Free Friday: 3,000 Dig-Dogging Grinds, This is Paul’s Life & Better Than Can’s Hair?

Free Friday: 3,000 Dig-Dogging Grinds, This is Paul’s Life & Better Than Can’s Hair?
May 5, 2017 Chris Rowland
In Free, Free Friday

By Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

Here is our weekly round-up of five extracts from articles or comments that have appeared on the site during the past week. Just to allow a peep over our paywall. If you fancy a bit more of it, there’s a Subscribe tab at the top. It costs about the same as buying a monthly football magazine, but you get miles more! 

1- Monday May 1st: Mädchenkliop considering the team’s mentality, before the Watford game:

I thought what worked with the last two away games was that Klopp set us up with a more reactive, hard ass approach which firstly helped the mentality of our players in their decision making and then also allowed them to grow into the game and get a handle on it. All his words about grinding out results and going to a back 3 had a good effect switching the players onto the specific tactics for those games and we lost a lot of that ‘we ought to beat these’ self inflicted pressure.

With the Palace game I thought we played pretty well to start off with but I remember thinking seconds before their first goal came – oh no – we’re starting to push the play unnecessarily; as if we need to show how boss we are. It’s not just Lovren, it’s the whole team can get into this kind of fantasy football state of mind where they are trying to rediscover the magic football they know they can play and end up losing themselves in the moment. As soon as a bus parking team get the idea that their tactics are working, they start to gain a mental edge because their gameplan is so much simpler than LFC’s.

Really, I think we do need to become a smarter team in terms of adapting our style to the situation. But we are gradually building up a locker full of smarts and Klopp given time is good at adapting his approach. Avoiding the avoidable on a more consistent basis has got to be the main aim but trouble is it can be hard to do without becoming tentative. It kind of makes sense to me that the skill of decision making and when to change gear and when not to is something that can be learned and that’s perhaps why Klopp has been making those comments about Lovren. Maybe he is seeing progress where we are not, because we don’t know what progress looks like or how it happens. I’ll be interested to see the balance of the team tonight.

2 –Digger Dom on Monday May 1st, after the game:

Such an important win against yet another horrible side. Yet despite beating 3 sides away from home full of of enormous bullies who were meant to torment us at set plays, it’s the Palace game the media cling to. Anyway no stand out performances but everyone played their part once again. An amazing goal from what I hope will be a very important player in the future.

Special mentions for Migs, what a difference in his all round game but especially he command of the area. Lallana for looking like he’s never been away and unlucky not to get a goal and Lucas for being a great servant and reliable performer over the years and once again tonight (but I’d leave the diving to others mate!).

And finally to Klopp. Now I’m not one to praise managers that often but Jurgen, despite everything that’s thrown at him basically since he arrived, never complains but merely reminds a few people at the appropriate time what he’s had to deal with, keeps putting a team out that often lacks it’s best players due to the injuries and yet he still gets a result the majority of the time. That’s despite all the teams around us having either more money, more players, a structure at the club in place for longer, more resources, bigger stadiums or a combination of all that. Add to that the biased media willing him and the club to fail at every possible turn, biased officials turning a blind eye in almost every match, whilst not forgetting the massively negative fanbase spouting bollocks on social media as soon as a result goes bad (me included… although on here… sometimes!).

Despite all that, he keeps his sense of humour, keeps us entertained, keeps us loving him and incredibly seems to love managing this club. He positive nature is infectious, his intelligence undeniable and at time his genius has shone through and dragged us to the point where three more wins will do it.

Whatever happens he deserves massive praise from all of us come the end of the season. Yes he fucks up on occasion but he’s only human and will freely discuss the decisions he makes after the match and front up to them even when they go wrong. That shows the courage and belief he has and the perspective he maintains. He also seems to learn from his mistakes, see the last 3 away performances and results as proof of that. But most of all, we should never forget how lucky we are to have him.

On to the next one!

3 – This extract from the Subscribers-only part of Paul Tomkins’ article Klopp’s Reds Show They Can Dig, Dog and Grind, published Tuesday May 2nd:

Our fans are in a weird place in that they’re expectant based on history, and complacent based on history.

If we were almost any other club, coming up from 8th to 3rd means there’d be a buzz about the place. The only time I’ve seen that buzz in donkey’s years is during the run-in in 2013/14. Our great history gets in the way of progress, because nothing short of the greatest prizes ever feels good enough to a lot of people. So any time there’s even a slight falling short of the glories of old it just doesn’t get appreciated. Instead of improvement, it’s seen as failure.

Now, fans can’t be “on it” all the time, but it too often goes to the other extreme, where fans expect the win and won’t make Anfield totally imposing in the way that Leicester made their stadium imposing last season. It’s almost beneath some people to even try.

That said, I felt that the atmosphere at Anfield was better than usual earlier in the season – maybe due to the excitement of new-arrival Mané, and the rebuilt Main (Mané?) Stand – but it’s fallen back again lately.

The players really need that help in nervy situations, where some fans might confuse inhibition with a lack of desire. Groaning, and yelling abuse, will only make them more nervous, and scared of putting a foot wrong. Even the toughest characters need the crowd on their side. Yelling abuse may force a player to run harder, to show he’s trying, but it won’t help his composure or settle his nerves (and no matter how professional you are, you need to feel pressure lifted from your shoulders, not heaped onto it).

4. Marcus, on the Can goal:

Is that goal better than his hair???? Just might be.

What a goal………

Get that contract done.

5. Beez, looking into our big chances this season – in the 3,000th article published on The Tomkins Times, by the three-time winner of the Poster of the Year Award!

At the half way point of this season, Liverpool had amassed 41 clear-cut chances and allowed only 19. A difference of 1.16 per game has only been bettered twelve times in the past five complete Premier League seasons, so across the first 19 matches of 2016/17 the Reds had been at an elite level on this front.

But ‘down the back nine’ they have had 25 whilst allowing 33, meaning that at the time of writing their CCC difference per game for the season is 0.40, which is worse than four of the last five campaigns (with 2014/15 the exception). Manchester United have allowed 26 clear-cut chances this season; Liverpool have allowed 26 in their last twelve matches.

So if we are to blame a centre-back pairing for this, as per Paul’s question at the top of the article, who should it be?

Last week The Anfield Wools’ Podcast published the first episode of a three part series with a certain Mr Tomkins, this week: Episode Two  (click link)

In the second part of the interview, Rich chats with Paul about his experiences with Liverpool Football club and there is even a friend request from John W. Henry!

Articles published this week:

Tuesday May 2nd: Post-Match Analysis: Watford (A), by Daniel Rhodes.

Tuesday May 2nd: Klopp’s Reds Show They Can Dig, Dog and Grind, by Paul Tomkins.

Wed May 3rd: Analysing Liverpool’s Big Chances This Season (3,000th TTT article) By Andrew Beasley