Keep them coming to theeditor@football365.com…

Five reasons Gerrard should replace Klopp
The more I watch Liverpool I can appreciate Klopp has improved us but I do not see a title winning team I’m afraid and it’s not just the players as I don’t think a Van Dijk would automatically make us title challengers. When Jamie Carragher made this point a few weeks back, I failed to fully understand his point. I was in agreement with the other guest on TV(think it was Redknapp or Souness) who said once we replaced clumsy Lovren with a more solid defender like Van Dijk, we should become more defensively solid and challenge for titles. Carra disagreed stating the problem was with Klopp’s system and how it would always leave the defenders exposed. I agree. I’m not saying Lovren should not be sold to the Ufc or anyone that would have him, but Klopp’s system would always come short of been a title winning system I think. Pep plays similar and would probably win the title but can anyone see glaring differences between Pep and Klopp’s style of play? I honestly do not know

Which bring me to my next point. Pep. His first job possibly shaped his whole managerial ideas/tactics. Managing the Barcelona B side, he got to see young players who were good enough to play for the first team so once he got the first team gig, he had no qualms playing those young players. He would have picked up a trick or two in improving young players and that’s what sets him apart from managers like Mourinho who rather buys the finished products or has less trust in younger players.

Now I’m not necessarily in a rush to get rid of Klopp, I feel he can stil take us to the next level which is constantly been a top 4 team. Then, step in, Steven Gerrard. When Klopp eventually leaves Liverpool, Gerrard should be considered for the full time job and here are a few reasons why.

1.He is possibly as hungry as anyone to win a premier league title. In fact, I think that played a significant role in why he went into management in the first place as I initially saw more of a manager in Carragher. The slip that possibly cost Liverpool the title would be somewhat forgotten in Gerrard’s mind if he eventually wins it as a manager at least and if he’s the one to bring the title back to Anfield, I can guarantee he would tell you it’s all been worth it.

2. Gerrard is doing a good job with the U18 side (albeit early days) and would be familiar with the young players who are good enough for the first team. Similar to Pep and his first managerial job, Gerrard can blend in the youth prospects with the first team which goes a long way in improving the atmosphere around any club if nothing else. Also he is learning how to imrove young players which could come in handy as we may need a few of those as we cannot afford to spend on players like some of our rivals. There is also a ruthlessness with managers who have strong affinities with the clubs they manage. They make the tough calls rather easily for example when Pep got the Barcelona job, he prioritised getting rid of the bad apples over making new signings. Players like Ronaldinho, Deco, were sold and replaced with young hungry players. Similar to Eddie Howe who has found himself in difficult situations at Bournemouth but always seems to find a solution. It’s probably knowing the club so well and knowing exactly what the club needs at the time that gets him out of trouble. Gerrard would not play an underperforming player he bought to the detriment of the club.

3. Gerrard has played with some of the best. Training/playing with the likes of Xabi Alonso, Suarez, Hypia, Mascherano, John Terry, Lampard, Ferdinand, et al should mean Gerrard knows what a good footballer should look like. He has also played with Simon Mignolet so should know what a S**t keeper looks like.

4. He knows the premier league. A very vital ingredient. Been unfamiliar with the premier league could be managerial suicide for any manager, just ask Frank De Boer or Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. An unforgiving league where if the 1st placed team plays the bottom team at 80% they would get bulldozed and would likely lose to the bottom team. Knowing what to expect from teams and mangers should make the games somewhat easier to manage.

5. He’s a local lad. There are some times we fans cannot understand why managers cannot see the glaring errors we notice with our untrained eyes. Arsenal fans have been screaming for a solid defensive mid ( Xhaka is not it) for years, Liverpool fans know that Mignolet would never be the keeper that takes us to the promise land, yet managers seem unable to spot the obvious or just do not fix it for some reason. Gerrard on the other hand should be more open to taking the fans opinion on board. Mostly when it comes to transfers, this could prove important. Bayern Munich are a club run by mostly the fans and all their transfer targets are decided by a select group of supporters, sporting directors who are mostly ex players, and the manager. Their transfer policy may generally involve poaching the best players from rival clubs, I think I’d prefer that strategy to the sugar daddy clubs we have today who make world class players like Draxler, Lucas Moura satisfied with been bit part players. Gerrard been a local lad would mean he listens more to the fans plus his loyalty to the club and its fans would always come before his pride which can be a problem for managers. ( lookin at you Arsene and Jose)

Now in 5 years time, Gerrard would be 42 years old whilst Joe Gomez, Solanke, Woodburn, Alexander Arnold, who are a few young players in the first team picture, would be 25 years old or younger. Assuming these players are still at the club because they are improving, they should be playing at close to world class level. It’s not a bad foundation for Gerrard to start with. If it does not work out at least he could return in another 15 years after all the experience he would have amassed in that time. Hows that for a long term plan?
Guo

 

Lukaku has been found out
I can’t agree more with that dude from Nairobi. Lukaku has been found out at Manchester United. He is NOT at the level of what a Manchester United striker should be.

I can’t tell what is more frustrating: watching him fluff his lines over and over and over again, needing 4-5 gilt-edged opportunities to score once, or knowing that all this came for the sweet, low price of £75m.

I suppose what is really the most frustrating thing is watching Liverpool get the steal of the summer at $35m for that quick, dynamic sand Messi with the good hair.
George, USA

 

No luck over Lukaku
To hear Elvince (27-11-17) tell it, Lukaku is the footballing equivalent of the first fish to walk on land: some good ideas, but ultimately lacking in all-round nous to make it work long-term. It’s one of the few times I’ve actually seen a striker scoring eight in eight – or the goal that breaks his drought – used against him. I don’t know where to begin, so perhaps I won’t. Lukaku apparently doesn’t use his strength, speed or stamina in the way Elvince would were he a professional footballer, so obviously he’s crap.

But it leaves you wondering, if he’s not much better than your dad, where have all Lukaku’s career goals come from? Is he just exceptionally lucky? Is he so massive that the ball just keeps bouncing off his arse and into the net? Maybe he’s just benefited from playing for notoriously dominant teams like Everton. Elvince mentions Romelu needing service, but then conveniently neglects to mention that side of the game has been utterly absent from United with Pogba out of the team (and even then, he needs to be on the ball). He cites a passing exchange between Zlatan and Pogba as an example of footballing intelligence. But let me tell you, Elvince, that’s a type of footballing intelligence, not the only one; just like Pippo Inzaghi always being in a position to run the ball into the net from 2 yards out, just like Busquets knowing when to speed up the zip on his passes, just like Lukaku timing his runs beyond the last defender (for balls that never come).

I think Carragher ultimately had it right when he said – and i paraphrase – we need to stop thinking of Lukaku as some dominant, all-action Drogba-type; he’s a player who requires space to be opened; like Andy Cole, like RVN. And then he scores. Usually.

Cheers, F365!
Okala Elesia (Lincoln)

 

Nice boys
I have to agree with Jamie, Eire’s earlier mail (And not just because we share a name and a nationalism), Liverpool are missing an out and out sh*thouse in the middle of the field.

Whatever triumvirate they use be it Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Milner, Lallana, Coutinho etc. They are all talented footballers, even Henderson despite the latest general consensus, but they are all too nice. There is no one willing to stamp a bit authority on the game in a physical sense especially when momentum is starting to go away from you. Maybe I’m a bit old fashioned or nostalgic but what I would give for a midfielder who is willing to go in and potentially hurt, not the opposition but, themselves. Give me a Gerrard (and I’m not even talking about his other abilities) or a Mascherano in his midfield days, even Alonso would put it about when required and not to even mention a Roy Keane. They wouldn’t leave teams like Seville walk all over them, they would cut it out at source. I’m not talking reckless tackles but I am talking about fair hard fully committed tackles which say “not today” to the opposition. Us Irish always refer back to Roy Keane’s tackle in the opening 30 seconds in a crucial World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands. By God, that set a tone that day. I suppose there are many different types of “Leadership” but it is this type that I think Liverpool are particularly missing.

On a side note with Henderson, I do feel a bit for him, I don’t think he is as bad as he is being made out to be. He was at his best in 13/14 but he was playing in a different position than he is now. He was playing in the Wijnaldum/Can position whereby he had more license to do that chasing further up the pitch as opposed to the base where he is now. I think he is better suited to that position than the point guard (More appropriate than quarterback, I think) position he plays now but there is no one else to play that role. Milner or Can are not any better when used in that role.

It is a position that the transfer committee need to focus on. Well, that and centre-back and left back. Oh yeah you might as well throw in goalkeeper as well.
Jamie, Eire (No, Not that one)

 

…Jamie, Eire spoke about Jordan Henderson in the 13/14 season. At the risk of being a Liverpool fan living in the past, that’s also a subject I’ve thought about recently. It’s widely agreed that Henderson being suspended was a huge reason behind the failure to win the league that year. His energy was sorely missed, Gerrard didn’t have the same pace about him to cover the ground, Henderson made up for that. The reason he appears to have regressed is because the Liverpool team is now full of energy and running: Firmino, Mane, Lallana, Salah, Can, Wijnaldum, even Milner. The working hard thing just doesn’t make him stand out any more. Working hard often stands out when there are not many others that do it, Scott Parker was a prime example relegation fights or a grafting captain from promoted sides that falls away when they hit the top league and the whole team changes their style to being hard-working and difficult to beat.

Jamie’s mention of Suarez also made me think of an entirely unrelated 13/14 comment; the ball being played backwards from kick off has taken a lot of excitement out of Liverpool’s super-fast starts. The fear of defenders when Suarez just used to run directly at them from off the off was fantastic to watch. It now takes a few attacks until Mane or Salah build up a head of steam.

I miss Suarez.
Si D (References to Scott Parker and 13/14 may suggest I’m a bit out of touch)

 

An idea born of sleep deprivation
As it’s 7:30am and I’m yet to sleep, I’ve discovered the one advantage to my insomnia is to think about hypothetical but completely impractical changes I’d bring to the game if, God forbid, I was placed in charge of FIFA.

The one that has been intriguing me this evening – what if both home and away games were played at the same time?

Squad sizes would be increase to say, 40 to necessitate the need for 36 players on each day, supplemented by youth teams if necessary. Managers would be able to choose which players they send to each game, but kept secret until both squads are submitted from both teams.

It leads to intriguing possibilities, for example, Everton need 3 points from their final matchday to guarentee safety, do they put their strongest 11 in one side, or spread out their players over the two teams to give them a better chance?

It’d lead to more opportunities for reserve and young talent to get game time and to prove themselves. Assistant managers taking charge of the “away” XI can get experience managing in a competive game situation.

You could still have 38 matchdays in a 76 game total season. Clubs would get extra revenue to supplement wages for the increase squad sizes.

Like I said, completely impractical, but a fun idea none the less…
James “Flash” Hamilton.

 

Spirit of the game
First off let me say I don’t necessarily disagree that in a sport like football, in order to be successful at the very top, you have to not only be talented, and at the pinnacle of athletic ability, you also have to have a ruthless determination and will to improve yourself and win that eludes many.

That said – did James, Eire really just send in a lengthy mail saying he wants Liverpool to (and lets call a spade a spade here) – cheat?

James says “I don’t think opposition players are standing in the tunnel worried about the prospect of a player who will try get you booked, try win a penalty or try and get into your head” – leave aside the “get in your head” part, and that is just plain cheating. You can use euphemisms like gamesmanship and “dark arts” all you want, it boils down to wanting your team breaking the rules to get an (unfair?) advantage.

Perhaps I’m being an idealist but I’m actually pretty pleased to support a team where the manager actively opposes that kind of behaviour – this is an old anecdote, but in a vital game that we needed to win to avoid relegation from League One, we were a goal up (against Huddersfield as it happens, how fortunes have changed) with 8 minutes to play. The ball went out for a throw in and rather than leave it or try to slow things down, our manager picked it up and threw it back to the Huddersfield player to take the throw – when interviewed after the game, his explanation speaks volumes:

“I was saying to my team that we’re good enough. The ball should be in play. You’ve got to know what you are”.

So, James, Eire – do you know what you are…?
Terry Hall, Switzerland

 

Pep perspective
Geez that was just rubbish, Shubhanshu Chawla, 30, Arsenal. India ( someone’s got to stop the unbeaten run though, the golden trophy is ours).

So, to summarise your hilarious footballing “Logic”

Pep is the GOAT as a manger, because he coached a once-in-a-lifetime Barca squad, the runaway dominators Bayern in Germany, and then refused anyone but new-money (BECAUSE THERE IS TONS OF IT) City, whom he will buy nearly any player in the world he wants, when he wants, and this distinguishes him as the GOAT does it?

I mean, Pep does NOT spend a fortune on players like the others like Jose!

HAHAHA, Ok then, your PEP-is-my-reason-to-live poster is in the mailbox, just try to have some dignity about your fawning over another fully grown Man, who couldn’t give two sh*tes if you are here tomorrow or not, he just wouldn’t care a jot, whilst you plan your wold tour of affection in dedication to this stranger.

Oh wait, that’s not your point at all, it’s that the RUNAWAY leaders took on a team widely tipped to struggle most Saturdays, and attacked that team at 1-1 with a whole ten minutes to play, he bravely played two superb strikers is that your point? (Oooh yes they beat United though, banter for life right?? Means that they ARE NOT suddenly a small team in a big pond right?)

Pep deserves a medal of honour for his PEERLESS bravery right?

You know really now, you people are acting like Man City hasn’t BEEN handing out hidings and going on superb runs in the last 5 seasons or so. (What league have you been watching?)

Seriously now folks?! They never won a game 5-0, or 6-1 at their eternal rivals, and the like under ol Mancini and threatened to dominate English football did they??
Wow, are you certain of these recollections everyone??

I have seen them tear many a team over the last 5 or so years, and routinely threaten to run away with the league for the next 5 with goal differences of +200.
Mancini did win the league too…after the FA cup the year before.

Was that Pep as well?

When Pellegrini won big in matches, (6-0 and 5-1 over Spurs comes to mind sorry Spuds fans, I will also include a 6-3 over the Arse to count here) and there were several thrashings handed out (apparently not a single trophy ever though, without Pep, of course!) was that the GOAT or a good coach getting the best of his embarrassment of riches?!

In fact, Didn’t Pellegrini’s team break the record of Chelsea some 5 years ago for the quickest century of goals in a league season?

FACT TIME: Yes actually, City scored more goals in all competitions of ALL CLUBS IN EUROPE that year, INCLUDING PEP’S BAYERN (initially I said Barca in error), and City did a local double.

I am also certain, absolutely, that the media of the time went into overdrive speculating about a potential QUADRUPLE for this team?? (Of course guys! That was Pep again! Or was he “instructing” Messi and Xavi and Iniesta how to play still at that time, I can’t keep up with every single positive thing in football which you folks credit Pep for??)

Seriously, stop acting like City never won a game before Pep people, they did a fair amount recently without him.
Although I fully expect Pep to get the credit for Agguueeerrooooo!! OF COURSE PEP MASTERMINDED THAT DAY FROM AFAR, HE IS PEP!
Manc in SA (Geez it’s like the Media with their preferred political candidate…ABSOLUTE FAWNING)

 

Blue Monday
Eerily similar parallels between your Winners and Losers summation of Everton and what’s happening to my team – Rangers. I read every word as if it was the blue half of a football-mad city of two footballing giants, only for me it was through Glaswegian eyes and not Scouse:

The indecisive board taking a month to replace the manager, having clearly made no replacement planning before sacking. The rebuffed approach of a high performing manager in the he same division (Derek McInnes). Results getting worse under a passionate but ultimately underqualified caretaker manager… I could go on.

On the bright side, John Nicholson’s “jack and the beans talk” comment made my Monday!
Graeme (at least we won’t have Pardew now) Glasgow


Knee-jerk reactions

Let me begin with a disclaimer: I was not born in England and Arsenal is not my “home team.” I have never been to an Arsenal game — home or away. Seeing that when I started supporting Arsenal (in 2001, if you are interested in knowing), the only main challengers to Arsenal were United and therefore, I always viewed them as our main rival — the two fixtures I would look for the first as the fixture lists were released every season. This might make me an inferior fan in some people’s eyes (we have all witnessed the ‘foreigners don’t really “get” the club’ debates in mailbox), yet I have still stood by my team all these years (entering 17the year now) even though I had no “local connection” to the team.

Anyway, I digress. The point I am trying to make it is that even though I take massive pleasure in beating Tottenham, I am perhaps not as passionate as some “born and bred” Arsenal fans are. Likewise, I am perhaps more accepting (appreciating?) of the Spurs recent progress under the Poch (great manager, btw!) than some of my fellow “born and bred” Arsenal fans might be. Therefore, I do consider myself as a rather unbiased when it comes to our derby rivals. Regardless of that, I was quite amused to see the “power shift in North London” narrative emerging right before the game. Many pundits, fans, and players bought into it and spoke their minds freely. Despite feeble reminders that the gulf in number of trophies, history, and every other associated detail is massive, the general consensus was the Arsenal are now the inferior team in the north of the capital.

Well, isn’t it amazing when knee-jerk reactions are quashed in space of 10 days? We all heard how Spurs are the dominant team in North London. Looking at some of the commentary before the NLD, you would have thought that Arsenal were languishing in the relegation zone while the Spurs were running away with the title. Well, what a difference 10 days make! Arsenal are actually a point ahead, in Champions League places, having scored more goals than the Spurs (admittedly, conceding a ton more as well). Point I am trying to make is: the empirical evidence to suggest that the power shift has taken place is almost non-existent! Spurs have finished above Arsenal for one season since the PL has started. They have won nothing in recent history and the closest they have come to the title was when they were well behind Leicester (and one place behind Arsenal!) in the fairytale season. And while Spurs have been playing attractive football, they have a lot of ground to make up to be considered the top dog.

I think what I want to say is: why do we insist on rushing to hasty conclusions and getting in long drawn debates when there is very little evidence to support our stance? Things in football change very quickly (as the last ten days have proven) and for all we know, by the time weekend is over, Spurs might be ahead of Arsenal again (we are playing the Mou) and hence, the temptation to again point out that Arsenal are faring worse than Spurs. But last ten days should serve as a good reminder that the season is long and will throw its fair share of surprises our way. Therefore, unless we have a a sizable difference in standing of two teams, we should really not jump to any conclusions just yet. The race to the second place is an interesting one and will keep us captivated till the end of the season. Enjoy it while it lasts and these debates can perhaps resurrect when we our without the beloved sport for three months next summer! (Not entirely because it’s WC but hey, the charm isn’t the same as the PL, is it?)
Ahmed, Pakistani Gooner in Istanbul (Haven’t I used enough brackets in the email already?)

 

Praise for the new boys
Can we spare a moment’s praise for the newly promoted sensations that are Brighton and Huddersfield. Lots of mail about their opponents’ shortcomings in the box, but no one can deny that these two have added much needed pep to the middle of the table. Both teams’ weekend performances against top-level opposition were exemplary displays of discipline and heart, both teams at maximum levels of performance. The blend of solidity and threat is something a team like Stoke or Bournemouth (or even Newcastle) can only dream of. Whether they can maintain that through the season is always a question, but in terms of giving it a go with what you’ve got, then plaudits must go to Wagner and, particularly for me, the misunderstood and often maligned Hughton. Who’d have thought Brighton would be roughing up United at Old Trafford? Or that both teams would lose to such unlucky goals? I think we’d have heard more about these daring promotees’ strong showings if one of them had managed a draw. Long may they keep in going and the new blood flowing through the game’s veins.
Mark Trotsky, Woodstock

 

Churn-alism
Long time reader, first time mailer.

Really enjoyed the Johnny Nic article and, mostly, agree that today’s media need to answer a lot of questions on their dumbing down of football journalism and click-bait non-stories.

Finding good football coverage in today’s media is difficult, even listening to Sky Sports and BT Sports analysis is a chore, before you even consider the scant volume of high quality print and online coverage.

I’d like to point people in the direction of The Blizzard which is an excellent publication and can fill many a gap when you’ve read all of F365. TV wise surely the only show of any substance is the BT Goals Show? Which brings me neatly to your story on Renato Sanches being slammed by Sherwood, Savage and Sutton. I’ve never heard such nonsense, it’s so stupid it boarders on the offensive, yet wh should you be surprised when Sherwood and Savage are involved? Giving these pundits the time of day does nothing to improve (or add worthy content) to the footballing media.

As a final point I’d suggest that Johnny Nic and F365 may look a little closer to home and look at some of your advertising that is “recommended by Outbrain” for perfect examples of what is wrong with the football media.
Niall, Belfast

 

Potter should swerve English jobs
Re Dave, Dublin mail, I’ve been following Graham Potter at Osterunds since you guys mentioned him in a link to Set Pieces (I think). Delighted for him and his team that they are in the Europa League knockout. Hopefully they can get Arsenal in the last 32.

If I was Mr Potter I would be very wary of taking on any English team management job. Seems to me the pressure would be unbearable, though Mr Merson and Mr Thompson may give you a break. Having started to build himself a career outside of England, if I was him I would head off to somewhere he would be more appreciated, and somewhere warmer than Sweden

Source: football365

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