The Winged Shadow

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About The Winged Shadow

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    Melanin Man

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  1. Pretty surprised at Newie's percentages. Can't say I am too surprised at Western Sydney results, but didn't think it would be THAT big of a gap :/ Eitherway, congrats to the LGBT crew! I'm sure it was a stressful time.
  2. Hmm, I'd say two batsmen clearly comes to mind, in Smith and Warner (at home soil). But no idea who the third one is though. Khawaja perhaps, but I wouldn't rate him higher than Root, even at home.
  3. Ancellotti. Frank de Boer.
  4. That Pool match wasn't nearly as bad a match as I thought it would be after reading the reaction in this forum. Jesus Christ some of you are over dramatic. That was probably the second game (after the City one) where Pool was totally outplayed. Over the last couple of months, lots of results went against Pool, despite being the better side and creating lots of chances. But this wasn't one of them. Only a couple of clear chances and a handful of half chances. While Spurs were super clinical with the few chances they created in the first half. I think at the end of the first half it was 3 goal from 5 shots or something. Every fucking team is clinical as hell against us Not a lot of positive displays. Mo played well. Ox was pretty good when he came on. Liverpool looked a lot better with pace on both wings. I don't think Winks/Alli/Trippier were particularly phased by Coutinho, who kept the ball well most of the time but couldn't do a whole lot with it. Firmino was horrid. Even when shit he usually presses and runs around well, but not this game. And quite a few times the Pool wide players crossed the ball with no Firmino in the box to attack it. Sturridge is usually better at sticking around the box. I was hoping he would come on a lot earlier than 75th min. Solanki would've made a good target man as well. But I think playing too many aerial crosses would've played into Spur's counter attacking setup (which they executed with great efficiency whole game). Can didn't have a good game either. Losing the ball a lot and making some awful passes. Hendo and Milner had middling game. Lovren had his shot and he hasn't improved over the last 2 years. I think it's time to give Gomez a go at CB while Lovren gets his shit together. Gomez will no doubt make mistakes as well (as he already did this game!) but at least he looks like someone who will learn and get better and is worth the punt (IMO). Lovren and Klavan are too old to expect any big improvements. With Gomez, at least you have hope that he will get better with experience and age. Only positive I can find is that they still kept playing and trying to score even after being 4-1 down. They had some nice moments and some nice chances but not clear cut enough to get back against Spurs. And Spurs always looked comfortable even when seemingly under pressure for short periods. Obviously the result didn't go for us over the last few games, so this result feels like a bigger problem than it actually is. I am not too fussed about the table. I never expected us to be challenging for the title this season, specially considering the recruitment, so I am not too fussed about where we are in the table. The bulk of the season is still ahead and top four is still within reach.
  5. I still think he is the man for the job. Despite the results, I love watching pool play. They could've won every single of the drawn games. It is frustrating to watch the missed chances combined with the defensive mistakes (which I'd argue we don't make many of in a game, but every single mistake seems to result in a goal, which is a bit rough), but if finishing was even half decent we wouldn't be talking about this at all. The offside trap wasn't executed properly. Which is why it looked a lot worse than it was. Matip sort of stopped and stepped back a bit because he couldn't see Shelvey passing, and that backward step created a pretty tight decision going to Joselu's favour. I couldn't believe when Matip caught up to him for the sliding challenge Two. I don't count the winter windows. While FSG has backed spending, I don't think they will spend stupid money for the sake of it. Certainly, Klopp has come out and said he wouldn't pay silly money for players. That generally rules out winter windows, unless desperate, which we could be considering Lovren popping pills and not training. As for Ox: I think he was a really good signing. I don't know why people still harp on about the whole playing at centre thing. I know at Arsenal he expressed he wants to be in the centre, but Klopp has already come out and said he sees Ox playing at 4 positions, the left/right box to box role and the left/right tucked in winger roles (maybe one of the holding if Pool plays 4-2-3-1). All these positions are a lot more central that Arsenal's system. Arsenal plays wide wingers, so he'll need time to adjust to the tucked in winger role and how to press in that role. He won't play ahead of Mane and Salah, but he can easily play before Gini (on pretty much all the away games :P) and Can considering how often those two disappear in certain games. Because if Mane or Salah is injured, there is no pace left in this team. Once he tunes in, I think he will see more minutes and rotations with Salah/Mane in different games. This will come into play later in the season.
  6. I don't think that was a howler. That was probably the best pass Shelvey ever played. Decent run. The goal was just pure luck. Don't think Matip could've done much more (other than the make the first step forward to make it offside, it was a super tight call as it was). I don't think when you slide in like he did to clear the ball you will have a whole lot of control. And then the ball bounces off Joselu and curls perfectly into the corner. Considering the mistakes the defense have made over the last few weeks (and years :P), that was a pretty ok goal to concede. Good pass and a well timed run to create the chance. Almost refreshing! Or maybe my standard for a 'howler' is different to supporters of other teams with good defense Not sure I fully agree with that article. Having watched all the games, I think some of the reduction in numbers are simply because they have better possession/slower build up (in some games) and therefore less sprinting/running up and down and thus reduced distance travel by team. This is not necessarily a bad thing. So far this season, they haven't conceded as many counterattacks (at least that's how i felt so far this season). Even though each counter attack seems to have lead to a goal! This probably reduced the number of defensive sprints. Although I get the feeling that offensive sprints should be higher than last year with both Mane and Salah in the team. Then there is the fact that they just played defensively against Hoffenheim (away) and Manchester City. So early stats could just be a bit skewed at the moment. Do agree on the pressing though. It hasn't been at its best (except against Arsenal). But Lallana's absence probably explains a bit of that. Not to mention some of the new squad members (Salah, Gomez, TAA, Robertson, Solanke etc) probably broke the pressing rhythm a bit. I actually haven't paid too much attention to how Salah presses with the team, so will have to keep an eye out now.
  7. Got my wish, Sturridge alongside Mane and Salah. Didn't work out too well. He really is poor in a 4-3-3. His pressing is absolutely rubbish. His anticipation isn't very good, so it seems like he is always a step behind and constantly chasing the ball with zero hope of creating any opportunity. Sometimes i think he presses for the sake of pressing without having any idea why. Firmino and Lallana are much better at 'herding' the ball towards a trap/counter press, and generally leaves the CB's alone and force a press on the holding mids. Sturridge just runs around pressing CBs he has no hope of winning the ball from. The only time he showed some good pressing intelligence was when he anticipated a back pass to the goal keeper. He also had very minimal involvement in build up, always waiting for someone to create something for him. And his finishing isn't on point yet. So he offers nothing over Firmino at the moment. Probably needs a few more games to adjust and learn. Having said that, seeing how much better he looks in a 4-2-3-1 (this time, with Salah playing behind), I think it's worth changing the system to get him at his best. He is rusty as he hasn't played regularly for quite a while, so I still think he is worth persevering with. But I do think there needs to be a Firmino/Lallana behind him who makes up for his crappy pressing and will run back and work hard defensively (as well as have the ability to play him in behind defense). Mane had a pretty bad game. Nothing seemed to work for him. His dribbling, first touch, passes etc all lacked the finesse you usually expect from him. Salah did what he always does, except this time he didn't sneak in a goal. Newcastle's goal was pretty lucky. Matip's sliding clearance bounces off Joselu's shin and curls into the goal. So god damn annoying. Other than that, the defense did their job pretty well. Although the they will probably still cop it as it wasn't a clean sheet. I don't think you'd be unhappy with how they played. They created plenty of clear cut chances. Finishing was poor once again. I think in previous seasons they didn't create the clear cut chances, just lots of half chances. So that is a big improvement. Watching them miss good chances will be the frustrating part. Defensively, no howlers. Another improvement. But result definitely feels like a loss.
  8. The SA v BAN scorecard is a rough reading: 411/1 Must be some sort of record that, surely? Luckily, Australia is also shit, so it will be an even series.
  9. If you watched any of the last two matches, this game was more of the same. I don't think they played that badly. Just no luck with results. Had a fair chunk of the possession, created lots of half chances and a fair few sitters, but didn't score from any of them (except one). Defensively, no howlers from the CBs (notably Lovren :P) other than a couple of average passes when under pressure. Moreno had a decent game, won a fair few headers, did not commit any noticeable reckless challenge. TAA had a better defensive performance. Had some really good crosses, but also quite a few rubbish ones. Not to mention some poor decision making where he tried to go through some players and lost the ball, or tried to hold on too long and got closed/lost the ball. Moreno was a bit better in these situations I thought. Karius had an ok game but I thought he could have done a lot better on that free kick. Having said that, the defense was not under any serious pressure for most of the game, so hard to praise them when the other team mostly sat back with 9 players. Hendo and Coutinho had a good game. Can was pants though. Some awful challenges and passes. He got a bit too cocky and tried to dribble a bit too much and failed miserably. Despite what Soylent says, Firmino was not pants throughout :P. But it wasn't his best game either. His passing/crossing was fairly average, but not notably worse than other players on the field (he did have a couple of awful first touches though...). It was a packed defense, and other than Coutinho and Henderson, no one consistently passed well this game. His finishing was dire though. Had three really good chance that he blew. Mane, Salah and Sturridge all missed some good chances too. Mane and Salah's performance is exactly the same as last few games. Looked really dangerous without really doing any damage. Sturridge looked good when he came on so that is a really good sign. Missed a couple of chances, which is uncharacteristic, but good movement and touch. Hopefully he starts next game. They played a 4-2-3-1 from around 70-75min onwards, with Firmino behind Sturridge and Coutinho out on the left. Firmino looked a lot better in that role. Having his energy in the middle was a good solution I thought, specially as he is pretty good at pressing and defensive duties in general. Pool ended up with playing a few too many aerial crosses for my liking (without really having the players to take advantage of it). But the opposition defense was fairly compact and not a lot of space to exploit, so don't think they had too many options. Overall, they played well (but not great) but the result looks a lot worse than what it could've been.
  10. Frustrating Liverpool game to watch. Even though I thought they played well, created some really good chances (minus endless long shots) but just no luck with finishing (no surprise there). Pool has awful luck in that every single of their defensive mistake seems to leak a goal. Burnley's defender did a Lovren today (missed a clearance) and nothing happened :/ Good to see Sturridge start the game. He looked a bit rusty with the shooting, but his movements looked good, touch was good, passing was good. Hope to see him start a few more games, specially against opponents who defend deep. He does have an eye for goal and it will come in handy against packed defense at some point for sure. I wonder if he will do better with fast wingers (ox or mane on the left) instead of a creative/slow winger (firmino or coutinho) as the fast wingers generally draw the attention of the CBs a lot more once they go past the fullbacks. Some positive signs with Coutinho as well, his movement and passing seemed pretty good, although he does tend to lose the ball in some dangerous areas when he plays in midfield. A lot of his passes didn't quite work out, but that's expected considering his absence. Hope he is back into the starting lineup going forward. We don't have too many players in midfield who can generally dribble past multiple players (specially with Lallana out as well) and do those cute chipped passes behind defense. TAA once again looked good offensively and poor defensively. He is awful in the air! Solanke looks so damn good every time he comes on. I can't wait for the Cup games to start where I am expecting him to play a full 90. Considering how the squad looked very different to the first few games, pretty happy with how fluent they looked. Although Burnley didn't really press particularly hard to test their composure. Still frustrating as hell. Over the last few years, there has been too many of these type of performances. Still hopeful it will be different this season
  11. Klopp did make changes to the system. Pretty sure Pool was playing 3-5-1 at one point as Can dropped in to the middle of 3. It just didn't work out . Specially since Guardiola countered by scrapping the 3-man defense and brought more players forward to retain the ball.
  12. Don't think I agree with this. They tend to drop their tempo quite a bit (except Mane, but he is a beast) later in second half if they are winning. If not, then they don't (understandably). Dropping their tempo has cost them a quite a few points last season as other teams came back late against Pool. The lack of squad depth and injuries played a bigger role than the high tempo. And before anyone jump on the injuries, you will note that most of the injuries were not related to physical intensity of play, but rather unfortunate knocks, bad landings, bad challenges etc. TAA had a bad game in defense. His defending needs to improve significantly before he can start before Gomez in games like these. Speaking of which, I would've thought Gomez would be an upgrade to Lucas in CB position, so we aren't technically worse off?
  13. Panic buy is bit of an exaggeration on my part. I expect they never could land their plan a because they don't regularly qualify for CL and didn't have the pull they used to (or have now) and settled for plan b. And plan b was never good enough. I don't think there are many defenders in the world who would be comfortable playing for Liverpool. I include VVD in that list, as Lovren has proven that being good at Southampton doesn't mean you'll do well in Liverpool. I don't watch many Southampton or Celtic games so I don't really know how good VVD actually is. But Liverpool hopefully did their homework and identified him as someone who is a good fit. Or can hopefully be a good fit. I don't think it was clear at all after he handed in a transfer request. There was a little bit of hope! As I've said, just a 'good defender' won't cut it at Liverpool. I largely agree with you about VVD in that he might not actually succeed at Liverpool, similar to Lovren. Also agree with you that Liverpool's style is the main cause of defensive fragility. But adding a 'good defender' isn't going to help Liverpool's defensive fragility unless it's someone who can handle being exposed. Most "good defenders" that generally get mentioned play in systems where they are lot more protected (i.e. your list of Juve defenders). Other overly attack minded teams, e.g. City, have the same problem as Liverpool. The defense look shaky as hell because of the style. The only team in EPL who are almost as attacking as pool and city but have good defensive record is Spurs (although they are a lot more balanced than City and Pool). And I'd gladly take Vertonghen over VVD if we could! As for your Morata comparison, I don't think Liverpool had such options available. I think we would've heard more names if Pool thought there were others out there who could fit the bill that VVD (apparently) does.
  14. Well that was a disappointing result to say the least. Hopefully they can bounce back by mid week. Can Mane play champion's league matches with a red card? That first goal was the fault of midfield. No one anywhere near KDB. Can't give him that much space. Doesn't matter how good a defender is, a 1v1 against Aguero is just asking for it. Although Klavan was caught out for sure, but it's to Aguero and Jesus's credit as they were moving around a lot and made it difficult (but that's the job!). Klavan played Jesus onside against for the second goal. He didn't have a good game at all. Milner and Mignolet need to do better for both of the Sane goals. Guardiola's teams are probably the worst team to be down 10-man against. His system always allows for an out ball, so there wasn't a lot of hope after that when down to 10. No thanks. We already know what Plan B defenders look like (i.e. Klavan). Liverpool's previous 5+ years of transfers have been full of "Plan B" and in the end they ended up with a mediocre squad. They panic buy mediocre plan B players and then don't buy plan A players the next transfer window (as they just wasted money on Plan B). I'd prefer they just wait for VVD. Or at least someone as good if not better, which would be a difficult find IMO. Gomez is there as the backup, and they just need to hold on until Jan and re-evaluate. With Klopp they can certainly attract their Plan A now so it's better they wait and get those players. Even if it means that this season it won't allow them to be contenders. Needless to say, it's easy enough to find better CB than Lovren and Klavan/Gomez. But there aren't a whole lot of CBs who would do well at Liverpool given the system of play. Liverpool needs very specific type of CB and those are a lot harder to find.
  15. Don't think they accept Aussie bank cards. I refuse to jump through hoops when I am paying hard earned dollarydoos, AND ALSO have use VPN to access these services. Fuck that! If i have to jump through so many hoops, i sure as hell would not want to pay for such services. Luckily, LFC GO worked out quite well, as its only $9 AUD per month and no geoblocks etc. Plus I get to watch some U23 matches/highlights and see how the youngins are doing. In Aus, an internet service provider bought the rights to EPL, so you have to be their customer to watch EPL legally. So minimum monthly cost is around $45 AUD per month ($30 for a mobile plan and $15 for the EPL access). $50 for whole season is peanuts!