Free Friday: VAR, No Deadwood and Sane’s Hypothetical Donkey Ride

Free Friday: VAR, No Deadwood and Sane’s Hypothetical Donkey Ride
March 2, 2018 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday


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

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1 – Marius assessing what the squad needs this summer:

I think we need another CM/DM if Can leaves. But then again maybe Grujic can be that man. Jorginho is off the charts on various passing stats I have seen at sites such as Playedoffthepark. Without having seen him too much he is at least not very fast in footy manager. Which makes me wonder if he would fit into the mould of midfield players that Klopp seems to rate. Keita and Ox in central midfield next year with our wingers and full backs could be unplayable for the opposition. Another forward/wide player would be good too. Salah, Firmino and Mane have almost no injuries this year. A bit more bad luck and we need someone who is not too far off that level to step in. Happy to have Ings and Solanke as 3rd and 4th choice. Now that he has been gone for a year and really did not have the intensity needed for Klopp’s style I can also see us selling Origi. He is a good player, but if we can get 15-20 million to help bring in a better 2nd choice up front then we should do it.  Whether we spend it on a primary CF or a winger who can deputise there or push Salah into CF I don’t know. But we need a body. We also need a GK if Mignolet leaves or could just leave Ward as second  choice. Karius has been playing well, if we can get a decent price I would still consider Alisson. How the money should be distributed on these positions I have no clue. And that can only be a good sign since it indicates that it is really difficult to improve this team. Will be interesting to see how Klopp views it in the summer and probably depends on which players are available too.  Besides that I really don’t see what else we need. All the backups are great. The team is just so complete. After this season there will be absolutely no deadwood left in our squad. The future is looking very red.

2 – A passionate and rousing call from Jonny C:

Excellent article Paul.

Ive been wanting to write this for a while, your article is the perfect platform.

I don’t disagree with any of the sentiment here. It’s all spot on.

This is the best time to be a Liverpool fan since the heady days of RAfa and 2005.

Its incredible. It fun, it’s joyous.

All I’ll add is this. I’m a loyal guy. I’m a grateful guy. I’m grateful to Klopp for choosing us when he could have hand picked any single club in world football. We must never forget this. He took a punt on us when no other ‘big’ manager would.

So my point is this. Whilst we’re in times of feast let us not forget the famine. And when in the famine let us not forget the feast. Because there will be times of famine. There’ll be the difficult 5th year. There’ll be a repeat of Rafa’s difficult 6th season (I didn’t give a shit we finished 6th, the media used it as an excuse to derail us. Rafa being sacked set us back precisely 10 years. A fucking decade. Let us never make that mistake again.)

What will determine how successful we are long term is how we behave as a family in the dark days, through the storms.

Jurgen needs to know that we’ll match him for loyalty. We’ll do what he did for Albie, for Lorius, we’ll wait for you like you waited for Virgil.

This is going to be the most exciting period to be a red since the glory years. It’s  got all the Ingredients. We can all feel it.

Next season…it could be the one. The actual one.

To win a title you need luck, fortune, non corrupt officials and other teams to not be doing a ‘city’.

We’ve been bereft of the first three for far too long. The most costly and blatant was Howard Webb steadfastly refusing to give the most blatant penalty to spurs when they were leading 2-0 against United. Had they lost that’s game, if memory serves me correctly, we go on and win the league. (I seem to recall Webb awarded Utd a ridiculous penalty that got them back into that game – Ed)

VAR changes all of this. No more marginal bullshit. No more Fergie owning referees. No more fraud. The only thing the establishment can do to us next season (oh and they will) is give us the MOST unfavourable fixture list known to man. It’ll be being prepared as we speak.

Expect away at City, Utd, and Burnley amongst our first 5 fixtures.

The rest they can’t control. VAR aside…..this has the sniff of a perfect storm.

City – rarely do teams win back to back leagues. They’ll be fatigued

Chavs – going into meltdown as we speak. No record investment for some time now. Rarely does a manager win the league in his first season. (Only Conte and Carlo have)

scum – chances of them winning the league? Highly improbable.

Arsenal – words not needed.

Spurs – one injury away from Kane inspired meltdown. Alderweirald leaving is the start. The start of the great levy con unravelling. How he’s managed to keep this lot of talented players together whilst paying them half market value in wages, is frankly a miracle.

It won’t last.

This leaves us. Primed like a viper coiled and ready to attack. Three more top end signings to a squad already brimming with quality, bereft of any deadwood, and we’re going to assault this league.

I’ll happily take no silverware and enjoy the ride, but I know there’s  feast round the corner.

While we should enjoy it, just remember, when Jürgen needs us in year 5 or 6, when he’s tired, when he’s burnt out and needs a rest, let him have one.

Let’s walk with him, let’s carry him, let us show him that at our club, we are more than just words.

Let us tell him, let us show him, let us be with him.

Let us proclaim this …

Jürgen you will never walk alone.

3 – Red Peter on VAR:

I am concerned that we may be expecting too much from the incoming VAR process. As can be seen with other sports, such as cricket, the extent of review process has meant that even though the DRS/VAR system reveals a clear referee’s or umpire’s mistake, the limit of the review doesn’t allow the error to be reversed.

The extent of the VAR system has to be properly thought through so as not to undermine the integrity of the game or its correct result. There is nothing worse than the public seeing a game changing error ultimately ignored by the officials.

It seems to me that the VAR should include at least all appeals for fouls in the penalty area and all offside decisions that lead to a goal being denied or allowed as a matter of course. If the referee needs help to determine some other incident on the field of play then this should open to him. A better referee should rarely have to go to this option. The current process appears to be that the referee makes an initial decision before the VAR is activated to determine what happened using slow motion replays and other video tools. If there has been an error the referee is invited to change his decision. Maybe it would be better for VAR to simply over-rule the referee.

I feel sure that the review process could be quicken up, as in cricket, where an LBW appeal is first checked for the bowler’s front foot position, followed by where the ball pitched, then by whether the batsman nicked the ball, all done before ball tracker is used. A close call is often quickly dismissed when DRS shows that the bowler’s front foot was over the cease and therefore the delivery was illegal.

Hopefully, in the case of the Spurs second penalty award at Anfield, the VAR would have reversed the penalty award when it was shown that the Lamela was offside at the beginning of the move. No need to go any deeper into who dived or how much any contact there was, so presuambly a very quick and clear decision can be made.

The aim of VAR should be to ensure, as much as possible, that the correct call is made in every game without fear or favour.

4 – Seamus takes a late look at the West Ham game:

Just re-watched the second half of the WH match, couple of additional thoughts:

1. Why is NO ONE talking about Firmino’s goal?!? He megs Adrian off of a bouncing ball to give himself th easiest finish in the world. That to me was as good as that Suarez goal against Newcastle all those years back.

2. Mane had 3 shots from within 12 yards (his goal, the leftie off the post and at 55 min where he tries to go between Adrian’s legs), Firmino had 3 shots from within 12 yards (his goal, and 2 others in space) and Salah had 4 opportunities (his goal, his post shot, the shank from Ox’s cutback, and the one that Cresswell got to slightly ahead)…these guys are insane…

3. The average time that WH has the ball everytime we lose it is about 5 seconds. We were THAT effective in our press after losing the ball. Vvd’s Impact on making the field small when we lose it is amazing

4. Having Ox and Keita in matches to exploit space like the run where Ox tried to chip Adrian is going to be awesome to watch.

5. Loris Karius, take a bow. If he keeps this level up and keeps improving, we can save our money. Remember, all, Alisson was not starting of Sczenzny last season. Yes, the ex gunner. So to me that means this kind of transformation could take place with Karius, obviously, as well.

Last point…this game really was as boring (in the best way possible) as a replay as it was live.

5 – Graham managed to get one of the many unwanted tickets for the Arsenal vs Man City game and gives us his summary:

TTT tech-guru Jack was kind enough to give me a spare ticket (there were lots going) and I went along. The Emirates is convenient and, tbh, I was keen to see City in the flesh. A few observations:

– There was a very strange atmosphere in the ground. It felt half full, at best. The reason his pals had dropped seemed to be a combo of dread and the weather. They’d have grimly gone along, with zero expectation, but the cold and travel chaos combined with lack of enthusiasm was enough to put tens of thousands off.

– Arsenal are poor and Wenger makes strange decisions for a man with his experience/intelligence. Playing four attacking players, three of whom don’t work hard (Welbeck being the exception) looked a recipe for disaster and proved to be. Also making no subs was a bit odd.

– Surely Wenger has to go. The atmosphere is so toxic it must be unsustainable … and starting to hit their bottom line. Such a shame because he was a pioneer, is a good man… but his time has come and it all feels very undignified.

– City are awesome. We will have to do something spectacular to challenge them next season. I think we are capable of that … but it will take monumental effort and a decent slice of luck given their excellence and financial power.

– Sane is an absolutely magnificent footballer. Tall, strong, fast, beats people for fun and has great end product. Shame he moved to City 2-years ago before Klopp could take him for a donkey ride on Blackpool beach! 🙂

Articles published on The Tomkins Times this week:

Monday February 26th:

My Day at the Match – West Ham (H) Feb. 24th 2018, by Tim O’Brien.

Wednesday February 28th:

Liverpool Under Klopp and Rodgers – Comparing Five Years of Statistics, by Andrew Beasley.

Friday March 2nd: 

The Red Share Diaries – Prostate and Predictions | West Ham (H) By Thomas Arthur