They deserve credit for fighting back twice and holding Manchester City, but Liverpool showed their limitations. And there is Man Utd relief.
Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The greatest game in world football
Whatever the result, we have seen a clinic, am exhibition, a masterclass no less, in deeply cynical fouls.
Dan, Plastic LFC
A 1-1 update
15 min in, this is absolutely not good for my heart.
We got away with one and the battle continues.
Aidan, Lfc (they are better but we’re not lying down)
Well, I hope you neutrals enjoyed that. I’m a f**king wreck.
John, LFC, Washington DC
The Liverpool view
My goodness. Spent the entire day pretty anxious. The game definitely justified the pre-match nerves.
Let’s be really frank; they were all over us in the first half. If it were any other team that game would’ve been over by half time and deservedly so. They had a lot of smart stuff figured out; every ball over the top was over the top of Trent and he was too slow on the swivel to see it happening. Their press was immense. Thiago was the key issue in the first half; not because he was poor but because we rely on him to help build attacking play. He comes to receive the ball with his back to the game frequently but has enough guile to either pick passes out without needing to look or has enough skill to turn and then pick someone out. Today they were all over him and he couldn’t get a second to breathe.
Mane had a real stinker of a first half and twice lost the ball within 30 yards of our goal. It was real ponderous stuff like he didn’t realise how high octane the other team were going at it. I wouldn’t have blamed Klopp for replacing him at half time and was actually hoping he’d do so. Salah wasn’t strictly poor but was utterly nullified. It’s hard to know whether to give City credit for that or if it continues his recent run of slightly poor form. The man needs to be rested for Benfica I think if he’s going to see out the season with any kind of style.
The second half was Klopp earning his money though. He changed the shape and approach very slightly. Off the ball he pulled the midfield back and seemed to ease off the press. We invited City a bit more forward so we could exploit gaps they left behind. I think Pep didn’t quite know how to react; he loves to dominate the ball but it’s a lot easier to create chances behind other defences in the league compared to ours. The early goal was good but we really had to find another in that ten minute period that followed where we looked strong.
Things remain as they were. Liverpool still have the harder run in so we’re hoping to get lucky now. Pep is under pressure to use De Bruyne again in midweek because their tie is far from over but can De Bruyne’s body handle three games in 6 days? I seriously doubt he’ll play today, Wednesday and Saturday whereas Klopp really ought to be rotating quite a few players for our tie against Benfica which has us in quite a strong position.
I’ll also say that I don’t think that first half is something City can do to us again. From what I’ve seen of them that 90 minutes was their peak performance but Liverpool wouldn’t make the same mistakes against them that we did in that half. If we are going to get through to the Champions League final I’d rather face anyone but them but after today I think Klopp will have gained more insight into how Pep will try to beat us (and thus can be more prepared for how to stop it) whilst I don’t think that Pep could’ve changed much to stop us from scoring the goals we did today.
What a cracker
Just 5 points after watching probably the highest quality match this season, between two sides of the highest quality:
1. It was a cracking game, one of the highest quality I’ve ever watched, to be honest.
2. The goals were made less from mistakes (unless one fingers TAA for his moment of inattention playing Gabby Jesus from an inch perfect cross and a perfectly timed run) than from real perfect quality passes and moves.
3. If I’m honest, City shaded it for the entire first half. Second half was more even. If anything, City were shaky either side of half-time, but we (LFC) couldn’t capitalize. So we could get the 3 point swing we needed, unfortunately. But given how the match had gone, I’m also glad we fought back and didn’t lose, in a match City shaded / dominated. We didn’t manage to beat a high quality City team, but we didn’t lose either, fighting back to claw level both times we were down.
4. The respect between the two managers at full-time was palpable. And Klopp went around congratulating both sets of players. It was a really high quality game. Pep and Klopp show what it means to compete at the highest level, without shouting, storming, temper tantrums, eye gouging, throwing under bus or parking bus, or all other manner of meanness, spitefulness, cheating, diving, rolling on the ground faking injury. It was a really well-contested and sporting game, and neither side appeared like it was cheating for advantage. And that’s down to the managers’ attitudes, toward the game and toward each other. Mutual respect. And that trickles down to, in fact drives, the mutual respect both sets of players and fans have toward each other, for the most part.
5. At the end of the match, my fellow fan friends were saying, no shame losing to this City. Especially looking at the job Klopp’s doing, at 20% of the net spending… and nearly going toe to toe with City. if that isn’t amazing, and doesn’t draw respect from the neutral, I donno what does 🙂
I don’t normally bother reading the comments section, it’s so boring, and full of utter weirdos, but one comment from Liam Daly made some pretty good points imho (esp re VAR). I would add:
Those high lines sure are risky. Obviously the compression of the pitch and the goals conceded justifies their use, but I can see how the odd 7-2 against score line can happen as a freak result where all runs and passes are correctly timed.
Liverpool gave the ball away far far too much. Not sure why. Nerves? Excellent pressing? Lack of personnel (Henderson was poor imo)? We def need a new star midfielder in the summer.
I quite enjoy the 16 conclusion articles, but think they could be much better and differentiated from other news outlets post match reports if they contained 16 actual tactical/other conclusions rather than just be an irreverent/good match report which is what they are. They are definitely the best match reports around, but rename them football365 match report, and publish the 16 conclusions a day later with more considered takeaways. No need to get the 16 considered conclusions out so quickly. It seems like speed to publish is considered more important than thoughtful analysis. A shame. As I do enjoy your site.
With Ederson grabbing headlines again for his footwork its so easy to forget how bloody brilliant he is at actually keeping the ball out of the net, with him rarely ever having much to do as city dominate the ball most games. I think the dominance of city has actually worked against him in getting the number 1 spot for Brazil, well that and Allison also being very good but he gets to show his saves off a bit more for Liverpool.
I remember watching Ederson play for Benfica against Tuchels Dortmund in the champions league in 2017 and he was amazing to watch in action. Top top stop saves against some of the best in the business Auba, Reus, Dembele and saved a penalty, he closed space and covered his angles to perfection and was the reason why Benfica went on to win the game 1-0 (though they did get spanked in the return leg I think). It was one of the best goalkeeping displays I have ever watched with one save near the end he seemed to change direction in mid air to claw away a shot that took a late deflection he is a remarkable goalkeeper who doesn’t get to show it off very much.
I don’t really know what the point of this mail is other than I love me a bitta Ederson the man’s different gravy on so many levels.
Aaron CFC Ireland
An inconvenient truth
Liverpool would not be in this title race without the help of VAR. Never seen a side get so many favourable decisions with this technology. It has made the title race more interesting, but let’s be real, they aren’t on the level of City. Laughable the amount of pundits talking about this Liverpool team being one of the best club sides in Premiership history – they’ve won the league as many times as Blackburn!
Time to calm the hysteria, yes we are grateful they are preventing another one horse race, but they really aren’t that special. 1 league title, 1 Champions League over 7 years with this manager and close to a billion spent.. I’d be embarrassed if this was my team’s legacy considering the money spent and undeserved hype around “one of the two best managers in the world.” A manager who responded to a couple of injuries in defence by reshaping the whole team and instead of using actual available defenders put average midfielders at the back, not learning a thing after losing 6 games in a row at home. Good team, good manager, but nothing more. He’s got nothing on Ancelotti and Tuchel, let alone Pep!
Without the ridiculous offside call, awful finishing by Sterling, Mahrez and other players missing sitters, they’d have walked away with 0 pts – without all the VAR help throughout the season they’d be battling Chelsea for 3rd.
Another Manchester United post-mortem
While the performance by United this weekend was hilariously bad, at least it means any hope of an embarrassing “success” of reaching 4th is avoided. We can now just switch off till the end of the season, like the players seem to have.
Just wanted to pick up on three things.
First, by all accounts, Rashford was treated harshly to be removed, having been the only threat, and a semi-decent one at that. It will go under the radar, but he was actually decent in attack and offered a huge amount more than Sancho or Ronaldo. He even had a decent header, which I cannot recall happening before. Another shambolic call from Rangnick, undermining his confidence further which is almost a definition of self-sabotage.
Second, the behaviour of the captain and leaders at the final whistle. Off they slunk, couldn’t even face their own fans. While I can understand it based on their showing, it’s the least they can do to applaud their travelling support. Sure, the abuse was pathetic but stand up and accept, show, care for god’s sake. Maguire is an awful captain and no leader, while any chat of Bruno or Ronaldo captaining should be referred to this incident. They should have made everyone go to the stands and face the music. Instead, off they f**ked. I can’t express on these pages how angry it makes me, but it’s not a surprise, aligning as it does with their shameful rejection of personal responsibility throughout the season. I’d be happy never to see them in red again. Three bad apples in need of binning.
Third and final, while the doom and gloom is understandable, the fix isn’t really that hard, in spite of what articles not too far from here suggest. It’s been said many times, but the biggest issue is the inability to break up counter attacks. Rangnick identifed this issue as did Ole and anyone who’s watched United matches. Yet in spite of his appointment specifically to identify fixes, it was ignored. The owners deserve absolute castigation for their inaction. But even so, this squad doesn’t need much. It needs that CDM – which almost certainly won’t be Rice – and it needs a striker who can be bothered. On top of that it needs a manager to actually coach and set up suitable tactical plans. Every armchair manager will be confident they could do better, because any manager should be able to do better with this squad.
The issue will only be whether the new man is given the support and investment required without meddling from ginger idiots who know nothing about the sport.
Badwolf (at least the result gives Everton the chance to stay up)
Some absolute b*llocks about Rashford
Leaving out the elite players like Salah, Sterling, Son, Mahrez, Mane etc and only considering players outside the top 6:
Zaha & Olise
Raphinha & Harrison
Sarr & Dennis
Bowen & Benhrama
Are all better than Marcus Rashford. Yet Marcus Rashford pockets £200,000 per week. So much more than the players mentioned above.
Prolonged lack of form can be understood. However lack of effort is unacceptable & intolerable!
Rashford grown a big head since over a year now. His performance (or rather lack of) shows how lazy he has become. He virtually makes zero efforts! Seems that Man Utd are down to 10 men when he is on the pitch.
The other day he was showing disrespect to a fan & then cowardly came near the security and telling the fan “come say it in my face”. Boy the fan had already told you what he had in mind from the limits of the area he is allowed to. You cowardly asking a fan to come in a restricted area? What would you have done Mr Rashford? Resort to violence? Is that what you preach in you books?! You don’t want to be criticized, then perform! Simple as that!
Book writer, breakfast man, Charity boy, politician, NGO worker. That’s what Rashford has turned into. He’s forgot that Man Utd pays him £200,000 per week to play excellent football & not to write books or lose focus on charity! Focus on football, perform!
Might be better than Obama at 24 but a mediocre & lazy footballer in his profession, Rashford does not deserve to wear the Man Utd shirt!
Also what a cry baby. Rashford said Jose Mourinho was not a footballer so he didn’t know how to manage. Solksjaer was too strict with him. What will he say when Ragnick is no more interim manager?
He’s upset he’s not playing regularly? Marcus Rashford have you watched your games? You’re abysmal. 37 & 35 year old players show more enthusiasm & put in more efforts than you! A 19 year old is playing better than you. Rashford at 24 supposedly to be getting on top of his game? No he looks more like a 42 year old just collecting £200,000 per week!
Academy players are afforded more patience. Ok I get that. But already there is easily there are 4-5 academy players in the under 18s who are better than Rashford MBE!
Time to clear out mediocre players out of Man Utd & Marcus Rashford should head that clear out!
Ashwin – Man Utd fan
Firstly, well done Spurs – they’ve hit form and the right time and should coast to the top four with games to spare.
As for Arteta, the gambles haven’t paid off. His appointment was a gamble. Relying on a number 9 who doesn’t score goals was a gamble. Not
trusting the left back you signed because we all know Tierney can’t see out a season was a gamble. And shipping out player after player and refusing to work with what you have was a gamble.
Arsenal’s season should be assessed at the end of the season but as I fully expect us to drop out of the top six due to all of the aforementioned gambles we have to concede Mikel’s time has come to an end.
It almost came off but in the end it didn’t. But I’m grateful to him for uncovering the potential of these young players and also showing top four isn’t a remote dream.
I love Patrick Vieira but he isn’t the answer. Arsenal need to think long and hard about the next appointment because we really can’t afford to get it wrong. Thanks for the memories Mikel but it’s time to move on.
P.S. Stewie, could you offer your insight on any club that isn’t Arsenal? You’re clearly not an Arsenal fan so how about kicking Burnley or Watford when they’re down?
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London