Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Premier League Match 34 - Liverpool 0 Southampton 0

Don't Think You're Fucking Scoring Shortarse!

Liverpool away and I’m being tested.  My hatred of all things Red Scouse had somewhat lessened with the departure of Brendan Rodgers and whilst Jurgen Klopp had initially irritated me, I had over time actually started to warm to the guy.  Also, despite the well document trail of players from Southampton to Liverpool, we had managed 3 wins and a draw from the last 4 games against them and that was always amusing.  The media, who you’d think are all on the Anfield payroll, won’t tell you that Saints have won 3 and drawn 1 of the last 4 – they’ll tell you that Liverpool have only won 1 in 5 but that win was a huge 6-1 win.  Fake News – sort of.

The trouble is that we are in May and so it’s all about the upcoming transfer window and which Southampton players can Liverpool sign this year.  Phil Thompson (ex-Liverpool) says Virgil, Bertrand and Romeu.  Steven Gerrard (ex-Liverpool player, now a coach) says Virgil, Michael Owen, Graeme Souness, Jamie Redknapp, Dietmar Hamman, Danny Murphy (ex-Liverpool x5) all say a combination of the three.  Fuck off!

It’s not been a particularly harmonious week at St.Mary’s. A story in L’Equipe about Claude’s future not being certain was re-hashed several times this week, including by the Daily Echo and on top of the shithouse performance against Hull, there has been a lot of negativity.  Claude responded when questioned about it with what seemed like genuine bemusement as to why his job might be under threat.  That was kind of nice in a way but also I was thinking ‘see how you’d feel if you paid to watch that utter shit last weekend’.   Ryan Bertrand, being the player who most of the rumours of manager fall-out were about, was offered up for interview and of course said “I hate the twat and so do all the lads and we’ve decided to all not give a shit and hopefully he gets fired but either way – we’re all fucking off to Liverpool anyway”.  I might have made that quote up.

We as a club and Claude in particular, need a performance today, mainly for our own reasons and with Liverpool needing a win to help them in their quest for the top 4, it would be brilliant to put a big fucking hole in that ambition.  I’m watching on Sky Sports and I’m not too irritated by things as yet and then they do a little pan round to all all the ex-Saints in the warm up as we get Clyne – no reaction, Lovren – a bit of a reaction, Lallana – fucking wanker!!!  Maybe Sadio Mane was in the crowd somewhere but they didn’t show him.  Mind you, if you were injured and out for the season, would you hang around Liverpool or go on holiday somewhere?

Our line-up is pretty predictable (that word again) with JWP back in after the Hull fiasco, replacing Redmond who appears to have dropped behind Boufal in the pecking order.  I don’t rate Wijnaldum or Can and Lucas won’t hurt you from midfield so it’s a case of keeping Coutinho quiet and obviously, Lallana will be a threat when he stops slathering Nivea all over himself and comes off the bench.

Straight away the game settles into a pattern of Liverpool possession, Emre Can trying and failing to hit a Gerrard Hollywood ball, us winning possession and giving it away again as Liverpool press.  Repeat.  There’s no real action of any note until Romeu dallies on the edge of our penalty area and gets burgled by Firmino but his shot hits Yoshida and deflects away.

Our first break of any note takes nearly half an hour to arrive with Boufal making Clyne look a mug and the ball eventually ends up with JWP on the left and it looks for a moment like Tadic has got away from Milner but the cross is too deep.  Half an hour and all we can get excited about is a cross that goes to no one.

Much to the frustration of Sky Sports, Liverpool aren’t creating much and Firmino has a go from long range but by the time is reaches Fraser, it’s barely moving at all.  Emre Cant tries the same trick as we approach half time and a deflection takes any pace off it and it’s easily picked up by the keeper.  Liverpool are so average.  Everything down the middle and if not, using Milner on the left who of course has to check back onto his right foot before crossing it.  Stephens and Yoshida dealing easily with Origi and Coutinho and Firmino doing nothing.  Going forward…. Let’s not talk about that.

There is nothing going on in the first 15 minutes of the second half.  Klopp has obviously liked what he’s seen so far from his side as Lallana and Sturridge are still on the bench whilst those on the pitch are doing the square root of fuck all.  It’s time for a pre-planned sub from Claude as Redmond comes on for Boufal, spot on 60 minutes.  Five minutes later and I realise who the referee is… it’s Bobby Madley – he of the Arsenal away penalty incident when he let Arsenal get away with about 4 infringements before penalising Jose Fonte for basically nothing.  Lucas swings a cross over from on the right and Stephens and Origi challenge for it.  It pops up in the air and as Stephens turns it hits his elbow and pops up to Fraser.  Big appeal from a couple of players – penalty.  Fuck off Madley.  Saints are all round the ref but no chance.  To be honest, it’s the sort of handball I think should be given but in the current climate where nothing gets given, it’s harsh.  Yes he’s moved his arm towards the ball but did he mean it – no chance.  Also – would it have been given up the other end at Anfield?  I’m pretty sure we all know the answer to that one.

Anyway, Milner has a pretty good record with penalties but before he takes it he has to wait for Cedric to get booked for dissent and JWP getting booked for pissing about with a water bottle in the goalmouth.  We haven’t managed to match the four players getting booked after the Arsenal decision which is disappointing.  Whilst all this is going on, Fraser has raised himself up to full height and is standing on Milner’s toes giving him some advice, whilst scuffing the penalty spot.  It’s peak intimidation time but Fraser can’t help being 6 foot 7.  Eventually we’re ready and up steps Milner, right footed to the keepers right and down goes the big man, strong hand and saved superbly.  Ha ha ha.  Klopp-cam shows that he can’t look so I hope he enjoyed looking at disappointed faces.  Why not watch?  Oh yes, playing up to the cameras.  Bell end.

A flurry of substitutions including another pre-planned one from us with Long on for Gabbiadini whilst Klopp gives Sturridge and Niveatwat 20 minutes instead of Origi and Lucas.  Liverpool look marginally better with these two on but all they’ve got to show for it is another Coutinho long ranger which Fraser catches dismissively and a neat turn by Sturridge past Stephens but he can only toe poke a shot through to the keeper.

We actually manage a break following a Liverpool corner with Redmond getting away on the right.  His crossfield ball finds Tadic and with any quality, he would have found the unmarked Long for a tap in but he overhits it and then Shane gives it away.  It’s not over though as Lallana fannies around with it and gets caught by Romeu who could again put Long in but he takes too long and the chance goes.

We have time for a classic piece of Sturridge greed as he shanks wide of the near post when he had about 5 players in the box to pass to and there’s one heart in mouth moment as Milner gets a good cross over and Grujic (on for Wijnaldum) gets a head to it and Fraser has to take off to tip it over the bar.  Job done… well it’s done when Bertrand takes a yellow card for the team, wasting time by whacking the ball away.

Ha fucking ha. Fuck you Klopp, fuck you Liverpool and fuck you Sky Scouse Sports and Liverpool Media Inc.  Four games against that team that you pillage for players every year and you still can't fucking score.  Let's face it though, we bored the living shit out of it but for once I'll take it. You can sum up our attacking play such as it was by saying that that none of Tadic, Boufal or Redmond created a fucking thing for Gabbiadini or Long. When Gabbiadini gets the ball he is absolute class with his link up play but the service to him was absolutely wank.  So he runs around for 60 minutes trying to get into a place to maybe receive a pass and then gets taken off.  The tactics and the alleged creative players are failing him.  None out of Romeu, Davis or JWP got forward at all but most the time, even a simple 10 yard ball to the striker just wasn't good enough.

Today however was all about the defence and how well that we played at the back and in midfield in a defensive capacity. I have to say that penalty aside, it was incredibly fucking easy.  Managerial genius Jurgen Klopp and his expensively assembled side just funnelled everything through the middle and were incredibly easy to defend against as long as we concentrated and did the basics right. The penalty they got awarded was at least a bit dodgy in that there was absolutely no fucking way that he meant it and there was no way in a million years that it would have been given at the other end.  Liverpool away is added to Arsenal away, Spurs away and United away where we’ve had a dodgy penalty given against us.  Spot the connection.

Fraser’s gamesmanship at the penalty was absolutely first class and Milner’s penalty was very similar to the one Tadic took against Hull in that it wasn't hit quite hard enough and it wasn't quite in the corner.  Apparently it was the first penalty save that Fraser had made in the Premier League and I go further than that and say is the first time he's gone the right fucking way.  Unbelievably, he credited Stuart Taylor with having some input into helping him know which way the penalty was going to go. I'm sure that this will be Stuart Taylor’s only contribution as a Southampton player.  Fraser fielded all the long shots at him with complete comfort and even the reflex save from the flicked header by Grujic in the last minute that everyone got excited about was straight at him - good reaction save though. 

Claude again did his substitutions by numbers – Redmond for Boufal – 60 minutes – check!  Long for Gabbiadini – check!  Again, post-moan in the press, Tadic wasn’t substituted despite being our worst player.  I can’t deny that this is a good result though but we really have to address the scraps that Gabbiadini is living off of.  He looks a superb player but he needs more than one pass every half an hour.  The defenders were good and concentrated throughout but if you look at the penalty decision, it’s just a ball into the box that a centre back should head away.  When Stephens gets outmuscled and the ball starts bobbing about, the alleged handball happens.  You simply can’t get outmuscled by a striker like Origi who let’s face it, is no Andy Carroll.

Jurgen Klopp is a bang average massively overrated football manager given all the resources at his disposal. After spending millions, he still has James Milner playing left back, Lovren with a new contract and he still has Lucas Leiva in the team.   Tactically I have no idea what was going on with him.  What do you need a defensive midfielder who plays like a crab when you're playing against a team who are not breaking forward from midfield at all. Every time I see Emre Can play I think what a pile of average shit he is and Gini Wijnaldum bought his Newcastle form to Anfield today and the first time I noticed him was when he got substituted.  Upfront they had Origi who pretty crap, the totally overrated Firmino and Phillippe Coutinho who occasionally looked like it might do something but mostly with a speculative long shot straight at the keeper. I can't comment on that defence or keeper because we didn't get near it but we all know that they are not the best.

Klopp blamed the result on the pitch, Fraser’s gamesmanship and time wasting.  Meanwhile, Sky Sports are a fucking disgrace.  We had Jamie Carragher on co-commentary and in the studio we had Jamie Redknapp and Graham Souness so no Liverpool bias at all in that lot. Maybe they think that the half of season the Redknapp spent with Saints and the one season Souness spent as our manager somehow make them neutral. Why is it that every time the ball went out to play, Sky Sports cut to bloody Klopp. They must've had a camera permanently trained on him. I think I saw as much of him as I saw of the actual game. I know Claude is not the most exciting or animated of managers but I think I saw him once. Yes Klopp is a personality with his fake anger and chucking water bottles and indignations and decisions that were correct but for fucks sake, at least try and be a little bit even-handed.

Unfortunately, Manchester United losing to Arsenal straight after our game means that we probably didn't put much of a dent in their Champions League aspirations. I really hope that the Scouse bastards don't make it but they probably will.  Anyway – enough about Fucking Liverpool.

We cannot pretend that we haven’t got problems still but this is a good result and it proved that the players are still playing for Claude.  Arsenal at home which is up next is a really interesting test.  They are as fragile as you like so we really have to have a bit of a go at them – we can’t just sit back and play for a third 0-0 in succession without having a shot on target.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we did though.

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