Obviously quite a bit of the admin in the Champions League group stage is already done, dusted and polished, but Daniel Storey finds five matches that still have plenty at stake...
Moyes is lacking 'charismatic authority', Kieran Gibbs is defended, Chelsea's problems are examined and a dreadful chant attacked. It's a glorious mailbox...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Liverpool & The Pressure Of Expectation
Liverpool were utterly devoid of ideas and ability in the final third today. Totally lacked any threat. Gerrard and Enrique were miserable on the ball.
Obviously Rodgers says title challenge and the team decides it must follow that up by losing. Next week Rodgers will say top 4 and they will no doubt lose again. Team simply can't handle any pressure of expectation.
Why does Gerrard take corners for us? His deep free kicks are a joy and yet his corners create an enigma because it becomes hard to understand how bollocks a cross of his becomes once near a corner spot.
From memory Pochetino has won a lot of games against the better teams in the league so perhaps this is no big surprise. Just so disappointing after a good start to the league. 10/12 points was great. 10/15 is a lot more average. Especially when contending for a top 4 place. The team are doing their best to make beating Man utd three games in a fond memory instead of a statement of intent.
Mignolet consistently made stupid decisions which prompted outstanding saves. Is that a polar performance which deserves a 5/10?
Central Midfield Options
And reality resumes for Liverpool.
10 points from our opening four games isn't a bad return. In fact, it's a very good return. Much improved on last season. But it seems that the same issues are looking to rain on our parade every time something goes well.
Losing Coutinho is a blow, but the real issue for Liverpool in the last two games is our centre midfield duo of Gerrard and Lucas. I'm a big fan of both but they've not covered themselves in glory the last two games and not signing someone to play in this position in the summer is something that has already come back to bite us. Bad form from your CMs? Easy solution - swap Gerrard with... Eh... Oh.
I don't want to take away from how well Southampton played for the most part but Liverpool did nothing to help their cause. Simple passes went astray, movement and communication was poor - they couldn't manage the basics. I would expect a long hard week in training for these players. Football 101...
And finally, how bad is Iago Aspas? There seemed to be a bit of a love in after his debut which bemused me then but he hasn't put a foot right in his last two games. Should be nowhere near the pitch on current form.
Roll on Sunderland, I'm hoping for better.
Considering we had to wait until late October to hit 10 points last season, I probably should be happy to see us hit that mark within just four matches this time. But I'm not, and let me tell you why;
We've been hacking away at this now for 23 years. I can't tell you how many times we've been told about 'five year projects', 'turning corners' and 'new beginnings.' We've had our fair share of 'long term ambitions', 'encouraging progress.' Under this new regime we can even throw all this 'Moneyball' bollocks into it and do you know what? I'm fed up now. I just want our title back. Can we have it back now please? I don't care that 'teams don't go from 7th to 1st' and I also don't care about the supposed calibre of the competition. It's just time we had our title back.
This very same Southampton will likely roll over and ask for a belly tickling at Old Trafford and they don't seem to realise that beating us only helps Manchester United. Those three points at Anfield will mean nothing for Southampton. They'll finish 12th or something and nobody will care. Nobody. But Man Utd care, because every point taken away from Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City etc is a point given to Manchester United. I'm fed up of that as well.
I know Liverpool deserved to get beat, even Brent couldn't pretend otherwise. We should be on 15 points now and pulling clear, but we've thrown away two winnable games. Games Liverpool Football Club should be either winning or producing a fucking good reason for not doing so.
Martin (YNWA) (Fed up of having to put something funny here too)
P.S Sakho is a purchase we didn't need. We've had to pull the entire defence around to accomodate him and have conceded 3 goals already, because his pricetag presumably dictates he plays.
Looking For The Dressing Room
If Paolo Di Canio hasn't lost the Sunderland dressing room, then I think he's definitely in the category of "can't find it right now - I think it's in the living room. I know I put it down somewhere, just where is that sodding thing?" But then what did they expect after dismissing a genuinely talented and respected manager in Martin O'Neill and replacing him with a semi-psychotic Italian firebrand of questionable political leanings?
Rich, London (MUFC - yes I'm a Cockney Red. Now jog on)
On Jose And The Media
I've been reading Mourinho's comments about our media's over indulgent use drama in its reporting and though I don't really like the man I have to agree with him.
Three weeks ago Chelsea were 'surging' to the top of the league opening up what some papers presented as an unassailable lead in the race for the title. In truth they had simply played one game more than anyone else.
Fast forward a week or so and according to the press Mourinho is stumbling towards the chopping block with his team in free fall, club is disarray and its Russian owner calling in favours from the FSB to see that Jose never sees daylight again from his Siberian cell.
Arsenal, spending a summer of failure and teetering on the cusp of a full meltdown signed one player and suddenly it's all happy days. If you read the press, Ramsey has already poised to win player of the season and bookies have stopped taking bets.
Tottenham, having signed everyone in a bid for title success and who's spending was lauded all summer are being written of by some journalists because they're just going to do a Tottenham in the end (maybe this will turn out to be true actually. It is Tottenham after all).
And on it goes.
The thing is that the media are creating one or two week long stories lines much like script writers for EastEnders. In real life such situations that take months or years to develop are being told in unrealistic timelines using as much hyperbole and drama as possible.
One final example was ITV's coverage of a Champion's league game two or three seasons ago. The commentator blurted out that Arsenal had started terribly. 27 seconds had passed since the game started.
And it's all a bit tiresome.
Furthermore, when fans get on the back of their teams after two or three losses (Chelsea fans were sharpening their knives by half time against Fulham according to the BBC) or owners sack managers during the opening weeks of the season, those same media accuse fans of being fickle and clubs of lacking patience.
Of course, you have engineered a culture of fickleness and impatience probably so you have something to stand against.
I think it's time you moved out of Albert Square and started adding a little more depth to your reporting in the hope that this will rub off on everyone else. Maybe lead by example, for a change.
Our Man In Qatar
I really don't understand how this Summer WC issue hasn't gone away yet. I live in Dubai and whilst I did escape for Eire for a few weeks this summer (like droves of Europeans here) I was here all last summer.
It is absolutely miserable. It is 50 degrees in the daytime and its also incredibly humid. You literally soak to the skin in 2 minutes.
So even if the stadiums are air conditioned (disgusting waste of energy aside) there will be no atmosphere, no fans outside. The World Cup won't be the same.
Actually Qatar is more like a group of buildings and motorways so there will be nowhere really for fans to congregate regardless but at least In winter people can move around freely.
Baines v/With Cole?
With Roy Hodgson watching at Upton Park on Saturday, surely Leighton Baines' case to be No.1 left-back has strengthened. In a contest were there isn't much between the players, surely his set-piece ability should give him the edge?
If I was England manager, I would play Baines on the left wing. But then, if I was England manager, I wouldn't be allowed home again.
Kevin Kelly, Co. Armagh, living in Geordieland.
...Leighton Baines and Ashley Cole, two genuinely talented defenders who are also fantastic going forward.
It's often said that Baines would have plenty of international caps if it wasn't for Cole making their mutual position his own. I've been thinking and don't see why either player should be kept out of the side by the other.
Why hasn't any England manager decided to play them both on the left side of Englands team?
One could play left-back as usual with the other playing further forward in a more offensive role.
It doesn't matter who goes into either position, with their combined ability to attack and defend it would surely be a most formidable left-sided partnership?
Eoin (Waiting for the release of "Bend It Like Baines")Ireland
Ian Holloway's Never Won The League, Is Where We'd Start With This
'Jurgen Klopp is just a German Ian Holloway.' Discuss.
Is The Joke Here That He Did Play Juggernaut? We Don't Really Know Comic Book Stuff
I have another suggestion for footballers as superheroes/ villains. How about Vinny Jones as Juggernaut from X-Men....? Oh, wait, no that'd just be f***ing stupid idea.
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston Upon Thames
Left-Back In The Nice Guy Team: The Unanimous Choice
It has to be Dennis Irwin
I've just watched a footballer being interviewed on Football Focus. He was intelligent, funny, sincere and humble. His name was Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Nice chap. Why can't more of today's typically egotistical footballers be more like him?