FantasyYIRMA GW 15 Review – Saucy Samba Sensations Sizzle…

It’s that time of year when rampant commercialism is dressed up with tinsel and shiny lights and everyone is encouraged to empty their bank accounts to show their nearest and dearest how much they love them during the bleak midwinter. It truly is a magical time of year, but one that needs to be budgeted for carefully when you are of ‘limited means’. It’s easy to splash the cash when you have lots of it, but having an eye for a bargain is key for most of us who want to avoid eating baked beans for 30 days in January.

The same can be said for the world of FPL as many of us are toying with the dreaded ‘points hit’ to try and reshape our squads into something that doesn’t resemble a drunk Santa stumbling down your local high street, half-eaten kebab stuck to his beard and a bottle clutched firmly in his mittens. Fear not friends, for GW15 is here to point you in the direction of some frugal bargains to keep you fiscally solvent before Santa drops that oh-so-desired Wildcard into your stocking…

There is a level of giddiness surrounding Eden Hazard at the moment that is bordering on hysteria amongst FPL managers. Yes, he’s on fire at present, and his gliding, sexy, mazy runs helped him to rack up 15 points this week thanks to 2 goals and 3 bonus points. However he’s an extravagant purchase at this time of year – a box of Belgian truffles – when you consider that he’s sitting on 68 points for £10.8 million quid. On the other hand you can leave the Leonidas store and gorge yourself on a tasty Brazilian treat that costs £1.9m less, has 63 points to his name this season and delivered a week-leading 18 points by ripping Brighton a new one. Yes friends, Philippe Coutinho is the wise purchase this Christmas for those who want more bang for their buck.

In a similar vain, there is quite the heated debate among FPL managers about that ‘third striker’ to play alongside your Lukaku/Kane/Aguero/Morata/Jesus pairing (delete as appropriate). You can go for a real budget option and shop in Poundland for your Callum Wilson’s or your Tammy Abraham’s, or you can stretch to a nice, shiny Jamie Vardy for £8.6m, 69 points this season and 2 points at home to Burnley. Alternatively you can save £200,000 and get yourself an even shinier (especially when he smiles) Roberto Firmino, with 67 points this season and a 2-goal, 13 point salvo at the American Express Community Stadium to his credit…I’ll wait until you get that gag…

Dominic Calvert-Lewin has also attracted attention for that third striker spot with his 12 point display at home to Huddersfield Town. With Big Sam to guide him off the pitch, and Wayne Rooney to guide him on it this young man will….well, for legal reasons I can’t finish that sentence….

Perhaps the bargain of this festive season lies at Old Trafford amongst the corporate boxes and prawn-sandwich brigade, in the form of the all-dabbing, all-merking Jessica Lingard. His 2-goal, 3 BP match-winning 15 points comes hot on the heels of his 13 points midweek at Vicarage Road, and at just £5.6m he could be that Andy Warhol doodle you happen upon in a car-boot sale for a fiver.

Finally a round of applause for Julian Speroni who was summoned at the 11th hour to replace the crocked Wayne Hennessy in the Crystal Palace goal, and proceeded to keep a clean sheet, make 7 saves and grab 3 bonus points for him to stick into the pocket of his trackie bottoms. He also prevented Alan ‘Chunky’ Pardew from starting his Baggies career with a win, so he’s gone straight to the top of my Christmas Card list.

While Santa has all of the above players on his ‘Nice’ list, he’s been furiously scribbling down names on his ‘Naughty’ list, and the man right at the top this morning is Mr. Lewis Dunk, the only man to score for Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool in the 2017/18 season. Quite a feat to the man they new refer to as ‘Oggy’, such is his penchant for an Own Goal this year. -2 for him in GW 15 and a chastening experience to boot. He’s now officially suffering from PFSC disorder – Post Firmino Salah Coutinho disorder, which is now afflicting over 1 in 3 defenders in the Premier League. There is no known cure.

Joining Dunk on the list is Davinson Sanchez who decided that he needed some time off in the run-up to Christmas to decorate the house, do some shopping, you know yourself. He’s now free to enjoy the festive period until December 23rd following his straight red card at Vicarage Road.

My final ‘Naughty’ list entrant is young Paul Pogba, who ruined an exceptional 2-assist and likely 3-bonus points performance by deciding that Hector Bellerin would look better with just one leg, so he tried to chop off the other with his boot. I’m not saying that his suspension for the looming Manchester Derby is ironic following his public wish that Manchester City players would get injured, but Alanis Morissette has added yet another verse to her seminal hit. Y’see, now THAT’S ironic. 10,000 spoons when all you need is a knife is just daft. Where the hell was she anyway? Spoonland? On Spoon Street? In the Spoon district?

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FantasyYIRMA GW 14 Review – All hail our Umlaut Overlords…

When Americans and British people get together, they generally have a good time. There’s the usual mocking of each others use of the English language, how one used to rule the other, how the other kicked the arse of the former, and when things get particularly heated, how one would now be speaking German if it weren’t for the other.

When the Ginger Prince announced he was getting married to Meghan Markle, Princess Sparkle, one cad on Twitter thought this was a backdoor to Britain retaking America, although right now they’d probably pass, all things considered. What a lot of people have missed though is how many of us in GW 14 are actually speaking German, fluently, thanks to the exploits of the two star performers, Ozil and Rudiger. In fact, you could say that Ozil und Rudiger setzten das Beste, das Großbritannien und Irland im Schatten bieten konnten, mit einem Angriffsziel, defensiver Solidität und teutonischer Effizienz auf.

See? War really is futile. (If someone could send the link of this searing insight to Trump and that North Korean looney toon, I’d appreciate it, and I’ll be in Stockholm to pick up my Nobel Peace Prize next year).

In fairness though, it’s quite an achievement for Wayne Rooney not to be top man this week after scoring three including one from so far out he was practically stood on the Kop. However FPL is a cruel mistress and Wazza did indeed miss a penalty last night, the wazzock. Another blast from the past is alongside Wayne on the honours board today, namely Ashley Young who took the sting out of the hornets with two thronkers at Vicarage Road. Quite the return to form for the man most famous for having a bird land poo in his mouth in the middle of a match.

Robbie Brady popped up with a cracking performance approximately three weeks too late (I’m not bitter, but I’ll never drink Carlsberg again…actually that’s not really a hardship, right?) with a goal and an assist on the South Coast to help Burnley maintain their very real and very terrifying pursuit of a Champions League place next season. Can you imagine it? Sean Dyche toe to toe with Zinedine Zidane. Turf Moor hosting Barcelona. The whippets and ferrets wouldn’t know what hit them…

Finally Jordan Pickford actually saved a penalty to keep a clean sheet against West Ham, and rack up 13 points for those 5.9% of FPL managers who clearly haven’t a clue what they’re doing. I mean, who picks Everton players this season? Defenders especially? Madness.

Finally in the Winners list this week are three more familiar names in Mane, Salah and De Bruyne, two of which are likely duking it out right now for Player Of The Year honours. While the mercurial Belgian is regularly doing things that make me want to touch myself inappropriately, it is the feats of the King of Egypt Mo Salah that really do take some time to get your head around. 12 league goals in 14 league games. Stop. Think about that. He’s not a ‘striker’. He didn’t even start last night. He got to 10 league goals in HALF the games it took Michael Owen. His figures right now are Messi-esque, and he’s playing in the Premier League. Quite why his ownership figure is ONLY 50.2%…that’s a bigger sign of mass psychosis than the Brexit vote. What are the other half of you thinking? Answers on a tweet to @FantasyYIRMA please….

As ever we have to cease our lauding and commence our laughing, as we look at our Villains of GW 14. Pablo Zabaleta must be casting envious glances at his old stomping ground and pining for the bright lights of Manchester as his West Ham retirement junket is turning into a nightmare. For the second time this season he concedes four goals and picks up a yellow card to tip into negative territory. The same can be said for Adrian Mariappa of Watford, fresh off the back of two six-point returns. Rumour has it that both Jekyll and Hyde are set to start for Watford in GW15.

Jonny Evans is yet another who must be muttering dark thoughts into his cornflakes each morning. Only a few short months ago he had Pep texting him sweet nothings, promising him dazzling Champions League & Premier League glory and a huge pay-rise. Michael O’Neill was WhatsApping him links to fancy Russian restaurants and, err, ‘friendship’ services in Moscow. And here he now sits on November 30th in a West Brom team sans Pulis, Alan ‘Chunky’ Pardew taking the reigns and a red card against Newcastle to give him -1 points in GW14. Christ, even as I type that I’m googling the number for The Samaritans. Poor Jonny.

My final two villains of the week are players who deserve to be lambasted by all of their FPL owners for failing to stick the ball in the net. Firstly we have Manuel Lanzini who missed that penalty at Goodison Park. So far, so predictable. But my final villain is a man I hold dear to my heart, Mr. Roberto ‘Bobby’ Firmino. I love you Bobby, like a son, but as a FPL manager who owns you…if I ever…AND I MEAN EVER…see you standing idly by as a ball is bobbling into the goal that you could easily tap in to claim the points, I swear on Lucifers beard I will fly to Liverpool personally and take a shite in your toaster. I’m THAT upset with you.

FantasyYIRMA GW 12 Review: When you’re right, you’re right…

Rudyard Kipling used to play Fantasy Football y’know, way back in the day. What do you mean you thought it was a new invention? Not by a long chalk, let me tell you. Oh the gnashing of teeth as Newton Heath dropped Donaldson on September 24th 1892 and they promptly lost 6-0 at Everton….
Not only that, Rudyard used to write a widely-read and renowned preview paper on FPL each week, which admittedly had a small readership, what with there being not t’internet or owt.
He understood more than most the frustrations of playing FPL and more so the pressure to get his preview tips right. He used to get dogs abuse when he was wrong, but when he was right he was lauded by the proletariat and royalty alike. He even wrote a poem about it (which most people totally miss the real meaning of, so I’ll help translate…)
If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, (bad preview tip) 
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too; (Kane over Lukaku? ARE YOU MAD?) 
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting, (Will Ben Dinnery EVER post an update?)
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster (94 points in GW11 and 28 in GW 12)
    And treat those two impostors just the same; (As f*cking if…)  
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools, (He said BLANKAKU! FRAUD!)
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools: (-8 point hit next week lads…)
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings (every single August…)
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue, (FantasyYIRMA will tell ya…)  
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!
Especially if you get a Top 1,000 rank at Seasons End*
*May not be part of the actual poem
So anyway, I wrote the FantasyYIRMA Preview for GW 12, and to quote Kipling “I fecking nailed it”.
Salah Captain anyone? 32 points, you’re welcome.
Morata up front? A shed-load more points than Harry Kane
Moreno Clean Sheet? No, I wasn’t taking the piss. He got one
Shaqiri in midfield? That Assist don’t lie…
Callum Wilson Differential? How’d you like them apples!!! All three of ’em!
Yeah, so Kipling is a bigger man than me. Keep my head? Be a man? Sod that. I’ve been a screaming toddler all week, and I don’t care. So there.
I should grudgingly point out that Eden Hazard racked up a whopping 18 points, and he’s on fire right now. Of course that makes him a Fire Hazard so I’d expect the Health & Safety wallopers to ban him immediately.
The ‘other’ differential of the week is a Watford man who’s name Stoke fans normally say the words ‘be sacked today’ after. Yes, Will Hughes scored a goal, grabbed an assist, a clean sheet and all three Bonus Points to make himself really stand out. Which is handy as if he ever wandered naked into a snowstorm, he’d actually disappear…
Two other defenders accumulated double-digit scores with Marcos Alonso continuing a fine return to form with 14 points and Shkodran Mustafi came back from injury to score the same. Mustafi is one to watch, as despite a four week absence, he had four consecutive GW scores of 6 prior to that. In fact, he’s played 6 GW’s and has 40 points…
Hat-tips also to Coutinho, Pogba and Cork (Up The Rebels!) who all broke the 10 point barrier.
As for villains of the week, we only have to look in one place, namely the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth which saw TWO players plunge headfirst into the dreaded negative points territory. Simon Francis managed to score -2 points despite being a defender in a team that won 4-0 at home. Quite the feat, but red cards will have that affect on your score.
The other principal actor in this grim tragi-comedy is Florent Hadergjonaj of Huddersfield. Now I know it looks like I had a mini-stroke while trying to type his surname, but I assure you that’s how he spells it. Nobody else does, because they can’t, but he does. I’ve always been fascinated about the origins of surnames. I mean, the surname Smith is easy, as the forefathers of Mr. Smith were, err, Smiths, probably. Hawthorne is more rare, but I assume one of my ancestors lived under a tree, or was found in a bush or…actually I’ve probably said too much. As for this lad? I reckon his forefathers fecked all the Scrabble tiles at a wall and whatever stuck they used as his surname. Anyway, back to my point, and that is his -1 score for 4 goals conceded and a yellow card to boot. Not that it mattered in FPL terms as he has a whopping 0.0% ownership, despite picking up 8 points against West Brom in GW 11. No wonder Pulis got sacked…

FantasyYIRMA GW 11 Review

Captain Cook – Discovered Australia and a place for the ne’er do wells of Britain and Ireland to holiday.

Alastair Cook – Good at English Hurling

Norman Cook – Had a Ball while spinning the decks

Steve Cook – A goal, a clean sheet, three bonus points and a 15 point haul.

Steve Cook

I know which of the four Cooks above is the most impressive – the one that broke Geordie hearts and put multiple police horses in severe danger of a pummeling. His GW 11 return must have been a real boon to the 0.5% of players who selected him. These people are wise beyond their years. I mean, it’s not a shock that Steve Cook put in this kind of performance. He has 6 goals and 2 assists from his previous two Premier League seasons with Bournemouth. One to watch in the future perhaps? Maybe, but I don’t do previews, so I’ll keep my powder dry on that one…

Mo Salah

The next hero of GW 11 is a man from Egypt, where they have just discovered a large void inside the Great Pyramid. There are many speculating as to what may be found but I’m here to tell you that it’s not that exciting. It’s simply a sign taller than the Statue of Liberty that says ‘Captain Salah’. My God, the Egyptians were YEARS ahead of their time. Mo Salah’s outrageous streak of good form continued at the London Stadium on Saturday night and promptly got Slaven Bilic the sack. Two goals, three bonus points and a Premier League haul of 7 goals, 3 assists in 11 games is the kind of form that would make Cleopatra blush.

Shaqiri

Next up we have a man small of stature but big of heart, a man who some old football types may describe as a ‘fancy-dan’, but one that can do it on a cold wet night in Stoke. A man who has spent two full seasons re-learning how to cross a ball so that he can get it high enough to hit Peter Crouch on the head. A man who racked up 13 points with a goal, assist and three Bonus Points. A man called Xherdan Shaqiri. I sometimes look back on history and marvel at how people in times of huge historical significance didn’t seem to appreciate what they were living through at the time. Well look around you lads and lassies. Trump. Brexit. Shaqiri at Stoke. Three things that make absolutely no sense. It’s happening, and it’s happening right now. Remarkable.

Next up we have three defenders all breaking the double-digit barrier, some less surprising than others. It’s now clear that Cesar Azpilicueta and Alvaro Morata have a ‘special bond’. No that’s not a euphemism for anything romantic (although they would make a very cute couple), it’s more the fact that it’s a wonderfully rare example when two players just click and one can’t stop setting up the other for goals, goals and more goals. The last time Morata scored a goal that wasn’t assisted by Azpilicueta, he had yet to reach puberty.

Leighton Baines has been a stalwart of FPL for many a season (11 in fact), but to say he’s been having a quiet one would be like saying that Everton have questionable ownership – too damn right he’s been having a quiet one. However he exploded into life on Sunday afternoon with a dramatic late goal to add to an assist and two bonus points. You’d be a brave man to stick him in your squad though, although that hasn’t stopped over 1 in 20 FPL players from doing so….mental…

Scott Malone

Finally we have the ‘bolter’ of the week, Mr. Scott Malone of Huddersfield, owned by a whopping 0.1% of FPL players. Now I’ve done some digging and I can confirm that these people are related to Scott Malone, except his mother who didn’t have him in her squad. Unbelievably he took his seasons tally from 3 points to 15 points with an assist, clean sheet and the full bonus points. Congratulations to all the Malone family on their green arrows this week (except for Mammy Malone who wheeled her wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow crying ‘Red Arrows’, ‘Red Arrows, Oh no! Oh no!’).

Two players strayed into negative points territory this week to lead our ‘Villains Of The Week’, and we’ll start our list with Christopher Schindler…Everything was going to plan with a lovely juicy clean sheet in the offing against the Baggies, and then he went and spoiled it all by getting himself sent off. -2 points clutched from the jaws of +6 points. Ouch.

Mind you if you thought that was painful, you should have seen Winston Reid try to catch Mane and Salah as they broke for the first Liverpool goal on Saturday night. It was like watching Boris Johnson becoming self aware – painfully slow and it never actually happened. A further three goals conceded along with a yellow card and the Kiwi finishes with -1 point.

Our final villains of the week are two strikers who have 39% and 48% ownership (and it wouldn’t surprise me if a large % of those FPL players had both), namely Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku. While Harry clearly had an off day, it was a bad day to have it. Literally MILLIONS backed him to run riot against Crystal Palace and MILLIONS had a bad Sunday because of it. However he’s bound to come good soon, unlike our old friend Lukaku who has been having a barren time of late. You know what that means, don’t you? It’s time. It’s coming. Nothing can stop it. No, not winter. It’s…

Romelu Lukaku

LUKAKUWATCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Coming soon to a Twitter feed near you…)

FantasyYIRMA GW 10 Review

Sead Kolasinac.jpg

Aside from the fact that he scored a goal, provided an assist and racked up three Bonus Points for a mammoth 14 point haul, Sead Kolasinac is an interesting character for other reasons. Firstly, he looks to be a solid, tough player who won’t be pushed around easily that was purchased by Arsene Wenger. In the 21st Century, that’s as rare as rocking-horse sh*t. Secondly, he is the proud holder of a World Cup record, having scored the fastest own-goal in World Cup history, against Argentina in 2014. In my mind that makes him the anti-Bryan Robson, and let’s be honest, that’s probably a good thing. Particularly when it comes to bubble perms.

Second on our list of FPL heroes this week is a Man City player who was just trolling 95% of us this weekend, namely Fernando Luiz Rosa, also known as Fernandinho. While the vast majority of us were toiling over Aguero v Jesus, Sane v Sterling, Silva v De Bruyne, the 5% owned Brazilian waltzed into The Hawthorne’s to notch a goal, an assist and pick up all three Bonus Points. That’s 2 goals and 2 assists this season already, surpassing his contribution for the whole of last season already. Just when we thought the FPL ‘Pep Roulette’ game was infuriating enough, now we have to throw Fernandinho into the mix too. Someone needs to have a word with Guardiola, this is getting out of hand. We can only pick three from any one team and this Catelonian Cowboy (that was an alternative ‘C’ word for a while) is producing a team where any one of at least 6 players can be ‘the man’ on any given week. Oh aye, Sane scored 12 points too. See what I mean? Ridiculous.

Christian Fuchs

Speaking of players that make you swear like a sailor, Leicester City’s full-back didn’t give two ‘Fuchs’ about David Unsworth’s fledgling senior management career as he and his mates chewed up the Toffees and spat them out at the King Power Stadium. An assist, clean sheet and three Bonus Points for the Austrian Ace who may become a coveted FPL asset now that Claude Puel is in charge of the Foxes. The man knows how to organise a defence, as we saw with Southampton last season. He’s also a doppleganger of former Republic of Ireland player/manager John Giles. Go on, google it. I’ll wait. No, really, I’m not continuing until you do it….

Those Anfield scholars who saw the second-coming of James Milner (and apologies if you’re eating while reading that line…) will have been both ecstatic and furious as events unfolded v Huddersfield Town last Saturday afternoon. Not only did Liverpool keep a clean sheet (!!!!), but Milner also threw in a tasty assist for a 12 point haul. All well and good, right? Well, except for the fact that Liverpool also had a penalty in that match and James Milner (penalty-taker extraordinaire last season) stood by and watched as Mo Salah blootered it straight at the Terriers keeper. What a waste…

The final two heroes of the week come from the ‘Less Than 1% Ownership Club With Double Digit Hauls’, or LTOPOCWDDH. I’ll admit the name of the club needs work, so suggestions on a postcard please (or Twitter). Darren Fletcher is the first member of this exclusive club this week as he scored a beautifully well-crafted training ground goal against the Hornets to grab a 1-0 win and all three bonus points. A delightful 11 points for the 0.6% of owners with him in their squad (the vast majority of who almost certainly had him on the bench, right? RIGHT?).

Darren Fletcher

There there’s Demarai Gray, a young exciting up and coming talent that’s been young, exciting and up and coming for about two years now, but showed against Everton what he can do – namely run the length of the pitch dancing around Everton tackles while then performing mind-control tricks on Everton defenders to make them perform comical defensive howlers. Not bad.

Just the one negative point scoring Villain this week, so buckle in Fuka-Arthur Masuaku Kawela, I’ll try and be gentle….

Yeah, so when you come on at half-time with your team two goals to the good, and trudge off at full-time having conceded two goals, the second of which was in the 97th minute, and you pick up a yellow card in the process, well that’s not a good day at the office. This ‘cameo’ helped Arthur Masuaku to a -1 total, but he’s not my only villain of the week, oh no sirree bob. Michail Antonio is a senior professional with over 270 appearances behind him, so quite what he was doing with 96′ gone and his team hanging onto a one goal lead at Selhurst Park, I’ll never know. Take it into the corner Michail. It’s Parks Football 101 for feck sake. Strolling along the byline and then smashing a cross at a defender is not a good way to see out a game. It’s a good way to a bollocking, sure, but not how to see out a game.

Arthur Masuaku

Finally, while it pains me to say it, two of my own selections make the Villain of the Week list. Now don’t get me wrong, Mo Salah has been easily Liverpool’s best performer this season, but when you’re my FPL Captain and you miss a penalty, then my fingers get tap-tap-tapping on that keyboard. He also hit the post with a second-half effort, and while he notched an assist for Gini Wijnaldum, my conservative estimate is that he cost me 8,397 points this weekend, and I am not happy about it.

Nor am I happy with Alvaro Morata who took a trip to the South Coast with his Chelsea teammates and then proceeded to play like the donkeys on the beach in Bournemouth. He was so bad that if he was presented with a bloody massive banjo he’d still fail to hit the donkey on the arse. Should have had a hat-trick, came away with an assist. I’d be winning this whole damn thing if it wasn’t for Salah/Morata y’know*

*maybe a slight enormous exaggeration

FantasyYIRMA GW 9 Review

There’s an expression in everyday life that ‘The cream will always rise to the top’, and that is actually true, for a myriad of dull scientific reasons (and if you know a scientific reason why this is not true, blow it out yer arse, this is a Fantasy Football blog…). However if the cream always does rise to the top, this is because the dross sinks to the bottom, which was demonstrated in spectacular fashion this weekend in the Premier League.

Harry Kane tops the leaderboard this week following his 2 goal, 1 assist public humiliation of Dejan Lovren at Wembley on Sunday afternoon. I’ve not seen a more embarrassing, turgid, life-sapping display on Sunday television since they tried to replace Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear with that T(otal) F(eckin) I(diot) Chris Evans and Joey from Friends. At least Jurgen Klopp was able to haul Dejan ashore after half an hour…it took the BBC weeks longer to do the same to Evans.

Following closely in second is Nicolas Otamendi who delivered a sensational 15 points to the 18% of FPL players who have him in their ranks. Think about that for a second. That’s pretty much 1 in 5 of all players have Nicolas Otamendi in their team. That’s like finding out that 1 in 5 of the general population believe that the moon landings in 1969 were real! LOL. (They were SO faked y’know, but that’s for another blog…)

Getting back to the dross on display last weekend, the shambles that is Everton Football Club presented some old FPL stalwarts from Arsenal to shine on Merseyside in the early Sunday kick-off. Seeing the likes of Ozil and Sanchez racking up double-digit scores made me all nostalgic and yearning for the days of yesteryear when a manager could go more than eight games without losing his job, reality TV stars who I’ve never heard of didn’t fall off the stage and Jose Mourinho was getting the tea for Sir Bobby of Robson. The fact that both have ownership figures below 2.3% shows how the mighty had fallen, and how fickle FPL owners are. It doesn’t matter if Alexis had carried your miserable arse to glory for the past three seasons, as soon as he threw his toys out of his pram at The Emirates you dropped him like a hot snot. He’s a real person too y’know. How do you know he doesn’t log into the FPL website each Saturday morning to see that 2.2% of players own him, with a single, salty tear running down his face? You ungrateful b*stards.

Two of the more surprising heroes of the week were both from the South Coast as Bournemouth and Brighton headed north (some more north than others) to plunder cracking away wins and heap pressure on the heads of the managers of their vanquished foes. Glenn Murray deserves a huge nod of appreciation for proving that he’s still alive and kicking at 34 years of age with his two goals at The London Stadium – on that performance alone he’s statistically England’s second best striker right now. Heh. Junior Stanislas also caught the eye by scoring one and assisting one up in Stoke on a windy Saturday in October. Senior Stanislas would be very proud. I presume that’s his Da’s name, right?

Final hat-tips of the week go to the Chelsea due of Pedro and Batshuayi. The former has the most wonderous hair in the Premier League – it’s so thick and luxuriant I’m not sure it isn’t an actual helmet. Anyway, I digress, he scored a WHAMBOOZLER (that’s my word) and assisted another for 12 points. The latter also scored 12 points and has continued his quest to become the new ‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’ of the Premier League by bagging another couple off the bench, a teasing titillating FPL option for those of us looking for a ‘differential’ and annoyed that our blood pressure is too damn normal.

Four players make our Villain Of The Week section this week, but only because FantasyYIRMA told me this wasn’t a LFC blog and I couldn’t write 17,000 words on the Liverpool defence. Some people are so self-absorbed aren’t they? Anyway, Idrissa Gueye has been referred to as a poor man’s Ngolo Kante. After this weekend he could be considered to be a poor man’s Gareth Barry, and you never want to be a poor man’s Gareth Barry, especially when you consider Gareth Barry was once considered a poor man’s Steven Gerrard. So many poor men around, eh? I blame the Tories.

Federico Fernandez joins this ignominious list because…well because he battered the ball into his own net, innit? That’s a quick way to negative points in this game. He’s joined on -1 points by a duo of Hornet defenders who thought that their teammate Richarlison needed some tough love. When you’re 2-1 up at Stamford Bridge and you decide that you can showboat by missing an open goal, some will think that you’re a bit cocky. He’s a young lad in his defence, but he’ll never learn unless he’s taught a lesson. How very noble of Holebas and Kiko Femenia to allow Chelsea to score another three goals and demonstrate to young Richarlison that the boring task of scoring open goals should be completed, no matter how ‘uncool’ he thinks it is.

Do You Know The First Rule Of Fan Club?

I’m not exactly sure what tipped me over the edge to make me want to write this piece. I don’t think it was a single eye-swiveling opinion or spittle-coated online rant, more likely it’s been the non-stop ‘drip-drip’ effect of endless nonsensical tweets, YouTube rants and self-absorbed demands of those that call themselves Liverpool ‘Fans’.

What is a ‘Fan’ anyway? That may sound like a daft question, but I’m starting to think that a LOT of people that support LFC have forgotten. Let’s look at the dictionary for a definition because that’s the single agreed point of reference for the definition of anything and everything, unless it’s negative about Donald Trump in which case it’s full of more ‘Fake News’ than the National Enquirer. Anyway, I digress.

A ‘Fan’ is an abbreviation of ‘Fanatic’ which is defined as:

Fanatic

A person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal.

Yep, I can’t say that hasn’t been me over the years. I mean I’ve spent a full fortnight ahead of big cup finals unable to think about anything else, unable to speak about anything else, unable to do anything of any use until it’s over. If the result was positive I was walking on air (while repeatedly punching it) for days and weeks afterwards. If the result didn’t go the way I wanted, I…well, I don’t want to talk about it, no matter what my therapist recommends.

There is much to admire about a ‘Fan’ who is besotted and devoted to their sports team. Hell, multi-billion pound businesses are based on the unbridled passion that a ‘Fan’ has for his or her team, on the fact that they will go to extraordinary lengths to support their team in whatever way they can, be that through attending games, purchasing merchandise or subscribing to sports channels to watch their team.

However you should note the synonyms ‘excessive’, ‘extremist’, ‘militant’, ‘radical’, and ‘activist’ included in that definition. I would argue (and you’re free to disagree and be wrong) that those synonyms are applicable to ‘Fans’ who go too far in their fanaticism and who, in my opinion, actually cause harm and become destructive to the team that they ironically want to succeed more than anything else…they try too hard as ‘Fans’…they turn their fanaticism up to 11…they become BLOWHARDS.

Now ask yourself…Are you a ‘Fan’ or are you a BLOWHARD ?

How about a couple of examples of Liverpool BLOWHARDS from that there Twitter machine:

Lovren Fan Tweet 1Lovren Fan Tweet 2

So these two Twitter Accounts are people who would present themselves as Liverpool ‘Fans’. One is from Liverpool itself, and the other has a plethora of LFC hashtags in their bio (#YNWA #KOP #JFT96) so it’s safe to assume both are what they say they are. It took me less than 60 seconds to find these two tweets, and there are many, many more just like them. Just stick #Lovren or #Klavan or (don’t laugh) #KloppOut into the search function on Twitter to see the reams and reams of tweets from Liverpool ‘Fans’ who have become the perfect example of BLOWHARDS.

Let’s be clear about this: If you are tweeting this kind of guff, or moaning on the Kop (or not incessantly chanting and cheering for that matter), or Instagramming it or calling into Radio Phone-Ins (and it takes a special kind of BLOWHARD to do that), you are not helping. I know you think you’re helping, but you’re not. You’ve forgotten the first rule of Fan Club. What do you mean you don’t remember what the first rule of Fan Club is? It’s simple. The first rule of Fan Club is you SUPPORT.

Back to the old dictionary we go…

Supporter

So there we have it. That’s what a ‘Supporter’ does. Ahhh! I hear you cry, it says ‘approve of and encourage and I sure as hell don’t approve of Lovren/Klavan/Chamberlain/etc’. Well, maybe you don’t, and you’re entitled to your opinion. However now we are getting to the nitty gritty of this issue.

What do you think you are going to achieve by publicly demeaning or degrading or vilifying the elements of the team/club you don’t agree with? Will Klopp drop Lovren forever because of your tweet? Will he buy VVD because you told Klavan to fuck off? Will Oxlade-Chamberlain turn into Gareth Bale because you said he was utter shite on his first start?

No. No. No.

What do you think you might achieve if you cheer them on in every minute of every game, give them all your support and clap them off at the final whistle? Will they win every game 4-0? Will Lovren win the Balon D’or? Will Klavan turn into Maldini?

No. No. No.

Y’see? It doesn’t matter what you do on the grand scale of things (although we all know fans roaring a team home can make some difference). So you have two choices. Cheer the lads with all your might or be that BLOWHARD. Why would you, as a ‘fan’, choose the latter?

I’m not immune to the frustration of being a Liverpool fan, I’ve been doing it since I was 7 years of age. I was 13 when I last saw Liverpool lift a league title and now I’m middle-aged, overweight, married with kids and in more debt than an African country. Being a ‘Fan’ of LFC is one of the very few escapes I have left (if my darling wife is reading this…I LOVE YOU!!!). I pray for success more than any of you, and I’m going to stand over that. There is no other Liverpool fan who wants it more than me. So to all of those who tweet me with glib platitudes about not accepting mediocrity, to you all I say ‘YOU DUMB F*CK’. It’s not about me accepting mediocrity, or you not accepting it, it’s about you accepting that there’s F*CK ALL YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT APART FROM CHEERING THEM ON. 

That’s it. In a nutshell. That’s all you can do to have any affect on what happens on the pitch. You can’t change how they train, how they play, who they buy. Your job, and it’s your ONLY job, is to remember the first rule of Fan Club.

Note: I’m purely talking about the ‘cheering’/’moaning’ elements of being a fan. I am fully in awe of the work of the Fans Groups who make a real difference within the club such as in relation to Ticket Pricing etc, and there are also rare occasions when we all need to be BLOWHARDS together, isn’t that right Mr. Hodgson?

YNWA.

 

FantasyYIRMA GW 3 Review

So an international break is upon us just as you were getting into your FPL rhythm. How frustrating is that? I tell you how frustrating it is…It’s like you’re 16 again and UEFA are your parents arriving home early when you and your ‘significant other’ are just getting into *ahem* ‘things’ (If you are 16 and reading this, behave yourself!)

Anyway, every cloud has a silver lining so my Heroes of the week are going to be based on the Republic Of Ireland football team, who, based on FPL achievements in GW3 are on the verge of winning the World Cup.

STOP LAUGHING!

Ciaran Clark, the colossus at the heart of the Newcastle United juggernaut top scored this week with a sensational Clean Sheet + Goal Scored + Full Bonus Point haul against the mighty West Ham United, who I’ll remind you, actually did in the World Cup in 1966.

Added to Clark is his potential CB partner for the next fortnight, Shane Duffy, who led Brighton & Hove Albion to their first clean sheet of the season at Watford and picked up maximum bonus points along the way. I’ll remind you that the mighty Liverpool conceded three at Vicarage Road a couple of weeks ago, although that match didn’t feature Miguel Britos attempting to remove an opponents leg without anaesthetic.

The final member of the ‘Eire’ (It’s always odd when I see people refer to the Republic of Ireland as Eire, when nobody in the Republic of Ireland actually does so themselves) GW3 hall of fame is Robbie Brady who strolled into Wembley Stadium and produced an outrageous threaded through-ball that took out at least five Spurs players for Chris Wood to score. You really can’t underestimate the quality of the pass because Chris Wood is actually ranked 67th in the World Golf Rankings and is one of the most promising young English golfers for the future. Remarkable.

Moving away from the Emerald Isle brings us to Spain and Alvaro Morata who for the second time in three games produced a Goal + Assist performance, and at £10m is looking like a must-have for all you ‘Screw this I’m hitting the Wildcard before GW 4 merchants’. He’s got Leicester, Arsenal and Stoke City on the horizon which looks ripe for a rich points haul despite the FPL website telling me that the Arsenal game is a ‘4’ on the difficulty rating. Or maybe that’s just a prediction on how many Alvaro will score in that game. Don’t even bother arguing Gunners fans, unless it’s on ArsenalFanTV, in which case keep it up, I do like a good belly-laugh.

Incidentally, did you hear the one about the Senegalese, the Egyptian and the Brazilian that made the Frenchman cry? Mane, Salah and Firmino are the triple-act that is tearing the league apart in the formative first few weeks. An acronym is all the rage in football, and has been for yonks. Remember the ‘SAS’ of Shearer and Sutton for Blackburn? We also had the ‘MSN’ era in Barcelona. I’m tempted to try and arrange the LFC trio into an acronym, but whatever I try, be it MSF / FSM / SFM, it just comes across (steady…) as an advert for a Swingers / BDSM personal ad in your local phone box. Mind you, they look like they’ll f*ck over loads of teams between now and the end of the season and I make some very questionable ‘noises’ when I see them in full flight. Anyway, I’ve said too much.

Finally a special mention to Cecil Fibreglass who I tipped as an asset to have in my pre-season preview, but then proceeded to get himself sent off against Burnley. Those of you with patience will have been rewarded with a goal-scoring and max-bonus-point haul of 11 points. I should also commend Kyle Naughton for his magnificent 12 points at Palace, but seeing as I marooned him in the final sub spot on my bench, I just can’t bring myself to say much more, lest the boo-hoo’s start again…

As for Villains of the week, well, where to begin…

Romelu Lukaku and ZERO points at home to Leicester City. Man, he teased everyone with his first two games hauling in 19 points, and then…THAT. I’m not saying that he telegraphed where he was going to put his spot-kick but Kasper Schmeichel started his dive to the right before Lukaku started his run-up. The fact that Kasper has now saved more penalties at Old Trafford than his Dad ever did is one of the all-time great stats.

Another player proving to be a bit of a frustration is Sergio Aguero, benched for the lunchtime Saturday early game. While he picked up a miserable one point, I think he should have been awarded at least three bonus points for trying to protect that poor young fella that was being hogtied by over-zealous stewards following City’s last minute winner. We’ve seen Cantona go into the crowd studs up but if Kun had repeated that trick to those stewards I suspect many would have applauded. However, if you pick a Captain for that game you deserve all you get. NEVER CAPTAIN A PLAYER IN THE SATURDAY LUNCHTIME GAME. You should always listen to advice you get on FantasyYIRMA…which brings me onto…

Harry Kane, a man whose FPL points haul so far this season would ensure qualification through most rounds of ‘Pointless’, and who you were all advised (on this very site) to pick because he was playing on a Sunday and you didn’t want to spend every Sunday afternoon hiding behind the couch. Well, I followed this advice and now I spend every Sunday evening hiding behind the couch and drinking heavily. Marvellous.

A special nod to Raheem Sterling who managed to ruin a perfectly good away day points haul with his red card, achieved for what in essence was a gentle trip and a hug. And finally to the aforementioned Miguel Britos who launched an outrageous two-footed, studs-up, shin-high lunge at Anthony Knockaert and then argued that the decision was a bit harsh. If you watch the incident again, keep an eye on the linesman who was nearest the action. He nearly shook the flag off his stick in horror. Scientists have now revealed that 98.37% of those who watched a replay of the incident on MOTD uttered the words ‘Jesus Christ’ in response. The other 1.63% of people were Watford fans who uttered the word ‘Tw*t’.

 

You Can Open The Curtains Now, The Transfer Window Is Shut…

Perception can be a cruel mistress. The same fact can mean drastically different things to different people due to their perception of that fact.

Take the Summer Transfer Window business of Liverpool Football Club for instance. I can tell you for a fact that it is thus:

Transfers In

Transfers Out

Total Money Spent: £80,100,000

Total Money Received: £ 42,480,000

So there you have it, all the facts of the matter.

Yet if you printed off all the tweets where people discussed how they perceived these facts, and stacked them one on top of the other, the astronauts on the International Space Station would have enough paper to doodle for months.

As ever, there are extremes of perception in favour of, and against, the business done by LFC in this transfer window. There are those who would organise a #FSGOUT march through the centre of Liverpool with all the gusto of a white supremacist rally in America, while others would volunteer to throw rose petals under the feet of Michael Edwards as he strode to his car after work today.

FSG Out
Look at this f*ckwit…

It’s impossible to write an opinion-piece like this without my own perceptions seeping into these words, but then again you can’t read it without your own perceptions affecting your opinion of this piece, so let’s all agree to read this and never speak of it again, ok?

This has been a GOOD transfer window for LFC. There I’ve said it. If you can’t read the paragraphs below due to the quantity of spittle and bile all over your screen, then you should stop reading here….

It has not been a great transfer window however because one transfer didn’t happen, to address one area of ‘perceived’ weakness in the Liverpool team, namely the failure to capture Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton. This ‘failure’ (and I use that term loosely as I’m not sure you can deem it a failure if the club that owns the player simply refuses to play ball, particularly when you played with their ball without their permission first…) is all the more frustrating as it has been the single biggest issue in the minds of the LFC fans for longer than any other. However it hasn’t happened, no matter how upset you may be about it, and they continue with what they have, and what they have is better than what I hear many say.

VVD
A Saint Or A Sinner? 

I’m not going to name specific players because you all know who is considered a weakness in this Liverpool defence, but I am going to point out some FACTS to you about this Liverpool defence:

In the last TEN league games played, Liverpool have conceded SIX goals. Defensive issues? What defensive issues? Ahh, but hold on, I can actually hear you screaming ‘small sample size’, ‘selective bias’ and ‘FSG apologist f*cknut’, so let’s continue…

In the TEN league games prior, Liverpool conceded FIFTEEN goals. Defensive issues? Oh, aye, those defensive issues. Why didn’t you say so! There you go, proof positive that the failure to capture VVD will ensure this season ends in tears and that the transfer window was a busted flush.

Perception, eh? What a bitch. The FACTS of the matter are that Jurgen Klopp got fed up with his side conceding so many goals and tasked his coaching staff with sorting out the defensive performances. Therefore LFC go from 15 goals conceded in a ten game spell to 6 goals conceded in the next ten game spell with the exact same personnel, apart from Andrew Robertson’s fine debut at home to Palace a couple of weeks ago. You can still argue that it was a ‘nice run of fixtures’ or ‘sheer luck’, and that’s an argument that can be made. However anybody watching LFC over the past two seasons will have seen that Klopp improves players, so you could make a counter-argument that it just took longer for his magic to work on the defensive side of their game.

Any defence will obviously still have ‘off-days’ where you could , ooh I dunno, concede three goals away to Watford (HAH! Evidence that they’re shit in defence!) or concede three at home to Burnley (What? Chelsea? The Champions? Oh, but that’s just a fluke, right?).

Chelsea Burnley
Ropey Defence. LOOK AT THE EVIDENCE. 

It’s accepted wisdom that if you reduce the amount of goals conceded in a league season to below thirty, you’re almost certain to win the league. LFC have conceded 3 goals in 4 games, which extrapolated out over 38 games puts them on target to concede 28.5 goals. I’m already blaming Moreno for the .5 goal you know. I’m not saying that this level of defensive performance will happen, but stretching it out to the last ten games, they’re on target to concede 22.8 goals….I’ll stop now…

So time will tell if the Liverpool defence will continue to be the achilles heel of this team, but if you analyse last season (which I’m sure most of you have) it was the absence of Sadio Mane in January/February that many will tell you really hurt Liverpool. The team was used to (and perhaps accepted) conceding a goal a game when they were scoring three in reply, but when the goals dried up those goals meant losses and draws. In the event of an absence of Mane this season, the transfer window captures of Mo Salah, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke should ensure that Liverpool continue to score two or more goals a game while the defence continues to leak more than the White House (or not, eh?). The start that Mo Salah has made to his Liverpool career should not be overlooked, as he has been simply sensational. In fact he’s been so prominent and successful in getting into attacking positions that I believe he needs to work on his finishing – that may sound like a negative, but it’s a real positive in that he could/should have had another couple of goals this season at least, and Liverpool have scored SEVEN in three games for crying out loud.

Salah
On your marks…Get set…Too late, I already won…

The full-back options open to Jurgen Klopp should be another reason why this transfer window should be considered a qualified success for LFC. Last season ended with an underwhelming Nathaniel ‘Patsy’ Clyne at right-back and a fish out of water James Milner at left-back. However now at the start of September with a rejuvenated Alberto Moreno battling with new acquisition (and seriously impressive clean-sheet keeping debutant) Andrew Robertson for the left-back slot, with Trent Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez seemingly locked in an incredibly high quality battle to the death to secure the right-back slot, with ‘Patsy’ Clyne humming ‘Crazy’ while rocking back and forth on the bench…

Of course the fact that the left-back slot is now so well covered means that James Milner has been freed to roam freely in the fresh green pastures of midfield, where he’s now battling Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Lallana, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Coutinho (steady…that’s a different blog) and from next season Naby Keita for one of the three midfield berths. Now I’m not sure if you can count as well as me but that’s EIGHT players (all of whom are a billion miles better than Kevin Stewart, and that’s not a slight on Kevin) battling for THREE places. Depth? A nuclear submarine could get lost in that depth.

There is now genuine competition for places in every part of the Liverpool team, even in goal. Just when it seemed that Mignolet had seen off Loris ‘Fandango’ Karius, Klopp drops one for the other in a move that I can only describe as ‘sharp’. It was a clear message to Mignolet to not let his standards drop for a second, lest Karius will usurp him in the blink of an eye. It’s quality management by Klopp who has worked out that a complacent Mignolet is a flappy Mignolet. He’ll have him on his toes so much this season Mignolet may well end up starring in Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall before May. He’d look good in a Desmond.

Simon Mignolet Yellow

So when I take a cold, calculated look at the ‘new’ squad as a whole, I feel that LFC fans should be satisfied with the business done. However I accept that others may not feel as sated, and that’s perfectly acceptable. What is not acceptable however is the vitriol that I see on Twitter from so-called LFC ‘fans‘ who ‘want what’s best‘ and won’t ‘accept failure‘. Let me make one thing clear to you all. If I see you on Twitter claiming to be a ‘fan‘ but aiming direct abuse at a player/owner/owner’s wife, I’m going to screenshot it and I’m going to start a new blog and highlight you to the world (or at least the 4 people who will read this). On a serious note, enough is enough. You don’t have to be happy-clappy and believe that all is well in the world of Liverpool Football Club, but abusing your own while claiming to be a ‘fan’ doesn’t wash with me. You have been warned.

Anyway, enough of the negativity, UP THE DEFENSIVELY IMPROVING GOOD TRANSFER WINDOW SCORING GOALS AT WILL CHAMPIONS LEAGUE GROUP STAGE REDS (utdigtwsgawclgsr…that acronym needs work)

 

Liverpool 2-1 Burnley: The Ranting Rebel Ratings

 

Yes, I know there’s been another gap between ratings, but there’s another good reason for that…the work I had done with the lads before the Spurs game was nowhere near enough. I had foolishly thought that my motivational speeches and psychological guidance would see the lads flourish against the big teams AND the rest…but following the Leicester debacle, I realised my folly, and was back over to Melwood quicker than Jurgen could say ‘I want a refund, you cheeky Irish git’…

Simon Mignolet Yellow

Simon Mignolet:

 

One of my tips to Jurgen was to proclaim to the world that he didn’t need a new goalkeeper this summer, and here’s the logic:

  1. It will make the incumbent keepers feel a bit better about themselves, and should result in a boost of self-esteem, which would lead to a boost in performances
  2. If you publicly state that you’re looking for a new keeper, then every sodding keeper on planet earth will have an extra ‘0’ added onto their price tag and weekly wage demands.

Makes sense, right?

Simon took to the field on Sunday with his self-esteem at record new highs, which led to an unfortunate incident pre-match when Ragnar Klavan accidentally kicked his boot across the dressing room, leading to Migs roaring into his face “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the king of the world! I’m the greatest! I’m the glorious lovechild of Lev Yashin and Gordon Banks following a saucy encounter in a laboratory in Brussels in the late 80’s”.

Nothing like a bit of self-confidence, eh?

Thankfully Migs backed up his words on the pitch with a flawless display against a team that thought they had sussed out his (and his teammates) weaknesses. Long ball after long ball was humped towards the edge of Mignolet’s box, but time and again he came strongly (ooo-errr missus!), to fist cleanly (now stop it…) away.

I’m working on deflating his ego just a tad this week, after he tried to chat up nine of the other players wives with the same chat up line. ‘Belgium is famous for it’s waffles, do ya wanna taste my batter?’

Give me strength…

8/10 

Nathaniel Clyne

Nathaniel Clyne:

 

You may have noticed that Patsy has quite a bit of ink, pretty much from the neck down is covered in ‘body art’…or that’s what he wants you to think.

The truth is that Patsy is a bit, how shall I put this…’Hard Of Thinking’. In essence, he’s one Spice Girl short of a reunion tour, and all that ‘body art’ is actually notes, hints and tips on every aspect of his game.

Before you judge him, think back to your school days. Yep, we’ve all done it, writing notes/formula on our palms or shirt cuffs, or the name of that Welsh town with the longest name in the world on our penis….or maybe that’s just me who was able to fit it all in…in BLOCK CAPITALS….

So the next time you see Patsy hesitate when a quick cross is on, remember that it’s not his fault. He’s just searching for the instructions on what to do next.

Klavan got the blame for the goal conceded, but for me Patsy forgot to read the instruction on his left butt cheek that says ‘Cover and sweep behind the centre-backs when a striker peels off them’.

Unfortunately yesterday he played like all the notes were written in invisible ink. I’m not sure my words of wisdom were much use at half-time when I told him to ‘just bloody copy what the Burnley right-back did when he set up their goal’.

The single tear that rolled down his cheek will haunt me for a good few days y’know.

6/10. 

Klavan

Ragnar Klavan:

 

While our right-back has a brain function that buffers more than a porn video in 1997, our Estonian centre-half has the memory of a goldfish.

You would think that being absolutely roasted last August by a fella called Andre Gray might stick with you, but in the first half Ragnar played like he’d never seen the man before in his life, and made pretty much the exact same mistakes as he had at Turf Moor.

Incidentally, Turf Moor is Irish for ‘Big Turf’. I just realised that.

Anway, I digress. After half-time, when I pulled Ragnar aside and showed him You Tube clips of the beasting he got from Gray last August, y’know, to prove that it actually fecking happened, he had a moment of clarity and suddenly he knew what he had to do…so he did it.

Hale-fecking-liua.

In the second half he was big, strong and had Gray in his pocket for the remainder of his time on the pitch.

7/10

joel-matip

Joel Matip: 

To say that the heart of the Liverpool defence has been ‘changeable’ would be a bloody understatement. There’s been more changes in the Liverpool rearguard than there’s been Ed Sheeran songs in the Top 20 this week.

Joel was tasked with creating a ‘working relationship’ with Ragnar Klavan yesterday,  and deep down he knew this relationship was one of many he has to nurture. For a start, Dejan Lovren was peering down from the stands, waiting for his chance to show Joel some love, not to mention Shut Up Shop Ltd on the bench bursting to get back into a manly embrace with Joel, but it’s also the fact that Billy Joel had sung about this exact scenario in his 1986 song ‘A Matter Of Trust’….

 

Some love is just a lie of the heart
The cold remains of what began with a passionate start
And they may not want it to end
But it will it’s just a question of when
I’ve lived long enough to have learned
The closer you get to the fire the more you get burned
But that won’t happen to us
Cause it’s always been a matter of trust

Indeed, Joel has to build that trust with three different men this season, and that’s leaving aside the fact that Emre Can keeps butting in every five minutes, and he’s a hard man to ignore when you’re trying to build a relationship. I should know, my wife keeps drooling over him every 5 minutes.

I’ve said too much.

8/10

james-milner

James Milner: 

 

You know the ‘Bleep Test’?

That training exercise where you run from Point A to Point B before the buzzer goes at each end, which just speeds up as you get more knackered?

I believe that some of the world’s fittest athletes get to Level 14 before keeling over.

James Milner is currently at Level 863, and is still going. Up and down that left wing, trying to get a cross in before the buzzer goes, then back down the wing, trying to chase a ball into the oppositions flying forward, which they KEEP. BLOODY. PLAYING. BETWEEN. MILNER. AND. THE. CENTRE. BACK….

The poor man started the season standing 5’10” in his socks, and he’s now 5′ 8″ as his legs have been worn away.

But he just keeps running….

7/10

Emre Can

Emre Can: 

 

£35,000 a week might sound like a lot of money to me and you, but to Emre Can it’s a major bone of contention for him as he seeks to hammer out a new contract. He’s looking for around £70,000 a week (you’re hearing £100,000 a week, but you’ve got to highball first in any negotiation, right?).

I’m not saying that my motivational tactics with the lads work 100% of the time, but here’s what I tweeted at half-time:

Tweet 1

Within 15 minutes of that tweet, Jackie had hit a 25 yard daisy-cutting, worm-burning thunderbastard into the back of net at the Kop end, and then launched himself into a knee-slide celebration that made everyone over the age of 37 envious.

You’re welcome.

Leaving aside the ‘real world money’ argument, in modern football Emre Can has got to be worth £70,000 a week on a new contract, if only for the fact that a new contract increases his selling price if it ever comes to that. Sign him up Jurgen.

Oh, and stop playing silly buggers Emre. Good lad.

8/10

 Adam Lallana

Adam Lallana: 

 

 

What you may not know about Adam is that he’s quite insecure in himself.

He knows he’s got all the tools to be a top class footballer, but you might be surprised to know that footballers don’t always just think about football.

Adam is into his ‘looks’ because he’s compensating for his insecurities surrounding his appearance. That’s why he moisturises 19 times a day and why his skin holds more moisture than the Great Barrier Reef.

His performance yesterday, while not bad, was not up to it’s usual high standards, as Adam realised just before kick off that he was now playing in arguably the most handsome midfield in world football….and he soiled himself.

Jurgen tried to help by hugging him for 12 minutes straight, while stroking his hair, but it didn’t work, and now Jurgen can’t hold anything without it slipping right out of his grasp.

Nivea has a challenge on it’s hands. Does it try and make Adam more handsome, or does it take Gini/Emre into a back alley and smash their faces in?

Decision, decisions.

7/10.

Wijnaldum

Geordie Wine Gum:

 

Composure.

It’s a rare commodity.

When the most gorgeous woman in the bar approaches you and tells you she wants you right now, do you jauntily raise an eyebrow, smirk and tell her she’s made a wise decision, or do you shake uncontrollably, dribble like a teething baby and make a squeaky noise associated with pet toys?

Aye, exactly.

Gini showed incredible composure on the stroke of half-time as the ball ricocheted between him and Mee (no, not him and me, him and Mee. No, not me, Mee. Oh forget it…). While Mee stretched out a leg in vain (no, not me, Mee), and Ward charged towards him, and Heaton did his best starfish impression, Gini went all ‘Matrix’ and made the world pause…before slamming the ball into the net.

Gini is like ‘Hawkeye’ in the Avengers movies. The big names like Iron Man or Hulk or Thor with all their fancy moves tend to get all the attention, but when they don’t show up, the Avengers need someone else to come to the rescue. So as Phil/Bobby/Sadio have gone missing at various times this season, Gini has stepped up with goals against City/Chelsea/Arsenal and Burnley.

I know which one I prefer right now.

9/10

origi

Divock Origi:

 

Some said that this was a ‘huge chance’ for Divock and that he must grab it with both hands.

Some said that he blew his big chance.

Some talk an awful lot of guff.

Make no mistake about it, Bobby Firmino comes back into this team as soon as he’s fit, so nothing Divock did yesterday was ever going to change that. He knows it, and I know it, and you should know it.

That’s not to say that he didn’t do well though. While the Fantasy Football stats may only give him one assist, in the real world, he has two. It was his cross to Gini that set up the equaliser, as well as his pass to Emre that set up the winner.

What more can he do?

Well yes, of course he could score. I take your point. Alright, nobody likes a smartarse.

8/10.

coutinho

Philippe Coutinho:

Dearest Philippe,

Have you ever seen ‘The Three Amigos’ movie?

It’s a cracker, I highly recommend it. Chevy Chase, Steve Martin and Martin Short combine wonderfully to make you howl with laughter for 90 minutes.

However, I’ve found that when the ‘Three Amigos’ are seperated, they’re funny, but not THAT funny. I mean Chevy Chase can be downright annoying, Martin Short is barely noticeable and Steve Martin, while clearly a very funny man, needs someone opposite him to truly thrive.

I know that Bobby F was missing yesterday, but that can’t excuse that performance Phil. You were DIRE. I’ve never done this before, but yesterday I felt I had to. I tweeted about you Phil. I feel dirty, but strangely vindicated.

Tweet 2

I know you’re annoyed at Jurgen for hooking you, but as you can see now, it was all me Phil. I’m not sorry either. This ‘thing’ we have has to be a two-way street. Since your return from injury, it’s been all ‘take, take, take’ from you. What have you given me? Do I not deserve the very best? Is the magic gone between us Phil? Just say the word and I’ll be out of here! Just be honest with me Phil, that’s all I ask.

As always,

Love you,

Xxx

5/10

sadio-mane

Sadio Mane:

 

The one player I have to spend the least amount of time with is Sadio. He’s just got all the self-confidence you could want, and shows it out on the pitch. He was Liverpool’s only real threat during that woeful opening half, and he kept the Burnley defence on edge all match long.

On more than one occasion he was inches away from the perfect pass to set up a goal.

The thought of Sadio on top song against THAT City defence next weekend makes me happy.

8/10

Substitutes:

lucas

Shut Up Shop Ltd:

 

11 minutes left when the barriers came down, and they stayed firmly down until the full-time whistle.

Not only did Lucas shore things up, he also found himself rampaging forward with the ball at his feet, 30 yards from goal. Even he realised how daft that situation was…

7/10

ben-woodburn

Ben Woodburn:

 

How would you feel if you woke on Monday morning and remembered that you were brought on by Jurgen Klopp after an hour to replace Philippe Coutinho?

Aye, exactly. That’s why Ben is walking around with an 8 hour erection as I type. Ah, the miracle of youth.

He did pretty well too.

7/10

 


klopp-new

Manager: Jurgen Klopp: 

 

Right Jurgen, you’ve had the benefit of my presence before Spurs and now Burnley, so every other game this season will be degrees of each.

10 games to go. You’ll be fine for the next two, that’s a nailed on six points, but it’s the final 8 that will really tell us about this team: Bournemouth (fighting), Stoke (on the beach), West Brom (on the beach), Palace (probably on the beach by then), Watford (on the beach), Southampton (on the beach and we owe them one), West Ham (on the beach and a bit sh*t), Boro (in the Championship by then).

If you need me, you know where I am. You’ve already started using my advice, so keep it up. I like the whole ‘I don’t have a Plan B’ thing, that was beautiful. Just remember to pick Moreno every now and again and you’ll have everyone fooled. LOL.

7/10.

Note: If you enjoy the guff on this blog, you can find me on Twitter (@NiallHawthorne) or on Facebook (facebook.com/rantsofarebel)