Author Topic: Chasing the Title  (Read 1077005 times)

Offline Roger Federer

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16840 on: May 14, 2019, 10:29:23 AM »

we took one point off them this season, defo needed a(one) win against them this year not 2 draws(2points as you mentioned)

next season might need 6 points??!!
If we had drawn with them away this season, they end up on 96 points and we on 98 points (all else equal off course). Two draws would’ve been enough, our results against the rest of the league was better.

Offline gamble

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16841 on: May 14, 2019, 10:30:31 AM »
It does however assume that other teams won`t improve which they probably will. The remaining "top 6" clubs will look at this and realise that the bar has been set higher and will have to spend and set targets accordingly. If Spurs keep Pochettino and spend money they will probably improve. Same for Arsenal and dare I say, United. That makes it more likely they will start to take points in key games against City and also us.


You're right, we do need the other clubs, especially top 6, to make a dent in city's points tally. Only Man utd and us took points off them in 2017/18. Spurs haven't taken any points off city in the last two seasons. Really need the other clubs to make the league more competitive. They had a few shock results this year, especially against palace and newcastle, so hopefully their tally trend is coming down.

They still have Kompany, Silva, Aguero as their main players - those guys were winning the title under Mancini in 2012. Hope to see age catch up with them (and they are all 30 years plus now). Fernandino, a pellegrini signing, is now 34 and had to be used carefully across the season. They will struggle to replace those players, as good as their attackers are (Bernando Silva did well this year and Sterling obviously improved), so there is hope.

But 97+ points?? Crikey. Every dropped point by us next year will feel like a disaster when the stakes are that high. A point away at OT or Arsenal can't be considered in the same light anymore when its that high a level.


Offline Sharado

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16842 on: May 14, 2019, 10:48:06 AM »
If they do end up getting banned from the CL next year, that'll probably give them the rest they need to win the league next year too.
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Offline redmark

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16843 on: May 14, 2019, 10:51:53 AM »
If they do end up getting banned from the CL next year, that'll probably give them the rest they need to win the league next year too.
They won't be. If a ban is the agreed sanction (and I remain unconvinced), it will most likely be applied for the 20/21 season, as City will have a right of appeal. If anything, that scenario might help us a touch, as they'll focus even more on the CL in 19/20 while they're still in it.
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Offline Son of Spion*

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16844 on: May 14, 2019, 11:11:40 AM »
... And for once, Shankly may have been wrong when he said 2nd is nothing. Because this '2nd' is one people are not going to forget...
The way the table finished put me in mind of 1981 when the abomination that was Joe Dolce's 'Shaddup You Face' stopped the Ultravox masterpiece, 'Vienna' from hitting the number one spot.

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Offline Nobby Reserve

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16845 on: May 14, 2019, 11:33:15 AM »
Still gutted. Keep torturing myself with 'what-ifs'.

But more than all that I'm incredibly excited for the future. A young squad, gained plenty of experience, just a couple of tweaks needed rather than a wholesale rebuild.

If we can get close to 97 points again next season, I have no doubts we'll finish first.
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Offline Walshy nMe®

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16846 on: May 14, 2019, 11:36:26 AM »
Its a learning experience. In reality if we'd played for a draw against City, we might have won the title. I know its not our style but maybe sometimes we need to change it up.

Given the resources City have, its incredible we've matched them.

Not only matched them, but bettered them.

We got 96 points against the rest of the league.
They got 93 points against the rest of the league.

The head to head was the decider, and we had one cleared off the line and one off the post.  They had one off the post, that went in.

Offline King Kenny 7

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16847 on: May 14, 2019, 11:45:05 AM »
I honestly believe that this season will go down in history and forever getting mentioned and it will be Liverpool that get referenced most. We may have come second but we have still won. 😀

Offline deano2727

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16848 on: May 14, 2019, 11:45:13 AM »
Folks, forget about it. Its over. No need to say we lost it here or there. Fact is we lost it. Another fact is our season isn't over - we play the biggest game in club football on June 1st. We have that as well as challenging again for the league next season to look forward too.

We got 97 points. We were beat by a point (take your pick where it came from, but wherever it came from, its a point) by a ridiculously good team with a quality manager who has unlimited funds and a bigger squad to choose from. We have done exceptionally well and will continue to do so with these lads and Klopp at the helm.

Lets win number 6 and show our superiority to the rest.  :wave

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16849 on: May 14, 2019, 11:50:55 AM »
Not only matched them, but bettered them.

We got 96 points against the rest of the league.
They got 93 points against the rest of the league.

The head to head was the decider, and we had one cleared off the line and one off the post.  They had one off the post, that went in.
They learned from the CL mauling we gave them. They knew if the came here in the league and went toe to toe, we'd probably beat them. They came here set up to draw or nick it on the break. They got lucky against us at their place. We will have learned from what happened in the head to heads this season.
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Offline Dench57

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16850 on: May 14, 2019, 12:28:29 PM »
I honestly believe that this season will go down in history and forever getting mentioned and it will be Liverpool that get referenced most. We may have come second but we have still won. 😀

God I hope not.

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Offline Red Being

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16851 on: May 14, 2019, 12:49:49 PM »
God I hope not.



 ;D
Honestly though, not comparable. The highest points total in the history of the League, bested only by the most financially doped team in the history of football, is an achievement to be remembered, no matter what.

Offline Craig 🤔

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16852 on: May 14, 2019, 12:57:11 PM »
I honestly believe that this season will go down in history and forever getting mentioned and it will be Liverpool that get referenced most. We may have come second but we have still won. 😀

We were on TV 3 more times than City - 29 vs 26.

The fact City were only on as many times as Spurs, and a game less than United, tells you everything you need to know about what a plastic club they are.

Offline PoetryInMotion

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16853 on: May 14, 2019, 01:16:04 PM »
They won't be. If a ban is the agreed sanction (and I remain unconvinced), it will most likely be applied for the 20/21 season, as City will have a right of appeal. If anything, that scenario might help us a touch, as they'll focus even more on the CL in 19/20 while they're still in it.

If they don't win the CL next season & they get a CL ban the season after next, the Guardiola might give up.

Offline JackWard33

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16854 on: May 14, 2019, 01:47:23 PM »
Not only matched them, but bettered them.

We got 96 points against the rest of the league.
They got 93 points against the rest of the league.

The head to head was the decider, and we had one cleared off the line and one off the post.  They had one off the post, that went in.

They missed a penalty in the last minute

*runs and hides*

Offline The Final Third

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16855 on: May 14, 2019, 02:14:15 PM »
Don’t Laugh At Us! Don’t Pity Us! Klopp’s Liverpool One of the Greatest Teams Ever

By Paul Tomkins


No one will ever forget this Liverpool side. I mean, ever. To quote Outkast, I mean ever ever ever ever.

And it feels like nothing is gonna stop this Liverpool side. You can only delay it.

I left Anfield yesterday not in regret or sadness but suffused with a Reds-red glow of pride in the glorious Merseyside sunshine – at the team, the manager, the backroom staff and executives, and at the Liverpool fans, who were just majestic throughout the game, as they have been on my five recent trips.

(Unlike the Wolves fans, who were typical of the “let’s all laugh at you fucking it up, apparently, when our own team fucked up a 2-0 lead in the only semi-final we’ve been to in years, despite spending tons more than the team that came back to beat us”, and “let’s just sing about your team, not ours”. This is an increasing trend in visiting teams: singing about Liverpool. Come on, people – sort your own lives out. Support your own team.)

No English team has ever got 97 points – or even close – and reached a European Cup/Champions League final; and even pro-rata with the old points system, I can’t even see that it’s been done with 40 or 42 games. While the number of points top teams can get may vary from season to season, this is the first time any country has had all four European finalists. So this is not a weak league. This is Liverpool being exceptional at a time when English football is arguably at its most exceptional. This is Liverpool being one of the two best teams in the world right now.

Liverpool got 98 points in 1979, but after exiting Europe early; winning the European Cup in 1977 and 1978, and in 1981 and 1984. The Reds got 90 points in 1988, but with no European football.

In 1999, when Man United did the treble, they racked up just 79 points. They got 87 when winning the Champions League in 2008, and an impressive 90 when reaching the final in 2009, when the Reds managed 86 and made the quarter-finals (the previous best season for the club in the Premier League era). The last time United made the final, in 2011, they racked up just 80 points. Chelsea got just 64 points when Champions of Europe in 2012, and as my research has shown, on average a team reaching the final loses seven points compared against its previous season and its subsequent season; a club on Liverpool’s budget (so Liverpool and Arsenal, on four previous occasions) loses an average of 11 points.

We can see what has happened to Spurs’ league form, and they must have lost an absolutely staggering 20 games across all competitions this season. (But they are a still a threat in a one-off game.)

Only two teams have bettered 97 points (or the equivalent pro rata) in the history of English football, and they are both Man City. Yet they never progressed further than the quarter-finals of the Champions League in either campaign. And this year they didn’t even face that many good teams: this season, they played the 8th and the 15th-best teams in Germany, the 4th best team in England, the 3rd-best team in France, plus Shakhtar Donetsk. Of all those teams, only Spurs look imposing. 

By contrast, Liverpool racked up 97 points whilst also facing, and beating, PSG, Napoli, Bayern, Porto and Barcelona; the best teams, as things stand, in France, Germany and Spain, and the 2nd-best team in Italy and Portugal (but Porto can still finish top). Liverpool have had an absolutely punishing European schedule. With a smaller squad than City.

City had far more domestic cup games, admittedly, but again, almost all against very weak opposition. However, Liverpool just added 22 points to their league season whilst also reaching the Champions League final for the second year running, having faced even better teams this season.

That is insane.

Liverpool also beat Spurs, Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea this season.

And maybe the only reason Liverpool didn’t beat Man City was because a referee from Manchester didn’t send the Manchester City captain off in the game in Manchester between Liverpool and Manchester City. (Spot the theme.) Keith Hackett, FIFA referee from 1981-1991, tweeted: “The turning point in the Premier League title was decided in the Man City v Liverpool game. 31st minute when Kompany went in from distance with two feet off the ground on Mo Salah. Anthony Taylor failed to red card the offence! City won 2-1”

That cost Liverpool the title; a 10-point gap could have opened up, instead of it being narrowed to four by two in-off-the-post goals. Kompany is a great player but he has escaped red cards like no other player on the basis that he’s a good bloke.

And none of this is to take away from what City have done; the financial doping aside, which makes it hard to say “fair play” (when it may not indeed be financial fair play), there is little more that any manager could do than what Pep Guardiola has achieved. He has done an immense job, and they play some amazing football.

Until they were rivals I loved watching them. But is their squad unfairly bolstered by iffy financing? Der Spiegel certainly seem to suggest the evidence is there, from the masses of Football Leaks documents. We shall see if anything comes from the four major investigations into their spending. If it’s proven to be shady, then maybe this achievement will be severely tarnished. To have spent money they were not allowed to spend would be a form of cheating; not just financial doping but financial juicing.

Liverpool spent big last summer by selling big the winter before; Jürgen Klopp making a very good player look like an excellent player, and the Reds pocketing £142m in the process. With Kloppian fitness and preparation, Philippe Coutinho was an instant hit in Barcelona, arriving mid-season. But in his second season, without Kloppian fitness, he has bombed and been booed. Meanwhile, players bought by Liverpool from clubs like Southampton, Hoffenheim, Charlton, Lille, Schalke, Stoke (when relegated), Newcastle (when relegated) and Hull City (when relegated), and rejects from bigger clubs – flops who would never make it in England – are at the pinnacle of the European game. Coutinho has his medals, and the Spanish sun; but Coutinho has no joy. Would you rather be Mo Salah or Sadio Mané right now, or Philippe Coutinho?

If you can’t see that the coaching, attention to tactical detail, astonishing fitness work and man-management/motivation isn’t a big reason why these players look so good at Liverpool, then you’re missing something.

Look at the supposedly better players – at the time of their transfers – that have rocked up at Man United the past few years. Look at the fees and wages paid, to try and corner the market on proven big names at ripe old ages. 

And if any Man United fans think they can laugh at us – you just had to beat relegated Huddersfield who were losing every single week, but drew, and then lost 2-0 at home to relegated Cardiff. That is fucking shameful. I’d take 2nd, with 97 points and a Champions League final, over not being able to beat two of the worst teams you’ll ever see, when attempting to finish higher than 6th. If it’s hard to give City full credit given the way they may have financed their success, at least they’ve spent the money infinitely better than United, with brains rather than braggadocio. Seriously, if you think you can laugh at Liverpool right now, think again. If you think we’re crying, think again.

Jürgen Klopp is the antidote to the modern football fan muppet, and the financially rigged clubs. He could go to Bayern, steal the best players from anyone who comes close, and get silverware. Where’s the fun in that? I’m sure he’s actually probably already said “where’s the fucking fun in that?”. Coutinho can go to Barcelona and get trophies, but where’s the fucking fun in that?

The love inside Anfield for the 30 minutes after the match will stay with me forever. I wasn’t at the Barcelona game, but I can imagine the love in the stadium that night. The scenes around Anfield before the game was like a carnival, even if we all knew City would beat Brighton. Win, lose or draw, it was gonna be a party. Because football should be fun.

As such, I think Klopp is the first Liverpool manager to enter into the club’s pantheon of great managers without winning a trophy. Three seasons in Europe, three finals. That is up there with the best achievements in football. Three full seasons in the Premier League, and 97 points in his third full campaign. That is an historically significant landmark. No trophy – but clear, indisputable greatness, particularly when combined with the way the Reds have reached the Champions League final.

Now, that final is a mere 50-50 shot, with Liverpool’s superiority counting for nothing against underdogs as dangerous as Spurs. If Liverpool fail to win it then it will be a great shame, but equally, Spurs have done amazingly well to get to the final, and if you add the national derby element, form goes out the window.

As it was, Liverpool were outplayed in 2005, but won. They were then the better team in 2007, but AC Milan won. They were the better team for 30 minutes against Real Madrid, until Sergio Ramos set about trying to maim everyone, and sent Mo Salah to the hospital. Finals aren’t always about who is the better team, or who wants it more; it can be random, just like Liverpool at Man City, where Kompany should have been sent off with 60 minutes to play, and the ball was 11mm from a goal for the Reds, and went the Reds also hit the post – as did City’s two goals. That’s how it rolls, sometimes. 

Trophies are great. But thousand separate little joys, added up, can be the equal of, or even better than, trophies. Famous nights are all part of the experience, and this season Liverpool have beaten PSG, Napoli, Bayern, Porto, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Man United.

Equally, if Spurs lose to Liverpool in the final, then that won’t undermine the amazing work Mauricio Pochettino has done. Because trophies can be random; and the minor trophies (domestic cups, Europa League) are not so hotly contested anyway. Pochettino has done more this season than any League Cup silverware could replicate.

Seven days ago, but what now feels like a lifetime, I tweeted that whatever happened this season, it had been a success. At the time I thought the Reds were going out of the Champions League, and it looked like City were gonna win the league.

In response I saw the familiar: no one remembers who came 2nd in the league and who reached the Champions League semi-finals or lose the Champions League final. No one remembers the runners-up.

Bullshit.

This is such a reductionist argument. This is the argument for those who only experience joy of football through the honours list on a club’s Wikipedia page; those who just want to trade “we’ve won more than you” barbs on social media, rather than think about “what do you remember?” We remember things that capture the imagination and stir the heart; trophies, or not. You get dull trophy-winners and you get fantastic runners-up. 

In terms of only remembering the winners, there are hundreds of winners in football that I cannot call to mind. I’d have to go look them up to tell you who they were.

I can call on more than just my usual response of Holland 1974 and 1978, Hungary 1954 and Brazil 1982, who were amongst the greatest an most influential football nations ever – and add South Korea in 2002, and clubs like Monaco of 2004 and 2017; Atlético Madrid in 2014 and 2016, and Klopp’s Dortmund in 2013; Leeds in 2001, and yes, Ajax and (if the Reds win in Madrid) Spurs this year. There are many others.

I vividly remember Arsenal in 2006, losing narrowly to Barcelona, more than any of the Gunners’ late-Wenger trophies, some of which I didn’t even bother to watch, as domestic cups are only treated seriously by about one-third of the clubs who enter. I will always remember Sarri’s Napoli last season, with the great football they played, and the staggering achievement of finishing 2nd with … 91 points.   

And Napoli didn’t also reach a Champions League semi-final in the very same season, beating Bayern, PSG and, of course, that very team Napoli along the way. (Obviously Napoli couldn’t beat themselves.)

I don’t remember the Reds’ 2003 League Cup at all fondly, other than beating Man United in the final – because the team was so dreadful in the league that season – but I do think far more fondly about the 2002 team that came 2nd in the league with 80 points and went to the Champions League quarter-finals.

I don’t think particularly fondly of the 2012 League Cup success, when Kenny Dalglish won the Reds’ most recent trophy, but I loved every minute of the second half of 2010/11, when Roy Hodgson was finally sent packing and King Kenny put the smiles back on our faces with some free-flowing football. (A League Cup/FA Cup double in 2012 would have been more memorable, but the margins were super-fine in that other final, against Chelsea.) I don’t think as fondly of Roy Evans’ 1995 team, which won the League Cup, as the 1996 team, which won nothing – but was a much better team.

But so many things about this season, including the win in Bayern, and the 4-0 thumping of Barcelona after being (unfairly) 3-0 down in the first leg, will stay with me forever. And in my last eight visits to Anfield I’ve seen the Reds score well over 20 goals and not concede once. I may not be a regular anymore, but I’ve seen some special performances from a special team.

You remember great teams. It’s as simple as that. You remember Herculean efforts, and when sport becomes this outstanding and elite – when the air gets so rarified that you’re almost 30 points ahead of the nearest other competitors – then people remember the vanquished as well as the victor. This Liverpool team broke the scoring record in the Champions League last season, with so many goals that shitloads is not adequate to describe the quantity, and has now racked up 97 points in the league this season, with another Champions League final to come.

And if people forget this Liverpool team, that’s their problem, isn’t it?

This is the fatal modern psychological flaw of “compare and despair”. Nothing is ever good enough if you cannot find satisfaction in being great because someone else was great too. This is just like Mark Manson’s example of how the guy who formed Megadeth, who sold millions and millions of records, but is never happy because he was kicked out of Metallica, who sold even more records.

No, we are happy, and we are proud. And this is just the start.

Indeed, I have been writing what must be my 8th or 9th book on a Liverpool season, although this one is more about the evolution under Klopp since 2015 than just 2018/19. Many of those books ended with no silverware, and Man United and Everton fans flooded book sites with mocking reviews, but if you chronicle a season you don’t know where it will end; just as, in late 2004, I did not know my first book would end with me sprawled on a piece of cardboard outside the airport in Istanbul at 7am, having just had probably the greatest night of my life. (Apologies to any ex-girlfriends reading this, and also, apologies for everything else. I now accept that screaming Jerzy Dudek! during sex is not such a good thing.)

But this book (initially available only to TTT subscribers, in a special boxed edition complete with a second book written by our contributors on the matches they were at) has been the hardest to write. Because, there’s just so much to cover. So much keeps happening; too many great moments to document in one book without making it 15,000 pages long. I have to keep rewriting sections, as so much keeps getting better than I ever thought possible. The sections on the really good games have to be edited down, as there are so many fucking awesome games. And this season has been the hardest on my health, as it’s just been non-stop must-win games for 10 months.

The book will be finished this summer, and will be released on the back of a Champions League trophy, or on the back of an amazing, amazing season with no silverware.

The book will end, because you have to draw a line and tie things up – just as the season will end, one way or another, on June 1st. But again, for Liverpool and Klopp, this is only the start…

https://tomkinstimes.com/2019/05/dont-laugh-at-us-dont-pity-us-klopps-liverpool-one-of-the-greatest-teams-ever/


Offline Al 666

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16856 on: May 14, 2019, 07:06:29 PM »
If they do end up getting banned from the CL next year, that'll probably give them the rest they need to win the league next year too.

It is not just FFP that they have breached. If the reports from the German are true then they have clearly breached the Premier Leagues own financial rules.

The rules say that a club’s wage bill in 17-18 should not be more than £7m more than it was in 2016-17, or £19m more than from the 2012-13 season. If it does increase beyond that limit, the money can only come from external sources such as player sales, ticketing or commercial money, rather than Premier League central funds or from the owners.

If the reports from Germany are true and there is no reason not to believe them then City have breached the rules in at least two areas. Firstly they have clearly inflated their commercial revenues with Abu Dhabi subsidising companies who sponsor City and secondly with Abu Dhabi directly owning the players image rights which allows City to unfairly reduce their wage bill.

Personally I think City's downfall ironically will be the other four members of the top five locking out both the Champions League and Europa League finals. The power brokers from the likes of Barca, Madrid, the Italian Clubs and Bayern and Dortmund will be demanding action is taken.

When that happens I think it is inevitable that English football will have to act especially after the punitive points deduction handed out to Birmingham City.
One thing does need to be said: in the post-Benitez era, there was media-led clamour (but also some politicking going on at the club) to make the club more English; the idea being that the club had lost the very essence of what it means to be ‘Liverpool’. Guillem Ballague 18/11/10

Offline RedBootsTommySmith

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16857 on: May 14, 2019, 08:35:46 PM »
Don’t Laugh At Us! Don’t Pity Us! Klopp’s Liverpool One of the Greatest Teams Ever

By Paul Tomkins



https://tomkinstimes.com/2019/05/dont-laugh-at-us-dont-pity-us-klopps-liverpool-one-of-the-greatest-teams-ever/

Fantastic. Get in there, Paul!
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Offline andy07

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16858 on: May 14, 2019, 10:06:39 PM »
So do if they do get a ban how will that change CL qualification?  Places 2-5?  Pisser for Utd if that happens.
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Offline 18 yard line

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16859 on: May 14, 2019, 10:15:22 PM »
God I hope not.



Surely that’s not for real?  One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!  I’m in stitches!
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Offline sms1986

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16860 on: May 14, 2019, 10:22:40 PM »
Surely that’s not for real?  One of the funniest things I’ve ever seen!  I’m in stitches!

I've never been sure whether they were being sincere or not when they made it.

Offline kezzy

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16861 on: May 14, 2019, 10:28:38 PM »
Don’t Laugh At Us! Don’t Pity Us! Klopp’s Liverpool One of the Greatest Teams Ever

By Paul Tomkins


No one will ever forget this Liverpool side. I mean, ever. To quote Outkast, I mean ever ever ever ever.

And it feels like nothing is gonna stop this Liverpool side. You can only delay it.

I left Anfield yesterday not in regret or sadness but suffused with a Reds-red glow of pride in the glorious Merseyside sunshine – at the team, the manager, the backroom staff and executives, and at the Liverpool fans, who were just majestic throughout the game, as they have been on my five recent trips.

(Unlike the Wolves fans, who were typical of the “let’s all laugh at you fucking it up, apparently, when our own team fucked up a 2-0 lead in the only semi-final we’ve been to in years, despite spending tons more than the team that came back to beat us”, and “let’s just sing about your team, not ours”. This is an increasing trend in visiting teams: singing about Liverpool. Come on, people – sort your own lives out. Support your own team.)

No English team has ever got 97 points – or even close – and reached a European Cup/Champions League final; and even pro-rata with the old points system, I can’t even see that it’s been done with 40 or 42 games. While the number of points top teams can get may vary from season to season, this is the first time any country has had all four European finalists. So this is not a weak league. This is Liverpool being exceptional at a time when English football is arguably at its most exceptional. This is Liverpool being one of the two best teams in the world right now.

Liverpool got 98 points in 1979, but after exiting Europe early; winning the European Cup in 1977 and 1978, and in 1981 and 1984. The Reds got 90 points in 1988, but with no European football.

In 1999, when Man United did the treble, they racked up just 79 points. They got 87 when winning the Champions League in 2008, and an impressive 90 when reaching the final in 2009, when the Reds managed 86 and made the quarter-finals (the previous best season for the club in the Premier League era). The last time United made the final, in 2011, they racked up just 80 points. Chelsea got just 64 points when Champions of Europe in 2012, and as my research has shown, on average a team reaching the final loses seven points compared against its previous season and its subsequent season; a club on Liverpool’s budget (so Liverpool and Arsenal, on four previous occasions) loses an average of 11 points.

We can see what has happened to Spurs’ league form, and they must have lost an absolutely staggering 20 games across all competitions this season. (But they are a still a threat in a one-off game.)

Only two teams have bettered 97 points (or the equivalent pro rata) in the history of English football, and they are both Man City. Yet they never progressed further than the quarter-finals of the Champions League in either campaign. And this year they didn’t even face that many good teams: this season, they played the 8th and the 15th-best teams in Germany, the 4th best team in England, the 3rd-best team in France, plus Shakhtar Donetsk. Of all those teams, only Spurs look imposing. 

By contrast, Liverpool racked up 97 points whilst also facing, and beating, PSG, Napoli, Bayern, Porto and Barcelona; the best teams, as things stand, in France, Germany and Spain, and the 2nd-best team in Italy and Portugal (but Porto can still finish top). Liverpool have had an absolutely punishing European schedule. With a smaller squad than City.

City had far more domestic cup games, admittedly, but again, almost all against very weak opposition. However, Liverpool just added 22 points to their league season whilst also reaching the Champions League final for the second year running, having faced even better teams this season.

That is insane.

Liverpool also beat Spurs, Man United, Arsenal and Chelsea this season.

And maybe the only reason Liverpool didn’t beat Man City was because a referee from Manchester didn’t send the Manchester City captain off in the game in Manchester between Liverpool and Manchester City. (Spot the theme.) Keith Hackett, FIFA referee from 1981-1991, tweeted: “The turning point in the Premier League title was decided in the Man City v Liverpool game. 31st minute when Kompany went in from distance with two feet off the ground on Mo Salah. Anthony Taylor failed to red card the offence! City won 2-1”

That cost Liverpool the title; a 10-point gap could have opened up, instead of it being narrowed to four by two in-off-the-post goals. Kompany is a great player but he has escaped red cards like no other player on the basis that he’s a good bloke.

And none of this is to take away from what City have done; the financial doping aside, which makes it hard to say “fair play” (when it may not indeed be financial fair play), there is little more that any manager could do than what Pep Guardiola has achieved. He has done an immense job, and they play some amazing football.

Until they were rivals I loved watching them. But is their squad unfairly bolstered by iffy financing? Der Spiegel certainly seem to suggest the evidence is there, from the masses of Football Leaks documents. We shall see if anything comes from the four major investigations into their spending. If it’s proven to be shady, then maybe this achievement will be severely tarnished. To have spent money they were not allowed to spend would be a form of cheating; not just financial doping but financial juicing.

Liverpool spent big last summer by selling big the winter before; Jürgen Klopp making a very good player look like an excellent player, and the Reds pocketing £142m in the process. With Kloppian fitness and preparation, Philippe Coutinho was an instant hit in Barcelona, arriving mid-season. But in his second season, without Kloppian fitness, he has bombed and been booed. Meanwhile, players bought by Liverpool from clubs like Southampton, Hoffenheim, Charlton, Lille, Schalke, Stoke (when relegated), Newcastle (when relegated) and Hull City (when relegated), and rejects from bigger clubs – flops who would never make it in England – are at the pinnacle of the European game. Coutinho has his medals, and the Spanish sun; but Coutinho has no joy. Would you rather be Mo Salah or Sadio Mané right now, or Philippe Coutinho?

If you can’t see that the coaching, attention to tactical detail, astonishing fitness work and man-management/motivation isn’t a big reason why these players look so good at Liverpool, then you’re missing something.

Look at the supposedly better players – at the time of their transfers – that have rocked up at Man United the past few years. Look at the fees and wages paid, to try and corner the market on proven big names at ripe old ages. 

And if any Man United fans think they can laugh at us – you just had to beat relegated Huddersfield who were losing every single week, but drew, and then lost 2-0 at home to relegated Cardiff. That is fucking shameful. I’d take 2nd, with 97 points and a Champions League final, over not being able to beat two of the worst teams you’ll ever see, when attempting to finish higher than 6th. If it’s hard to give City full credit given the way they may have financed their success, at least they’ve spent the money infinitely better than United, with brains rather than braggadocio. Seriously, if you think you can laugh at Liverpool right now, think again. If you think we’re crying, think again.

Jürgen Klopp is the antidote to the modern football fan muppet, and the financially rigged clubs. He could go to Bayern, steal the best players from anyone who comes close, and get silverware. Where’s the fun in that? I’m sure he’s actually probably already said “where’s the fucking fun in that?”. Coutinho can go to Barcelona and get trophies, but where’s the fucking fun in that?

The love inside Anfield for the 30 minutes after the match will stay with me forever. I wasn’t at the Barcelona game, but I can imagine the love in the stadium that night. The scenes around Anfield before the game was like a carnival, even if we all knew City would beat Brighton. Win, lose or draw, it was gonna be a party. Because football should be fun.

As such, I think Klopp is the first Liverpool manager to enter into the club’s pantheon of great managers without winning a trophy. Three seasons in Europe, three finals. That is up there with the best achievements in football. Three full seasons in the Premier League, and 97 points in his third full campaign. That is an historically significant landmark. No trophy – but clear, indisputable greatness, particularly when combined with the way the Reds have reached the Champions League final.

Now, that final is a mere 50-50 shot, with Liverpool’s superiority counting for nothing against underdogs as dangerous as Spurs. If Liverpool fail to win it then it will be a great shame, but equally, Spurs have done amazingly well to get to the final, and if you add the national derby element, form goes out the window.

As it was, Liverpool were outplayed in 2005, but won. They were then the better team in 2007, but AC Milan won. They were the better team for 30 minutes against Real Madrid, until Sergio Ramos set about trying to maim everyone, and sent Mo Salah to the hospital. Finals aren’t always about who is the better team, or who wants it more; it can be random, just like Liverpool at Man City, where Kompany should have been sent off with 60 minutes to play, and the ball was 11mm from a goal for the Reds, and went the Reds also hit the post – as did City’s two goals. That’s how it rolls, sometimes. 

Trophies are great. But thousand separate little joys, added up, can be the equal of, or even better than, trophies. Famous nights are all part of the experience, and this season Liverpool have beaten PSG, Napoli, Bayern, Porto, Barcelona, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs and Man United.

Equally, if Spurs lose to Liverpool in the final, then that won’t undermine the amazing work Mauricio Pochettino has done. Because trophies can be random; and the minor trophies (domestic cups, Europa League) are not so hotly contested anyway. Pochettino has done more this season than any League Cup silverware could replicate.

Seven days ago, but what now feels like a lifetime, I tweeted that whatever happened this season, it had been a success. At the time I thought the Reds were going out of the Champions League, and it looked like City were gonna win the league.

In response I saw the familiar: no one remembers who came 2nd in the league and who reached the Champions League semi-finals or lose the Champions League final. No one remembers the runners-up.

Bullshit.

This is such a reductionist argument. This is the argument for those who only experience joy of football through the honours list on a club’s Wikipedia page; those who just want to trade “we’ve won more than you” barbs on social media, rather than think about “what do you remember?” We remember things that capture the imagination and stir the heart; trophies, or not. You get dull trophy-winners and you get fantastic runners-up. 

In terms of only remembering the winners, there are hundreds of winners in football that I cannot call to mind. I’d have to go look them up to tell you who they were.

I can call on more than just my usual response of Holland 1974 and 1978, Hungary 1954 and Brazil 1982, who were amongst the greatest an most influential football nations ever – and add South Korea in 2002, and clubs like Monaco of 2004 and 2017; Atlético Madrid in 2014 and 2016, and Klopp’s Dortmund in 2013; Leeds in 2001, and yes, Ajax and (if the Reds win in Madrid) Spurs this year. There are many others.

I vividly remember Arsenal in 2006, losing narrowly to Barcelona, more than any of the Gunners’ late-Wenger trophies, some of which I didn’t even bother to watch, as domestic cups are only treated seriously by about one-third of the clubs who enter. I will always remember Sarri’s Napoli last season, with the great football they played, and the staggering achievement of finishing 2nd with … 91 points.   

And Napoli didn’t also reach a Champions League semi-final in the very same season, beating Bayern, PSG and, of course, that very team Napoli along the way. (Obviously Napoli couldn’t beat themselves.)

I don’t remember the Reds’ 2003 League Cup at all fondly, other than beating Man United in the final – because the team was so dreadful in the league that season – but I do think far more fondly about the 2002 team that came 2nd in the league with 80 points and went to the Champions League quarter-finals.

I don’t think particularly fondly of the 2012 League Cup success, when Kenny Dalglish won the Reds’ most recent trophy, but I loved every minute of the second half of 2010/11, when Roy Hodgson was finally sent packing and King Kenny put the smiles back on our faces with some free-flowing football. (A League Cup/FA Cup double in 2012 would have been more memorable, but the margins were super-fine in that other final, against Chelsea.) I don’t think as fondly of Roy Evans’ 1995 team, which won the League Cup, as the 1996 team, which won nothing – but was a much better team.

But so many things about this season, including the win in Bayern, and the 4-0 thumping of Barcelona after being (unfairly) 3-0 down in the first leg, will stay with me forever. And in my last eight visits to Anfield I’ve seen the Reds score well over 20 goals and not concede once. I may not be a regular anymore, but I’ve seen some special performances from a special team.

You remember great teams. It’s as simple as that. You remember Herculean efforts, and when sport becomes this outstanding and elite – when the air gets so rarified that you’re almost 30 points ahead of the nearest other competitors – then people remember the vanquished as well as the victor. This Liverpool team broke the scoring record in the Champions League last season, with so many goals that shitloads is not adequate to describe the quantity, and has now racked up 97 points in the league this season, with another Champions League final to come.

And if people forget this Liverpool team, that’s their problem, isn’t it?

This is the fatal modern psychological flaw of “compare and despair”. Nothing is ever good enough if you cannot find satisfaction in being great because someone else was great too. This is just like Mark Manson’s example of how the guy who formed Megadeth, who sold millions and millions of records, but is never happy because he was kicked out of Metallica, who sold even more records.

No, we are happy, and we are proud. And this is just the start.

Indeed, I have been writing what must be my 8th or 9th book on a Liverpool season, although this one is more about the evolution under Klopp since 2015 than just 2018/19. Many of those books ended with no silverware, and Man United and Everton fans flooded book sites with mocking reviews, but if you chronicle a season you don’t know where it will end; just as, in late 2004, I did not know my first book would end with me sprawled on a piece of cardboard outside the airport in Istanbul at 7am, having just had probably the greatest night of my life. (Apologies to any ex-girlfriends reading this, and also, apologies for everything else. I now accept that screaming Jerzy Dudek! during sex is not such a good thing.)

But this book (initially available only to TTT subscribers, in a special boxed edition complete with a second book written by our contributors on the matches they were at) has been the hardest to write. Because, there’s just so much to cover. So much keeps happening; too many great moments to document in one book without making it 15,000 pages long. I have to keep rewriting sections, as so much keeps getting better than I ever thought possible. The sections on the really good games have to be edited down, as there are so many fucking awesome games. And this season has been the hardest on my health, as it’s just been non-stop must-win games for 10 months.

The book will be finished this summer, and will be released on the back of a Champions League trophy, or on the back of an amazing, amazing season with no silverware.

The book will end, because you have to draw a line and tie things up – just as the season will end, one way or another, on June 1st. But again, for Liverpool and Klopp, this is only the start…

https://tomkinstimes.com/2019/05/dont-laugh-at-us-dont-pity-us-klopps-liverpool-one-of-the-greatest-teams-ever/



Great read. 

Offline PaulF

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16862 on: May 16, 2019, 07:58:48 AM »
It's taken me almost  a week to catch up on all the comments on this thread, but it's been worth it. I totally share the sense of optimism after the end of that so nearly season.  I think that the sense of hope, rather than expectation since City edged out Spurs in the league has made it easier to take.  If we'd been top going into the final game, and drawn to concede the title, then I'd be truly gutted. Even the spectacle of a champions league final wouldn't pick me up for a few weeks. When Klopp took Virgil to Blackpool, I hope they did a rollecoaster, just in preparation for this season and the magnificent achievements of the team, and maybe there's surfing there too as it feels like we're riding the crest of a wave.

A long time ago, someone mentioned how it can be harder for London clubs as they have so many 'derbies', not true for us, but dropping points to Everton and United is more painful than other clubs. Though tougher to take, it's still the same number of points dropped,. Maybe having two clubs who 'raise their game' for us made a difference, maybe not.

Going forwards, I fear the players involved in the AFCON, that's got to hurt rest, recuperation and pre season training. Hopefully we get some cover in , and can rest them whilst they integrate.  Will us and City hit the huge winning streaks of this season, who knows.  I do expect us to both finish comfortably in the top two slots. I expect the next four to improve, but probably targetting top 4 rather than the title. I wouldn't be surprised if someone further down, pushes into the top four. Maybe even Everton!

I already feel the title is ours next season, and I would LOVE it if we could match the invincibles, but even if we lose games early in the season I just know we'll press on harder and push right to the end!

"All the lads have been talking about is walking out in front of the Kop, with 40,000 singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone'," Collins told BBC Radio Solent. "All the money in the world couldn't buy that feeling," he added.

Offline Peabee

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16863 on: May 16, 2019, 04:00:12 PM »

we took one point off them this season, defo needed a(one) win against them this year not 2 draws(2points as you mentioned)

next season might need 6 points??!!

You’re forgetting that two draws means they would have had two fewer points too.
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Offline Alan_X

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16864 on: May 16, 2019, 05:06:42 PM »
I disagree that the title was lost during the game at the Etihad. Far from it, we were still very much in command of the title race despite that loss.

We lost because we drew at Goodison Park and Old Trafford, while City didn't. Those were high-profile away derbies where we felt that taking a single point would be enough, as opposed to the points dropped against West Ham and Leicester.

Those string of consecutive draws came at a vital period in the title race and handed City the belief that they will retain the title. Guardiola was almost prepared to concede the title after they lost at Newcastle, but we allowed them to claw back the points.

That's meaningless. We lost because we had fewer points over the season than City and each of the dropped points were of equal value. The two points dropped at Goodison weren't worth more than the two dropped at West Ham. If we'd won either game we'd be champions.

The argument that the Etihad was more relevant is a good one because it was a game where we could directly influence their points total. As has been pointed out, in the games against all the other teams we performed better than City.
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Offline SteveZissou

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16865 on: May 16, 2019, 05:12:22 PM »
I'm obviously beaming for the UCL final but I'd be worried for next season if we don't freshen up the squad in key areas. The main reason being the Nations League, the Africa Cup and the fact that we need this summer to get some rest from the World Cup to the marathon league season to the UCL final... From all I mentioned, the Africa Cup worries me the most due to the longer format where all our big guns should be going to the KO round.

Will Shaqiri start some of the early season games? But he's in the Nations League.
Players who could help us with their energy early next season: Gomez, Lovren, Keita, Shaqiri, Origi and Fabinho.
Not sure about Ox early next season. We could count on him as a starter too.

I'd bring in a good left back, and another speedy wide player so that we can give Sadio and Salah a proper rest sometimes.

Now, by a rest I'm not talking playing the likes of Lallana and ruining our Premier League hopes. I'm talking a proper player that will push our front three.

I obviously don't believe it's going to be Antoine but let's say hypothetically we got him, we can then compete with City's ability to go with Sane, Mahrez and De Bruyne from the bench.

We could freshen things up with: Shaqiri, Firmino and Antoine. Resting both Salah and Mane. Then bring them back firing in another game. This is how I think we can challenge again next season.

Otherwise I'm not sure if we will have the energy to cope after the Afcon.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2019, 05:25:45 PM by SteveZissou »
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Offline You think you'd learn by now

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16866 on: May 16, 2019, 05:17:11 PM »
All valid concerns and points but if you're aware of it, like I am and everyone else, then Klopp and the rest of the coaching staff are as well, so they'll have a plan one way or another.


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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16867 on: May 17, 2019, 01:41:33 PM »
Man City Champions League bans... bad for our league chances?
Thoroughly mediocre player.

Regrettably not seen anything in him. Neither for us nor from watching lots of youtube videos after a few on here said he looked good.

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16868 on: May 17, 2019, 01:42:51 PM »
Man City Champions League bans... bad for our league chances?

Yep.

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16869 on: May 17, 2019, 01:43:13 PM »
Man City Champions League bans... bad for our league chances?

Maybe, although it could mean Guardiola leaving them sooner.

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16870 on: May 17, 2019, 01:44:14 PM »
Man City Champions League bans... bad for our league chances?
fuck it, ban them from the league aswel. Saves the heartache.  They deserve it
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Offline DelTrotter

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16871 on: May 17, 2019, 01:45:15 PM »
Man City Champions League bans... bad for our league chances?

Nope.

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16872 on: May 17, 2019, 01:45:55 PM »
Man City Champions League bans... bad for our league chances?

Less games = bad, but they aren't the only consequences....

They'll have the lack of CL income, which will mean it will be even harder to meet FFP and will likely see them forced to sell, and certainly not buy.

If they get banned then they'll also receive closer scrutiny of their accounts going forward. That'll mean no more fucking with the wages how they do, and no more dodgy sponsorship deals. Again this should mean they'll have to cut costs to meet FFP.

Both of those = good.

Offline PoetryInMotion

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16873 on: May 17, 2019, 02:13:19 PM »
Less games = bad, but they aren't the only consequences....

They'll have the lack of CL income, which will mean it will be even harder to meet FFP and will likely see them forced to sell, and certainly not buy.

If they get banned then they'll also receive closer scrutiny of their accounts going forward. That'll mean no more fucking with the wages how they do, and no more dodgy sponsorship deals. Again this should mean they'll have to cut costs to meet FFP.

Both of those = good.

Also, if they get a ban for 2020-21, and if they go out of CL in 2019-20, there's a chance Guardiola might give up.

Offline Walshy nMe®

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16874 on: May 18, 2019, 10:23:06 AM »
Saw this on a Reddit and completely agree.


That's not really how it works.
When teams are that close, the outcome is out of their control, and down to arbitrary external decisions and actions.
If Iheanacho buries that chance at the end of the Leicester game, Liverpool would probably be champions. Man City would have done nothing different, Liverpool would have done nothing different, and yet the outcome would be different and pundits would be spouting nonsense about how, in the end, Liverpool were just too good for City.
The same goes for a bunch of refereeing decisions. Tottenham should have had a penalty against Liverpool, Mane's goal against West Ham was offside - Liverpool could easily have had fewer points with the same performance. Conversely, they had stonewall penalties not given against Leicester and Man Utd, and were pegged back in their 'slump' by referees. Man City opened the scoring against Watford with an offside goal. And on and on. If Salah doesn't jump Kompany's tackle, Kompany gets a red, City probably lose the game and the title is gone.
If Mertens puts that chance out of Alisson's reach at the end of the Napoli game, Liverpool would have been in the Europa League, and yet here they are, in the final competing to be crowned champions of Europe, when their own performances gave others the chance to dump them out of the competition.
There is no meaning to be found about who is better based on a one point difference, but people don't find that satisfying, and humans don't like to feel out of control of the narrative of their life, especially if they find meaning from the outcome of football.
So much of this is arbitrary and filled with luck.

Offline keyop

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16875 on: May 18, 2019, 10:34:56 AM »
Maybe, although it could mean Guardiola leaving them sooner.

I think he'll struggle with the association between his achievements there and any financial doping. He's a purist and perfectionist, and I think if FFP comes down hard on them then it can only accelerate his departure.

Its not good for his reputation, which so far has been virtually untarnished. If the implication and ultimate verdict is that the club cheated the rules and they do get a champions league ban, then its essentially saying they also cheated in the league and domestic cups too. That calls all of their achievements to date into question since the Sheik took over, and seriously dents their domestic and global reputation - and rightly so, as their success has looked highly suspicious for some time now.

Most other sports have been able to deal with doping and cheating whether its financial or drug related, and its high time football stopped fannying around and did the same.
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Offline Al 666

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16876 on: May 18, 2019, 11:14:22 AM »
I think he'll struggle with the association between his achievements there and any financial doping. He's a purist and perfectionist, and I think if FFP comes down hard on them then it can only accelerate his departure.

Its not good for his reputation, which so far has been virtually untarnished. If the implication and ultimate verdict is that the club cheated the rules and they do get a champions league ban, then its essentially saying they also cheated in the league and domestic cups too. That calls all of their achievements to date into question since the Sheik took over, and seriously dents their domestic and global reputation - and rightly so, as their success has looked highly suspicious for some time now.

Most other sports have been able to deal with doping and cheating whether its financial or drug related, and its high time football stopped fannying around and did the same.

Let's cut to the chase and cut out the deification of Guardiola.

He is a convicted drugs cheat. Whilst at Brescia he received a four month Football ban and a seven months suspended jail sentence after testing positive for Nandrolone a banned steroid.

During his first season at City on three occasions City broke anti doping regulations and were fined by the FA.

He joined City knowing that they had cheated and broken FFP regulations in 13/14 and were fined £49m and were subject to squad restrictions.

Add in the cynical way his teams nullify counter attacks plus the fact that he is part of the wages scam that sees Abu Dhabi directly own players image rights and it is frankly absurd the way he is portrayed.
One thing does need to be said: in the post-Benitez era, there was media-led clamour (but also some politicking going on at the club) to make the club more English; the idea being that the club had lost the very essence of what it means to be ‘Liverpool’. Guillem Ballague 18/11/10

Offline Red-Soldier

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16877 on: May 18, 2019, 11:30:15 AM »
Let's cut to the chase and cut out the deification of Guardiola.

He is a convicted drugs cheat. Whilst at Brescia he received a four month Football ban and a seven months suspended jail sentence after testing positive for Nandrolone a banned steroid.

During his first season at City on three occasions City broke anti doping regulations and were fined by the FA.

He joined City knowing that they had cheated and broken FFP regulations in 13/14 and were fined £49m and were subject to squad restrictions.

Add in the cynical way his teams nullify counter attacks plus the fact that he is part of the wages scam that sees Abu Dhabi directly own players image rights and it is frankly absurd the way he is portrayed.

Spot on Al.

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16878 on: May 18, 2019, 11:52:25 AM »
He is a convicted drugs cheat. Whilst at Brescia he received a four month Football ban and a seven months suspended jail sentence after testing positive for Nandrolone a banned steroid.

Which he was cleared of. Twice.

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Re: Chasing the Title
« Reply #16879 on: May 18, 2019, 01:18:31 PM »
Let's cut to the chase and cut out the deification of Guardiola.

He is a convicted drugs cheat. Whilst at Brescia he received a four month Football ban and a seven months suspended jail sentence after testing positive for Nandrolone a banned steroid.

During his first season at City on three occasions City broke anti doping regulations and were fined by the FA.

He joined City knowing that they had cheated and broken FFP regulations in 13/14 and were fined £49m and were subject to squad restrictions.

Add in the cynical way his teams nullify counter attacks plus the fact that he is part of the wages scam that sees Abu Dhabi directly own players image rights and it is frankly absurd the way he is portrayed.

Its not me deifying him - its his image in the media that seems untarnished, which is why stronger FFP action can't come soon enough for him and that club.
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