Time for Liverpool to sell Salah. Plus Mane, Klopp, Lukaku and more…

We have all the reaction from Chelsea 2-2 Liverpool. Plus more on VAR, Romelu Lukaku, AFCON and more.

Let’s have your mails to theeditor@football365.com… 


Chelsea vs Liverpool
Sad times. You should never be dropping points from 2-0 up. At that stage we had to play a bit deeper and see the first half out and the game would’ve been won. Instead the high line undid us and we let them back in. Man City have basically locked the title down now. I think we’d need to win 17 and draw 1 to win the league and that’s assuming Man City mirror their first half of the season but if they improve on their first half results then it’s already done.

Mané and Jota were both poor today. Mané scored a goal but got in a few positions today where he ought to have caused more trouble. He frequently got tackled and seemed to not know what to do. Jota was just a passenger. In periods where we were under the pressure he did little to help and Deserved to be subbed.

It was poor of the team to not hold onto the 2-0 lead but Ljinders made a really strong double substitution that I think swung the game back in our favour after a second half in which we looked poor. Sadly in the end we just couldn’t find any kind of end product.

It was a day where Salah and Mané could’ve scored twice but ultimately we have more dropped points against a major rival.

The midfield was a bit shit today. Even Fabinho looked a bit out of sorts which was unusual.

Compared to the Hodgson era it’s nice we are so good at football but it’s a shame to see city running away with another title. This will end being an era when we should’ve won more trophies.
Minty, LFC


Jurgen Klopp
As a Liverpool fan, I love Klopp. I love how he never lets his team’s rest on a lead. I love how animated he is and I love how he seems like and appreciate the history of the club.

But he needs to stop moaning about winter break now. Every time our team has any kind of break our next three results are bad ones, this time is no exception. His team is the worst advert for a winter break in the whole league. We come back after a break looking more tired and disorganised than when we’re pummeling our way through our 7th fixture in 8 minutes.

Let that argument die now please.


Liverpool and their defending
Where is the bar for good defending nowadays? Every match report I read has Liverpool down as being “shaky” or some other variation of the theme, such as 16 conclusions, but I don’t think they are. Inevitably, teams will concede goals. It happens to the best of them. Liverpool are ostensibly more attack minded than Chelsea (and have scored 7 goals more, an extra 20%).

At the other end, Liverpool have conceded 2 goals more than Chelsea, an extra 12%. Any way you cut that, it’s a trade you’d be happy with.

Liverpool concede fewer than one goal per game,  had the 4th best defence despite their injuries last season, and the best defence the previous 2 seasons. Liverpool won the league conceding 33, this year they’re on track for 34. Where’s the problem? And why do Chelsea get lauded for their defensive solidity – 3 CBs, less productive full backs, and a more turgid midfield than even the Milner/Henderson axis of evil – when Liverpool are supposedly rocky?
Or is it just that anyone that doesn’t fill their back line with £200m of players is shaky?


Mane should have seen red
Hi f365

Few points

Mane should’ve seen red, early point in game saved him
Ridiculous yellow card for konate
I’ll take that point. Yes 2-0 up away but we are badly missing thiago, matip, Robbo
Why does kante save his best game of the season for Liverpool ?!
Kelleher was brilliant, class keeper, too good for a number 2
Mendy ditto, kepa is going to cost chelsea points
Mount was poor, looked tired
Taa getting better at defending
Going to miss salah, but in Bobby I trust
Good to see mane score, looked far better
Wrap jota up in cotton wool

Finally, city fans will be sitting there laughing. Let’s see who is laughing when your manager bottles it again in the champions league. Oh, and before you all cry. It will happen again.

Liverpool will win number 7

Proud of Liverpool fc today. Tough time of year, doing their best.
Ade 7 is coming, Guildford

The key moments from our 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge pic.twitter.com/Snd5LOUHQg

— Liverpool FC (@LFC) January 2, 2022

Dear Editor

Klopp executed a master stroke after the Leicester game. He terrorised the referee and the toothless FA let him get away with this blatant act. Now all referees will be apprehensive about any big decision against Liverpool. Anthony Taylor bottled it big time. Mane glances to see where Aspilcueta is and makes a forearm smash. He knew what he was doing so the intent was there.
Any bets if the FA will look into the matter ? They have the clause to visit any incident if they feel was excessively violent even if seen by the ref and not punished adequately.
But the spectre of Klopp looms.
Kurich Kuttan


I rarely feel ok after shipping a two goal lead, but Chelsea were the better team today.

A draw is a fair result, but unfortunately we are both fkd for the league.
Aidan, Lfc – I always fancied the Champion’s League anyway ;(


Time to sell?
Watching the Liverpool game it struck me that although Salah scored another great goal, is it perhaps time to sell him?

At 29/30 he’s in all likelihood entering the phase in his career were his physical attributes will start to decline and thats not considering the impact of a moderate/serious injury (which most players will get at some point). The older you are, the harder it is to get back.

With Mbappe and Haaland on the move, one of the mega rich clubs is going to want a figure head striker. For example Mbappe leaves PSG, would they buy Salah for £100m?

Liverpool will need a rebuild very soon. Mane, Firmino, Henderson, Milner and an underperforming VVD means not being laden with a rumoured £450k per week wages and an extra £100m would help. They wont be able to buy a like for like direct replacement, but the rebuild could start.

Just some thoughts and remember, its just an opinion… so relax!


City stumble
Chelsea and Liverpool put on a stellar show last night; cannot complain… Actually what on earth was wrong with our midfield?? Fabinho in the middle of the park reminded me of Monday morning hangovers after mixing multiple drinks FFS. Our midfield seemed to be in sleep mode and couldn’t control the game. Kudos to Chelsea, proper game.

People around have declared the Title done, and can’t blame them when Professor Pep is running away with a team without a proper quality striker (what a joke). But that’s a team of human beings right? Mind you, they were lucky to snatch 3 points against Arsenal. That phase of the ‘play not clicking together’ should be on the horizon. The hopeful yet rational voice in my head says that there’s a stumble coming for the citizens.
Or that all their good fortune would be used up in the PL and get bonked in the CL yet again.

Cheers. Happy New Year.
Mihir. Mumbai. LFC. (Chelsea were on top, City are on top, come may…)


Gary Neville has started making noises again.
Robert, Birmingham

I have no sympathy for Romelu Lukaku
. I can understand his frustration and speaking out, but when I view his history, I wonder what or even why he is at Chelsea to begin with. He joined from Anderlecht to be Drogba’s understudy at Chelsea.  They barely gave him a chance before sending him on loan to West Brom. He thrived at West Brom, so he gets called back to Chelsea.

He gets no game time at all, I think he played 3 minutes extra time for Chelsea, so to everyone, the parent club were not supporting his career or development at all. But that’s Chelsea, they use and dispose at will. He then moves to Everton, where he is loved , and supported. He was great at Eveeton, elite even, so all of a sudden Man U come calling. Everyone can understand the transition, from Everton to Man U. Only issue was , he joined a top team that was a shambles, he was a top name, playing alongside other top names, but never a team. So Ole joins, he decides Lukaku is his sort of striker, which was weird. So another club chose to sell him.

He goes to Inter, where they absolutely love him. The adulation he received on arrival was incredible. The fans love him, the club starts winning silverware, he seems to be having a good time. So I was a bit surprised when he signed for Chelsea. In the back of my mind, why would you leave a place that has treated you so well, to go back to the club that nearly destroyed your career? But live with that decision Lukaku, you had it good, but chose to upturn the applecart. He had a home, he had fans that love him at Inter, he chose to go to the 1 club that had showed him disdain. He then does that interview, I’m wondering if they should update the quote. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me, fool me thrice, brainless. It’s almost like he seeks the pain and then complains about the pain.
Dave(Aubameyang, and Lukaku, I think player power is getting stronger), Somewhere


Benitez out
Very short, very succinct, very easy. Benitez has to go.
Joe M, EFC


Twenty matches left in the season for us.  Where are we going to get the twenty points that will “assure” us of safety?  Who do we have a realistic shot of beating?  Newcastle?  Haha, no.  Burnley? No.  Anyone else in the bottom ten?  No.

No, no I don’t see where we’re getting them either.
TX Bill (we’re going down) EFC


Arsenal vs Man City thoughts
Couple of thoughts on the game yesterday if anyone cares……

Rodri seems to be getting a lot of criticism for not being booked, he committed 2 fouls all game neither a booking. Hard to fathom I know!

I understand arsenals VAR frustration but the fact the penalty wasn’t given doesn’t make the second decision any less of a penalty, it was a clear penalty. 2 wrongs don’t make a right!

Arsenal fans seem to be getting their knickers in a twist about the way Silva went to ground.
First Xhaka put his leg across silva then he pulled his shirt, its a foul!! Plain and simple it’s a foul! And if Arsenal fans believe for one minute any of their players wouldn’t have gone to ground in the same situation they are kidding themselves!

Also the same Gooners who seem to be so disgruntled by said apparent “dive” don’t seem to have to much of an issue with firstly Ramsdale then Gabriel scuffing up the penalty spot! If we’re talking about unsporting behaviour then that’s up there with the worst of it…….

That’s all …..happy new year everyone x
Paul, Manchester


Dear Mailbox,

I know I’m late in joining the thoroughly deserved pile-on of Paul McDevitt… but his racist trolling deserves at least a few more days’ worth of picking apart.

To Paul’s points:

Yes, AFCON is held every two years. And yes, that’s far too often. But the Copa America’s biennial frequency doesn’t appear to have devalued it at all. Just ask Lionel Messi.

Yes, the 19 Sub-Saharan African teams that have qualified for World Cups since 2000 have under-achieved relative to their vast potential. But we’re not the absolute shower Paul would have you believe we are. Of the 40 teams to have finished bottom of their first-round groups in those tournaments, only 6 have been from Sub-Saharan Africa. Meanwhile, 5 of those 40 first-round wooden-spooners have been named France (twice), Italy, Germany or – sadly – England.

And yes, corruption is a huge problem in our region – in football and in politics. But we didn’t invent it; nor, to our cost, have we perfected it. Google “Charlie Dempsey” and you’ll read about a Scottish New Zealander (and Commander of the Order of the British Empire) whose services to football administration included helping Germany steal the bid to host the 2006 World Cup ahead of South Africa.

Paul, of course it’s wrong and stupid that AFCON is played in January, smack in the middle of the European football season. Our national teams often pay the price for it, with many talented African players retiring early from international football for fear of derailing their European club careers. Sub-Saharan Africa hosted a World Cup in June/July 2010, and we’d be far better off scheduling AFCON for our (Southern Hemisphere) mid-year winters, too. The problem is that Africa, uniquely, spans two hemispheres, and the North African countries that Paul McDevitt holds up as the continental gold standard would – sensibly – prefer to avoid playing football in the blazing heat of their Saharan summers.
Mark, Cape Town


Football isn’t broken
There has been much made of the inconsistent and plain incorrect decisions that we see each week in the premier league. People are annoyed, frustrated and confused – and understandably so.

However, it need not be that confusing. If one considers the probability that football is not a fair pursuit and subject to outside influence – then really none of this is incomprehensible.

I know this sounds hyperbolic. But consider a few things.

Firstly. The concept of fair. In American sports – for all their faults – fairness is a cornerstone of the games. There is a draft. Bad teams can acquire talent as a result of being bad. They do not get punished. They get rewarded. They have a fair shout at improving. There is also a salary cap. It takes a huge amount of wealth to get into the league – but then wealth cannot decide who wins. One of the reasons that billionaires American “franchise owners” love the EPL is that their wealth is actually an advantage and is not regulated redundant. Money equates to success on the pitch.

Football is not fair.  The idea that it is designed to be a level playing field and that sporting outcomes are very often in doubt is not part of the game. Never has been. Despite there being some very strong teams put together at times that have won back to back – there have been 10 different winners of the MBA this century, 14 in the NFL and  12 in the NHL. The EPL Has had 6 winners in that time.

Also of note is that statistically home field advantage is the greatest in soccer. Some teams have more Chance to win than others over the course of a season. That is clear – but also when two teams meet in an individual game – the advantage to one via the geography of the venue is greater than in any other sport. The playing field is never level.  And least of all in soccer.

So if the game is just not structured to be fair at it’s very essence – who gets to decide how and when and why it is unfair on any given day?

Secondly, the opportunity to cheat. Just because creating outcomes is hard – does not mean that it is not worth the effort. I do not believe that it is possible to rig a league winner on the field (only in the transfer market ) but when one considers the different types of bets that can be laid now – micro results can be achieved more easily are  no less lucrative.  Penalties in a game. In a season.  Red cards.  Yellow cards. All sorts.

But who would be interested in such things? Well pretty much every EPL club has a connection to a gambling site. Many are sponsors. Most have questionable ownership
Structures and unclear business models. They hide in plain sight. That is what the most corrupt do.  Next season will be another with an asterix because the world
Cup is held in the middle of it. Why? Because a rigged process full Of pay offs decided they election.  Proven. Firings. Arrests.  Jail
Time. And yet the result stood and we still have a winter World Cup. Why? Because some powerful influences still want it that way.

And as for money laundering and football
Club ownership- don’t get me started.

I work in finance. Post GFC all institutions have compulsory training on Anti Money Laundering and nefarious financing activities. There are 2 things that are stressed.

1. It is way more prevalent than you think.
2. If it looks like a duck. Quacks like a duck and walks like a duck. It’s probably a duck. In other words – If something looks wrong and there are clearly people that could
Benefit from its “wrongness “ – then it very likely is not a coincidence and those very people are likely creating the status quo.

So when increasingly we see things that we cannot explain logically and many of these things are the result of a decision by a person that we cannot see, nor hear – in a location that we have no access to – perhaps we should not assume that it is incompetence?

There is nothing wrong with football. It was never designed to be fair. It never has been. It was never designed to be fully objective.It never will be.  And it was designed for people to do everything they can to get success at the expense of others.

It’s doing fine.


VAR – Easy solution
VAR is a good tool, generally, but as far as offside goes, one simple change in the rule would make everyone’s life easier.

If any part of a forward is onside, then he is deemed to be onside.

That means that the VAR ref looks for light, not darkness, between the attacker and defender. If there is even the slightest gap, offside. If any part of the striker, even a trailing hand, is being played onside, then he’s free to continue towards the goal.

With one change the rule moves from favouring the defence to the attack. Better game, easier decisions. Done!


I’m probably be a little bit late to this mailbox but I thought I’d give my two cents to the VAR debate.

The main problem people seem to have at the moment, myself included, is that their appears to be little to no accountability for what we, the viewing a public, view as errors.

Ultimately the referee union comes out with a reason for a specific issue, but only when that has been a massive reaction.

Why not remove the need for the reaction.

The best bosses I’ve ever had were ones who discussed issues before coming to an outcome. Gather the information, ask for opinion, but make the final decision. So….

In the instance that VAR feels the referee should intervene, i.e. penalty/red card offences and has asked the referee to view the screen, why not like a TMO in rugby have their conversation broadcast? And why not discuss it between them, as an officiating team. Like when a ref Consults a lino for something off the ball.

To take the penalty in Man City versus Arsenal.
VAR: hey ref, we’ve got an angle here that shows something we think may have been out of line, come over and have a look.
REF: yeah I didn’t see that shirt pull, you’re right. Show me some more angles.
REF to VAR: so I see the short pull, my call on the field was no penalty, this angle you’re currently showing me it seems to show a fall occurring before any sharp pull and a kick out from the attacker to exaggerate contact. Would you agree?
VAR: yes I agree
REF: so due to the fact the short pull did not effect the outcome, my ruling on the field as no penalty awarded would remain. Unless there is anything else you need to bring toy attention?
VAR: No, that’s all.

It just seams simple. Broadcast the conversation and make it a conversation.


Why is the ref on the pitch?
Title says it all really.

Since the mass adoption of multiple camera coverage I find myself wondering more and more why the ref is even on the pitch.

On the pitch they’re directly subject to abuse from fans. They’re directly subject to harassment and questioning from players. They’re directly subject to persuasion from players.

In the tunnel before the game you can always see players chin wagging with refs before a game and if you don’t think that influences on the pitch decision then ask yourself why jurors aren’t allowed to chat with the defendant when trying a case? Because it does change your decisions and opinions.

The answer seems radical but it’s actually a natural progression which were resisting because “it’s not tradition”

Take the ref and their linesman off the pitch and put them in a box away from any influence and with every modern tool and technology. It won’t be perfect sure, buy we’re striving for better since perfect is unachievable and why not give this a go? Maybe it’s better in which case the game improves. Maybe it’s not and we go back to the old way and lose nothing.

Just a thought.


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