Passion and pride. Effort and commitment. Runs in behind. Helping a tam mate. Bodies in the way. Knocks taken, blows dealt an 50/50’s won. Add in a little bit of organisation, some quality, and you’ve got yourself a football team. That football team might not always win, but throw in home advantage, inconsistent referees and you’ve enough to win some games A lack of consistent opposition performance and other variables and that team might just say in the league. It might just compete in mid-table and beyond. It’s not that hard. Build a squad. A proper squad with proper players in their proper positions.
Don’t play Paul Dummet at left back. Don’t play a player a centre half who’s never ever had a good game at full back, just because he’s left footed. Don’t play the same centre defensive pairing who leak nearly three goals a game. Don’t play an attacking midfielder on the left wing to accommodate him as he cost too much money. Don’t build a team around Vurnon Anita. Don’t rely on players who are always injured. Don’t just buy ‘potential’. Don’t let a 71 one year old chief scout dictate who comes and who goes. Don’t go into a Premier League season with no pace. No strength in the middle. No leaders.
Our expectations have been too high. This season especially. The players are losers. They lack professional pride. They lack motivation, but most damning of all they lack ability. Why did we expect Vurnon Anita and Cheick Tiote to be able to meaningfully contribute in the Premier League. We have two first team fullbacks. One of them, Haidara, is injury prone. Two senior strikers at the club. One, signed at 21, raw and radge. The other passed it an totally unsuited to playing upfront alone. How could this have POSSIBLY gone well? 17th was the aim. 17th will always be the aim under Charnley. We’re 19th. Not miles away then.
Hull, Vile, West Ham, Norwich & Bournemouth. The sides Newcastle United have beaten in 2015. Read them back to yourself. They all reek of the Championship. No offense meant to those clubs (apart fro Vile). They all do their best (apart from Vile) to be competitive. How an earth are the group of players who’ve failed to beat Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs, Liverpool, Southampton Swansea, Stoke, Palace, Leicester, Everton, West Brom, sunderland, Burnley, QPR and Sheffield Wednesday; are supposed to beat Liverpool on Saturday. Think about it, it is impossible.
Liverpool look good. Jugen Klopp is magic. He talks about things I used to read about I true faith 15 years ago. Leaving early, booing, being quiet at the match. He reminds me of a time when I didn’t hate my club, it’s players and coaching staff. He likes his payers to play happy. They tore a full strength Southampton a new one mid week. Southampton went in all guns blazing and left gaps. Gaps that Liverpool’s pace and skill exploited at ease. We can’t leave any gaps then. Problem is we’re good at leaving gaps.
We have to sit deep. We have to time waste early on. Liverpool need to win. There’s whispers of a title challenge. Managers like McClaren are put away by Champions. Get to 20 minutes 0 0. Get to 40. Liverpool need to win. Moussa Sissoko has pace. Winjaldum has some. Play Siem De Jong. Could he be any worse. Sit deep, frustrate, counter. It’s okay if Mignolet hasn’t made a save at half time. It really is as long as the game is alive. They’ll make their subs. Bring on talent. They need to win. Klopp needs to win. He’s starting something. This isn’t a game to drop points. Live on TV. The world watching. Sit deep, frustrate. Block. Foul. Fight.
The last time a United side played this type of game against Liverpool at SJP. We won. Last season. So maybe it is possible.
No it isn’t.
Prediction: United 1 Liverpool 5
ALEX HURST – Follow Alex on @tfalex1892