Free Friday: Making Progress, Enjoying the Ride and Passing Round a Brain Cell

Free Friday: Making Progress, Enjoying the Ride and Passing Round a Brain Cell
December 1, 2017 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday

This week’s posts selected by Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

1 – Leifur Geir says we should have fun this season:

because at the moment it ‘feels’ like we have to always play at our best to win, and that isn’t sustainable over a whole season.

I respectfully disagree. The last part of last season and most of this I feel that we have developed the ability to win without going 100% full throttle all the time. The patient victories against Southampton, West Ham, Huddersfield, Maribor were all much more controlled than the hamstring- pulling, gung-ho approach of the first two seasons. Less intensity may have cost us a little in terms of big game points (Chelsea, Man Utd), but we’re well into the season with all our main (realistic) targets open, with a fully fit squad and most or all players fresh enough to contribute significantly in the festive period ahead. I’d say that was serious improvement in strategic positioning from last seasons and very sensible management – dare I say Klopp and co have learned and adapted??

One more thing that I feel that people (fans) tend to forget or not appreciate enough, which is for me the most important thing of all: Liverpool FC with Klopp as manager are FUN. And given the fact that our trophies are going to be few and far between due to limited finances compared to the superclubs, the only thing that really matters is that we enjoy the ride. Klopp is by far the best man for that job (plus I’m convinced that he’ll win us trophies sooner rather than later).

2 – Gary Fulcher’s view of any who say they’ve had enough of Klopp:

People can question Klopp and some of the decisions he has made (or not) but to not see that we’ve made progress and improved upon what was left when Rodgers was sacked is incredible.

Look at our last Champions League campaign and compare it to this (this info is in my Spartak preview but is relevant here):

Despite the many critics who jump on any mistake made or misfortune that comes our way, the Reds are one of only six teams still unbeaten in the Group stages alongside PSG, Barcelona, Manchester City, Besiktas and Tottenham, while only PSG have scored more goals (24) than our tally of 16. This is a vast improvement over our 2014/15 Champions League campaign under Brendan Rodgers which produced one win, two draws and three defeats – with five goals scored and nine conceded – as we failed to progress to the last 16.

We are a better team, we have better players, a better manager, a better stadium yet still people moan and complain. We are far healthier as a club in every single aspect than we have been for as long as I can remember and still people complain!

The modern ‘supporter’ needs to look at what that word means and remove their heads from their arses and actually direct the effort they put in spouting shit on social media and whingeing to actually supporting the club!

3 – Stevenson1988 on Steve Bruce’s criticism of Liverpool over Dominic Solanke:

I’ve always been a great believer that it is better to be talked about than not talked about at all. Clearly we are all united (sorry to use that word) in our derision at the utter bollocks that is being spoken out there, but if we didn’t matter, if we were no longer seen as any sort of a threat; is it likely that Bruce would be spouting anything at all about us? The people within the game, the ones who really matter, the managers and players of our peer group; they know. They know that we are a real, and growing, threat. Why else do they set their teams up the way that they do – maybe City apart and even that game was not a true contest nor reflection of where the 2 clubs really are.

We are a dangerous team. We know that we are not, as yet, the finished article. We know that because we cannot throw the sort of money at a problem that City, Utd and Chelsea can that it will take us a little bit longer to build the squad that Klopp wants and needs to compete at the very top across all competitions. To be honest, I don’t think it’s actually that difficult a concept to grasp, so it really says far more about the brain power (or lack thereof) of the various idiots pontificating about our great club. I refuse to take seriously anything that the mighty combined brain power of the likes of Barton, Bruce and even Aldridge can muster. I think they pass one brain cell around between them, which is sufficient for them to be able to speak, but sadly not to be able to say anything of any relevance nor veracity. I no longer allow them to wind me up, I merely view their comments in the same way as my 4 year old granddaughter’s outpourings – good fun but not really anything to be taken too seriously. I suspect that FSG, Klopp and the players feel pretty much the same.

4 – Macattack appraising Klopp criticism HIS way:

Paul’s article should be prefaced on social media with a warning: if your football experience is limited to a pint, a pie, and a rant from the terraces, then this piece may insult your limited intelligence. That should clickbait them.

Klopp needs to go. We’re fucking shit.

We were two fluke goals away from being just two points behind United: Brighton deflected an own goal to become only the second team to score at Old Trafford this season; unfortunately, in the wrong net.

That’s just fucking excuses.

Then Chelsea: the attempted cross that became an on target shot, proving that sometimes accidents lead to eureka moments… as opposed to skill, intent and conscious endeavour.

Oh here we fucking go again. Bad luck Liverpool.

Luck has a huge percentage impact on football outcomes. Ever read ‘The Numbers Game’?

Yer wha?… I don’t need Carol fucking Vorderman to understand fucking football, mate…’kin hell. I’ve had a fucking season ticket for thirty fucking years…and I’ve got seventy five followers on Twitter who all fucking agree with me…Klopp out!

We were so close to breathing down United’s neck. Yet, they seem happy enough with the bus driver who currently manages them… even suggesting that they may extend his contract.

At least he won fucking trophies with them.

Oh they won things last year? You mean, them three pieces of silverware that United never really used to count? And via a brand of football that would redeem Tony Pulis as a tactical saint.

Makes no odds…he still fucking won things.

How much did they spend compared to Liverpool?..And the reigning champions fuelled by petro-dollars?… who we would have levelled on points only for that fluked goal.

It’s not all down to fucking money, look at fucking Leicester, they won the fucking league.

The exception that proves the rule. Economics matters when it comes to bigger sample sizes. Broaden the horizon. Next minute, you will be telling me that Rodgers won the title with Celtic… and that could have been us.

Well, it could have been.

Do you know what context means?

Yer cheeky fucking bastard… don’t insult my intelligence.

I don’t need to… you’re doing such a good job yourself.

Context (noun): A message sent to your mobile phone with the intent of scamming you. (Or, alternatively):


the circumstances that form the setting for an event, statement, or idea, and in terms of which it can be fully understood.

Klopp Out!

Well, at least, read Paul Tomkins latest piece on the Internet… it’s free.

Yer Wha? Paul fucking Tomkins. Ha. That fucking bell end! Fuck off!

Have you read any of his stuff?

Don’t fucking need to…

Yes, you do mate…oh yes, you do. But you don’t know that. Which goes to show: Ignorance is truly bliss.

The Moral

(And the moral of this story, boys and girls, is that there are different species of football fans.

Those, by choice, cryogenically frozen in a neanderthal state; consigned to a dark age where even Edison’s first light bulb would hurt their eyes. Like our friend, who believes that 30 years of being a season ticket holder, means he is an authority on the game. Except within that 30 years experience, he has never learnt one damn thing. A waste of a life.

On the other hand, there are those that have progressed, in evolutionary terms, in tandem with the march of civilisation; especially availing themselves of increasing knowledge bases; and research towards better understanding and enlightenment. A life of enrichment.

Choose life. Choose Football’s intelligentsia. Choose The Tomkins Times. As the Beach Boys sang: God Only Knows What I’d Be…Without You).

5 – Krishaldo quoting from Twitter on why young English coaches don’t get much of a look-in in the Premier League:

Hodgson, Moyes, Allardyce, Pardew. All handed PL jobs this year (or will be soon), combined age of 243, 18 PL stints between them, 0 major honours. It isn’t foreigners holding young British coaches back. It’s old lags and a safety first mentality.

6 – ConradHart on Paul’s article about logic and trusting the progress Klopp is making:

I haven’t enjoyed one of Paul’s articles more than this in a very long time. The constant air of defending Klopp in the face of brainless idiots was starting to spoil my enjoyment of Liverpool and by extension my time on TTT. I’d be thrilled off the back of another solid Liverpool performance and I’d see Paul having to defend our amazing manager because a bunch of idiots weren’t satisfied. The problem for me is I don’t know how big this bunch of idiots are. I’ve stepped away from social media because I just can’t take being reminded how many morons there are in the world right now. It’s too depressing and frustrating. When Paul is having to defend Klopp I’m starting to worry that it could be a sizeable group of haters and the position of the best manager we’ve had since Rafa could be in jeopardy. Suddenly a fantastic win is tinged with a growing fear that everything Klopp has been building over the past two years could be jeopardised by the modern whiners who want everything, right now and can’t see past the end of their own nose.

Hodgson as manager was a watershed moment for me. The first time in my life I genuinely didn’t want to watch Liverpool any more. We were on the brink as a club and could have ended up in a seriously dire situation but for the new owners. They might not be perfect but boy did they come in at the right time and steady the ship. From that day on I’m just happy to see us play good football. When you have young kids there’s not too much time in your life for entertainment so watching, reading and thinking about Liverpool is a big portion of my free time. I just need that to be a good use of my precious time. If we lose but we’re creating chances, playing well, fielding promising young players, my disappointment at losing is balanced by seeing a good performance and seeing hope for an even brighter future. That’s all I need right now.

I was once a thoughtless fan who just expected success and never thought about the multitude of things that can affect a team and skew the odds towards certain teams and away from others. Money usually being at the forefront. But I was young back then so I’m willing to forgive young fans today. It’s the older ones who should have more sense that scare me. The idiots who believe what they read in papers and can’t think for themselves. The morons who expect to win the league every year and won’t be happy with anything less. They scare me so much I’d rather not know what they’re moaning about and rather not be privy to their displays of dunceness, hence my distance from social media. But when it starts to filter into my enjoyment on this site it becomes quite scary.

If Paul is having to defend a manager that is getting the team to play some of the most attractive football Anfield has seen in decades it’s truly terrifying. Without Klopp we might be watching a team full journeymen aim for mid table security. Without the owners we might be looking at a team managed by Sam Allardyce or any other unimaginative British, middle aged proponent of apathetic, safety first football so that they can simply keep their job. It’s so easy in modern football to do a Leeds without the right manager in place or sensible owners at the helm. We were so, so damn lucky to get Klopp. Just look at the situation Everton find themselves in. There’s very few talented managers out there. It makes me so depressed that there can be any Liverpool supporter out there right now who isn’t satisfied with where we’re at and where we’re going. How can the Hodgson period not be a chastening reminder for everyone of how bad it can be?

So thank you Paul for this balanced counter point to the idiocy from so many so called Liverpool fans. You’re far more polite towards the fools who can’t cope with being so close in the past and not wanting to only be close again. If they can’t glean some enjoyment from supporting a club like Liverpool and only see the bad when Liverpool come close to greatness then we’re better off without them.

7 – Paul replying to Seamus’ comment about TPI:

In reply to Seamus saying this:

One thing that has got my mind in a twist, however. You mention that on average that the costliest XI will always finish first. I’d be curious how the current market inflation will affect that. Everton paid nearly 50m for Gylfi Sigurdsson and he is no better than Mo or Ox. United bought Lindelof for 40m, he is definitely no better than Matip, and I’d argue hasn’t been better than Lovren/Klaven in many respects (feel free to disagree, but he hasn’t been stellar).

Again, it’s the law of averages. Everything is calculated in current day money, and crazy new prices are no crazier than crazy old prices, as I’ve shown on here in the past, and will show below. All prices rise roughly in line with the inflation of the TV money.

We’ve clearly bought better than Man United in terms of value for money. But their squad costs twice what ours does. And they are above us in the table. Why? Because they have so many expensive players they can pick and choose, and the law of averages says that the more expensive buys you make, the greater the probability of getting a good side and aren’t too bothered by all the flops not getting a game. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is not doing well there, but he’s a fairly expensive player. It doesn’t matter though, as they have tons of others. They play Mata, who cost £72,331,441 + c.20% inflation. Or Pogba, Martial, and so on. Lingard may break the rule, but he’s an exception. They don’t have to rely on Lingard, though, as they have so many alternatives.

Everton paid nearly £50m for Sigurdsson, but – checking the database – Jordan Henderson cost us £46,228,929 plus the c.20% inflation of this season when it gets added to the equation after the January window closes (that price is up to the start of the summer; and from memory, inflation was running at around 20% in the summer, but the January window could move that up or down).

We paid £43,626,384 for Adam Lallana, plus c.20%. Firmino: £42,934,630 + 20%; Lovren: £34,901,107 + c.20%. Markovic £34,552,096 + c.20%. Some of those fees may seem excessive but a) people said they did at the time, and b) it’s the same as Sigurdsson – it’s just that you’re not anchored in the mindset of the current market but in past markets, that make the current one seem crazy. When £50m becomes pittance for a player, then unless you use inflation to keep track, you will look back at Sigurdsson and think £50m wasn’t so much. But it will always be relative; in three years’ time it could be the same as £100m.

LFC are getting a bit more like Spurs and getting better value from our signings and bringing through cheaper or home-grown younger players. That’s the way to bend the rule of £XI, but it takes time, and you have to resist poachers and unrest while building. However, Leicester aside, no team with an £XI outside of the top three £XIs each given season has won the league in about 15 years (I called this The Title Zone in terms of spending). In the same time, a team outside the top six £XIs has not finished in the top four, bar Leicester. While we’re finding excellent bargains like Mané, Man City and Man United are paying £50m-£90m on several attacking players who, actually, will probably score more goals. Mané has been a big hit for us but only Salah is off the charts as a bargain so far. And we’re still roughly where we should be in terms of £XI ranking; as we were in the league, on average of his tenure, under Rafa, and on average of his tenure, under Rodgers (although his last season and a bit was below the average, as was Rafa’s final season).

Another thing that screws with £XI is adding Europe, and/or lots of cup games. Leicester could beat £XI but only because they had no other pressures on the squad. It was 10,000-1, but if they’d played 25 cup games as well it would have been 100,000-1!

Play 20+ cup games in a season, or go from a low number of cup games to a high number of cup games in consecutive seasons, and you’re likely to be -1 place against your £XI expectations. Which may not sound much, but the difference between 4th and 5th is huge, as is the difference between 1st and 2nd.

Articles Published on The Tomkins Times this week:

Monday November 27th:

My Day at the Match: Chelsea (H), Nov. 25th 2018, by Andrew Potter.

Oi! Nutters! The Proof That Jürgen Klopp Has Massively Improved Liverpool, by Paul Tomkins.

Tuesday November 28th:

17/18 Premier League Preview | Matchweek 14 | Stoke City (A), by Gary Fulcher.

Wednesday November 29th:

Defending as a Team: Rating the Reds’ Goals Conceded, by Daniel Rhodes.

Thursday November 30th:

17/18 Premier League Preview | Matchweek 15 | Brighton (A) by Gary Fulcher

Don’t Have Blind Faith, But Logic Says Trust In Klopp’s Vision by Paul Tomkins

Friday December 1st: 

Can Mohamed Salah Win the Golden Boot? by Andrew Beasley