Archive for January, 2017
League Cup Halftime Report: Well that’s all it is, isn’t it? If it’s right then time to get players to bend over for a communal arse kicking. At Sunderland tired legs were blamed, at St Mary’s there had to be another reason. Forebodings and bad feelings are taking over; we’ve gone from goal happy to almost wouldn’t score on a night out with Wayne Rooney. Round of applause for Karius though, if hadn’t been for him we could have been out of it. Fair play to Jürgen who didn’t make any excuses and told it like it was; although I think his after match comments in the dressing room might have been worded slightly different. There’s this gut feeling inside me saying teams have sussed us; pack the place and let Liverpool have ball knowing we don’t have keys to unlock the bolted doors. Our defenders make a mistake and we pay but it ain’t new, been like it all season, in fact the last two or three seasons. Organisers and leaders needed, apply within!
Happy New Year to one and all and welcome to Issue 229 of Red All Over The Land. I’ve started with a new idea which is guest writers on the opening pages and you will have by now, hopefully read Kevin Sampson’s New Year message. My intention is to try and change a few things as we move towards the spring and maybe even brighten up the whole Fanzine; although amongst the things I received for Christmas was a vinyl copy of Leonard Cohen’s final LP, so morbidity is still with me. The way I’m looking at 2017 is, if vinyl can make a comeback, so can the printed word and that’s good news for Fanzines such as this one.
On the football front I spend time wondering what this team of ours can achieve and what should we realistically expect – or hope for? Firstly though, what have we achieved? Well we’re going to games at Anfield believing we might win whereas last season I’m not sure that was the case. Jürgen Klopp seems to have changed the player’s philosophy and they go out now with far more belief than they’ve had for some time. We’ve seen them win games with quality football or by grinding out a result. Everton [away] and Manchester City at home being examples of winning in a slightly more ugly fashion than we’ve become used to. In those two games the reinstated Simon Mignolet never had a serious shot to save which probably says a bit more about the maligned defence. There is still a vulnerability there but at least The Kaiser seems to be working on it. I’ve never been Simon Mignolet’s biggest fan but he’s far more secure than Karius. I think had Mignolet been in goal then we may not have fallen apart against Bournemouth and we might have done better against West Ham; but that’s water under the bridge. Vulnerability reared its ugly head at Sunderland as well where our sluggish showing was matched only by a totally inept referee. I’ve a feeling Jürgen might be getting a letter from the FA about his comments.
So what can we hope for? I’d view a top four finish as success and if we can win a Cup, then that would make it a real successful season. With a few additions to the squad in the summer we could be a genuine force next season.
I think we’ve got the best manager in the Premier League; he knows success only comes via hard work. I’m not suggesting managers like, Guardiola, Conte and Mourinho don’t work as hard but they only manage where there’s money. Jürgen Klopp has never had that luxury – not in the same volumes. He’s building for that eventual new dawn and whilst we saw so many things emerging in 2016 I honestly believe a lot more will emerge during 2017.
Enjoy the Fanzine and weather permitting I’ll be selling somewhere around what used to be a street.
They say it’s grim up north and in Sunderland it certainly was. My New Year Resolution of going to games full of joy and expecting a win has been binned. I don’t think Jürgen was overly chuffed either. The effort put in against Manchester City might have been good reason to explain how we played but we still should have won. I hate to give Moyes due credit but he probably got his tactics right just as Jürgen got his right against City. Sunderland, like Everton, were in our faces and wouldn’t let us settle but there were also times when we wanted to make five passes when one might have done the trick. Even after Manè put us 2-1 up there was a foreboding feeling around the away end and with referee Anthony Taylor proving his many doubters right he gave Sunderland the chance they wanted. Not even the most one-eyed of Sunderland fans shouted for the free kick that led to the second penalty. How bad was Taylor? Well when both sets of fans boo him at the end it tells you a story. When Sturridge was injured even the Sunderland keeper was trying to tell the referee but he ignored him and that tells you something else about him. Maybe he is a Manc of some sort after all? Sunderland deserved the draw but the fixture planners and TV match snatchers had played their part. It’s football now and the level playing field is a thing of the past.
I had to endure this game following updates because I wasn’t there. Boxing Day ruined by Sky and New Year’s Eve ruined by BT. Sometimes football has to take second place although had it been an early start I would have made it. This was either our big test or the game which showed Manchester City aren’t going to deliver what they thought Guardiola would bring them? When I saw our line-up with Emre Can in the side and both Origi and Dancing Dan in the comfortable dugout I suspected The Kaiser wasn’t going to take the richer of the Mancunian clubs on in a slug fest. If that was the case, it turned out just fine. The Golden Wonder, Gary Lineker said later it wasn’t the classic neutrals hoped for, well tough titty pal. To me this was the perfect appetiser for what I would feast on later in the evening. Gini Wijnaldum said we shouldn’t be surprised he scored with his head – it wouldn’t have bothered me if he scored it with his backside – but it wasn’t a bad effort was it? Vincent Kompany must have been equally impressed watching from the away end but maybe not so chuffed with his own teams efforts? Jürgen got his tactics spot on and there won’t be too many games in the remainder of the season when Manchester City don’t have a worthwhile effort on target. I don’t care for the phoney New Year’s honours list but we look to have more chance of being mentioned in them than Manchester City.