Free Friday, November 5th 2021: The Reds’ Recent Recruitment & Holy Exploding Prostates!

Free Friday, November 5th 2021: The Reds’ Recent Recruitment & Holy Exploding Prostates!
November 5, 2021 Daniel Rhodes
In Free, Free Friday


Best posts of the week, as chosen by Chris Rowland and Daniel Rhodes.

1 – Tony Mckenna (macattack) on the situations at Spurs and Man Utd after the sacking of Nuno:

There is an immediate contrast here, with the situation at United. Spurs are actually only 2 points off Ole’s underperformers, yet the latter has been given a reprieve. Ironically bolstered by the 3 points gained at Nuno’s expense. So, going into this fixture you can see that the margin was even closer.

Significantly, the wage bill at Spurs is probably not much more than a third of that at United. (Apologies, I may be wrong with that guestimate). And Levy has to take responsibility for that. Does he set his bar too high in this context? You can’t necessarily expect a top 4 team on top 6 wages.

Neither has Nuno been given time to prove that he may have achieved that outcome against the odds. More to the point, any subsequent Manager will have the exact same challenge.

He will also have to address a Star player who wanted out, and whose form is currently depleted. Worse still, he is their main goal scorer and Kane’s partnership with Son seems to have dissipated for the time being. The two were mutually on fire last season.

I posted over the weekend to illustrate that the Spurs/United game could have gone either way. The home team had 9 attempts to United’s 10. Problem was, Nuno’s men registered no shots on target, whilst United had 4. Arguably, 2 of the goals scored were by players who can hardly be considered as United’s future and who are on considerable wages in the meantime.

That said, the Spurs boo boys in the stadium had really sealed Levy’s decision. Yet the sacker is really part of the problem. And it was he, who has saddled them with a stadium debt that will negate a much-needed foray into the transfer market.

Nuno’s departure should also remind Ole that he remains at the whim of individual results himself. They just happen to be facing City next, who are entirely capable of meting out an embarrassing defeat as much as Liverpool did. Thankfully, for Ole, he got to face a team and club that is in as much as a mess as his own, first. Whilst his relief was immense, the celebrations may have been overdone.

2 – EddierobUSA on some crucial differences between Liverpool’s and Spurs’ owners:

There are two critical, and comparable, decisions that both FSG and Levy have taken. It is very clear FSG got them right, and Levy got them wrong:

Selling Coutinho versus keeping Kane. Liverpool used the funds to acquire Allison and VVD, and have gone from strength to strength subsequently. So far this season Kane has one goal and one assist, Spurs have an aging squad very much in need of rejuvenation. Spurs are sliding down the premiership with very little chance of qualifying for the UCL.

Building a new stadium versus renovating an iconic arena (I cannot get to Anfield much these days, but very much remember my days standing on the Kop all those years ago, and I have always thought that Anfield resembles the gladiatorial arenas of ancient Rome). Spurs have taken on around £ 1 BN in debt for their new and underused palace, whereas, for less than 20% of that, we have retained and greatly enhanced our home.

Spurs constant recycling of managers is simply another aspect that shows the lack of a clear coherent strategy for the club, not an issue Liverpool have faced under FSG.

3 – Tony Mc on the managers lauded then dismissed into the wilderness:

Eddie Howe, Chris Wilder, Frank Lampard, Unai Emery, Chris Hughton, David Wagner, Frank de Boer, Alex Neil, Marco Silva, Gary Monk, Nuno Espírito Santo.

Just a few of the Premier League managers anointed by the UK football media and pundits as “the next big managerial thing” over the past 5 years or so. All sacked. Some of them still in the managerial wilderness.

Who is next?

4 – ArdentLFCFan on the return of Thiago on Wednesday:

It was overwhelmingly great to see Thiago Alcantara back last night. He makes football look so silky with all of his exquisite passing technique. The Spanish Maestro passes the ball so effortlessly and help Liverpool when we needed to keep possession for the safety of our players when Atletico appallingly started with their dirty football.

He’s a passing master in his own art; great to have him back as the games will become thick and thin after the international break. He needs game time and perhaps Klopp will give him the chance to play in the Cup games and probably, the Leicester game in the Carabao Cup on the horizon soon. The paramountcy of his contribution in this team remains priceless.

I could watch Thiago Alcantara kick a ball about for hours, I genuinely will not get bored because of his wonderful passing technique that not so many can replicate in the modern top-flight football. World-class skillset with an array of technical and diverse abilities.

Yesterday, I felt Thiago had an exemplary game bar one situation of sloppiness when he was dispossessed and then Hector Herrera pounced the ball wayward which left Alisson nothing great to do to deny this goalscoring opportunity. The crux of the problem here is Thiago more than often loses ball possession at crucial area of the field when there is a possibility of counter attack.

I hope he can improve proceedings and be more conscientiously focused in his endeavours. But, the sheer quality this man shows on the ball is matched by very few. Far from his best, or his team’s best, Thiago still shines.

Jurgen Klopp isn’t expecting Thiago Alcantara to play for Spain in the international break. Think that gives him extra time to add freshness and build his fitness ahead of a large chunk of gruelling football calendar schedule in November and December.

5 – Martin on the Reds’ recruitment techniques:

I remember when we had just bought Jota, I went to look at a few highlight videos. It was very obvious that he was very good at appearing at the back post at the right time to finish balls across the box.

I remember when we bought “TGL” there was a lot of noise about the quality of his crossing into the box.

Liverpool, and by “Liverpool” I mean those involved in identifying the players and Klopp and the coaches who then put a team out on the pitch, to me aren’t doing anything that is rocket science but it does seem to be beyond others to figure it out.

Buy players because they are good at playing a specific way – and then they ask them to do the thing that made them worth buying!

But it’s the joined up thinking that makes the difference. When you have TAA who is one of the best in the world at playing balls between a back four and goalkeeper, Jota is the perfect player to buy. And then why not double down and have the same style of full back on the opposite flank rather than the dogma that one full back has to be defensive, both can’t be attacking! Why not.

6 – Mobykidz on the defensive performances this season:

​Are Liverpool less disciplined, keeping less clean sheets or exhibiting poor form? Or are we defensively looking better but tactically leaving ourselves more open to late equalisers? What are the pros and cons of a more attacking midfield set up? Here’s a short and amateur ramble.

Pros: A shift to 1-2 for exploiting progressive carry skills of Kieta, Ox, Jones, Thiago and eventually Firmino. Afcon removes Salah and Mane so a big push for more midfield impact in assists and goals to mitigate. A progressive midfield builds on higher line of back four to push us further forward and combat the low block teams.

Cons: Allison conceded two from out of the box already this season. Is the high line pushing him further out of box? He’s making a fair few big saves this season. Van Dijk return from injury creating more shot opportunities as his recovery pace builds up. Robertson’s defending is worst and opening up Liverpool on the wing and midfield. Trent moving more central and forward without midfield cover so opposition willing to take a risk and not play a low block to by pass our higher press.

Stats: Currently xGA Liverpool are 5th. Though it doesn’t feel like we’re conceded more shots. In our title winning season at 10 our xGA was 9.52 with 8 conceded. This season at Game 10 our xGA is 11.05 with 8 conceded. 6 clean sheets this season. In 2019/20 we scored 23 with xG of 20.65 but this season scored 29 with xG of 25.99. Yet in 2019-20 Liverpool were on 28 points compared to this season’s 22. 2019-20 was exceptional. But even then, in our first ten, we conceded >80 mins three times in the PL and only kept 3 clean sheets. This season our xPts is bang on whilst in 2019/20 it was 20.77 meaning we were over 7 pts better off.

Observation: So to put this in perspective. Liverpool have plenty to improve on. But the bench needs to agree a way to close games where we are leading by a goal going into the last 15 mins and the opposition can hurt us. That could mean bringing Gomez in at right back or part of a three if they’re attacking aerial wise. Or pushing Henderson back into a 2-1 or bringing on a Milner or Thiago and switch to a three allowing our back line to defend a little deeper and expose Allison less to big chances. Hopefully post international break we’ll have our midfield bar Elliott all fit. But I’m sure things will improve as they tend to for Klopp sides especially on avoiding give aways in possession leading to opposition counters and getting through the psychological barrier of conceding but winning, with the odd late winner. Just bear in mind that Chelsea are outperforming their xGA by a massive +7.

I’m sure its more complex data and performance wise with players not in peak fitness or form. But I reckon we’re doing well. With peak Fabinho it will help. But that game at West Ham could be very tricky. We tend to play a lot on the counter there. So it’ll be interesting to see how we set ourselves up against the master technician that is David Moyes. He could be Man Utd’s next manager could he!

Articles published since last Friday, with excerpts:

Sunday Oct.31st:

*Bumper* Post-Match Analysis: Liverpool 2-2 Brighton & Hove Albion, by Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes and various.

Daniel Rhodes: Hard to know what to say about that: felt like utter domination. A drubbing. At one point we were three-nil up, the next we’d been pegged back with a curling fluke (or well struck shot, I’m still not sure) and it was a one goal deficit going into half-time. Even then, according to the stats, it was only four shots apiece, so clearly not how I’d perceived it after the first few minutes.

Holy Exploding Prostates, Batman! – My Day at the Brighton Match, by Paul Tomkins.

It’s been a season of some of the best attacking Liverpool play ever seen, but I’m losing count of how many alarmingly bad halves or chaotic periods of conceding goals there have been: a full second half against Chelsea with 10 men; the first half against City; the match against Brentford; the game against Atletico after going 2-0 up; the mad two minutes against AC Milan; and now this dire second-half against Brighton. Even the victory over Crystal Palace was in doubt in a shaky second half until two late goals put it to bed.

Mon. Nov. 1st:

Analysing Mane’s Century of Premier League Goals, by Mizgan Masani.

In total, 26 of Mane’s 79 league goals (33%) for Liverpool have been match winners. So, the 29-year-old has directly won 78 points for the Reds with his goals that has given them the game-winning leads. The 2018/19 season had six and the title-winning 2019/20 season consisted of seven of those type of goals. Liverpool accumulated 97 points in 2018/19 and 99 in 2019/20 campaigns, some of Mane’s goals won them six and seven games in respective seasons.

Tues. Nov.2nd:

2021/22 Champions League | Matchday 4 | Atlético Madrid Preview | Anfield | 8pm Kick Off, by Gary Fulcher.

Atlético have won just five of their last 19 away matches in the Champions League, with one of those wins the 3-2 extra-time victory against Liverpool at Anfield on 11 March 2020.

Liverpool have won three and drawn one at Anfield in the Champions League following the above defeat and have lost just two of their previous 24 matches at home in this competition, picking up 16 wins and drawing the other six.