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Frank has been a member since July 9th 2008, and has created 6642 posts from scratch.

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Saturday Night Football

Well, it’s closer isn’t it. What is, you may ask? Today saw the announcement that there will be live Saturday night football on TV. This further kick in the proverbials for match going fans is to commence from the 2019/20 season. Which brings me to my original statement of ‘it’s closer isn’t it’. To clarify, I remember saying on our way back from the 1995 League Final against Bolton that clubs would accept an invitation to play on the moon at midnight, if the money was right. Some scoffed at this at the time but when you look at it, there is more chance of that happening than us reverting to all Saturdays enjoying a 3pm kick off.

Saturday Night Fotball

Saturday Night Football

Liverpool v Bolton 1995

So, what was significant about Liverpool v Bolton 1995? It was significant because it was the first League Cup Final to be moved from its normal Saturday 3pm kick off. Instead it was played at 5pm on the Sunday. The actual date was the 2nd April. They managed to miss April Fool’s at least. The kick off time was widely criticised by fans travelling down to the game. But what about the clubs? Not a peep really. They were too busy counting their 30 pieces of silver. After all what do the match going fans matter?

That was the start of the rot setting in for me. Football selling its soul to the devil. Don’t get me wrong, all clubs are guilty. Not just Liverpool. But I do find it quite amusing at times to hear employees and ex-employees of the club refer to Liverpool FC as a family.

Liverpool are fortunate in that they enjoy a hugely passionate and extremely large fan base. Fans will turn up come what may. After all, arguably our greatest talisman, Steven Gerrard, confirmed this. He said, ” If Liverpool FC played a cup final on the moon,our fans would find a way of getting there.” I’m not criticising him for saying that by the way. And he’s not wrong. The club knows this only too well. As do other clubs.

Liverpool v Sheffield Wednesday, October 1994

Another example of how the fans are treated. After the standing Kop was demolished in April 1994 we were faced with a temporary, 4,000 open top, mobile stand for the commencement of the 1994/95 season. Luckily, me and my pal were two of the lucky 4,000. I remember a 3pm kick off game against Sheffield Wednesday in October. The queues were particularly bad trying to get in. There weren’t any particularly orderly queues either. As kick off was fast approaching and we were going nowhere fast it seemed, someone in the crowd shouted to a policeman on a police horse.

“Oy mate, why don’t you radio through and ask them to delay the kick off?”

What do you think the policeman’s response was? Well, it wasn’t the one we all wanted to hear. He said….

“Not a chance. You’re all season ticket holders aren’t you. They’re not bothered about you. They’ve had your money.”

Charming!! But never a truer word spoken maybe.

And So It Continued

As the years went by, the kick off times got even more obscure and bizarre. Sign of the times and all that. Fans that have never been to a live game maybe will not understand this. But, I often say to armchair fans that actually going to the game feels that you are contributing. Daft maybe, but that’s how it feels. Yelling your lungs out in the Kop or wherever and you are helping. Shouting at the TV? Nah, not the same.

As it happens I’ve had a season ticket since 1984. I pride myself on being a season ticket holder and class myself as a loyal and passionate fan. Yes there are millions of loyal and passionate armchair fans as well. And I could have opted to become an armchair fan. But when it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood. Sadly though for some fans there has to be a breaking point.

Moving some games to a Sunday afternoon to start off with was bad enough. Then there came the select few Saturday lunchtime games. These of course then became a regular feature on the football calendar. Still, fans found a way around it. Having now stretched fans loyalty so far, the clubs went even further. What about a Saturday tea time, a Friday night and a Monday night option? Needless to say all clubs view is, “not a problem.”

An additional problem to match going fans of course is that the times are often switched at short notice. Again when this happens, who are the clubs actually thinking of when they agree to this?

Saturday Night Football

Today’s announcement of forthcoming Saturday night football is neither a surprise, nor is it welcome. Well, not to the match going fans at least. Were supporters clubs approached about this latest development? Probably not. But if they were, what were they thinking? Armchair fans will be rubbing their hands no doubt. So will the clubs, because agreeing to Saturday evenings kick offs will no doubt mean a shedload more money. And that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about whether or not you are a ‘family club’ any more. Those days are long gone.

Sky’s introduction to the world of football has been so good for millions, but for others? Not so good. The initial introduction of a 4pm Sunday game was acceptable to many. But all these add-ons has really pushed match going fans patience and loyalty to the limit. Saturday night football? At the moment, not for me thanks.

As I said, the days of us playing at midnight on the moon in an FA Cup 4th Round replay is ever closer. Will I be there? Sorry Stevie, I don’t think this fan will be there.

A Point Gained Or Two Points Lost?

It could have been better, it could have been worse. Ultimately a point each seemed to be fair all round really. So was it a point gained or two points lost? At about 10 minutes before half time, my mate and I in The Kop agreed that we would be happy to get to half-time all square. I wouldn’t say that Chelsea were turning the screw, but they were looking extremely dangerous each time they attacked. As the half wore on, those attacks were becoming more and more frequent. It was particularly clear that the link up between Morata and Hazard was causing us problems. Two really good, quality players. Especially Hazard. He seems to love playing at Anfield. I seem to recall seeing him about four times or so. On every occasion he has stood out for me.

A Point Gained Or Two Points Lost?

Mo Salah-A Point Gained Or Two Points Lost

Mo Salah-A Point Gained Or Two Points Lost

Although at half-time some would have taken a point, a draw in some respects was disappointing. After all, we had again taken the lead. So, from that perspective, a draw was a disappointment. The now all too familiar criticism of being unable to keep a lead surfaced again. Our inability to see a game out is clearly a problem isn’t it. Five draws in the League this season. In three of them we have been ahead. Watford, Newcastle and Chelsea. The effect of those extra six points is self explanatory really.

And of course, don’t forget leading against Sevilla on two occasions and failing to see the game out.

No Surprise

However flukey or well intentioned Willian’s equaliser was, the fact it came was no surprise. Talking to someone coming out of the ground confirmed what most fans already think. We have on so many occasions not got what we have deserved out of a game. The number of times we have dominated teams and only end up with a draw. Or worse, a narrow defeat.

We couldn’t recall a game where we have been dominated, or really should have shared the spoils but we have sneaked a squeaky 1-0 against the odds. Don’t get me wrong, Chelsea didn’t necessarily dominate us, but they did deserve a point. And a point is what they got. How many times have we said we deserved to win, or get a point but failed to achieve that. The old cliche of course is being able to win ugly. We very rarely seem to manage to do that. When we win, we win in style. Nothing wrong with that of course. It would be nice though now and then to see our opponents on the receiving end of an ‘undeserved’ defeat.

Game Management

Much has been said about game management. Not for the first time question marks exist over game management. As already mentioned we have been ahead in 3 of our 5 drawn games this season but have failed to see the game out. In fairness, credit has to be given to the opposition on occasions. Having said that though we do often play into the other team’s hands. The game against Chelsea a case in point. At 1-0 up we went very deep and decided to hold onto what we had. And why not? We’ve seen other teams do it against us. But our 8 or 9 back behind the ball wasn’t as controlled as we’ve seen other teams employ.

It seemed at times that our defensive strategy was to launch the ball clear even when we had time. Quite a few of the clearances were ‘panicky’ even when they didn’t need to be. I am sure that the plan was to sit deep and hit them on the counter. Why on earth then Mane wasn’t brought on much sooner? But how could we hit them on the break when the ball was unnecessarily humped into “Row Z”?

Cesc Fabregas is a quality player. And it was somewhat of a relief not to see him start. No surprise that he had a big impact on the game when he came on. But did we have to let him see so much of the ball? He got plenty of praise for his contribution to Chelsea’s cause. But, we didn’t really make it difficult for him did we? The room he was given was incredible. Quality player given plenty of room, added to ‘panicky’ clearances equals, dangerous situations to contend with.

Newcastle Equaliser

No doubt we can all remember Newcastle’s equaliser against us earlier this season. There was a catalogue of things that was wrong about that goal. One of which was the lack of pressure put on Jonjo Shelvey when he was on the ball. Fast forward to Saturday just gone and the lack of pressure on Fabregas was incredible. Fans can criticise the back four all day long and say that they are not good enough.

They are right in that certain players in our back four are simply not good enough. But when you add to that a midfield that has no defensive shape or discipline then the inevitable is going to happen. We may have had 8 or 9 back in numbers, but how many were bypassed or were just mere passengers?

I thought Kante was also particularly good for Chelsea on Saturday. He has the defensive discipline without a doubt. But isn’t he really good on the ball as well though. He goes past players with ease at times. He is so effective. The ability to win a ball and then in a matter of seconds get your team moving forward. A quality players. And the type of player we will get in Naby Keita.

Seeing A Game Out

Our inability in seeing a game out is well documented. On Saturday we tried to do so by sitting deep with numbers behind the ball. A dangerous game to play if you have a midfield that offers very little protection to the back four. You can of course see a game out by keeping possession. Our ‘panicky’ clearances were just being recycled back to Fabregas standing in oceans of space in a matter of seconds. Rinse and repeat.

Hopefully, Keita will give us that extra bit of control and poise required. The ability to nick the ball and retain possession as well. I still think we need a specialist defensive midfielder as well though.

Also, we hopefully get Van Dijk (or someone similar). Someone who will provide a calming influence at the back and some leadership – both verbally and with their ability. Ominously though Manchester City are reportedly interested in Van Dijk now. If it isn’t to be with Van Dijk, hopefully we do have a Plan B, C. D etc…

In Conclusion

A draw against Chelsea is no disaster. But it would have been nice to see the game and see Chelsea end up with nothing even though they deserved something from the game. A point gained or two points lost? Make your own minds up. I think, as we took the lead, it was ultimately two points lost.

Expect The Unexpected

Speaking to a few Reds fans after the game and I think it’s fair to say that the final score of 3-3 was no big surprise. It should have been, but what this current Liverpool side has taught us is to expect the unexpected. In recent years we have had a fair few roller-coaster games where the supposed unexpected has happened. The outcomes of Read More…

Liverpool’s Best England XI?

We have been very fortunate over the years to have a wide array of English talent at our disposal. So many have gone on to represent England as well as star for the Reds. But what would you consider to be Liverpool’s Best England XI? Read More…

Favourite Songs and Chants

There is much criticism nowadays of the lack of atmosphere at grounds all around the country. And yes, that includes Anfield. Having said that though, on our day we are one of the best, if not the best. What are your favourite songs and chants though. We do have some real classic anthems don’t we. Top of the pile of course Read More…