Why everybody should be grateful to this awe-inspiring Liverpool side

Without Liverpool, Manchester City would walk away with the title every season. They are a brilliant team and should be appreciated.

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This Liverpool side is awe-inspiring
I’ve supported Liverpool since before I can remember (1991ish). Since then, there’s been McManaman at Wembley, Owen in Cardiff, Murphy in Manchester, Jerzy in Istanbul, Trent by a corner flag, and countless other moments of joy. Winning the league? The ultimate. The peak.
Sure, they’ve done it, but because of you know what, it just wasn’t what we had all dreamed about. Lifting the trophy in an empty Kop? It felt wrong. It wasn’t how I’d dreamt it.

The “wait” would go on. Maybe we don’t like admitting it, but for me at least, that night felt hollow.

There has always been one dream, above all others – Liverpool scoring a late winner at Anfield, in front of the Kop, to secure the title. Yesterday, briefly, that was possible.

I was working in a bar as it unfolded. There was a 10 year old, wearing his Salah shirt, watching the game on his phone, weeping and cheering as you would expect from a kid. In that brief period of hope, I became that kid again. I watched the game through his reactions, returning to my childhood as he experienced his. I served the kid his dinner, knowing he had zero interest in eating, just as I had no interest in giving it to him. All we both cared about was the scoreline on his phone. It wasn’t to be.

This Liverpool team is truly awe- inspiring. They may become European champions next week, but for me, even that won’t fill this void. The 30 -year wait continues. Hopefully that kid won’t have to wait this long.
Bryan Stokes

 

At least Liverpool didn’t f*** it up
That final day wasn’t much fun as a Liverpool fan.

Psychology is a big part of any competitive sport.

It was interesting watching the performance as news of the City game filtered through. Despite going a goal down we didn’t look uncomfortable, rushed or pressured at all. Until Villa scored. Suddenly we were misplacing passes and struggling to create chances as the team realised it was in their hands…and they were throwing it away.

And that nervy performance continued right up until City took the lead against Villa and then suddenly the nerves vanished and we seemed like the normal Liverpool again. That pressure is a real thing. Which makes me wonder how things might have gone in an alternate universe in which City still go two down but we take the lead against wolves. As news filtered through the City stadium would that pressure crush City spirits or not? It’s a fun what if.

At 1-1 and with City losing it felt horrible as a Liverpool fan. I actually hoped for a City revival if we were gonna stay at 1-1 because losing the title is much worse then someone else winning it. Had those results stuck and our team simply lost the title I imagine our game against Madrid would be much much harder. As it is now it’s not as bad as it seems. Sure we didn’t win the title but City won, so we were never going to win the title. That trophy was never ours to win. That’s a much easier pill to swallow than us simply bottling it on the last day.

Klopp is pretty good at motivating and managing his players’ mental state (so is Guardiola there’s a reason they’re almost always top two) but I’m glad that his pre game team talk now doesn’t include trying to smooth over one of the biggest f***-ups in club history. I do think this season was a missed opportunity thanks to games against Leicester, Brighton etc those were winnable games and we didn’t win. In addition City played almost a full season with no striker and still won the league scoring tons of goals. With the inclusion of a genuinely world class striker city will be 100+ points now every year until De Bruyne starts to wane.

Whoever wins the title next year will have to do so never losing and also winning both games against city. If we want the title next year it’ll mean sacrificing the two domestic cups and allowing fringe players to play those cups start to finish because in all honesty it’s nice having them and I’m glad Klopp added them and became the first Liverpool manager to win everything but if competing in those means we are too tired to win the title and Champs League then I’d happily never win those trophies again.

Here’s to playing our youth team in domestic cups next year.
Lee

 

…I wasn’t expecting such a tense final day in the title race. My assumption was that Man City and Liverpool would both score early and the games would be comfortable home wins for both. Gladly I was wrong. Wolves scoring after 2mins really opened up both games it felt like. Then when Villa scored late in the first half, with Liverpool level, it really felt like a this is actually happening moment.

Turns out both Liverpool and City lost their heads for a while. City going 2-0 down, whilst Liverpool completely abandoned defending and were trying to bludgeon a goal to take the lead. City sorted themselves out first, and was a quite frankly ludicrous 3 goals in 5 minutes. All credit to them, was sheer will and finding their heads again when it was required.

Personally, I think Liverpool and Man City should be made to play all their games next season on the same day and time where possible.

A fantastic season, and final day to finish it off. For Liverpool, it’s one more effort to hopefully complete a hugely successful and memorable season.
Kevin

 

Life without Liverpool…
For all the “neutrals” yukking it up at Liverpool missing out on the title by a point (again), with a better performance than every Man Utd PL title win (again)- here is the last 5 years PL table “wins” without LFC:

Man City 19 Pts
Man City 12 Pts
Man City 15 Pts
Man City 26 Pts
Man City 19 Pts

If your anyone-but-LFC bias means you would rather see a state-backed team romp to the title year after year, then have at it!
David Johnson

 

Championes, championes
It’s been a year of incredibly tight margins. Liverpool have won two trophies on penalties and lost the league by a point. An extraordinary five minutes cost City in the Champions League but was the making of them in the Premier League. City lost in the cups on penalties and when they had to put out a fractionally weakened team against – you’ve guessed it – Liverpool – and that was enough to turn two drawn fixtures into a 3-2 (sounds familiar) win.

These two teams and coaches need each other. Both make the other better.

Liverpool’s lockdown season was defined by injuries to centre backs. City’s season this time was almost defined by injuries to centre backs. City’s injury glut was much shorter term but came at the worst possible moment. Laporte is nowhere near fully fit but has been wheeled out again and again and has in the circumstances been awesome. Maybe CB is the most important position for both teams.

Rodri’s goal will be forgotten but that and his block at Anfield were far more important than a refereeing decision he got away with at Everton (as if Liverpool didn’t have a few of those, including against Everton themselves and against City). He is the most underrated player in the League.

City came from two goals down in both of their last two matches to secure the four points that just got them over the line. If you think those four points can purely be explained away by ‘oil money’, then you are lost.

If you still really think this is all about money (and both clubs have spent and received plenty), then I also refer you to Crystal Palace vs Manchester United. As far as we can tell the two dominant teams in the league are the second and fourth most expensive squads. The decimal points may be in different places but this is not unusual.

And if you think the Etihad was in some way quiet or empty or anything other than throbbing then you are living in an alternate reality.

Gundogan is a great player and a really good guy. He deserves a popularity that rises way above club partisanship. As a City fan, it gives me huge pleasure that he is surely now the second most successful German to play in England after Bert Trautmann, who will remain out on his own for reasons that don’t need explanation. Four league titles, numerous Cups, a man who uses his celebrity for good and now the scorer of one of the most famous goals in the history of our domestic game. Klopp must be incredibly rueful though. A player he developed in Dortmund has come back to haunt him. He’d be a slightly different player in the Liverpool team, but just as good.

Guardiola got his selection catastrophically wrong against Villa. The difference was that this time he rectified his mistakes early enough for Sterling and Zinchenko and the different shape they gave City to have an influence on the match.

Zinchenko had his worst match in a City shirt at West Ham. Seven days later, he turned the game for City with the performance of a genuinely elite player. But in the end, it was a glorious triviality to him, and that’s a lesson to us all.

I’m now off to watch some cricket.
Mark Meadowcroft

 


Manchester City, Conte, Howe and more are our Premier League 2021/22 season winners


 

…We have 1999, 2012 and now add 2022 to the list. If you’re gonna win something then dragging it back from the brink of despair is absolutely the way to do it. When they flashed that stat up about how useless we are at coming back from being behind at half time we all questioned the team’s balls especially after that collapse in madrid. But really, bloody bloody hell!!!

I’ve been out all night and have done that thing where I’ve somehow drank so much that I’ve started to sober up. I’m beyond speechless trying to describe what happened this evening. I can absolutely confirm that no it absolutely doesn’t mean more you self satisfied arseholes, stick your quadruple right up there!
Andy

 

Football. Bloody hell
The words of the great Alex Ferguson. Liverpool fans cheered as the news that City had just gone two nil down to a Countinho goal. The stars had aligned and the ex Liverpool men Countinho and Gerrard had helped deliver pot number 3 of the season.

Within 7 mins that had been blown apart by a ridiculous City come back. There was even time for the comical scenes at Anfield as the crowd began cheering on a wind up that Villa had equalised. The majority outside of Liverpool and the red media were saved from the air raid siren pitch Mersey wankfest. All ends well then, except it doesn’t.

For all the celebrating of Liverpool’s failure was the fact that City and Liverpool were 19 and 18 points ahead of the third placed team. With City buying Haaland the league is set to watch another City triumph? Maybe Spurs will be best placed to challenge the top 2. Outside of that I think it’s a rerun on this year and that is as depressing as f**k.
P Didi

Arsenal target Gabriel Jesus poses with the Premier League trophy

 

Decki says hi
Just wanted to say, I think Luis Diaz (25) is class, and could be a real gem over next few years. But I do have to question this constant media/fan love in as people call him the greatest January transfer of all time. He’s not even been the greatest January transfer of 2022.

Meanwhile, Dejan Kulusevski (22) finished the season on 5 goals (more than Diaz) and 8 assists (more than Diaz) in a far, far, far worse team than the quad attacking Liverpool. Let’s be clear, I am not saying Decki is or ever will be a better player than Diaz, but for what both have delivered to their respective teams, Kulusevski has been a far better signing. Of course though, Liverpool as always get the plaudits.
Not so Grumpy Dip – “Watching Tottenham on a Wednesday Night…”

 

Something to celebrate
Its hardly the most important event of the day but I’d just like to wish all the Gooners a happy St Arsenholes Day. And it looked for so long like St Totteringham would be making another appearance….

There’s always next year.
Jon Halling

 

On the PFM Union
Following today’s ups and downs it was good to see that some things remain a constant. Mere seconds after the confirmation of Burnley’s relegation, the punditry’s unfounded defence of Proper Football Man Sean Dyche began; Roy Keane instantly blaming Burnley’s downfall on their wild gamble of removing the tangerine grit magnate.

In fairness, when Dyche was sacked it seemed likely to be a disaster. It was hard to envision anyone who could do better with a team that couldn’t have been more built in its manager’s image if they’d lined up in the shape of a goatee.

However, seeing as under Mike Jackson, Burnley managed over 1.3 points per game compared to 0.8 per game under Dyche, it would appear the mistake wasn’t in changing manager, but in doing so too late.

But then when it comes to statistics, as Morrissey didn’t say, Roy’s not keen.
Mike

 

Ed’s guide to the final day
It’s safe to say football was the real winner on the final day of the Premier League season. Because Manchester United lost. I appreciate their fans might not find that funny, but in reply, I should point out they’ve been a bit of a joke this season.

* Generally speaking there was very little beyond pride and at stake for either Crystal Palace or Manchester United when they met to round off their seasons at Selhurst Park. Nonetheless, both sides picked strong teams, mixing regulars with those given one last hurrah and, at the other end of the career scale, a couple of players taking their first steps in Premier League football. For Palace, this meant a first league start for Jeserun Rak-Sakyi, alongside Conor Gallagher and Wilfried Zaha behind Odsonne Edouard. This was never going to be the obvious game for a young attacking talent to show their full abilities, but he didn’t look out of place.

* On 9 May, an expert wrote this in the Mailbox:

“Zaha scoring the winning goal, and ultimately the goal that relegated the Hornets, felt like destiny. Between this and scoring against James Ward-Prowse’s Southampton, he’s in the mood for exacting revenge on old foes. Apropos of nothing, Palace play Manchester United on the final day.”

Not bad, even if I say so myself. According to Opta, this was Zaha’s third goal against Manchester United, the most by any former player against them in the Premier League. He finishes the season with 14 goals, his most in a top flight season.

* Cheikhou Kouyate found himself in the news for the wrong reasons earlier this week. Last weekend it emerged that Idrissa Gueye had refused to play for PSG in a shirt displaying rainbow numbers in support of LGBTQ+ people, presumably either because it contravenes his religious beliefs or because homosexuality is illegal in Senegal. There are discussions to be had about how sincere the support for a cause is when the people supporting it are required to do so instead of choosing to do so, but Gueye has discovered that this isn’t something it is possible to be neutral on: refusal to support is interpreted automatically as opposition, which leaves you open to criticism. From this, while Kouyate may believe he is sympathising with his friend, it looks like he is sympathising with his friend’s views. This in turn presents a moral dilemma for the wider public: if people do support either these positions or people who hold them, is it better they do it privately (so it doesn’t cause offence) or publicly (so we know how they really feel)?

* At the end of 2019-20, I remember James Richardson introducing an episode of the Totally Football Show with “we salute all the teams that have entertained us this season, and Crystal Palace”. He could possibly have said the same last year as well. However, despite one of the most defensive managers leaving, the Eagles end 2021-22 with fewer defeats and goals conceded than they have ever had in a Premier League season, and finished with a positive goal difference. There were also significant improvements in goals scored and points earned. It’s just been fun that taking a chance to be more positive has worked out so well.

* Speaking of positivity, there’s Manchester United. Sorry, there’s positivity and then there’s Manchester United. What sets them apart from all the clubs they are supposedly rivals with is the lack of a coherent plan, and a distinct lack of patience from supporters if things don’t work straight away. There is something pleasingly non-league about a new manager coming in and clearing out as many of the previous man’s players and ideas as possible. The “throw lots of individually brilliant attackers on the pitch together and hope the chaos generates a goal” approach has already moved on to Everton, as with so many former Manchester United staples.

* During Brentford v Leeds United, Raphinha channelled his inner David Unsworth, albeit in the least Unsworthy way possible.

* Once Palace had ruined everything by ensuring Everton’s safety, it was hard to know who I wanted to go down. Burnley staying up year on year with a tiny budget and attempting to change their style in recent weeks would have been a deserved opinion, but on the other hand, it’s less likely we’ll see another “white lives matter” banner flying over a Premier League ground now. Leeds United, meanwhile, have become a generally unlikeable group of players in recent weeks, repeatedly flying into nasty tackles and making snide accusations against other players. On the other hand, their manager is American, and his continued presence in the Premier League will annoy the right sort of people. You know, people who say “it’s called football, not soccer”, adopting a moronic accent for the last word, but have no issue with saying “rugby” when they mean rugby union.

* Mark Hughes and Harry Redknapp were two managers who would often remind the media they had never been relegated. This often ignored that they had left clubs in positions where relegation was highly probable. Maybe we need to establish some sort of equivalent to baseball’s pitcher of record convention, whereby the manager who departs with the club in trouble is on the hook for the relegation, instead of the person who comes in with the doomed task of clearing up the mess. This puts Burnley’s relegation against Sean Dyche, instead of the efforts of Mike Jackson and co, and should be remembered when the ex-Chesterfield ace is linked with vacancies at supposedly ambitious Championship clubs.
Ed Quoththeraven

 

Stop it with the pitch invasions
Keeping this one short and sweet. The scenes from the Etihad, like those from a few other grounds last week are an absolute shambles. Every fan who was involved should be banned (not practical I know).

You’re all idiots and you’re going to get us put back in cages again.

For shame.
Marc