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A Horse Named Stranger

Football: Calling Dr. Rashford. European Cup, transfer shenanigans

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4 minutes ago, Iskaral Pust said:

I have some sympathy for Jamal Lewis though.  Norwich are absolutely entitled to set the asking price for their players, but Lewis must be disappointed by this opportunity slipping past him.  Imagine him watching Tsimikas over the next few years and wondering what might have been.

The turnaround from Lewis to Tsimikas was so quick that I suspect Edwards didn't really expect to get Lewis. They probably had a rough idea what they could get Tsimikas for and had a punt to see whether Norwich would sell them Lewis for the same price.

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To fawn over OGS for improving the atmosphere at the club would be akin to gushing praise at a chef for microwaving a bowl of beans for you because your previous chef was insane and constantly tried to feed you dog food with drawing pins in it.

And I'm not talking about squad depth, I'm talking about the first XI, which is fine.

City don't have an especially creative right back either, so they have their right sided midfielder operating closer toward the corners, putting balls in. There are plenty of ways around shortcomings in a team, rather than oh no we only have Pogba and Fernandes in midfield, how will we ever create something!

I agree you need to improve the squad overall, but I think with the first team, a lot could be fixed through tactics. All your forward players do is charge at the goal mindlessly, and that does work sometimes when there's space, and it certainly gets you a good amount of penalties, but as we've seen over and over, it doesn't always work. When I said he was more likely to be an hindrance than a help, really what I meant was he probably won't be a help. If you win something, I think it will be solely down to the players having exceptional games within the limited tactical framework.

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2 hours ago, ljkeane said:

The turnaround from Lewis to Tsimikas was so quick that I suspect Edwards didn't really expect to get Lewis. They probably had a rough idea what they could get Tsimikas for and had a punt to see whether Norwich would sell them Lewis for the same price.

You’re probably right.  It was worth trying to add another homegrown player, but I’m glad to see the club had a plan B and was decisive about it.

That still won’t comfort Jamal Lewis much while he’s playing in the Championship instead of the Champions League.  City and Spurs at a minimum could use LB, perhaps he’ll still get another move, although it’s harder for him to get bought as a starter yet for a top team.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Soylent Brown said:

City don't have an especially creative right back either, so they have their right sided midfielder operating closer toward the corners, putting balls in. There are plenty of ways around shortcomings in a team, rather than oh no we only have Pogba and Fernandes in midfield, how will we ever create something!


City's squad is miles better than ours though. They might not have an especially creative right back but they have multiple players who can offer creativity from wide if need be. Getting our squad to the level of city's is the whole fucking point.

Edited by polishgenius

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9 hours ago, Ser Glendon Fireball said:

Same story with Klopp & Salah. 

Is it the same story with Klopp and Salah?

It's not as if we had a bunch of options and Salah was a luxury signing. Remember, back then it was Firmino, Mane and then an extremely injury-prone Sturridge and Origi.

One more thing is that the price for signing Salah was around 1/3 of what Sancho's price is rumoured to be.

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54 minutes ago, baxus said:

Is it the same story with Klopp and Salah?

It's not as if we had a bunch of options and Salah was a luxury signing. Remember, back then it was Firmino, Mane and then an extremely injury-prone Sturridge and Origi.

One more thing is that the price for signing Salah was around 1/3 of what Sancho's price is rumoured to be.

Yup, though I remember the Coutinho-Firmino-Mané front line being quite efficient back then. Obviously you needed one good winger, but at that time the problem was more in defence than in attack IIRC.

But yeah, Salah definitely wasn't a luxury signing. And I think Sancho wouldn't be either, because just as someone pointed out on previous page, we lack a proper winger.

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Coutinho was great back then for sure, but he wasn't really interchangeable with Salah nor could Salah ever reduce Coutinho's playing time or vice versa. Other than if Klopp went with some major tactical shift for a specific opponent of course, but Klopp isn't the type of manager to adapt to his opponent that much.

"Luxury signing" was a poor choice of words I must admit. Bernardo Silva and Mahrez weren't luxury signings either, if we're honest. They were players who were signed to challenge for starting lineup and the worst case scenario would that they provide higher quality rotation which is required for a team that wants to turn into a dynasty.

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Does anyone really play with proper wingers anymore though? And to get the best out of a proper winger, wouldn't you need a proper centre forward?

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1 hour ago, Soylent Brown said:

Does anyone really play with proper wingers anymore though? And to get the best out of a proper winger, wouldn't you need a proper centre forward?

City did for a while under Guardiola to be fair. They don't really anymore without Sane as an option.

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Posted (edited)

Liverpool used to really struggle against low block teams until TAA and Robertson cemented their places in the team. It was only halfway through the 2017/2018 season where Liverpool looked better against a low block and then in 2018/2019 is when TAA and Robertson really stepped it up and Liverpool were able to break down low blocks with far greater consistency. TAA is the most creative player in the squad who spends most of the game playing as a right winger. Like I said, our fullbacks aren't good enough creatively (although Shaw has been better than Wan Bissaka) so it's not surprising then that United would be looking for a creative winger. 

Edited by Consigliere

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A lot of our improvement from mid 17/18 onwards was just VVD arriving. We could already score against teams that sat back a bit, it's just that we conceded quite often from counters too before that.

And obviously Liverpool do look to create an awful lot through their fullbacks, but I'm not sure how viable a strategy that is overall for most teams. TAA's emergence seems to have shaped Klopp's strategy. He's a freak - his passing range and ability is approaching KdB level already. I said last year that it won't be too long before TAA is Liverpool's best player, and I stand by that comment.

There are other ways to do it though - City often have their fullbacks move inward to cover the space while their midfielders move wider and further forward to create chances. I could see that approach working for United.

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VVD improved your defence but it was the emergence of TAA and Klopp finally giving Robertson a chance at LB that turned around Liverpool's fortunes against low block defences. The assists they provide and chances they create from wide positions made a massive difference. It wasn't just VVD. 

 

Walker, Cancelo and Mendy are way more creative fullbacks than either Shaw or AWB. Mahrez and B.Silva are actually wingers both of whom excelled playing on the right wing in teams utilising a 4-4-2 before moving to City. Pushing Rashford and Greenwood to spend most of the game in wider positions isn't a good idea. United have a problem against low blocks because our fullbacks aren't so good at attacking. The top sides all have better attacking fullbacks than we do who provide the width and creativity in wide areas. We really should have signed Ricardo Pereira from Porto instead of Dalot. He would have made an immense difference for us in attack on the right flank. 

 

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6 hours ago, Soylent Brown said:

Does anyone really play with proper wingers anymore though? And to get the best out of a proper winger, wouldn't you need a proper centre forward?

 

It doesn't necessarily need to be a true winger, old-school style, but neither Rashford nor Greenwood are really passers - Rashford has developed a nice slide-rule through-pass but neither of them offer an outlet for just bouncing the ball off them, pass-and-move space creating stuff. Sancho can do that and dribble as well as anyone thus offering the block-breaking outlet (Sarr's lack of real passing is one of the reasons I'm sceptical of him as an alternative option. He offers the second part of that package but not the first bit and I think that's key for us right now) and stretching the game.

Like there's a reason we play so much better when Shaw's involved even though he's not that good (though I do rate him better than Consigliere)- the midfield can pass the ball to him with the reasonable expectation of getting it back in good time and safely. Williams and Wan-Bissaka don't offer that so when the ball goes out to them, teams know they're going down the byline (or in AWB's case, sometimes returning the pass, but slowly and clumsily), which limits the options they have to block off, and it's not really what Rashford or Greenwood are about either. And our midfield also try to avoid the pass out to the FBs unless they're sure there are forwards in a position to get on the cross, limiting options further.

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Posted (edited)

That was a weak ass penalty from Jiménez. He's usually much better than that. Sevilla were expected to dominate possession and Wolves did well to contain them while Traore looks dangerous on the counter. Wolves do need to find a way beat Sevilla's excellent pressing though otherwise they are going to get overrun. 

 

ETA. Sevilla deserved that. Wolves defended doggedly but they were played off the park. Sevilla's pressing is relentless. They completely suffocated both Roma and Wolves. I suspect we are going to really struggle against their press as well especially given that we look ropey as hell when attempting to play out of the back against a well coordinated high press. 

ETA 2. I'm actually very relieved that we qualified for the CL via the league because my prediction is that Sevilla dominate us the same way they've dominated Roma and Wolves. Hopefully if we get a penalty, Bruno won't miss!

Edited by Consigliere

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That’s my recollection of Liverpool vs Sevilla in the EL final a few years ago: we played well in the first half and took a good lead, but they significantly increased their pressing in the second half and over-ran us.

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4 hours ago, polishgenius said:

 

It doesn't necessarily need to be a true winger, old-school style, but neither Rashford nor Greenwood are really passers - Rashford has developed a nice slide-rule through-pass but neither of them offer an outlet for just bouncing the ball off them, pass-and-move space creating stuff. Sancho can do that and dribble as well as anyone thus offering the block-breaking outlet (Sarr's lack of real passing is one of the reasons I'm sceptical of him as an alternative option. He offers the second part of that package but not the first bit and I think that's key for us right now) and stretching the game.

Like there's a reason we play so much better when Shaw's involved even though he's not that good (though I do rate him better than Consigliere)- the midfield can pass the ball to him with the reasonable expectation of getting it back in good time and safely. Williams and Wan-Bissaka don't offer that so when the ball goes out to them, teams know they're going down the byline (or in AWB's case, sometimes returning the pass, but slowly and clumsily), which limits the options they have to block off, and it's not really what Rashford or Greenwood are about either. And our midfield also try to avoid the pass out to the FBs unless they're sure there are forwards in a position to get on the cross, limiting options further.

It seems like part of the problem is whether AWB is the right kind of RB to have in a team that will often face a packed defense.  He’s a very good tackler and defender but (as we all said when he was signed for a big fee) he doesn’t yet offer much going forward.  He can dribble a bit at times but his crossing is nothing great and he doesn’t yet seem to anticipate when to make runs, or make the quick, crisp passes that will open some space.  Most top teams now are playing a 4-3-3 that works more like a 2-5-3, even when their FBs aren’t as creative as TAA. 

It might be better to try shifting AWB to CB instead alongside Maguire and then use a RB more like Dalot.  I don’t know if AWB has the aerial ability or positional sense for CB so it might be risky, and his passing isn’t great, but he at least has speed and good tackling which helps stop the break-aways that catch out Maguire.

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6 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

It might be better to try shifting AWB to CB instead alongside Maguire and then use a RB more like Dalot.  I don’t know if AWB has the aerial ability or positional sense for CB so it might be risky, and his passing isn’t great, but he at least has speed and good tackling which helps stop the break-aways that catch out Maguire.


It's definitely something I've thought throughout the season that it might be worth trying AWB at CB and Dan James at RB, especially when we play that 3-5-2 formation

It's not something I'd want to head into a season relying on though. And AWB's limitations are certainly work-aroundable- Soylent isn't wrong when he says you can adjust a formation to work around things like that, and I'm a fan of assymetrical formations as it is. Something where AWB playing RB but dropping deeper allowing the CBs more freedom to support the midfield and to shuffle across themselves freeing the LB would totally work for me, I just don't think we have the players to pull that off right now- Greenwood's just too much of a pure forward, even with midfield support as Soylent suggests there'd be too big a gap between him and AWB.

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10 hours ago, polishgenius said:


It's definitely something I've thought throughout the season that it might be worth trying AWB at CB and Dan James at RB, especially when we play that 3-5-2 formation

It's not something I'd want to head into a season relying on though. And AWB's limitations are certainly work-aroundable- Soylent isn't wrong when he says you can adjust a formation to work around things like that, and I'm a fan of assymetrical formations as it is. Something where AWB playing RB but dropping deeper allowing the CBs more freedom to support the midfield and to shuffle across themselves freeing the LB would totally work for me, I just don't think we have the players to pull that off right now- Greenwood's just too much of a pure forward, even with midfield support as Soylent suggests there'd be too big a gap between him and AWB.

Liverpool did something similar three (?) years ago when Gomez played at RB for a while before TAA really nailed the position.  Gomez did not advance as high as the LB, so it almost looked like a back three at times, and the midfield shuffled accordingly: Milner was less advanced as the LMF, providing some coverage for the LB, while Lallana pushes into a RAMF slot close to Mane/Salah (I cannot recall if that was the last season before Salah arrived). It worked well enough for a while.

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Yeah, I think teams need to be flexible in how they set up their teams based on the attributes of the players they have, not just their nominal positions.

Obviously if United had a fullback with the creative quality of Alexander-Arnold they should be setting their side up to facilitate him getting into advanced positions. They don't have that but they do have a really good defensive player in Wan-Bissaka, and they're probably not going to pick the kind of hard working midfield Liverpool do to allow their fullbacks to commit forward so much either. City largely have Walker tucking into midfield to help cover potential counterattacks when they have the ball and I don't see any real reason Wan-Bissaka couldn't do that.

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