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Let it Flow

Discussion in 'The Football Forum' started by the count, Sep 13, 2021.

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  1. the count

    the count SCM's least favourite muppet Honorary Member

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    You don’t often see Jürgen Klopp lost for words, but that’s what happened in his post-match interview on Sky, when Geoff Shreeves wanted to know what he had said to referee Craig Pawson after seeing his player Harvey Elliott badly injured in a challenge with Leeds’ Pascal Struijk.
    Klopp had been angry during the exchange with Pawson, but now he stared absently into the middle distance and spoke in disjointed fragments. “Nothing important... I’m not sure it’s the right moment to speak about these kind of things... yeah, no... nothing important really.”
    Klopp might have been wondering: when is the right moment to speak about “these kind of things”? Apparently never. Three weeks ago, Liverpool beat Burnley 2-0 and Klopp complained afterwards about the lenience shown by the referee towards what he deemed foul play by Burnley’s strong forwards Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood.
    “I’m not 100 per cent sure if we are going in the right direction with these decisions,” he said. “It’s like we’re going 10 to 15 years backwards. The message now is let the game flow, but nobody exactly knows what that means. I like decisions that favour the offensive team, that’s fine. But we have to stick to protecting the players. We cannot deny that. If you like that sort of thing, watch wrestling.”
    Klopp’s concern for player safety might have seemed understandable in the context of last season, when he saw the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Thiago Alcântara sidelined for months by wild challenges. But he was laughed out of town. Sean Dyche criticised him for “namechecking” – snitching on – Wood and Barnes. Alan Shearer’s theory was that Klopp was playing mind games, putting pressure on referees with a “pantomime” designed to get favourable treatment in future.
    “This is the man that talked about heavy metal football,” marvelled Gary Neville, “Football being fast and furious, the excitement of English football, the cut and thrust of it, sliding tackles.”

    It’s unclear why Neville assumed that when Klopp spoke about “heavy metal football” he meant sliding tackles – why not hairspray and leather trousers? Actually, one of Klopp’s big contributions has been to show how a team can be fast and aggressive without being dirty.
    Aura of violence

    There’s a folk belief in English football that all the best teams have an aura of violence, an attitude summed up by that exemplar of the bulldog spirit, José Mourinho: “A team of good boys, nice boys, the only thing that they win at the end of the season is the Fair Play cup. Which is something I’ve never won and I’m not interested in winning that.”

    Klopp’s Liverpool have topped the Fair Play table for the last five seasons running. It’s not because they are good boys or nice boys who lack the mentality of champions. Rather, they have made a tactical choice. Klopp believes it is counterproductive to slide into risky challenges or generally to give away cheap fouls.
    He tells the players that when they are pressing, it is “absolutely forbidden” to give away a foul. There’s no point working to close down opponents only to let them off the hook with easy free kicks. If you’re sloppy in the challenge, the referee can be the opponents’ best defender.
    Klopp therefore never had much to gain from the “let it flow” directive issued by the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), which he correctly foresaw would encourage dangerous, reckless play. Instead, he got to be the first manager to see English football’s retro fixation reduce one of his players to collateral damage.
    English football is obsessed with turning the clock back to the days when men were men, and the old men who now populate the stands were children. That’s what the return of “common sense” to refereeing is all about. But, like the fictional John Hammond, wretched impresario of Jurassic Park, PGMOL failed to grasp the destructive potential of what they were unleashing in a world that is no longer equipped to deal with it.

    By all means summon the “let it flow, it’s a man’s game” spirit of yesteryear, but you better hope you can also bring back the nine-stone players, the boggy potato-field pitches and, most importantly, the ingrained habits of self-preservation that characterised that uncompromising age.
    Look at the incident that left Elliott with that terrible injury. Fabinho chips it forward towards Elliott, who, with typically enterprising technique, lets the ball drop beyond him then takes a touch on the run and accelerates after it.
    The important thing to note is that his touch takes him back across the path of the pursuing Pascal Struijk. This is entirely deliberate. Elliott has seen Struijk, he knows he is there, and he is cutting across his path to make sure he gets his body between Struijk and the ball.
    No footballer of the 1960s would have done this. Any player who deliberately took the ball back across the path - and thus within the range – of a chasing six-foot-three defender knew he would be taking his life in his hands.

    Any player who did somehow end up in this dangerous situation would at least have understood he was in danger – he would be expecting a big sliding challenge to arrive at any second, and his mind and body would be focused as one on the question of how to evade it.
    Elliott, who was born in 2003, didn’t expect it. Elliott, who grew up playing academy football on nice pitches, thinks the worst that can happen is he gets barged in the back and wins a free kick. Elliott has simply not considered that Struijk might come leaping through his space, right foot stretching for the ball and left knee crunching “hard-but-fair” through the back of Elliott’s planted leg.
    He has grown up in an era when dangerous tackles from behind are banned and so he never learned how to avoid them. Now he pays for that gap in his knowledge with a big chunk of his promising career. Let it flow! Pawson, who would send Struijk off when he realised the extent of Elliott’s injury, never even blew for a foul.

    “Let it flow” is, of course, a self-defeating nonsense – the game flows much faster now than it did in the days when legbreakers were legal. One of the most sordid aspects of the whole awful incident was Sky’s squeamish refusal to show replays – ostensibly out of some concern for Elliott, the first but assuredly not the last victim of the new dispensation.
    The injury should have been shown on repeat. If people
     
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  2. Bradley

    Bradley Very Well-Known Member

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    Ken Early, he was on 2nd Captain's today saying this as well. Great point. He's usually pretty quick to have a go at Klopp. I think it's a fair point.
     
  3. The Nomad

    The Nomad Well-Known Member

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    I still don't think it was a red card. I've seen it back a few times. Maybe I'm just focusing on Elliots leg, but wasn't a leg breaking challenge.
     
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  4. momoWASboss

    momoWASboss If you take me seriously then you’re an idiot Member

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    It wasn’t leg breaking apart from making his leg break?
     
  5. binomial

    binomial Very Active Member

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    It wasn’t his leg though was it, was his ankle? Gotta clear this up. 2 very separate parts of the body.
     
  6. momoWASboss

    momoWASboss If you take me seriously then you’re an idiot Member

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    Potato potato
     
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  7. binomial

    binomial Very Active Member

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    No seriously, his trailing leg went into the back of his ankle…9 times out of 10 it’s a yellow.
     
  8. momoWASboss

    momoWASboss If you take me seriously then you’re an idiot Member

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    And it’s the time he seriously injured an opponent. A red.
     
  9. binomial

    binomial Very Active Member

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    And that’s why I say it’s the seriousness of the injury that influenced the decision and not the tackle itself…can’t really blame the player here.
     
  10. The Nomad

    The Nomad Well-Known Member

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    Spot on.. we see Thiago do that kind of challenge at least once per game.
     
  11. Dreambeliever

    Dreambeliever From Doubter to Believer -Cashed out to Cashed Up Member

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    Ya I don’t think it was that bad, just unfortunate. Much worse intent goes unpunished every week.
     
  12. rurikbird

    rurikbird Part of the Furniture Honorary Member

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    Carra and Neville had a good discussion about this on MNF and made a clear distinction between dangerous full-speed tackles like Tarkowski on Richarlison and "soft" fouls that were given too often last season and are thankfully usually ignored now (I appreciated Carra showing Kane trying to buy a free-kick as an example). "Let it flow" has nothing to do with the first kind which should simply be banned. I think it's no coincidence Klopp spoke up after playing Burnley and now they are highlighted again – I feel there is a some sort of culture war brewing in English football with Sean Dyche's team becoming the standard-bearers for the return to the "good old days" by way of potentially injury-causing tackles.
     
  13. Brizzle

    Brizzle Very Well-Known Member

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    There are many reasons why it is a tackle that needs to be eliminated from the game. It was a 'tactical' foul i.e. he was never going to win the ball (fairly) and was at full pace, with his full force going into it. The rules now cover excessive force, and a slide tackle from behind at full sprint is exactly that. No one wants to see great tackles go from the game, but I don't think anyone wants to encourage the type of tackle we saw from Struick. It could have resulted in no injury, and it could have resulted in a career ender - either way you don't want tackles that have a high level of risk of the latter.
     
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  14. The Nomad

    The Nomad Well-Known Member

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    Watch it back. He won the ball first, but unfortunately caught a planted leg on the follow through. Its really unlucky for Elliot his leg was planted.

    If you take that kind of tackle out the game, it would be boring. Wasnt there an identical challenge last night which didn't even get a yellow?

    Was it a free kick? Yes, as he caught the player on the follow through
    Was it a yellow card? Yes, as he was slightly behind him.
    But if he hadn't caught him, it wouldn't have even been a foul.

    But that's it for me.
     
  15. StevieM

    StevieM SCM's resident Beer Nazi, Wine Snob & Comic Geek Honorary Member

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    Fuck You @the count !!!

    I can’t see the title of this thread without hearing it sung to me like that fucking song from Frozen!!!!
     
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  16. Brizzle

    Brizzle Very Well-Known Member

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    I've watched it back - there was no way he could get the ball without taking the player. He took the ball but hugely put a player at risk. Red card.
     
  17. the count

    the count SCM's least favourite muppet Honorary Member

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    How sad are you that you know a song from"Frozen"
    :)
     
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  18. StevieM

    StevieM SCM's resident Beer Nazi, Wine Snob & Comic Geek Honorary Member

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    What’s worse is I know the song and it’s in my head without even watching the bloody film!!!
     
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  19. rurikbird

    rurikbird Part of the Furniture Honorary Member

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    I actually heard "Let It Snow" when I saw the title.
     
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  20. StevieM

    StevieM SCM's resident Beer Nazi, Wine Snob & Comic Geek Honorary Member

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    Oh great... now I’m seeing that sung to me now as well!!!
     
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