea of voicing a different opinion, or wanting a debate, or hearing something you don’t like is anathema to most, and is met with tension, up-tightness, and misunderstood as aggressive or an argument (broad sweeping statement, not everyone is like this). I live in London, I have many friends from other countries, mainly Europe, and they are deeply frustrated by this aspect of Britishness, and I agree with them.

I think we’re already getting lost deep down a spiralling apology/excuse/explanation fractal and this absurd death threat is going to exacerbate that hugely.

None of it will curb the behaviour of any idiot who has the capacity to make such a pathetic and wayward decision; to me it’s like blaming a film or video game for the acts of a maniac. What it will do, is render the media in all its forms, more and more achingly polite and “professional” and then any dissent or disagreement seems even more appalling.

No one – a la Trump – demanded supporters march down to Mike Dean’s house, or refuse to accept what had happened. As far as I’m concerned, having a professional/commentator/pundit vent about a contentious issue allows viewers to feel like they are being heard, there is a sense of catharcism which diffuses sore tempers and frustrations. The common cry seems to be to look at the media and it’s responsibility in all this, but I honestly believe there would be a lot more death threats and possibly much worse without this avenue being open, it needs to be opened wider.

I rarely agree, or have any truck whatsoever with the words that come out of Jamie Redknapp’s mouth, but his inability to wait for his turn to vent and obvious disgust at Mike Dean’s decision was a huge relief for me because I couldn’t believe it either and I felt better because of him.

If we have to react with censure, can we at least focus on gagging the likes of Katie Hopkins instead.

Or Carragher, he does my nut.

David (I’m not a West Ham fan, Soucek was in my fantasy team, but I don’t think that constitutes bias right?)


Van de Beek mystery
It was an interesting and long summary from Rory about the problem with Ole regarding Donny Van De Beek.

I’ll do a smaller summary with a different viewpoint. We signed him from Holland where plenty of players are tipped to be greats coming to England, yet 50% of them end up unsuitable over here (Depay, Babel, Alves, Kezman and many more). Donny may just fit on that list.

Real Madrid may well have wanted to sign him but don’t let that be a decider on how he would do in England. Have you seen Madrids signings in the past 3 years? Not a player worth talking about! They have pretty much set themselves back a decade and left themselves with no cash and barely a player with sell-on value to fix it! Again, Donny may just fit on that list and Utd saved them a few quid.

I had high hopes for him too, but it is either acclimatisation issues or a style of play issue. The cub is only 23 and maybe will adjust next season. Either that, or head of to Spain to play in a league that suits him better.
Gary B (Yep, it’s off to Spain he goes)

READ MORE: Van de Beek and Man Utd are a rotten match

City ‘spin’
Dear James. It’s not enough to ‘claim’ a certain amount was spent on a transfer and then pretend that that is the case. This is an increasing trend, I note.

Yes, we have spent some money, (who hasn’t?) but, of the list you provided, I’ll itemise some for you;

Leroy Sane – £37m (not £50m) (in addition, he’s no longer at the club so errrrrr…..WTF?)
Silva (Bernardo) – £43m (not £50m)
Sterling – £44m (not £50m)
So, not “legit”, after all.

Actually, looking at them, they look like similar prices paid for the likes of Mane, Salah, Jota, Fabinho, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Firminho, etc, etc, etc. You can make a point about what you want to say but overinflating your rivals prices and underinflating your own, sort of destroys the point you think you’re making, does it not?

I’m not denying that we’ve spent money (the other listed players were over £50m) because, well, I can’t, but this selectiveness really grips my sh*t. The supposed point about the subs bench, being another. ALL elite clubs spend big money, this theme that Liverpool fans cling to about them spending pocket money prices and still competing is just Trumpian. Stop trying to spin because we all ‘know’ but only ‘some’ of us are telling the truth.

Besides, you get what you pay for. Personally, I’d say that paying £12m for Origi is a colossal waste of money. Ditto, Tsimikas for £13m and why is one of the richest clubs in the world paying £1.1m (having seen that your other figures are false, I’m not sure we can believe you on this, either, James) for a loan player? Do you WANT to be taken seriously?

And as for the ground being gifted to us, you can look at it any way you want but the fact remains that if City hadn’t have agreed to move stadium, then the Commonwealth Games would have been in doubt and we had to pay £30m to reconfigurate that stadium at a time when we were skint, anyway. Besides, this was years before the lads from Abu Dhabi arrived so is it actually relevant anyway? Something that happened nearly 20 years ago? Really?? You must be desperate.

To sum up, if you can’t be right…give us all a break, huh?

Just trying to help
Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19
PS, now that you can’t sell a player for an OUTRAGEOUS amount of money to Barca or Real, how are you going to fund your future title charges?


Bin the cups
First time writer, long term reader. Just wanted to mention how pointless the FA cup feels without fans. My nostalgic views of the FA Cup and the finals remains of when for example Roberto Di Matteo scored in the final, Owen scoring the winner against Arsenal. It was a day out in the sun (as sunny as it can get in the uk) and the was a buildup all day until kickoff, fans would walk down the long road to the twin towers of Wembley. It was a chance for a bit of glory for the winner and a price of ‘significant’ silverware.
We are told lower league teams rely on crowd revenue for big name ties, but again this year what was the point of them playing? A couple of shocks for 45 minutes before the big boys remembered the night get a rollicking from the manager and decided to turn it on!
The atmosphere at some of these games are so bad and the players look so unmotivated as would rather play in a game for three points where the ‘first team play’
Over the years, foreign managers a la Pep and Klopp as well as some relegation struck managers have disrespected or demeaned the cup with weakened sides or such squad rotations which makes it obvious the premier league Europe or even survival is the priority.
How can we get the importance back into the FA cup, maybe a place in the champions league at stake (too far?) without the crowds the fa cup seems very pointless currently, hopefully some fans will be back for the final.
The fa cup on its own hasn’t even been enough to save the job for some managers, much the same as Europa league (Sarri for example)
Really what is the point of the fa cup in such a season, hell what’s the point of the carabao cup in such a season?!
Kashif (sorry grammar and English is not my strong point, but just so fed up of the time waste cup this year)

When tribunals got involved in five big transfers

Tribunal tribulations
F365 dropped an article on Tribunal Fees yesterday, a mighty fine one may i add, but it made me think, what are the point of these tribunals?

I say this because the fees never come across as a fair compensation for the hours, months, years of developing a club put in only to see their hard work run their contract down and head for a bigger club, F365 listed many names and one that stood out is Ethan Ampadu, he spent 8 years at Exeter City, clearly a top talent and Chelsea picked him up for such a small fee that was awarded by the tribunal, now my club will even if he does not make the first team will sell him for five maybe ten times that fee and make a strong profit, as did Liverpool with Dominic Solanke when sold to Bournemouth.

My question to the mailbox is this, what are your thoughts on the current Tribunal Fee system, is it fair and how would you go about changing it so it provided lower league clubs a much fairer compensation package?
Mikey, CFC


Keepers’ corner
Yes please to B (MUFC) for that shining ray of light in the darkness of everything that is being spouted in recent times. I wrote in a couple years ago to explain that in 1977 I was told by a coach that I was too short to be a goalkeeper. Well no shit coach sherlock, but I have spent the rest of my life trying to perfect the art form. And I still am. It is probably only the “Goalkeepers Union” that can vouch for the innate or inherent ability to do what Fabianski did. If you watch the reverse angle, he got his positioning perfect to cover both sides and he hit his trigger movement 3 times before reacting. You do not see the 3 trigger movements face-on; or the positioning; but if you have done it then you will know. I have had those moments where I think oh shit how did I do that but that save was the epitome of the skills that B articulated. Some things cannot be taught, you only need to identify how to channel the triggers and resultant reaction
Lloyd (Jozi) SA

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