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The Dark Arts

Quicksand

Looking for Clues...
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There is a developing theme in post match and in match threads surrounding Liverpool players getting kicked/fouled etc and opposition players (a la Messi) dominating referees and making them give decisions.

We saw the knackers dog Ritchie plough through Salah last night, and Rondon bully his way around the box, and we are limited in response. Ritchie is a limited footballer but Salah knew he was there last night.

I loved when we had Smith, Souness, Case, Jones etc who would stick a foot in or in Souness case mouth to the ref until he was sick of it. Dalglish annoyed refs, there was a comment about him being the moaniest fucker in football, from a ref.

Hendo is too quiet, and when you see gim complain its like a gentlemanly admonishment. Unlike Keane with veins popping on his forehead.
Virg is a big strong lad, but is more Hansen than Smith in style. Nothing wrong with that, Smith wouldnt survive in the modern game.
I suppose I would like us to be a tad more physical and a lot more vocal. Including Klopp. Call the ref a cunt and take the fine. Fuck them.
Ee complain a bit about getting clatters in matches, maybe we need our own enforcer?
 


lfc.eddie

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This comes from the top. Rafa may not be a manager who would ask his players to play dirty, but he never shy away from tactics that stop others from playing. So we have that dark arts in our squad because the manager while not asking to rough up some players, does tell his team to stop the opponent from playing at all cost, within legal means.

Klopp on the other hand don’t change his tactic to stifle others from playing football. So naturally his players will follow his way.
 

MinniMo

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The Dark Arts is definitely something Klopp needs to get us working on - if you cant beat 'em, join 'em. We have lost too much from (especially) Spanish sides using it against us, RM last year, Barca this. From next season they may not get away with it so much, with VAR, but we still need to be more aware, and to have a captain who will do more than just 'tick off' bad reffing.

Much as I love and respect Hendo, I feel it's soon going to be VVD as captain, he has this massive strong aura and last night it was his screaming for Shaq to take that free kick that instigated us winning that match.

We do play some beautiful football, but so does City, and their '`Dark Art' master is Fernandinho.
 

Billy Biskix

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I never want to see us become a snide team and there is no chance of that happening with JK but in the big games and moments you need to try everything to get yourself across the line. That is what still separates us from other elite teams like the Barcas, Citys, Reals because they are not afraid to pull stunts off when their footballing brilliance alone won't guarantee them victories.

We will never kick teams or hound refs but I do think there has been a subtle change this season in one aspect of the 'dark arts' in that we are going to ground more easily to get free kicks and pens. Certainly Salah and Mane have. Refs will not give fouls unless you actually fall over when you are being held, tugged or wrestled. I am sure the players and JK have discussed this during close season because they must have know that this season we would be subjected to rougher treatment and you get nothing from staying on your feet.

A good example of how we might be becoming generally a bit cuter was Fabinho's exaggerated fall to win the free kick from which we scored the winner yesterday. Realistically at that stage the only way we were scoring was from a set piece. It's the slightest contact from Ritchie but he goes down, gets the decision and we win the game. That could have been the goal that wins us the title. Doesn't happen otherwise.
 



sms1986

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A good example of how we might be becoming generally a bit cuter was Fabinho's exaggerated fall to win the free kick from which we scored the winner yesterday. Realistically at that stage the only way we were scoring was from a set piece. It's the slightest contact from Ritchie but he goes down, gets the decision and we win the game. That could have been the goal that wins us the title. Doesn't happen otherwise.
I thought that was great and it was completely legitimate too, hope we do it far more often!
 

dockers_strike

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Milner took a yellow card for the team last night when Newcastle were in the ascendency soon after he came on. I think a Toon player had skipped past Sadio although in honesty, whether it was sadio or not, our player let him past far too easily, and everyone was letting him run towards our goal. Until Milner recognising the danger came steaming in to take him out.

What also pissed me off last night was after Mo was carried off, about 3 Newcastle players went down holding their heads in an attempt to disrupt our play. That Perez went down when his head brushed Virgil's in a shocking attempt to con the ref.
 



Barnestormer

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I liked both. But Vinny Jones bullied McMahon when we lost the FA Cup final. That pissed me off to be honest.
Uh I remember it well; is that the first day of the dark arts I wonder, I mean as a systemic approach to the game? Vinnie was something else though, no wonder he was type cast in his short lived acting career.
 

Herb

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Given that we’re on course to get 97 points and have reached a Champions League semi final, I’m alright with our approach as it is tbh. I often feel like all this stuff gets massively overplayed. Milner is snide as fuck. Mané, Firmino, Henderson, Fabinho, Robbo etc all have a mean streak in them. If anything these lads have proved over the course of a season that they cannot be bullied and have cool heads in practically any situation.
 

Flobs

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I suppose I would like us to be a tad more physical and a lot more vocal.
No, not more physical more agressive. Some times we just don't own the ball and we have several players that back out too easily for my liking.
As for the vocal stuff well you need the feeling. Just look at the 1st leg against Porto where the ref was handing out yellows for decent. The thing is you need to 'know' the ref and have the social abilities to 'dominate' him (it's rare that verbal agression works on a man in authority).
In the end the problem is the refs and how they approach things. There should be a set way to approach refs. 1stly 1st name terms should be scorned. In football in theory the game doesn't stop this should mean noone should have the time to talk to the ref (unlike in rugby).
 

Hope in your heart

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No, not more physical more agressive. Some times we just don't own the ball and we have several players that back out too easily for my liking.
As for the vocal stuff well you need the feeling. Just look at the 1st leg against Porto where the ref was handing out yellows for decent. The thing is you need to 'know' the ref and have the social abilities to 'dominate' him (it's rare that verbal agression works on a man in authority).
In the end the problem is the refs and how they approach things.
There should be a set way to approach refs. 1stly 1st name terms should be scorned. In football in theory the game doesn't stop this should mean noone should have the time to talk to the ref (unlike in rugby).
That's what I wrote int the Barca post-match thread. Knowing the ref, knowing how he reacts under pressure, knowing how to sway him, can be a decisive factor. In Barcelona, we came across as bit naive in that sense. However, that is not to say that we haven't a hard spine going through the team now. The 'hard' factor is there and Klopp has made sure last summer that it was reinforced. Fabinho and Keita have proven in the past to be two nasty fuckers at times. VVD can have huge influence on anyone, including the ref. Milner, Robertson and a few others are hard muggers and not afraid to take one for the team if necessary.

Like Billy Biskix, I believe that huge improvement has already been made compared to previous seasons. The situations with Salah, and Mané show this clearly enough. Last season, they'd try to stay on their feet whatever the situation. That was very refreshing, but this time around, they've come across as much smarter and got a fair number of 'soft' penalties. I expect their record to become even better next season. The dark arts can be learnt, just like a tactical move or technical exercises.

In Europe, we have been shown as being insufficient in that regard, especially with Spanish teams (Sevilla, Madrid and Barca last week). But Klopp and his team have shown that they never cease to learn. They'll improve on that record too. Next Tuesday would be a good moment for it.
 



jaffod

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We're nowhere near the likes of the top Spanish sides when it comes to gamesmanship or the 'dark arts' or whatever you want to call it. And we probably never will be, certainly not under Jurgen Klopp.
The only people who can level the playing field are UEFA and FIFA and quite frankly they don't give a shit while their snouts are in the trough.
 

Maria

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Just curious, what about Serie A, are they also into the dark arts?

Also, why aren't the rest of the Spanish clubs complaining about the antics of the top 2 clubs or are all of them at it?
 

Quagmire81

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Just curious, what about Serie A, are they also into the dark arts?

Also, why aren't the rest of the Spanish clubs complaining about the antics of the top 2 clubs or are all of them at it?
Italy is heavy into dark arts (which basically is a fancy word for cheating) but they ain't really successful in europe are they.

We're doing just fine imo, and if you ask fans from any other club in the country they most likely say we're into dark arts aswell and point out how salah been getting easy pens all season. I'm sure Napoli fans would say we're nasty aswell and point to the incident when Van dijk almost amputated mertens foot and got away with it.

We don't play act and I'm glad we don't cause it's really embarrasing to watch.
 

jaffod

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Italy is heavy into dark arts (which basically is a fancy word for cheating) but they ain't really successful in europe are they.

We're doing just fine imo, and if you ask fans from any other club in the country they most likely say we're into dark arts aswell and point out how salah been getting easy pens all season. I'm sure Napoli fans would say we're nasty aswell and point to the incident when Van dijk almost amputated mertens foot and got away with it.

We don't play act and I'm glad we don't cause it's really embarrasing to watch.
What fans from any other club in the country say wouldn't be correct though would it?
 



Maria

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Italy is heavy into dark arts (which basically is a fancy word for cheating) but they ain't really successful in europe are they.

We're doing just fine imo, and if you ask fans from any other club in the country they most likely say we're into dark arts aswell and point out how salah been getting easy pens all season. I'm sure Napoli fans would say we're nasty aswell and point to the incident when Van dijk almost amputated mertens foot and got away with it.

We don't play act and I'm glad we don't cause it's really embarrasing to watch.
Oh right, thanks. I wasn't worried about us, just wondering whether it was prevalent in other leagues.
 

Flobs

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Go on please do catalogue all the dirty shitty things VVD has done this season. One instance where he won the ball yet could have been deemed as being reckless and did get penalised as a free kick was given. Then justifying that attack on one of our fairest players by going on about a missing foot (that was found still attached to said players leg) is shameful.
As for Salah winning penalties well is there a player kicked around more in the PL?
I haven't seen him win one penalty where he hasn't been touched.
This sort of shit just goes back to the quality of the refs not the dirtyness of the players.
 

Flobs

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Oh right, thanks. I wasn't worried about us, just wondering whether it was prevalent in other leagues.
Don't worry about us. Klopp would sort it out if we were going over and beyond.

One of the problems is there is no way outside the referees report (which is vetted and controlled by the bodies in power) for clubs to have any say.
Fans can quibble all they like the PL, FA, UEFA and FIFA can just carry on how they feel fit.
You ask about other countries well you can feel how bad it is in spain when you hear the crowd at Nou Camp Barça. They are howling for blood every time one of their players is touched thier players are calling for cards every 2 minutes even if its a fair challenge like shoulder to shoulder.
 

Flobs

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Just to show how fucked up all this talk is some posters give likes for the opposite statements.
One who's centrol point was how dirty 2 of our players are and another attacking that assumtion.
I mean make your mind up. Are we a dirty team in comparison to teams with the likes of Fernandinho or Herrera in them. Is it worth attacking individual players when a player can be upright in the opposition penalty area recieve a kick in the head and the ref doesn't even flinch?
Talk about fucked up!
 

RedForever2014

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There is a half way house between being clean cut as we are and the cheating vile self-entitled scum that are PSG, Barce, Real and City.

Our problem though, is that even if we wanted to fully employ the dark arts there is one rule for one and one for another.

If one of our players had done to Ronaldo what Ramos did to Salah, Spain would have blockaded Gibraltar, the EU would have recalled all funding allocated to the Merseyside area, Sky Sports would have set up a dedicated channel to the incident with rolling 24 hour coverage of the tackle concerned, and the player in question would have been given a lifetime ban.

In short, certain clubs and players are allowed to do what others aren't.

It doesn't help that our manager and club officials won't call it out.

Remember the hysteria from the Roma officials about the result in Rome against us? Calling it a heist and demanding a replay.

Our player (Keita) gets the scissor treatment on Wednesday and Klopp doesn't even mention it.

Of course if he did he'd be portrayed by the biased media as a whinger, yet when Pep does it they dedicate a pull out supplement to the travesty of it.

What this means, is that it is possible for us to win if we do so regardless, when everything that can go right goes right, and nothing that can go wrong goes wrong.

But in the fine margins of such things, especially when we're punching above our weight in even being in the final reckoning, it's often not enough.

In any other sport, what goes on in football would be acknowledged and known as a handicap.

If Mourinho or Fergie, perish the thought, had ever managed LFC, they'd probably have concocted some stunt to demonstrate the point, like having the players walk on the pitch with weight laden saddles.
 



Flobs

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cheating vile self-entitled scum that are PSG, Barce, Real and City.
PSG?
Ok Neymar but PSG can not be put in the same bracket as the others in that list outside that 1 player.
Unless of course your talking about money/finances however that's not what this thread is about from what I can gather.
 

RedForever2014

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PSG?
Ok Neymar but PSG can not be put in the same bracket as the others in that list outside that 1 player.
Unless of course your talking about money/finances however that's not what this thread is about from what I can gather.
For me the dark arts includes nobbling opponents, intimidating referees, disrupting the game, intimidating opponents.

You didn't see the hysteria by PSG players in our match with them at every call that didn't go their way?

It was not just Neymar.
 

Flobs

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For me the dark arts includes nobbling opponents, intimidating referees, disrupting the game, intimidating opponents.

You didn't see the hysteria by PSG players in our match with them at every call that didn't go their way?

It was not just Neymar.
I didn't note anything that untoward in our 2 matches against PSG other than what centered around Neymar.
PSG have been a very 'footballing' side for a good number of years now unfortuneately tarred by the arrival of Neymar.
I thought behaviourally our group passed reasonably.
I understand that PSG are targetted due to their financial schemes however to accuse them of being long term dark arts offenders is just not justifiable.
 

Iluvatar

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Given that we’re on course to get 97 points and have reached a Champions League semi final, I’m alright with our approach as it is tbh. I often feel like all this stuff gets massively overplayed. Milner is snide as fuck. Mané, Firmino, Henderson, Fabinho, Robbo etc all have a mean streak in them. If anything these lads have proved over the course of a season that they cannot be bullied and have cool heads in practically any situation.
Exactly - Mane and Robbo especially (and Keita but only in glimpses) are dirty little shits.
 

Red over the water

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I agree that we need to up our game when it comes to the dark arts, but it has to be in the right way. I don’t want to see obvious and over the top aggression becoming commonplace for us, as we don’t need to go down that road. We will win most games we contest because we have some very good footballers and this stuff won’t be called for. That said, when we are up against it, employing the dark arts can be the difference between being gentlemanly also-rans and winners. As I’m thinking about it I see different kinds of ‘dark arts.’

PR’ Dark Arts
We could improve this area at various levels. High up at the executive level I wouldn’t mind someone dropping a little comment here and there. For example, a comment on Man City’s FFP troubles wouldn’t go amiss. “We have rules, we need a clean game, a fair game, for the good of our sport.”

As we move down the chain of command Jurgen could do some PR dark arts and get a pre-emptive strike in there. For example, let’s say we play Man City. It would be nice for him to say something like, “Fernandinho, very good player, I hope the referee is watching him...”

Or when we are playing Spurs, “Harry Kane, what a player he is! I’ve heard some people say Mo likes to dive - that’s not true by the way, but did you see what Kane did against us?”

Same sort of thing could happen against lower clubs. Next season we play Burnley. “I tried to warn about the conditions and the type of tackling we faced last season. Joe Gomez, what a player he is. It’s good to see him back, and for England too. Such a shame he lost half his season after breaking his leg here last year, he was in the running for young player of the season.”

The players can do the PR dark arts too, on the pitch, by trying to get in the refs ear a bit more. And not just the ref. Get under the skin of the other team, too. Suarez is really good at this. We could do with someone who can do that, and even if not to that degree, at least in that sort of direction.

Fouling Dark Arts
We don’t need hackers, but judicious fouls here and there, standing on the foot, that sort of thing. I’m not talking about leg breaking stuff, but sneaky stuff. Fernandinho is perfect at this. I’d like to think our own Fabinho will take a leaf out of his book and grow in that side of the game. There’s an art to understanding when and where to do it. Don’t do an unnecessary foul on the edge of your own box. But if in the flow of the game the other team is getting on top, by all means stick your foot in, preferably in their half, and disrupt it all and break it up.

We also need to know when to do a hard tackle that just puts someone off their game so they don’t fancy it as much. Lovren might not be here for the duration, but one of the best things he did (although it was for his country) was to go through the back of Ramos as he led with his elbow, sort of as a payback for the Salah challenge. It was the sort of challenge that said, “I’m a tough guy too, let’s go.” Ramos didn’t want to know. We need someone in the team who will do that when needed.

Watching Gerrard flatten Fellaini is a great example in recent years, without harkening back to when it was a different game in the Tommy Smith era. Fellaini was dazed, blood was pouring from his face, and Gerrard - who was as good a player as they come, was basically letting him know that you don’t rough my team up.

Game Management Dark Arts
I remembered being so frustrated with Henderson in a recent game. He did a foul in the middle of the pitch, it was a bit unlucky to be given, and in his frustration he switched off and shouted out at the sky in anger. Crucially he backed away off the ball, they hit a quick pass to the edge of the box and got a goal from the play. It didn’t have to happen! How many times do we see players stand on the ball when they concede a free kick? Lots of people do that now. Sterling has added that to his game and it really frustrates the opposition. It allows time for your defenders to get into position and we need to be a bit cuter on that.

Klopp is as fair a manager as you will find, so arguably I am way out of line with my suggestions.

Be that as it may, I can’t help escape the feeling that on occasion we go into a UFC fight trying to go by the Queensbury rules, and as such we have been at a disadvantage. I think it’s fair coment to say we need to improve in the Dark Arts, and there are different types of Dark Arts we might employ to better use.