#2: The Ring of Fire with Mascot88

Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
1,493
The Ring of Fire with Mascot88

As Ki-Jana Hoever capped a memorable season by winning the U17 European Championship with the Netherlands, Jurgen Klopp gets their Champions League final preparations underway in sunny Marbella, to discuss this week's events, thrown into the 'Ring of Fire' this week is TIA Forum Member @Mascot88

*****


TIA Username: Mascot88
Location : Nottingham

Favourite Current LFC Player : Virgil Van Dijk
Favourite all-time LFC Player : Peter Beardsley
Favourite all time Reds match : I know it’s recent, but Liverpool 4 - 0 Barca. How do to top that? Prior to that I probably had a better time watching the 2001 FA cup final than I’ve ever had watching the reds.
Favourite non-LFC Player : Diego Maradona. I remember being absolutely mesmerised by him at the 86 World Cup. Still the best to have ever played the game in my opinion.
Favourite other clubs (if any) : I’ve taken the lad to see Forest a few times, as they’re local. So they’ve become a sort of second team.
Other sports/hobbies/past times : Kids take up most time, but I love music. Playing, writing, recording. Guitar, piano, and anything else I can get my hands on.
Non-footballing heroes : Thom Yorke, Nick Cave, Delia Derbyshire, Jarvis Cocker, Wes Anderson, Rik Mayall, Stewart Lee, Armando Ianucci, Bill Murray, Wes Anderson, David Attenborough. (Just off the top of my head)​



Mascot88.... what's the significance behind the username?

The mascot match, in 1988. Sheffield Wednesday v Liverpool. I was ten. The weird thing was that being Mascot wasn’t arranged by Liverpool - they didn’t do mascots at away games back then. Sheffield Wednesday, via my uncle (who’s company sponsored them), sorted it out. So Liverpool had little to do with it.

At some point in the afternoon before kick off the club rep took me down to the dressing room to meet the players. I went into the Wednesday dressing room and met such legends as David Hirst, Mel Sterland and Lee Chapman. And then we knocked on the Liverpool dressing room door.

The door opened a crack and Kenny popped his head out.
“Aye?”
The club rep said “Mr Dalglish. This is the Liverpool mascot today. He’d really like to say hello to the players”.
Kenny looked down at me, and then back at the rep “We dinnae know who he is”.
A nervous silence, before the rep broke it. “He’s your mascot Mr Dalglish. If he could just have a couple of minutes to say hi?
More silence. This time Kenny broke it. “No. He could be anyone. He might be a spy”
The rep laughed nervously. Surely a joke?
Kenny again. “Right son. If that’s everything...” And he shut the door leaving us standing there.
And that was my brush with the King!


Looking back at the 80’s, how did a little boy growing up in Yorkshire start supporting Liverpool Football Club!!

I don’t know why Liverpool. I was born in Yorkshire and Leeds were my local team. I suppose for the same reason kids might go for City today. They were a trophy hoovering machine, and there was something romantic and fairytale about the club that I fell for. My mum also liked Liverpool in the 70s and had her Keegan and Toshack posters on the wall, although I didn’t know that at the time.

The first memory I have of watching Liverpool was the FA cup final in 86. I think I liked Liverpool before that, as I remember desperately wanting us to win it. But after that I was obsessed. I’d have been eight years old. That’s the same age as my eldest now, and this year he’s become Liverpool mad too.

I haven’t a lot of memories of players from the 86 side. I remember Rush and Grobbelaar, but not much else. The first player I properly loved was Barnsey, and I remember my stepdad when we signed him saying we had a belter. In that mascot match I mentioned I asked to have my picture taken with Barnes.


However, at the game Barnsey just sort of ignored me aside from the picture. He was too in the zone. It was Peter Beardsley who took me under his wing and looked after me on the pitch. We passed the balled in front of the Liverpool fans and took shots at Bruce. After that I was all about Peter. You can imagine how I cried when Souness sold him to Everton.


Before we look ahead to our upcoming Champions League Final, i'm going to take you back to last summer.... The sun had only set over Merseyside late Monday night when most fans flew home into Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport with with the heartache of Saturday's Champions League Final in Kiev still fresh in the memory when news started to filter through that Liverpool had completed a £39.3 million up front with a maximum 4.4 million in bonuses deal for Monaco’s 24-year-old Fabinho after 225 appearances and 29 goals for the French club.

The boy who left his home near São Paulo for the bright lights of Rio as a teenager to becoming a regular at right-back under Claudio Ranieri Monaco’s first season back in Ligue 1 to moving to a central midfield role under Leonardo Jardim leadership at Monaco. A versatile, robust and mobile player, the unexpected and efficiency of the deal surprised just about everyone on the forums. Mascot88, how have you assessed Fabinho's first season at Liverpool?


Fabinho is a reminder to everyone that we need to be a bit patient with players when they first come in. Especially midfielders. I really like Fabinho, and think it’s a player we’ve lacked for a while. He is like an octopus in the tackle, and can spread the ball from deep really well.


There was frustration in the fans when he wasn’t dropped straight in to the team. But as we’ve seen a few times, Klopp knows what he’s doing. I remember when he first came in he clearly wanted to play a deeper role, like an orthodox DM and I remember Klopp tearing strips off him for dropping between the Centre backs early on. Klopp has obviously worked with him off the pitch, and got him to where he needs him.


Now aged 31, Adam Lallana made just 16 appearances this season, playing less than 600 minutes in all competitions. It’s hard to believe his last Liverpool goal was on the last day of the 2016/17 season... It's fair to say Lallana splits the opinion of Liverpool fans, has he a future at Liverpool?

Klopp seems to love him, but I think it’s time to move him on, and I expect him to be sold. There has always been a bit of a funny relationship with the fans. They’ve never really taken him to their hearts and always viewed him with a bit of suspicion. I think that’s because he is associated with Rodgers and the season where his reign really fell apart. It’s a shame, because he is a wonderfully gifted technical footballer, possibly a bit too good for his own good, if that makes sense - he has a tendency to Cryuff turn his way into trouble when a simple touch would do.

With Lallana, like Lovren, it’s the injuries that I think will force Klopp’s hand. You can’t plan for him being fit, he tends to pick up niggles and knocks in training that must be so frustrating for a coach trying to plan his matches.


Harry Wilson has had an incredible season on loan at Derby County. After notching his 15th goal in all competitions in the Premier League play-off semi-final showdown with Leeds United last week, the set-piece specialist's displays have left many Liverpool supporters wondering could a steady source of new players for the first team be at hand for years to come from the Liverpool Academy. How/Will Harry Wilson fit into Klopp's plans next season?

Wilson has obviously done really well on loan. I’ve a few relations who support Derby, and they’ve only had good stuff to say about him. The only criticism I’ve heard is that he can sometimes disappear in games. For Liverpool I think the Harry Wilson situation is about more than Harry. It’s about how we handle young players at the squad trying to break in to the first team.

By the club’s admission Wilson has exceeded the targets set for him on his loan. His goal/assist return has been brilliant, and he has been one of, if not the standout player in the Championship. While I’m sure everyone at the club is delighted for Harry, it does create something of a problem for Klopp. As the lad has done everything asked of him and more, I think Klopp now has to give him chances.

If Klopp sends him on loan again or sells him, then ‘what about Harry Wilson’ is a question the club are going to have to deal with when discussingthe career paths of youngsters. When the recruitment team are trying to convince a young talent to choose Liverpool the experience of Harry Wilson is something that will be of concern, because if a lad can go on loan and notch 20 goals and assists, and still not get a chance, then what chance does anyone have?

Klopp is a players manager. He is into meritocracy and rewarding achievement. He plays fair by players and thinks about how his actions impact on the squad holistically. So I think he’ll see it as fair that Harry gets his chance now. I expect him to be brought back to Anfield and told to train hard and focus, on the promise of 5-10 appearance this side of Christmas (including cups). If he can build on that, great. If not, a permanent move in January probably suits all parties.



Mascot88, who were your Top 5 performing players this season from the teams outside of the Premier League's top six clubs?

Wolves had a really impressive season and I think Reuben Neves and Diogo Jota were outstanding. I could see Liverpool really going for Neves in particular. I think Wolves could snatch a top six place if Utd don’t improve their form. You could probably argue that the best five lads outside the top six all wore a gold shirt last season, but I’ll leave it at those two for variety.

Wan-Bissaka has had a really good season for Palace, and he’s the best defensive right back in the league for me (doesn’t have the attacking ability of Trent). Something about him says to me he’s nailed on for Utd.

In terms of value to his club, Solomon Rondon has been awesome for Newcastle. Without him I think they go down, despite Rafa. He hasn’t got the ability like some lads you could put on this list, like the Wolves lads, Richarlison, Lanzini, etc. but he is vital for them, and suits Rafa down to the ground. Pretty much the best old school ‘big man up top’ in the league.

Finally, Declan Rice at West Ham has had a breakout year and looks set to make the move to a top six club at some point. Helps that he’s equally comfortable in central defence and midfield, and again might be perfect for a United side finding itself locked out of signing the very best players but needing players who and young and hungry and ready to put pressure on the top four. Has everything in his locker to go on and be a cracking player.


Looking ahead, just 12 days stand between the Reds and their date with destiny in the Wanda Metropolitano against Tottenham in the Champions League Final...

We’re better than Spurs in almost every position, so for the most part I think it’s less about being reactive to what Spurs are going to do, and more about just making sure that we can play our game.

I don’t recall the last time we went into a game like this as the favourites, and I think Klopp needs to manage that situation. We’ve tended to be the happy go lucky underdogs, which will be Spurs this time. We might need to be ready to do to them what Madrid did to us last year, and just let them blow themselves out before picking them off with a few moments of quality.

I don’t think there will be any surprises about the set up for the final. Klopp will line up in a 433, with Firmino (please be fit bobby!) using his work rate to drop into midfield and almost give us an extra man in midfield (becoming almost like a diamond). Trent and Robbo will be looking to stretch the pitch, and pin their full-backs. I can’t see us doing anything left field.

A couple of little things I’d like to see.

- Get right at Hugo Lloris. I think he’s crap, and always has a mistake in him. Crowd him on corners, have a shot, get him off his line. Just do anything to unsettle him. He might be a World Cup winner, but he did drop one over his own line in the final.

- Shut down Son. I think he is the danger man, so we need to cut off his supply. I don’t want him on the ball 30 yards out with time to pick a pass.

- Fabinho to try looking for through balls from deep to Salah and Mane. Pochettino is not going to let our fullbacks have time on the ball to pick their crosses, so that should in theory open up a bit more space in midfield. Fabinho might find an increased onus on him to be a creative force as well as a destructive one.


Fabinho, captain Henderson, Milner or Wijnaldum... As has been the case all season, the one real selection dilemma for Klopp is in midfield. Milner was preferred for the visit of Barcelona but it was two-goal Wijnaldum who helped inspire that miracle at Anfeld. Who will start and who will make the bench?

I have a feeling Klopp will want to get Milner on the pitch. He obviously rates his professionism and experience, and tends to put him in for the big games. I think Wijnaldum misses out.

So I think it’s Fabinho sitting, Henderson on the right with licence to get forward, and Milner on the left of the three, running box to box. Telling a player he isn’t playing a champions league final must be the toughest job in football. I don’t envy it falling to Klopp.


Opposition player to watch?

Already said Son. I think he is wonderful, and I’d love to be able to prise him off Spurs somehow. I’m also wary of Lucas Moura, just on the basis that he probably feels a sense of destiny about him, after his hat-trick in the semi. Liverpool always seems happy to assist one of these narratives along!


What will be the Key head-to-head battle?

I think Eriksen and Fabinho could have a tasty battle. I like Eriksen a lot, and one of Fabinho’s jobs will be to keep him quiet and stop him pulling the strings.

I also think they’ll decide to play on Trent, which the lad is having to get used to, so he is going to have a tough evening against Son.


Finally, your Match Prediction?

I think it’s going to be nervy. The 24 points between us in the league is a bit false, and I think they are much better than that. Easily the third best team in the league. As I said at the start, I think we are better than them in every position, and I think that will show in the end - but it won’t be comfortable.

I’ll go with 2-1 to the Reds.



The 'Ring of Fire' - a new weekly feature on the This Is Anfield forums.

Many thanks to @Mascot88 for taking part this week and for taking the time to answer the questions so indepth, thanks mate! If anybody has any questions or ideas they'd like to ask for next weeks edition make sure and send them on to me via PM!!
 

Broomy

TIA's Redkopi
Joined
Jul 7, 2007
Messages
1,493
Interesting question this, Mascot88 went for Reuben Neves, Diogo Jota, Wan-Bissaka, Solomon Rondon and Declan Rice.....

Who were your Top 5 performing players this season from the teams outside of the Premier League's top six clubs?
 

Kopstar

★★★★★★
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
11,892
Interesting question this, Mascot88 went for Reuben Neves, Diogo Jota, Wan-Bissaka, Solomon Rondon and Declan Rice.....

Who were your Top 5 performing players this season from the teams outside of the Premier League's top six clubs?
I'm afraid I don't watch any games not involving Liverpool (and even then only get to watch highlights/replays). I'll get a special exemption for the CL final.

From what I've seen on MotD Tielemans, Zaha, Doherty, Rice, Neves would be up there for me.
 

Mascot88

Yours for £1m. Need to make room for Dean Saunders
Admin
Joined
May 24, 2007
Messages
20,374
I'm afraid I don't watch any games not involving Liverpool (and even then only get to watch highlights/replays). I'll get a special exemption for the CL final.

From what I've seen on MotD Tielemans, Zaha, Doherty, Rice, Neves would be up there for me.
Tielemans would have been a better shout. Forgot about him.
 

Red_Jedi

Anfield kick about
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
1,572
Great read! Thanks for doing this.

5 players outside of top 6: Fraser, Zaha, Doherty, Jimenez, Almiron.

I think Rafa signing Almiron gave them a different dimension, and made space for Rondon to score a few. Watch him with interest next season. Fraser had a great season too.
 

Quagmire81

TIA Regular
Joined
Jan 14, 2007
Messages
6,761
Haven't seen enough of games from clubs outside top 6 to be honest. I been following Højbjerg for Saints tho and he had an really impressive season. after a "traditional" tough start of joining a epl club he managed to become such a key player for them he was rewarded the captain armband, and he even added goals and assists to his name this term aswell. His rouge run from midfield into the box where he nudged the ball to Long who scored the opening goal when we meet them at St. Mary's sums him and his season up and I could actually see him fit into in our system perfectly. He remind me a lot of Henderson. A true professional to the bones.

Neves been a beast for Wolves and is no doubt destined for a bigger club, he could also fit into our system and I would't mind it if we went after him this summer.

Luka Milivojevic for Crystal palace been really impresive aswell, his numbers are out of this world, yet again this term, but that is of course due to him taking their pens, which they apparently had a lot of this season.
 

Limiescouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
13,025
Great read! Thanks for doing this.

5 players outside of top 6: Fraser, Zaha, Doherty, Jimenez, Almiron.

I think Rafa signing Almiron gave them a different dimension, and made space for Rondon to score a few. Watch him with interest next season.
He is a fascinating signing, in part because of the implications of how it positions MLS if his early promise is sustained. However, he only played about 10 games.
 

Prolix

Long Time Nemesis™
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
2,653
Who were your Top 5 performing players this season from the teams outside of the Premier League's top six clubs?
I ran a fantasy league for a group of TIA'ers on the Fantrax site, which allows for some pretty involved scoring systems that go way beyond just goals, assists, and clean sheets.

According to that model:

1. Lucas Digne, EVE (5th overall in fantasy points per game)
2. James Maddison, LEI (7th)
3. Luka Milivojevic, CRY (8th)
4. Felipe Anderson, WHU (10th)
5. Fabian Schär, NEW (12th)

Doherty was towards the top of league in PPG for a lot of the season but finished 27th. Fraser was huge during Bournemouth's early season form, and ended up in a respectable 13th overall. Tielemans was very good in his partial-season cameo.
 

Kopstar

★★★★★★
Joined
Jun 15, 2007
Messages
11,892
I ran a fantasy league for a group of TIA'ers on the Fantrax site, which allows for some pretty involved scoring systems that go way beyond just goals, assists, and clean sheets.

According to that model:

1. Lucas Digne, EVE (5th overall in fantasy points per game)
2. James Maddison, LEI (7th)
3. Luka Milivojevic, CRY (8th)
4. Felipe Anderson, WHU (10th)
5. Fabian Schär, NEW (12th)

Doherty was towards the top of league in PPG for a lot of the season but finished 27th. Fraser was huge during Bournemouth's early season form, and ended up in a respectable 13th overall. Tielemans was very good in his partial-season cameo.
Zaha, Neves?
 

Prolix

Long Time Nemesis™
Joined
Sep 17, 2012
Messages
2,653
Zaha, Neves?
Zaha was about 11th among forwards. The scoring format we were using absolutely dumpsters on DMs/"metronome" midfielders, so Neves was basically a non-factor, unfortunately (as with Jorginho, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, etc.).

I'm working on a scoring system that takes into consideration pass volume/accuracy, which would have put Neves at #29.

(The top 5 non-6 with that system would have been Milivojevic, Schär, Maddison, Digne, and Tielemans. Goals are obviously still king.)

(btw: anyone with ideas about what kind of playing stats should be valued in a fantasy context, hit up my DMs)
 

Zinedine Biscan

Half-man, half-Biscuit
Joined
Jul 31, 2009
Messages
22,167
Zaha was about 11th among forwards. The scoring format we were using absolutely dumpsters on DMs/"metronome" midfielders, so Neves was basically a non-factor, unfortunately (as with Jorginho, Wijnaldum, Fabinho, etc.).

I'm working on a scoring system that takes into consideration pass volume/accuracy, which would have put Neves at #29.

(The top 5 non-6 with that system would have been Milivojevic, Schär, Maddison, Digne, and Tielemans. Goals are obviously still king.)

(btw: anyone with ideas about what kind of playing stats should be valued in a fantasy context, hit up my DMs)
Is it true that someone traded Sterling for Zaha? What a pillock.
 

Anfield rd Dreamer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
11,266
Interesting question this, Mascot88 went for Reuben Neves, Diogo Jota, Wan-Bissaka, Solomon Rondon and Declan Rice.....

Who were your Top 5 performing players this season from the teams outside of the Premier League's top six clubs?
Been having a think about this but in no way an expert on us let alone the rest of the teams in the league. Mostly pay attention to players I've mulled over the idea of us signing before. Mine wouldn't necessarily be top performing but they'd be players I'd look at seriously if we were recruiting for their position and restraining ourselves to none top 6 sides within our league when going shopping. All generally perform well though still and wanted to avoid the obvious names others have listed.

Jamaal Lascelles. Rafa doesn't make you captain unless you provide good leadership and have a brain in your head. Schar is getting a lot of attention but I think Lascelles is the glue holding that defence together. Also think he has the right characteristics to fit in our defence. If we wanted a 3rd or 4th choice he'd be a good one but not sure why a starting captain of a reasonable sized club would make that switch.

Conor Coady. Always liked him. Think he has proven he belongs at Premier League level now. Not quite as good a blue print match for our CB needs but home grown and a lot of what I said above fits here too.

Ben Chilwell. Can see why we wanted him. Only a matter of time before he's at a top 6 club. Some more flashy left backs but I think he's the closest to Robertson in the league showing some defensive solidity and attacking capability.

Gerard Deulofeu. Starting to stretch a bit here but don't think they'd have done half as well without him, especially in the cup. Reminds me a little of a cheap version of Eden Hazard as he has the ability and potential to be top class but its shown in brief flashes (Eden is more consistent obviously but still inconsistent). Still youngish under someone like Klopp he could pull it all together and become a great player.

Gylfi Sigurdsson. We nearly signed him Spurs did. Do think he is good enough to be a top six squad player. 21 goal contributions in 41 games from attacking midfield isn't bad. Especially for a team that don't do that well. I think he's quietly their most important player.
 

Jaytinho

Active Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2013
Messages
92
Excellent read!

5 players outside of top 6:
1. Tielemans
2. Raul Jimenez
3. Ayoze Perez
4. Felipe Anderson
5. Zaha