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Salah has taken all the spotlight away from Mane’s ‘growth’


After a couple of draws, it was really good to see Liverpool win in the manner they did yesterday. Make no mistake, if we’d have conceded that first goal last season our heads would have dropped and I really feel we’d have struggled to get anything from the game.

Klopp praised Salah as the best player on the pitch but I want to talk about Sadio Mane. He should’ve had a hat-trick yesterday but inexplicably missed from a couple of yards out. But in the last month or so, Mane has been the one getting the big goals. The goals that have kept us in this title race.

I was a bit shocked to see he’s only 1 behind Salah in the league on 16. And a little bit of googling shows that he’s never scored more than 16 in any league campaign, so he’s likely to break his own PB this season. However, I’m not sure why I’m shocked as he also hit double figures in Europe last year, including the equaliser in the final. Literally a man for the big occasion.

Mane’s growth has been on show for all to see but Salah has taken pretty much all the spotlight (maybe that’s a good thing) and I’m thinking that IF we win the league in a couple of months then Mane will have a big say in the run-in.

Kris, LFC, Wirral

Conspiracy…


Liverpool fans screaming conspiracy again after sterling’s opening goal.

They obviously forgot about James Milners opener against west ham not so long back.

I honestly feel over the course of a season these things even themselves out.

8 games to go…..it’s tight at the top.

Paul, Manchester

These are dark waters, folks…


Cast your minds back to the mid-to-late 90s. It was a time when Eurosport not only showed Tractor Pulling and Electronic Darts, but also used to show the full 90 minutes of older, classic World Cup games. There was something odd about those broadcasts that I could never quite put my finger on. Like Rosie Poppins observed in this morning’s mailbox, it seemed the commentator had an uncanny ability to either predict exactly what was going to happen or else say something oddly befitting e.g. a ‘commentators curse’ type comment, every 10 mins. It never sat right with me. Then, after watching a live broadcast on the channel I realised that it was the same commentator who was commenting on a match from the 1970 World Cup in Mexico who was also the commentator for the 1997 Nordic Cross Country Ski Championship, and his voice sounded the exact same, despite nearly 30 years in the difference. It then dawned on me, he wasn’t at the game in 1970 at all, he was recording his commentating in a studio 25 odd years later.

So this is where I put the tinfoil hat on and claim that Guy Mowbray doesn’t actually attend these games, but instead sits in the MOTD’s Manchester studio and records his comments post-match for the highlights. If this sounds a bit far fetched, wait until you hear where Guy got his first break at commentating on football matches. Dun dun duuuuuuuuuun: Eurosport.


These are dark waters, folks.

Big D, Luxembourg. 

Problem fans


The pitch invasion incidents at the weekend have brought into focus again an issue that I feel is never dealt with properly by the authorities, and that is bad behaviour by fans whether that be the aforementioned incidents, or racist chanting.

It’s not an easy issue, as punishing the innocent for the actions of the guilty is something that happens in school, but not ideal for the world of grown-ups. On the other hand, the whole concept of punishment is that it is meant to act as a deterrent to others, as well penalising the guilty. The current state of affairs is not acting as a deterrent at all, particularly the derisory fines that are handed out by UEFA / FIFA to football associations for racist chanting.

My feeling is that the best course of action is to punish the team. Hit the errant fans in the place where it hurts the most. In league competitions, you get docked points. In International qualifying or 2 legged cup ties, you play your home leg away from home (stadium bans punish the innocent team as well, as we saw in Croatia vs. England recently, which is unfair in my eyes).

I realise that this raises the potential issue of some smart Alec fan pretending to be from another team and, for instance, invading the pitch on purpose to hurt them, but I would hope an investigation would clear this up, and maybe more fans would then police themselves and stop this happening as it would have real consequences for their team.

It may be a bit draconian, but current efforts are not working, so maybe it’s time to try something else.

Phil (De Gea’s still good… Top 4’s still good… Ole’s still at the wheel… MUFC)

Football exists in a lovely little hermetically sealed universe (not)

Sorry, Mark (MCFC), but how can football – a cultural and social phenomenon produced by society – have f*ck all to do with societal issues?

While football does indeed create conditions that enable anti-social behaviour more than any other sport, that doesn’t make it the cause of that anti-social behaviour. The legitimacy to feel and to express that behaviour has to come from somewhere in the first place. You don’t become aggressive by playing or watching football – and aggressive acts clearly do exist outside of football. Check into any A&E on a Friday or Saturday night to see the consequences of some men  alcohol without a football shirt in sight. Or witness the current spate of knife crime. Or go to Magaluf in mid summer. If you believe you are entitled to physically attack or personally abuse another human being, it will usually find vent somewhere.

And while this kind of thinking has never gone away from football (just as it hasn’t gone away from society), there has clearly been a visible rise in incidents – and in society at large – at precisely the time when the rhetoric of certain political leaders and mainstream media outlets has become more divisive and aggressive. To ignore this correlation is just naive and will not address the (admittedly more complex) root causes.

Put simply: if your society (through its families, schools, communities and media – all products of that society) encourages you to genuinely respect other human beings, you just wouldn’t even think about shouting abuse at a man for taking a corner. If on the other hand…

James, Brighton

Completely agree with Mark. A man who feels that running onto a pitch to assault a player is a legitimate – even clever – move is an outlier, but facilitated by lesser acts of aggression going unchecked. Using Mark’s example, threatening a bus driver would be that bit easier if the other passengers are all on their feet screaming abuse at him.

However one such facilitator (which Mark himself is guilty of, along with every media report I’ve seen) is the description of the man as a football ‘fan’. The obvious inference of the inverted commas being that he is not a real football fan, as a real football fan would not commit such an act. The man was in a football stadium, having paid to watch a football match. It is a reasonable assumption that he considers himself to be a football fan, regardless of his warped understanding of what that represents.

In separating the extreme from the mainstream, we deny the complicity of their ideology. He is other, he is not like us, our group is exempt from guilt by association. Charlottesburg, Jo Cox, Baticlan, Charlie Hebdo, all anomalies and not reflective of the culture that they twisted to suit them. No introspection necessary here, please move along.

Obviously the sort of nutcase that will run onto a pitch to attack a player would likely have no issue with belting another fan in the stands, or worse, so I’m not saying we should confront these individuals directly. But we can at least do it indirectly, by refusing to condone or acknowledge behaviour that oversteps the mark. Those who cheered as he was dragged from the pitch are as guilty as the perpetrator himself.

JG LFC

Too many players have been poor for Spurs


I’m a Spurs fan and I’m ok about the current form. I mean it’s not great but it’s just football and it happens, I’m not about to call for the managers head or lay blame of this ‘disaster’ at the hands of the chairman. I’m going to ride it out like I have almost every season of supporting Spurs and still come back for more next season.

We’ve not played well for a long while now, the results were masking it a little/lot and had the oppo been a bit more fortunate or proactive I’m pretty sure we would be out of the top 4 a few weeks ago. The loss to Wolves at the end of Dec seemed to be a shock and from then we have looked very tentative. Against Dortmund we were just surviving until we nicked a goal or three.

I don’t think it’s tiredness as a group, it’s just that the way we play we are so reliant on the entire team, any component that isn’t 100% on it and the whole system falters. Too many players have been poor, Erikssen and Trippier mainly, either they have been poor of the opposition has targeted them as the best way to stop or most potent attacks.

Not sure of the answer really, maybe it’s as simple as missing Dembele in those tight games where we can control the ball so easily, maybe it’s a bit more cover in Dier, maybe it is general fatigue (I don’t agree), or maybe there are more deep rooted issues, but the squad is good and I’m not about to stamp my feet because we have lost a few games, we may get the Thursday cup next year after all.

Well done Saints though, good fight in the 2nd.

Steve (THFC)

I don’t have an agenda against Emery


I actually wrote in with an unprinted letter about how I was prepared to eat humble pie over Emery’s result at the weekend and on Lacazette, who finally went down in the box and won us a penalty.

If Emery delivers Champions League football, and let’s not forget we’ve played all of the big six -unlike some of the others in the top six, then I’ll be happy to admit I’m wrong.

You – on the other hand Stewie – have a quite frankly weird attitude to our club’s greatest manager and you continue with this agenda against the man long after he’s left the job.

Your Trump allegory is all the more amusing in that you’re doing exactly what he tends to do – accusing others of doing exactly what he’s just done.

I don’t have an agenda against Unai – I’m not sure about him but if he proves me wrong then fair play to him – you already seem to be mounting a defence of him even he fails to secure Champions League football by predicting United will beat us to fourth.

Fair play to Unai – he’s beaten United and I didn’t think he would do that but that just means that not securing Champions League football from this position should be considered failure – not least because the object of your ire delivered at least Europa League football in every season he managed the club.

Arsene had his faults and I wanted him gone by the end but not acknowledging his achievements and affording him the respect he deserves is at best ignorant and at worse wilfully stupid.

Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

Liverpool bottling it


DL, LFC ,Geneva.  Since Solskjaer took over at United, Liverpool have turned a 7 point lead at the top of the league to second place, 1 point behind the leaders.  When Solskjaer took over at United, United were 11 points off 4th place and are currently 2 points off.  If you think the barometer of success for Liverpool at that time was how they were going to perform compared to the team in 6th then you’re doing really well, keep it up!

SC, Belfast

Birmingham incident


Good afternoon.

Got to say I found Mark’s email this morning rather amusing. He says Johnny Nic is wrong on so many levels because the incident at Birmingham has “NOTHING to do with mental health”. What struck me is that Mark seems to know that Birmingham fan (kind of a fan) on a personal level. How can Mark say to any degree that it has nothing to do with mental health when he has no idea what everybody is going through? I appreciate mental health isn’t an appropriate excuse for that man’s actions, but to completely dismiss it is bordering on ignorant. Whether you agree with Jonny Nic or not, to say he was wrong to consider mental health as an issue for these types of cases is rather strange. Johnny Nic didn’t defiantly say it is about mental health, he simply assessed it’s possible important. Basically Mark, the majority of your email was conjecture and you know probably about the same amount as Johnny Nic when it comes to that specific fan and their mental health state, so let’s not get on our high horse about it all. (On another note, 2001-2009 is 8 years, not 10!). Just for clarification, this is not a defence of that man.

Moving on, I emailed in a while ago about the standard of refereeing and mediawatch. I didn’t see the following mailboxes so I’m not sure if this has been answered, but I asked if journalists have ever responded to featuring in mediawatch (for all the bad reasons!)? Reading today’s article made me laugh out loud, particularly the first part. Anyone else want to see the reaction of the journalist who wrote the “Day That Shamed Our Game” article? I think I’d even pay to see that conversation. Keep up the good work, chaps.

Rick. (Lincoln)

Deliberate yellow cards


Surely every time a player removes their shirt or jumps in to the crowd, knowing they will get a yellow card, this is a deliberate yellow card?

So note to Ramos et al: if you want a yellow card, get on the scoresheet, or simply get “over excited” and remove your shirt when your team score.

Phil, EFC

Winners and losers


I wonder if the league’s officials could have been put as losers in your winners and losers column this morning.  I know it is easy to moan at officials and certainly many of the decisions like close offsides are incredibly difficult to call right at full speed, but there did seem to be quite a few glaring errors this weekend.  Pickford not being sent off,  5 newcastle players offside for the winner, the clear foul on Alisson, the 5 yard Sterling offside, Sissoko not being sent off and I’m sure there are many more.

The game is harder than ever to referee but my feeling is that the standard of officiating is getting worse each season.

Rich AFC


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