We (re)Built this City
You can almost hear the glee from The Sun as they report on Liverpool’s latest defeat. And of course there is only one conclusion to draw from Liverpool losing a sequence of games less than a year after the Premier League was suspended with the Reds 25 points clear of Manchester City:
‘The entire team needs a rebuild.’
Yes, the entire team. F*** them all off. The goalkeeper. The centre-halves. The record-breaking full-backs. The captain. The forward who has scored 17 Premier League goals. The whole attacking system which has seen them outscore every club bar two in the top flight.
Never mind that they won the Champions League two years ago and romped to the title last season. Never mind that they have lost their first three centre-back choices to long-term injury, pushing central midfielders into central defence (and then into the treatment room) and thus upsetting the whole balance of the side. Never mind all that because…
‘The entire team needs a rebuild.’
It’s the only logical conclusion (to make in a newspaper not read by Liverpool fans).
‘Liverpool are paying the price for not signing new players when they should have done, after beating Spurs in the Champions League final.
‘The title win last season was well deserved but the team had already peaked and now they are on the way down.’
‘The title win’ is a hella underwhelming way to describe a title win by 18 points which began with them winning 26 of the first 27 games of the season. And that was well they had ‘already peaked’? Try telling that to all those teams they blew away. Try telling that to Manchester City, the champions left trailing in their wake.
And less than a year later, the ‘entire team needs a rebuild’. This entire team with one foot in the Champions League quarter-finals. This entire team missing their central defence and two-thirds of the central midfield that won the Champions League two seasons ago. That entire team?
‘The midfield is a big issue and even when Liverpool were ruling Europe and England, Klopp was getting the most out of an efficient but unspectacular middle three.’
‘Even when Liverpool were ruling Europe and England’ all those many, erm, months ago. And it really should be worth noting that only a third of that efficient but unspectacular middle three has actually been playing in the Liverpool midfield. That matters.
While it’s true that Liverpool’s title defence has been disastrous and there are clearly issues at the club, exacerbated by a lack of transfer activity this season – caused largely by a mammoth economic downturn – the idea that they need some kind of root-and-branch rebuild is ridiculous.
As recently as early December, Liverpool were level on points at the top of the Premier League with a central defensive duo of Joel Matip and Fabinho (both now injured) and Diogo Jota (also now injured) basking in a breath-taking start to his Liverpool career that had reaped nine goals in 15 Champions and Premier League games. As recently as Christmas – bizarrely just two months ago – they were top.
But ignore all that because this entire team needs a rebuild.
Or alternatively, a tactical switch to stop the defence playing such a high line to arrest this particular slide, a couple of key signings in the summer, a rest and the return of fans to stadiums.
As David Maddock puts it in The Daily Mirror: ‘Liverpool are still trying to play exactly like they are title-winning Gods, when their current personnel is distinctly mortal.’
It’s amazing how much more sense you can make when you are actually welcome in the ground.
Mediawatch agrees with the Liverpool Echo that ‘FSG must not repeat Liverpool mistake which led to league title drought’ so it’s now up to John Henry et al to avoid a devastating disaster that saw many lives lost and the subsequent emotional and physical fatigue of a manager who eventually had to walk away from the job. But if all that proves unavoidable, they really must not repeat the mistake of appointing Graeme Souness as his successor and allowing him to sign Dean Saunders.
Mediawatch respect is due to the Daily Mail’s Dominic King, who actually writes about Everton in his match report from Everton’s win on Monday morning. We think he might be in an army of one.
Paying the penalty
Sensible of the Daily Mail to employ former referee Mark Clattenburg to explain exactly why the penalty was given at Anfield. Not so sensible to allow non-referee Ian Ladyman to succinctly claim that the ‘penalty decision’ was a joke just a few pages later. Why have a dog and miaow yourself?
Got a feeling that I’m going under
‘Man Utd fans in stitches as third keeper Lee Grant plays fourth official during substitutions vs Newcastle’ – The Sun website.
A man holding up a board is funny as f***.
Kane is able
We asked last week why the media have an obsession with selling Harry Kane. We would like to revise that question as it is patently just Daily Mail man Ian Ladyman.
We particularly liked the tenth paragraph of his latest of many pieces on the subject:
‘From the outside looking in, Kane looks a little stuck. He may not wish to leave, of course. He has a good life and lives with his young family near the Tottenham training ground.’
That seems like it might be important.