You might notice that we haven't included a single mail about teams in pubs, because most of them were terrible. Instead we have a disgruntled Fulham fan and Scouse maths...
If we were Alan Pardew, we'd feel a whole lot better if Rafa Benitez took a job far away from the Premier League. He looks the most vulnerable to a Spanish coup...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where Would Arsenal Be With RVP?
Supersub raises an interesting point in this morning's mailbox - one that I've been pondering myself (I do like a good ponder). Namely if Van Persie (I refuse to refer to players by their initials) were still at Arsenal what position would they be in?
I realise that this is one to file under 'If the Queen had balls she'd be the king' but what if Wenger had taken the £22m gamble and kept Van Perise for his final year risking losing him on a free? With a rejuvenated Wilshere, a more productive than ever Walcott, Podolski supplying ammo from the left flank, Cazorla with an additional creative spark that's a formidable front five. Add in Giroud so that Robin doesn't have to play every minute of every game and where would Arsenal be? It's not a stretch to imagine that they'd be still in the thick of the title race and at shorter odds than the 40/1 currently being quoted for The Champions League.
That would have made for an interesting contract negotiation come January. With the team still challenging strongly on domestic and European fronts it would have been much harder for Van Persie to play the "I'm leaving to win trophies" card. He would have had to sign the contract or admit that it is, after all, about the money.
Conor (it is really about the money, isn't it?) Malone.
Mike D, Liverpool fan in London...you went to the bathroom before Gerrard took his penalty, saying he'd miss?
You remind me of the kind of people at school who after being horrendous in PE would say 'I wasn't even trying'.
Larry White's Socks
...Judging by this mornings mailbox, a helluva lot of Liverpool fans predicted Stevie Me's miss last night. The bookies must have been crying into their porridge this morning.
He Knows His Football
Re. Daniel Benvenuto...The thing I find most bizarre is that some people share your opinion! Everyone knew this was going to be a transitional season and whilst some of his signings haven't lived up to expectations (namely Borini & Allen) there has been definite progression in performances. I don't think another team has taken a game to Man City like that this season and Liverpool deserved to win. If Gerrard had put the penalty away last night and Foster hadn't been in such good form it would have been a hard fought 1 or 2-0 win, Albion didn't have a shot on target till after 70 odd minutes, the goal may even have been their first.
Your point about no clear cut chances or no one getting in the box is void , this has been on going since Torres left and in only 6 months Rodgers has gone someway to changing this by adding Sturridge to the squad, a poacher but someone who still has the technical skill to play in Rodgers system. To say all Liverpool's short comings are down to Rodgers is plain stupid, most of them are long standing and whilst he hasn't necessarily shone through out, there has been definite progression to a style of play which can potentially help to dominate teams and kill teams off (as shown by Norwich, Sunderland & QPR and in patches Arsenal and City).
He needs time and money (the centre backs & goalkeepers need particular attention, I love Agger as a player but arguably 3 out of the last 4 goals conceded have been his fault and his concentration and positioning seem to be dipping). It will be hard for Rodgers but he needs time and I'm confident he can re-establish Liverpool in the top four over the next few years but beyond that remains to be seen.
J (Note: I'm not a Liverpool fan, just know my football and my opinions are usually right) Wilmshurst
A Rational Perspective
Good grief. Unpleasant reading from some of my fellow plastic scousers this morning. Brendan Rodgers is a "cancer" on the club? Behave.
Anyhow - we're familiar territory. Not just the powerful sense of deja vu from last season; I mean that we strung a few decent results together and people from the top of the club to the fans on the street were whispering about top 4. Fergeddaboudit.
I don't think many people really understand what "transition" means. We've been rolling backwards for a few seasons now and as soon as we brought Rodgers in, I had a feeling that this season would be our modern nadir. Not because I don't rate him - I think he's a very good young manager - but that's all he is. Taking him on board didn't mean I expected him to do any better than Dalglish last year; it meant accepting a "ground zero" approach to rebuilding, especially with a desire to be rid of the "English sh*te."
Rodgers himself likened football management to building an aircraft whilst trying to fly it, and I think it's a particularly apt analogy for Liverpool. That downward momentum can't be swung around overnight, and certainly not without genuinely significant investment in the team. I don't mean what we've spent in the past few years - we're talking about Man City money.
From the front to the back of this Liverpool team there are pretty major flaws and inconsistencies: a gaffe-prone keeper; unreliable centre-backs; a wildly inconsistent left-back; no cohesive midfield unit; no real quality on the wings; we've been playing the majority of the season with only one fit striker; and we've been plugging any gaps with children. Take out the name of the team and the names of the players and it just doesn't sound like a top 6 side, does it? I'm not sure it really sounds like a top 10 side.
It will take time to sort it out. Time, and fistfulls of cash. Rodgers was brought in because he is supposed to be able to address the lack of the latter by developing young players and forming a team that's better than the sum of its parts - which further emphasizes the need for the former.
Clearly, he's not perfect. He's young and inexperienced at the highest level. He makes mistakes, and he doesn't seem to have been able to sort out our soft belly - particularly vulnerable to a swift counter or an imposing centre-forward. Some of his signings have been questionable (who knows why Assaidi never gets a game; I'm reluctant to criticise Borini since he's barely played due to injury; and I think Allen will come good).
But there are positives. Consistently above-average performances are being coaxed from talented but under-performing players in Henderson and Downing. Enrique - prior to his injury - was on a fine run. He has overseen Suarez's most brilliant performances in a red shirt.
Those fans that called for Kenny's head - and in all honesty, while not going that far myself, I wasn't a million miles from it - would do well to ask whether they want Liverpool to be the kind of club that is quick to fire managers and gives them little time to build a side. Or worse, whether they want another Hodgson-style appointment - all haste and desperation.
We're not a top 4 team. No manager on earth could make us one overnight. Getting back will be a long road, requiring judicious investment, careful management of the Academy and our rival candidates falling from grace. But it is not an insurmountable challenge and we should not be so impatient in getting rid of what could be a fine manager to become locked in a cycle of hiring and firing.
Nick Glover, Scouser in Brum
What The Heck Is Going On?
What is going on with Liverpool fans at the moment? When we win Rodgers is the next Shankly and when we lose he is a'cancer' on the club! I have never read so much drivel in my life before Daniel Benvenuto started submitting nonsensical ramblings to the Mailbox. Rodgers is not the problem here. The problems with Liverpool started when Hicks & Gillett took over and mangled us financially along with Rafa's decline at the club.
To be honest, I can't really tell what the current owners seem to want from their ownership thus far, but we won't be ruined financially I'm sure. Someone in the Mailbox today said that Houllier was sacked for not getting fourth... wake up pal, since Houlliers time, English football has become the plaything of Russian Oligarchs, Sheikhs and ex Thai prime Ministers, we just can't compete financially! Comparing us to Swansea and West Brom does no favours either, by both their standards they are having abnormally good seasons while we are a team in transition. Last night Enrique, GlenJo, Agger and to a smaller extent Suarez had off-nights, yet we still dominated and had Gerrard scored I'm positive we would have went on to win.
Brendan Rodgers has a lot to prove, that's for sure, but how about we give him more than 6 months to prove it one way or the other? Liverpool fans have changed in the last 5 years or so, and I'm no longer as proud to call myself a fellow fan than I used to be. We used to be knowledgable, forgiving and supportive at all times, that's no longer the case I'm afraid.
Jason (Anfield was shockingly quiet last night too) Todd, LFC
...In response to 'Daniel (Borini isn't worth 12 pence let alone 12 million) Benvenuto', so Brendan Rodgers is a cancer within our club is he? That's a slight overreaction to losing a game of football, no? Yes last night was annoying, but your reaction is just nonsense. I don't know how old you are? But judging by your blubbering whining mess of a letter I'd say about 8, maybe 9 (apologies to all the sensible 8 or 9 year-old out there)? To suggest getting rid of Rodgers after just a few months in charge is idiotic at best. Who should we replace him with? Bring back Kenny? Bring back Rafa? Bring back Hodgson? Hell why not bring back Shankly?! Chopping and changing managers on the basis of half a season's results does not a good policy make. It's very expensive for a start.
I can't be bothered to go on about the specifics of your little diatribe, but you Daniel are a cancer on this club, as are all the supporters like you, who froth at the mouth and go giddy whenever a result doesn't go our way. You're not wanted here and you're certainly not needed here.
Go and support someone else, obviously.
Paul (The Mind Boggles) Anthoney
Some Thoughts On Pool
* I used to agree that Rodgers hadn't improved Liverpool's style of play, but I think it is clear he has. Rodgers' style has been clear since December. A setback against West Brom doesn't negate that.
* I felt a lot of Liverpool players played well, and were cause for optimism. Downing, Henderson, Lucas and Carragher all had good games, as did Gerrard until he seemed to tire around 60-70 minutes. Johnson and Enrique each were clearly going through "off days", every pass or dribble they tried failed. Johnson is usually reliable and Enrique is returning from injury, so I think this can be forgiven. Suarez didn't have a great game, but I credit this to WBA's defenders.
* I wouldn't judge Shelvey on that performance, as I don't feel the position and formation suited him. It seemed we basically plugged Shelvey into the gap where Sturridge would have been, and asked Suarez to play further forward with Shelvey behind him. I think Shelvey could have done a job playing in Henderson's position in a midfield three, but Rodgers asked too much of him.
* Rodgers' biggest flaw has been pre-judging players and not giving them a chance, being too rigid in implementing his own system. He wrote off Henderson and Downing, both of whom have shown they have something to offer. He wrote off Andy Carroll, despite his upturn in form and great performances at Euro 2012, without giving him the slightest chance.
Carroll might not be world class, he might not be ideal for Rodgers' system at all, but he would have improved Liverpool's results this season. So many times we have had nobody in the box. So many times we have clearly looked unsuitable for playing with a strikerless formation. Sturridge is Liverpool's only proper striker - are we going to play like last night every time he is unavailable? That should not be an option.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
...It's the first season at Liverpool for a new manager who has taken over from a club legend. That legend spent a small fortune on poor signing, and as a result the owners are quite rightfully being frugal with their money, although they have backed the new manager with new signings of his choice.
This season Liverpool are in the top half of the league having endured a difficult start. This is in no small way due to the fact that the manager is trying to adopt a new style of play, indeed a 'philosophy', and whilst it has clearly not yet taken hold, most journalists and punters accept that Liverpool are on the right road to achieving their targets of possession based play and are aiming for the Champions League places and ultimately higher.
Last night they played a well drilled side who are having one of their best seasons ever in the Premier League, and after dominating with the lions share of possession and chances, succumbed to two late goals. You would think there would be a certain amount of realism regarding their predicament. It's not the end of the world right? No need to go overboard right? Here are some classic quotes from this mornings mailbox from quintessential Liverpool fans which you may want to mull over if you are considering glory hunting.
"I don't fancy watching this team play for nothing for the next 3 months"
"Everyone looks stupid and it is back to square one"
...and the one that really summed them up, "Rodgers is a cancer within this club"
So there you have it, the Liverpool fan. You can't accuse them of glory hunting I suppose. Disillusioned? Good God yes, but glory hunting?, no.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Liverpool Need Super Frank
Dear Brendan Rodgers
Unless your training routines are all about keeping possession via the most difficult pass possible then DO blame the players for yet another impotent performance.
Seriously it wouldn't hurt to practice attacking and defending set pieces.
It's obvious what Liverpool need...Super Frankie Lampard.
He does one thing: goes for goal.
The only downside is he wont cost £15m quid.
Tony, watching highlights of Djimi Traore's career
I can't tell if I'm nervous or excited. I think the closest feeling I have ever had is that first time you see your ex-girlfiend in the flesh after you have split up (usually before you have had the chance to get over her). She walks through the door and your stomach does somersaults, and your mind conjours up all sorts of stupidly excruciating ways for you to embarrass yourself.
There's not a lot you can do - you just have to move on, but to paraphrase what I said to her: "Please Cristiano, remember the love we shared, and try not to f*ck the whole team while I'm watching, will you?"
Chris (Noodles), Manc
Chris Got Pwned
Just a quick response to the honourable Chris MUFC. In the last 6 games in which Ashley Young has featured (incidentally all as a starter), United have won 5 and drawn 1. Scored 15, conceded 4.
Again, I am merely mentioning this. If anyone wishes to draw any conclusions as to the extent of his usefulness, they're welcome to do so.