Jurgen Klopp, faith and navigating the moral maze of a Liverpool takeover

“A few words of reassurance in a week of uncertainty. Two days after The Athletic broke the story that Fenway Sports Group were willing to sell either part or all of their shares in Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp suggested that no matter what happens from here, he is ‘committed to the club.’ Listening to his answer in full while reading between the lines, it is clear that he thinks it is more likely that Liverpool will be subject to new investment rather than a takeover, a move which according to him, would ‘actually… make sense’. …”
The Athletic

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The Ten Commandments of Gegenpressing


“Space is critical in football, give your opponent too much of it, and you get punished; make the best of little space or try to profit from little space, and you might get rewarded with a goal. This creates a problem for every manager, irrespective of the philosophical divide: how do I limit and control my opponent’s use of space with and without the ball? To this end, Gegenpressing is a tantalizing option; Gegenpressing (counter-pressing) is simply winning the ball immediately after losing possession. The opposition’s intention after getting the ball is to start a counter; hence their defensive organisation is broken, leaving them vulnerable because their players are quite apart in the quest to score a goal. …”
Breaking the Lines
What is Gegenpressing and how it evolved into one of the most revolutionary tactics in modern football?
The Athletic: Liverpool are the masters of chaos – and the polar opposite of Manchester City
YouTube: What is Gegenpressing?

Salah’s double leaves Liverpool enough room to see off Spurs’ late charge

“It was about time Liverpool remembered how to dig in. Even if Jürgen Klopp more or less admitted that the red machine is not back to full working order just yet, at least he saw glimpses of the old fighting spirit. It took plenty of guts to see off another late comeback from Tottenham, not to mention plenty of clearances from Ibrahima Konaté and brave punches from Alisson, and while this was not a complete display from Liverpool it was easy to see why Klopp celebrated at full time by marching across the pitch to celebrate with the travelling support. …”
Guardian

Out-of-gas Fabinho has become a symbol of Liverpool’s decline

“It was about halfway through the first half of Liverpool’s defeat to Leeds at Anfield last Saturday that Fabinho made his feelings known to the crowd. The hosts had once again failed to string some passes together and as the ball drifted out of play there came groans from the Kop. Hearing this, Fabinho turned to the stand and began waving his arms in a call for support, doing so aggressively and with a snarl on his face. He clearly was not happy and neither were those watching on, with a fair few making that clear to him. …”
Guardian

John Bramley-Moore, slavery and the site of Everton’s new stadium

“Mary Anne Kinloch was a Beatles fan, and when she visited Liverpool from Canada in 1970, the place she really wanted to see was Mathew Street’s Cavern nightclub. Yet she also had family connections with the city. One-hundred and thirty years earlier, John Bramley-Moore, her great, great grandfather, was a major player in Liverpool politics. He became the Lord Mayor after campaigning for the northward extension of the docks, a decision which ensured Liverpool remained a global port for more than a century. …”
The Athletic

Premier League managers and referees: ‘What sort of message does this send?’

“After Jurgen Klopp was sent off in Liverpool’s ill-tempered 1-0 win over Manchester City last weekend, Dr Tom Webb posted an image on Twitter similar to the one above of the Liverpool manager screaming at assistant referee Gary Beswick. ‘What sort of message does this send to people watching?’ wrote Webb, who co-ordinates the Referee and Match Official Research Network. ‘It’s images like this that make people think #referees are fair game… ‘if coaches and players in the Premier League are doing it, then it must be OK’… it isn’t and it certainly won’t help the trend of referee #abuse.’ …”
The Athletic

Liverpool vs Manchester City deconstructed: The bitterness, the briefings ⁠– and what’s next

“At 27 minutes past six on Sunday evening, Anthony Taylor blew his whistle at Anfield to bring the curtain down on Liverpool’s thrilling and tempestuous 1-0 victory over the reigning Premier League champions Manchester City. But the drama was only just beginning. The game itself was action-packed. Jurgen Klopp was sent to the stands after exploding in fury at the non-award of a foul and Pep Guardiola said members of the Anfield crowd threw coins at him while he was watching the game from the touchline. …”
The Athletic

Football has elevated time-wasting into a sophisticated art form

“As a pastime, or indeed lifestyle, time-wasting is undervalued. To do nothing takes real imagination; to produce nothing requires a strong moral core. The idle person does not, among other things, perform unnecessary cosmetic surgery or release an album of swing covers. The most courageous way of experiencing time is through inaction – to remain quite still and feel the minutes crawl across the face. Time-wasting in football, however, is the preserve of knaves and shysters. …”
Guardian

Liverpool’s unmovable Van Dijk shows Haaland is a stoppable force


Virgil van Dijk puffed out his cheeks and wrapped his arms around Joe Gomez. Mohamed Salah may have been Liverpool’s match-winner but this enthralling 1-0 triumph over Manchester City was built on firm foundations. Van Dijk has found himself in uncharted territory this season. His crown as the most complete centre-back in world football has slipped. As Liverpool’s defensive vulnerability has been repeatedly exposed, his form has been held up as a symptom of the team’s decline. There have been uncharacteristic errors and accusing fingers pointing in his direction. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: Liverpool vs Manchester City and a dearth of proper wide options

Salah shines as Klopp earns tactical triumph amid his touchline theatrics


“Towards the end of this thrilling, slightly wild afternoon at Anfield, Jürgen Klopp could be seen with his arms outspread, a tableau of pathos, disbelief, astonishment, bewildered to find himself handed a red card by Anthony Taylor and sent from his touchline. As Klopp whirled away, almost sprinting from pitchside, air‑guitaring wildly, still barking and yelping and pointing, it was hard to disagree with his look of stunned surprise. This made no sense at all. How exactly had Klopp managed to last 85 minutes out there? …”
Guardian (Video)
SI: Liverpool Proves It Has Plenty of Fight Left in Drama-Filled Win Over Man City – Jonathan Wilson
BBC – Liverpool 1-0 Man City: ‘Why Liverpool had to wait for Joe Gomez to get back to his best’ – Martin Keown analysis
Liverpool 1-0 Man City: Player ratings as magic Salah fires Reds to win
Liverpool vs. Manchester City score: Mohamed Salah nets winner at Anfield as Jurgen Klopp sees red (Video)
Guardian: Klopp’s reliance on the undroppables reveals Liverpool’s soft underbelly

Every 2022-23 Premier League third kit rated

“Yes, we’re into the second half of October but only now can The Athletic rate the good, the bad and the ugly of this season’s Premier League third kits, as it’s taken this long for them all to finally be unveiled. Bizarre colour schemes, tributes to bridges and digital front-graphic panels, third kits are usually a heady cocktail of the experimental and the sublime, and this year is no different. …”
The Athletic

Liverpool have lost balance and confidence. Regaining both is not easy

“It’s never just one thing. Football, whatever the cliche may say, is not a simple game. A team is a hugely complex organism: a malfunction in one area can have profound consequences elsewhere. Everything is connected and contingent; nothing is independent. Jürgen Klopp must feel at the moment as though he is engaged in a game of Whac-A-Mole, bashing at problems here and there, and yet also knowing that these moles are related, that a mole in one corner is breeding moles elsewhere. …”
Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Manchester United top the table (in paying off departed managers)

“The relentless pursuit of success comes at a cost. For Manchester United, the cost is an estimated £60million spent on sacking managers and their backroom staff since Sir Alex Ferguson retired in May 2013. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Ralf Rangnick all received compensation. This financial outlay is more than Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur have spent changing their manager in the same 10-year timeframe. …”
The Athletic

Read this if you want to understand the Trent Alexander-Arnold Liverpool v England ‘debate’


“Whenever there’s an England squad, especially with the World Cup on the horizon, the eternal debate rises: should Trent Alexander-Arnold start for England? Critics will point out his defensive frailties, others will argue that Alexander-Arnold’s game shouldn’t be judged on those weaknesses and Jurgen Klopp will explain why his No 66 is so vital to Liverpool. And round we go again. But what if everyone is right? And what if that is OK? …”
The Athletic
Guardian: Faltering Liverpool are at a crossroads and Klopp is hard-pressed to find answers – Jonathan Wilson

Watching three Premier League derbies in three days


Arsenal fans make their way to the Emirates from Gillespie Road on derby day
“Super League proposals, globalisation, games potentially being played abroad, the hunger for European football… it’s felt for a while that this might be the future of the game. Ask your typical English football supporter which fixture they first look for in June and chances are they’ll say their team’s local derby. …”
The Athletic

Rangers’ only comfort comes from history in unequal ‘Battle of Britain’

“For Rangers Wednesday 4 November 1992 was as good as it got in movies such as this. As Mark Hateley smashed the Scottish champions in front inside five minutes at Elland Road, cross‑border needle which had extended to the press box morphed into outright celebration. Rangers and their fans felt they were not sufficiently praised for a first‑leg victory in this Champions League clash with Leeds United. Hateley’s goal, later backed up by an Ally McCoist strike before Eric Cantona claimed a Leeds consolation, secured the tie for Walter Smith’s side – a side, that is, which was dominated by Scottish players. …”
Guardian

The Crisis Clubs: a Weekly Guide to Premier League Turmoil

“In case you hadn’t noticed, each week the Premier League has a specific team in crisis. Bad form, shock results, poor management, unforced errors; some or all of these factors can plunge one of the division’s 20 sides into momentary turmoil, transforming them into the main character in Premier League narrative for that week. More often than not the crisis club will be a member of the Big Six but not always and, no matter who it is, the next set of fixtures will invariably throw up a new team to take up the crisis mantle, and the nation’s attention will pivot instantly to the league’s new whipping boys for the week. Here, then, is an ongoing guide to the Premier League’s crisis clubs in 2022-23. …”
The Analyst

Premier League Big Six – when did they have their best days?

“Over the past few years, we have supposedly seen the ‘best ever’ club sides in the Premier League and even Europe. When Liverpool and Manchester City went head-to-head in 2019, some were quick to proclaim them the greatest of all time, but in 2019-20, City fell short and a year later, Liverpool’s defence of their Premier crown was rather tepid. The real test of a great team is consistency over a period of time and both of these clubs have shown they have that quality. …”
Game of the People

“Cup Sides”: Do they exist?

“Some sites are just good, right? They’re in the race for the most trophies most years, and while they invariably meet some disappointment along the way, the pots and pans usually start to pile up. Now think of Manchester City or Manchester United under Alex Fergurson or Liverpool in the 1970s and 1980s. However, other teams seem to do better as pure cup sides. A look back to the 1970s and 1980s and a look at the two major domestic cup competitions seems to confirm this. If we start our last ‘ah, those were the days’ in 1970 and look at that decade’s FA Cup competition, for example, we see certain teams with a distinct ‘cup pedigree’. …”
UK Daily

How the Champions League final descended into chaos – visual investigation

“On 28 May 2022 the Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool took place at the Stade de France in Paris. But the showpiece match between two great clubs was disfigured by chaotic organisation, in which Liverpool supporters suffered a near disaster and riot police teargassed spectators while failing to protect people from violent attacks by local thugs. Yet the French government, police and Uefa united instantly to put the blame on Liverpool supporters, claiming that the chaos was caused by thousands seeking entry with fake tickets. …”
Guardian (Video)
Guardian – ‘I had to leave’: concerns raised over state of Uefa amid cronyism claims
Guardian: Uefa pre-prepared Champions League final statement blaming ‘late’ fans

Special report: Inside Liverpool’s medical department


“Darren Burgess was an Australian fitness and conditioning specialist whose appointment at Liverpool in 2010, during a period of unprecedented upheaval across all levels of the club, was attached to that of their head of sports medicine and science Peter Brukner. Roy Hodgson was drowning as manager and, two weeks before Fenway Sports Group’s takeover, striker Fernando Torres was left out of a Europa League game because of concerns from the new staff about his physical state. …”
The Athletic

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool have lost their identity


“A crestfallen Jurgen Klopp walked across to the travelling Kop inside Stadio Diego Armando Maradona after the final whistle and held his hands up apologetically. … Liverpool have given their supporters so many memories to cherish with their European exploits during Klopp’s reign. Last season, they became the first club in Champions League history to win all six away matches en route to the final in Paris. Yet the contrast between the team that dug deep to fight for glory on all fronts and the one that was humiliated by the rampant Serie A side on Wednesday could hardly be greater. Rarely has a team fallen so far, so quickly. …”
The Athletic

The Champions League Final is Damned and Doomed: Part I, Part II

“Barrie Davies’s journey to the Champions League Final takes a turn when he finds a rundown flat, smelly bar, and ‘Magic Messi Milk’ between himself and Paris. Part one of a two-part series. … Journey to the Liverpool-Real Madrid final reaches its zenith as the crew enters Paris.”
Football Paradise – Part I, Part II

Champions League: Michael Cox’s tactical guide to this season’s leading contenders

“Judging by the bookmakers’ odds, there are eight sides who stand a decent chance of winning this season’s European Cup. Broadly speaking, they look familiar from last season — few clubs have undergone a dramatic overhaul in terms of their starting XI and only one of these eight clubs appointed a new manager in the summer. If you haven’t watched any of the favourites since last season, here’s the lowdown on their approaches for 2022-23. …”
The Athletic

Analysing Mohamed Salah’s stuttering start to the season


“The stage looked set for Mohamed Salah to hit new heights for Liverpool this season. It was a summer when the uncertainty over his future was ended as he signed a new three-year contract worth upwards of £350,000 per week. He finally had the kind of deal that he felt recognised his elite status in world football. In the absence of a major international tournament, the Egyptian forward also got a proper break. He returned to Merseyside refreshed, both physically and mentally, and on a mission to break more records. Yet so far, it hasn’t happened for him. …”
The Athletic (Video)
Guardian: Liverpool running out of wriggle room and Salah’s struggles are not helping – Jonathan Wilson

Liverpool and Everton cannot fix all the problems on Merseyside

“When Olivia Pratt-Korbel’s mum heard a commotion outside her home last week, she went to investigate. Suddenly, a man was running for his life towards her. In pursuit was another man who was wearing a balaclava and carrying two guns. As she tried to close the door, the gunman shot four times. One of the bullets went through Cheryl’s hand before entering Olivia’s chest. Police believe the intended target escaped by leaving the nine-year-old to die, just in front of the stairs. …”
The Athletic

Money to Burn: Lessons From the Premier League’s Transfer Window

“… This is what the Premier League does every year, of course: Every summer, and most winters, its clubs descend on Europe, the cash from infinitely spiraling television deals burning a hole in their pockets, and proceed to hose an entire continent with money. They swamp it, they flood it, they drown it with their wealth. And then, at the end of August, they go home, armed with a few more Brazilian playmakers and Swedish strikers, ready to play the games that will earn the money for them to do it all over again in a few months. …”
NY Times

The Earliest Premier League Sackings

“News broke just before 9am on Tuesday morning that Bournemouth had fired their manager Scott Parker, only four games into the 2022-23 season. The man who had stylishly guided the club back into the top-flight saw his side lose 9-0 at Liverpool on Saturday and, unlike Ralph Hasenhüttl, who has survived not one but two 9-0 defeats as Southampton boss, Parker has been dispensed with before September, reportedly more because of differing views on Bournemouth’s transfer strategy than the Anfield shellacking. Either way, Parker’s departure is one of the earliest in Premier League history, but which unfortunate managers have been sacked even earlier into the season? Read on to find out. …”

Real Madrid & the Role of Tactics at Elite Teams

Does a team need a complex tactical structure to be elite? In recent times we have seen complex tactical approaches from managers and clubs like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City, Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea, Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and even Julian Nagelsmann’s Bayern Munich. But does a club need one to be successful? Real Madrid would argue not. Jon Mackenzie explains, Marco Bevilacqua illustrates.
YouTube

Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth: Record-equalling Reds ‘could have scored 14’

“… It came just a couple of months on from last season’s exploits, when they came agonisingly close to football immortality, winning the Carabao Cup and FA Cup but then finishing runners-up in the Premier League by a point and losing the Champions League final against Real Madrid. Manager Jurgen Klopp has set high standards during his time at Anfield and his side failed to meet them so far this term, but promoted Bournemouth’s arrival on Merseyside gave the Reds a chance to remind their rivals of their credentials. …”
BBC (Video)

Is this the worst Premier League foul ever?

“Some fouls leave you wincing. Some are debatable. And some leave players with lasting damage. The Premier League is widely regarded as the most competitive league in the world, so naturally, there have been some hefty challenges. But which is the worst foul committed in the Premier League? Seb Stafford-Bloor writes. Philippe Fenner.”
YouTube

Milner vs Van Dijk: Who was to blame for Manchester United’s opener against Liverpool


Jadon Sancho’s composed opener had only just hit the back of the net, but the inquest had already begun. As he rolled the ball past James Milner, Sancho only had Virgil van Dijk between him and the goal. Van Dijk held his ground, hands behind his back as he looked to cover the space, before Sancho slotted in the bottom-left corner. … The question is, who was right? Could Van Dijk have done any more, or did Milner have a point? …”
The Athletic (Video)

What the Champions League Is Lacking


“PARIS — There will be stories, of course. There are always stories. The Champions League delivers them so frequently and so reliably that it is impossible to dismiss the nagging suspicion that all of this might just be scripted, the product of some complex simulation being run from a secret lair in Nyon. Robert Lewandowski, clad in the blue and red of Barcelona, will return to Bayern Munich, only a few weeks after forcing his exit. Manchester City’s visit to Borussia Dortmund will see Erling Haaland standing once more before its Yellow Wall, that great force of nature no longer at his back but marshaled in his face. …”
NY Times
The Athletic: Champions League draw analysed – The biggest games, the shocks in store, the toughest groups

Klopp’s Liverpool: is time catching up with this magnificent red machine?

“When it was all getting a little too much for Jürgen Klopp at Mainz, when the defeats began to accumulate and the negative thoughts began to spiral, he would clear the schedule, jump in the car and take his squad on an adventure holiday. Long walks in the Hunsrück. Mountain biking in the Black Forest. Two or three days spent knocking back beers, sleeping in tiny huts, having the sort of honest conversations you couldn’t really have in an office. This was Klopp’s terrain, the land where he grew up, and in times of crisis it also became his sanctuary. …”
Guardian

Manchester United Powers Through in Win Over Liverpool Amid Transfer Chaos, Protests


“Football has a remarkable habit of making fools of us all. When it was pointed out after Liverpool’s surprise draw against Crystal Palace last Monday that Manchester United could go above Liverpool if it beat Jürgen Klopp’s side, it was with a smirk. Even after Liverpool’s patchy start to the season, such a thing seemed implausible. After all, United had beaten Liverpool only once in the last 12 league meetings, Liverpool had lost only one game—the Champions League final—all year and United had produced probably its worst performance in half a century at Brentford last Saturday. And yet United was good value for its 2–1 win. …”
SI – Jonathan Wilson
Guardian: Why have Liverpool made such a slow start to the Premier League season?
Liverpool’s Biggest Rival in 2022-23 is Father Time

Cox: United played like Solskjaer’s underdogs — but Sancho goal was typical Ten Hag


“They say the form book goes out of the window in big matches like Manchester United versus Liverpool, but if anything, it was Erik ten Hag’s coaching handbook that went out of the window. Last night, we learnt very little about Manchester United’s future direction under the Dutchman but learnt a lot about Ten Hag himself. This was a deeply pragmatic tactical approach from Ten Hag, designed with the opposition and United’s previous performances in mind. Overall statistics can be misleading considering United led from the 16th minute and the onus was on Liverpool to dominate. …”
The Athletic

Premier League at 30: How football has changed


“‘Football didn’t start in 1992.’ It did not, but it did change forever. Next week marks the 30th anniversary of the Premier League replacing the Football League First Division at the top of the English football tree. Here is what has happened in those 30 years and how the Premier League and the world has changed. …”
BBC (Video)

The Luis Suarez 8

“In 2013/14 Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers created a team that would come close to winning the Premier League. Luis Suarez was their star. When he was sold for over €80million to Barcelona Liverpool had a rebuilding job. Who did they sign? How did they do? Where are they now? Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Philippe Fenner.”
YouTube

Why the through ball is becoming a dying art in European football


“The number of through balls in the UEFA Champions League dropped 50 per cent between the 2018-19 and 2021-22 seasons. In Europe’s top five leagues, the number of through balls dropped on average 30 per cent over the same period. In the Europa League, it dropped 24 per cent. The through ball is not extinct, but it is endangered.Before examining why, we need to define the term. FBref data define a through ball as a: ‘Completed pass sent between the back defenders into open space.’ It is a complex pass to complete, hence the number of through balls is never particularly high and is in fact lower than the goals-per-game total in Europe’s top divisions. …”
The Athletic (Video)

What you may have missed on the Premier League’s opening weekend


“The Premier League is back — and it was a dramatic opening weekend with promoted Fulham holding would-be champions Liverpool to a draw, Erling Haaland scoring two goals on debut for Manchester City and Manchester United losing at home, with Cristiano Ronaldo starting the visit of Brighton on the bench. But away from the main talking points, our The Athletic staff have picked out some of things you may have missed from the first round of 10 matches. Let us know what you spotted in the comments section below. …”
The Athletic

Haaland made clever runs but Nunez gave lesson in how to attack space in behind


“… Pep Guardiola was not concerned about the chances new Manchester City signing Erling Haaland missed, but was instead glad with the positions he occupied in the first place. Missing big chances on his debut in the Community Shield put Haaland in the spotlight. Yet there’s more to dissect in Haaland’s performance against Liverpool than those spurned opportunities. Guardiola was right about Haaland being there, but sometimes the service on Saturday from his City teammates was poor. Such as this moment below when Haaland bends his body to maintain an onside position, waiting for a pass from Kevin De Bruyne that does not come. …”
The Athletic

The Ted Lasso fan’s guide to the Premier League: Your starting point for the 2022-23 season


“We’re not sure when Ted Lasso’s third and (maybe) final season will drop, but it’s never too early to start preparing for how you’ll fill the void once it ends — and this week provides the perfect opportunity. AFC Richmond won promotion back up to the Premier League at the end of the show’s second season, but the real thing kicks off on Friday for another year with plenty of comedy and drama of its own. So if you’re one of the many Ted Lasso fans who haven’t gotten invested in the real-life Premier League just yet, now’s the time to dive in — if only so you’ll be prepared for all the new details sure to be included in season three. Ted Lasso’s landmark licensing deal with the Premier League means lines between the two will be blurred more than ever when it does return. …”
The Athletic (Video)
BBC – Premier League 2022-23: Everything you need to know as new season starts (Video)
NY Times: They Got to the Premier League. Staying? That’s the Hard Part.

Predicting the transfer market: Nunez, Haaland and league exchange rates


“It was hardly surprising that at least three of the Premier League’s leading clubs were interested and, ultimately, that one of them ended up taking the plunge. The striker had scored freely in his domestic league, was a good age and, on the face of it, had all the attributes — physical in particular but technical too — to succeed in England. … Either way, it is interesting to cast your eye down the table below and wonder what the numbers will look like for Manchester City’s Erland Haaland and Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez — the Premier League’s two biggest imports this summer — at the end of their first season in England. Nunez came off the bench to score in Saturday’s Community Shield victory whereas Haaland missed a sitter late on, but how will their contribution be viewed in May next year? …”
The Athletic (Video)

What Fabinho and Liverpool’s defensive line do when the team press


“If we asked you to think about Liverpool’s pressing under Jurgen Klopp, what picture would spring to mind? I’ll hazard a guess that it’s one of their attacking players chasing down an opposition defender or a goalkeeper — think Sadio Mane on Zack Steffen in last season’s FA Cup semi-final or Ederson’s composure under pressure from Diogo Jota in the league game at the Etihad. …”
The Athletic

Salah and Núñez seal Community Shield glory as Liverpool sink Manchester City

“As an augury of the 2022-23 season Liverpool will be the happier as Jürgen Klopp’s side already appear a slick team ready for serious combat. Manchester City do not. Pep Guardiola was hardly concerned about losing this first ever Community Shield staged in July but may scrutinise how Erling Haaland was near-anonymous throughout as this, despite the manager’s post-defeat protestations, disrupted the side’s rhythm. …”
Guardian

Premier League owners: Who is in charge of your club?


“With the 2022-23 campaign quickly coming into focus and the summer transfer window in full flow, many Premier League owners are in the spotlight once again. Following the Chelsea takeover and the promotion of Fulham, Bournemouth and Nottingham Forest, there will be some new faces at the table this season. So, who owns your lot? See below for a breakdown of the ownership structure and board make-up of all 20 Premier League clubs…”
The Athletic

Best Premier League performances: No 16, Mohamed Salah for Liverpool v Manchester City


“… Greatness, despite what you may have heard, is not the same thing as being very good. In a way, they’re almost opposites. To be good is to be safe, smart, successful, all the usual stuff we admire. But to be sloppy or reckless and get the job done because you didn’t do it the usual way? That’s true greatness. The distinction is important here because Mohamed Salah appears on our list of the greatest performances in Premier League history for a game in which, by his standards at least, he wasn’t very good. …”
The Athletic

Sensible Transfers: Liverpool

“Liverpool are good at Sensible Transfers. They identify gaps in the squad and make moves on soon to be available players that fit their system. A new striker was needed with something different to what they had, so they went out and bought Darwin Nunez. Salah and Mane’s contracts were coming to an end, so they bought Luis Diaz. So who you Liverpool sign to futureproof any potential departures. Written by Seb Stafford-Bloor, illustrated by Henry Cooke.”
YouTube

Best Premier League Performances: No 24, Trent Alexander-Arnold for Liverpool v Leicester


“… It is a reflection of modern football that a full-back’s performance is spoken about in a purely attacking perspective — but Trent Alexander-Arnold gave a masterclass on the role on Boxing Day 2019 against Leicester City. December was the busiest month of Liverpool’s title-winning season. They played nine games across four competitions. Despite the schedule, Alexander-Arnold showed no signs of fatigue at the King Power Stadium. …”
The Athletic

Best Premier League performances: No 38, Steven Gerrard for Liverpool v Manchester United


“… Close your eyes and think of Steven Gerrard at his irrepressible, indomitable best. It’s a European night, isn’t it? If it’s not Anfield under the floodlights, it’s probably May 2005 in the Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul. Or it’s the FA Cup final at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium a year later, lashing home two equalisers, one of them in stoppage time from 30 yards out. …”
The Athletic

Premier League five-a-side teams: who would you pick for your club?


“… We tasked our Premier League reporters with picking a five-a-side team from the club that they cover. There are some obvious picks — and some less obvious ones. The rules: *The ball is not allowed over head height  *Slide tackles are forbidden *Each team must have a goalkeeper and they can’t come out of the area *Outfield players are not allowed in the area *They can score from anywhere outside the area. Here we go then. Please feel free to disagree wholeheartedly with their picks in the comments section…”
The Athletic

Darwin Nunez vs Liverpool: Analysing the two games that wowed Klopp


“Darwin Nunez could become the most expensive signing in Liverpool’s history and his journey there has been seven years in the making. It was around 2015 when a Liverpool scout based in South America spotted the young Uruguayan striker playing for Penarol’s under-19s. Since then, Liverpool tracked Nunez’s progress as he went from making his debut in place of ex-Liverpool player Maxi Rodriguez for Penarol in November 2017 to his move to Almeria, in Spain’s second division, in 2019. …”
The Athletic (Video)
W – Darwin Núñez
NY Times: Soccer Rediscovers the No. 9
W – Erling Haaland

The Dust Settles: The Biggest Changes in Stats Perform’s Power Rankings Over the Course of this Season


“So that’s that. Another season in the books. Lots happened, but in some ways, lots stayed the same. As tends to happen, European football’s hierarchy tightened their stranglehold on silverware. Real Madrid, the very definition of footballing heritage, won their record 35th La Liga title and a 14th European Cup/Champions League. Bayern Munich, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain continued their domestic league dominance. Elsewhere, it was a renaissance season for AC Milan, who won their first Scudetto in 11 years and returned to the Champions League for the first time since 2013-14. Forty-two years after winning the UEFA Cup in 1980, Eintracht Frankfurt won the famous trophy again, beating Rangers in the Europa League final. …”
The Analyst

‘They build an image of the enemy’ – France’s struggles to police football fans


“It might be of little consolation to the Liverpool fans, young and old, who were aggressively kettled, callously tear-gassed, arbitrarily struck with batons, cruelly denied entry to the stadium or viciously mugged on the day of the Champions League final, but there has been almost as much outrage in France over what happened at the Stade de France last weekend as there has been in the UK. Within hours of the game, and with the dust having barely begun to settle on Real Madrid’s 1-0 win, journalists and commentators from across the political spectrum were deploring the stark organisational failures that had led to the dangerous bottlenecks that were allowed to build up before the game and angrily denouncing the French government’s attempts to blame the travelling Liverpool supporters. …”
The Athletic

A Very Specific Risk


“It can be hard, at times like these, to know exactly who to believe. On one side, there are the thousands of witness accounts, the contemporaneous reports from much of the world’s news media, the countless videos and an apparently bottomless reserve of high resolution photographs, all telling one story about last Saturday’s Champions League final. And that was all it took. As soon as UEFA decided that the real problem with this sporting event was all the people who wanted to watch it, the — let’s keep the lawyers happy — misinformation spread and disseminated and infected everything it touched. From that point on, Liverpool’s fans were presumed guilty until proven innocent, not least by considerable portions of the people who should, really, have been their allies: other soccer fans. …”
NY Times

Only in an alternate reality should Real Madrid be Champions League winners – that’s the beauty of football


“On another day, in some other timeline, maybe Real Madrid could have won the 2021-22 Champions League final. It would have been improbable in any universe, with the way Carlo Ancelotti’s team played, but you can imagine some alternate reality where the movements of bodies and balls are just a little less orderly, where football is a little less fair — who knows, maybe stranger things have happened in a world like that than a smash-and-grab 1-0 win. But yesterday was not that day, and this is not that timeline. Of course Liverpool are champions. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic – Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid analysis: Courtois’ saves and Klopp’s goalless finals
Guardian – ‘Don’t be sad’: Liverpool fans pack city streets to welcome heroes home
BBC – Liverpool 0-1 Real Madrid: Champions League defeat caps miserable end to magnificent season amid Paris chaos (Video)
NY Times: UEFA Blames Delay at Champions League Final on ‘Fake Tickets’

Liverpool’s elite underdogs and the clubs who (finally) gave them a shot


“Fos-sur-Mer lies on the Mediterranean coast, but it is not a town renowned for its cool, refreshing sea air. It is a busy port, dominated by factories, oil refineries and gas terminals and known more widely for its polluted air and some alarming health statistics. Nor is it known as a football hotbed, but a few miles in from the port is the Stade Parsemain, where FC Istres were forced to relocate after winning promotion to Ligue 1 for the first time in their history in 2004. It was an ill-fated move — by the time the stadium was ready to host top-flight football, the season was nearly over and relegation was looming. …”
The Athletic
NY Times: The Liverpool Star Who Came Out of Nowhere
W – Luis Díaz

Mohamed Salah, Real Madrid and revenge


“It’s a question — like, ‘You don’t mind, do you?’, or ‘Does size matter?’ — that is very rarely answered honestly. When the BT Sport gang asked Mohamed Salah, in the immediate aftermath of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final win over Villarreal, which of Manchester City or Real Madrid he would prefer to play in the final, they probably thought he would give the standard, stock answer. ‘I don’t mind, both are great teams, I’m just happy we’re in the final, either will be a tough game,’ blah, blah, blah. …”
The Athletic
The Athletic: Konate or Matip? Liverpool’s big Champions League final decision
SI: Champions League Final Brings Elixir for Liverpool, Real Madrid’s Fresh Setbacks – Jonathan Wilson
The Athletic: Luis Diaz: The remarkable rise of ‘Luchito’, Liverpool’s ‘true miracle’
Guardian: ‘It’s not easy to score against me’: Courtois the key to Madrid’s wild ride (Video)
The Athletic: Carlo Ancelotti — the Galactico whisperer and king of cups
The Athletic: What makes Eduardo Camavinga the perfect super-sub for Real Madrid

Premier League winners and losers: set pieces, sprinting, nutmegging and fouling


“Manchester City are champions, Tottenham Hotspur grabbed the final Champions League spot and Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min share the golden boot trophy. The main prizes have now been handed out, but take a look under the bonnet and there are plenty of alternative awards to be handed out to players and teams. Some of them are insightful, some of them are utterly pointless. All of them are fun. Here we go… ”
The Athletic
The Analyst
Guardian – Premier League 2021-22 season review: our writers’ best and worst
***ESPN: How VAR decisions affected every Premier League club in 2021-22 (Video)
***W – 2021–22 Premier League

Salah vs Son for the Premier League golden boot: Who will win with a game to go?


(A version of this piece was originally published on April 15. It has been updated to reflect results in the Premier League since then and the recent form of Mohamed Salah and Son Heung-min) The two favourites for the Premier League golden boot are in contrasting spells of form. Mohamed Salah has scored three times in his last 10 games, while Son Heung-min has 10 goals in the same period. …”
The Athletic