Monsieur Salut’s football-playing daughter Nathalie Randall, born in Bristol, brought up in London, reckons she could earn some paternal approval by urging Sunderland on to victory tomorrow night. In reality, she really does want us to win – it helps that she
lovesappreciates Jermain Defoe – even if her heart is on Liverpool’s European league final …
As then season comes to a close, I reflect on what is turning into quite the rollercoaster finale for my team Liverpool, and my (enforced) 2nd team, Sunderland.
After that breathtaking second half display against Chelsea, Sunderland look like they have done their usual Houdini act. However, nothing is finalised yet until they manage to get the points needed from the final two games – and you never know with Sunderland!
Everton are a decent side despite their current standing and they have good players in all positions so it won’t be as easy as I have heard some pundits claim.
If Sunderland do escape, huge credit has to go to Sam Allardyce – he has taken them on a recent good run and gained valuable points. He has got the best again out of the likes of Mannone, Cattermole and Defoe, and made some astute signings in January.
As for Defoe, who I have always admired, could he sneak into the Euro 2016 England Squad, especially now there are injury concerns over Danny Welbeck? I would say this is unlikely to happen but never say never. He is the 6th top goal scorer in the Premier League this season and the 3rd top English scorer.
SAFC v Everton: Guess the Score at https://safc.blog/2016/05/sunderland-v-everton-who-are-you-a-toffeeman-deliciously-expecting-safc-survival/
Now on to my team Liverpool. We have once again endured a topsy turvy season, beating Borussia Dortmund one week and getting hammered to Swansea the next. Typical Liverpool stuff really. I found it hard to get into the Europa League campaign during the earlier stages. I missed all the games on Thursday evenings (clashing with my own training sessions) and only really started to get excited about it when we were drawn to face Manchester Utd. I started recording matches, going to my football training and then watching the games late at night with no knowledge of the scores.
The home 2nd leg match in the Quarter Finals against Borussia Dortmund was quite something else. I am surprised I didn’t have a heart attack watching that match.
In regular Liverpool style we went 2-0 down after 10 minutes and that really should have been the end of that.
But it seemed to spur us on and while we unable to take a consolation goal into half time, we came out with the belief from the “Spirit of Istanbul” and the heart and desire shown from all players were immense. It was such an amazing night of football. Origi scored early in the 2nd half which gave the supporters and players a boost. Even when Reus scored to make it 3-1, they didn’t give up. First Sakho headed home, and then when Lovren powered a header into the roof of the net with seconds to go, I literally screamed so loudly that I was surprised the police weren’t called. What a night!
Then came the clash against Villareal. I thought at the time for the first leg that Jurgen Klopp made an error in my view (but what do I know!) by not playing a recognised striker like Sturridge and didn’t play well, and weren’t able to manage the away goal. However we emphatically outplayed Villareal at home, making them look rather ordinary and ran out 3-0 winners to make it to the final against Sevilla on 18th May. This is a game could go either way. Liverpool have a knack of playing like world beaters one week and then like a pub team the next.
The Sunderland v Everton ‘Who are You?’:
Q: Is there a single player you’d take from us for your squad?
A: Maybe not now that he is getting on in years but Jermain Defoe is one player we were once very interested in signing but never did which I think is a shame because he’s a natural finisher. And despite his past Liverpool connection, Fabio Borini looks a decent player.
But of the lot I’d probably say Duncan Watmore based on his potential. I haven’t seen all that much of him at Premier League level apart from when he was first given a chance in your first team a few months back but he was a constant menace to our Under-21s team when he played against us.
All Liverpool’s players did their part in reaching the final but no more so then the much maligned Simon Mignolet who pulled out some good saves at crucial times. I am still undecided about him, he drops many clangers and his kicking is abysmal but he is a good shot stopper. (although at times I am pulling my hair out when he is beaten by tamer efforts). Henderson has improved greatly since his move from Sunderland but even before his injury, his form had dipped somewhat. He may yet be fit for the final however.
As for Klopp, he took over in October 2015 so in the relatively short time he has managed the team he has done fairly well. Great in cup competitions but not so great in the league. We reached one final, the League Cup, losing to Manchester City, and have now reached another. The players look fitter and he has them playing with so much intensity. I think the future looks bright. His personality shines through at times, although he can have his moments and he can be over the top [says Nathalie, defying her dad’s orders to mock his occasional displays of irrational pique – Ed]. Plus he’s amusing to watch on the sides. For example, when we scored our first or second goal against Dortmund he went crazy. When we scored the winner, nothing.
Final thoughts? A dream end to the season for me would be to see Newcastle (although I like Rafa) and Norwich join Villa in the Championship, Sunderland to beat Everton on Wednesday, and Liverpool to win the Europa League!
And then England to win the Euros!