Liverpool buying a centre-back would be a waste of money…

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No new centre-back please

As you note in your gossip column on Sunday, Liverpool will presumably be linked to every half decent centre back playing in a a European top division between now and February. I, for one, hope we don’t actually sign any of them. Van Dijk and Gomez are one of the best CB partnerships in the world and will be back next season, so there’s no need to upgrade the first team. Fabinho and Matip are probably good enough to be first choice CBs at any other EPL team other than City, Leicester, Chelsea.

And when Fabinho is needed in midfield or Matip is injured, as he probably will be from time to time, we have Nat Philips and Rhys Williams who have both looked really good in the games they’ve played. Plus Billy Koumetio still in reserve. We could buy someone else as back up but what message does that send to the young players who have come in and done well when the opportunity arose? I’d much rather give them some game time to grow rather than spending money on a journeyman who’s happy to go back to the bench when injuries have healed or another young player who’s not guaranteed to be any better than the players we already have. If Matthijs de Ligt is available on loan with an option to buy for £10m I’d reconsider, but otherwise let’s make the most of what we’ve got.
Tom, thrifty, LFC


England and Grealish

Great to see the hype around Grealish now. Back to the glory days of flair players carrying England to victory. You did win didn’t you?


…Can somebody please explain to me why Dier is anywhere near any England squad. Let alone a first eleven. I don’t care how many people are injured. I was available. I’ve only played centre back once and very badly so probably better than Dier.
Rob, Gravesend

READ MORE: Rating the players – Belgium 2-0 England


Injury crises

What a really interesting proposition from Ryan, Liverpool about ‘Injury Crises’ of the past, I think the one infamous one of all time would likely be on for Spurs vs West Ham at the end of the 2005/06 season, or as many call it “Lasagne-Gate”, where Spurs needed to match Arsenal’s result against Wigan to qualify for the Champions League.

Spurs had 10 players who all went down with Food Poisoning, including the likes of Teemu Tainio, Michael Carrick, Robbie Keane, Edgra Davids, Aaron Lennon and Michael Dawson, at the time Martin Jol said the only players who were not affected were Paul Robinson, Stephen Kelly, Anthony Gardner and Jermain Defoe.
Mikey, CFC


…In reply to Ryan, Liverpool as an Arsenal fan I would say our worst injury crisis was the period between 2010 and 2018.
Joff, Barton Gooner


…In response to Ryan, Liverpool’s request, Arsenal have quite a few to pick from – I can remember seasons where it was all the left backs injured, then all the right backs…but I best recall a different position.

We went into 2010/2011 with Almunia (the horror) as the number 1, backed up by Lukasz Fabianski, who was jittery by reputation at the time. Understudying both of them was Wojciech Szczęsny, at the time yet to play in the Premier League and getting increasingly impatient.

Almunia started the season in true Almunia fashion, and after a few errors he picked up an injury, giving Wenger an excuse to shift him aside. Fabianski stepped in, and for the first real time in his Arsenal career actually looked decent. Then he got injured warming up at Old Trafford before our league game there, opening the door to Szczęsny for his Premier League debut. This was all still in the first half of the season, by the way.

Szczęsny performed quite well overall, playing in our eventual Champions League exit to Barcelona (4-3 aggregate, not at all like the other exits). He picked up an injury, opening the door to Almunia who was fit again by this time. In the first half of the season, Almunia and the rest of the team had been calamitous at home vs di Matteo’s West Brom. So away at the Hawthorns he completed the set by tackling his own player – Squillaci, I think – to gift Odemwingie an open goal in an eventual draw. Anyway, either he got injured or got banished, but not long after we brought Jens Lehmann, back at the club for his coaching badges, out of retirement for a game away at Blackpool.

It didn’t quite cluster in the time frame of Liverpool’s central defensive crisis, but that crisis has yet to bring Carragher out of retirement so let’s see.
Ed, Chicago


That’s me

Quick reply to Edward: Yep, that’s very likely me you’re talking about!

Post-lockdown-to-current lockdown I’d often be watching football (any football, really, doesn’t have to be my Chelsea) at an outside high table at the Three Kings in Twickenham (a couple of times a week in the evening and also probably a weekend daytime): I’ve usually got football podcasts in my ears (off my personal phone on the table, tapping away on my work phone as well), pint of Moretti and hand sanitiser to my right, rolling tobacco paraphernalia to my left etc.

When real life (or some variation of it) is back you’re most welcome to share the table with me again!
Stu, Twickenham