That's the real problem they're going to face next year, says one Man United fan who's already looking forward to the end of this campaign. Plus, thoughts on neutrality...
When Diego Costa collided with the post against Getafe, he showed the commitment many Barcelona fans feel is lacking from their side. The Copa Del Rey now becomes massive...
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How Does Rodgers React?
I feel like 2-0 away to Arsenal isn't a bad result. Yes, Arsenal were the better side for much of the game, but Liverpool had chances that on another day the front two would have taken. I hope this doesn't bring out the doom and gloom from Liverpool supporters, or even the 'you're sh*te' calls from everyone else. I think the game just showed what these two sides really are - one a genuine title contender, the other a decent shot at top 4. The difference in the two sides? Liverpool rely heavily on their front two, who didn't have a great game. Arsenal have class players all over the field.
Arsenal are going to be hard to stop. This is not just a case of a Liverpool fan saying "Well they beat us, so they can beat anyone", they genuinely look like a well-balanced team who know exactly what they're doing and how to find their way to goal. I can't imagine City and Chelsea (still) won't give them a run for it, but they look good at the moment and you can't begrudge them their success.
For Liverpool, what's going to be interesting is what Rodgers now does with his formation and who he plays. I spent the first half thinking we just needed Coutinho. Then he came on and we still got beaten. Even so, you have to figure he starts. Does that mean we go back to the 4-3-3? If that's the case, your three starting midfielders (Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson) all looked a bit out of sorts last night. Is there anyone better? Probably not. Are Toure and Skrtel the central pairing? They both made a bunch of important tackles against Arsenal, but Toure in particular gave the ball away in dangerous areas on a number of occassions. Also, what happens to Daniel Agger? He's not even getting a game when there's three centre backs. If you're only using two, is he even on the bench? And does Liverpool actually have a left-back who can defend? The front three will be brilliant! Maybe the rest doesn't matter. Ahhh!!!
Hmm...so...have fun with that, Brendan.
Toitle, LFC, Brisbane
Henderson Not Up To It
Its hard to be too critical of Liverpool as they were pretty much outclassed in all departments.
One thing is obvious though - and it pains me to say it - but Henderson isn't quite up to the standard required for a starting role in a top team's midfield. He adds energy and pressing, but he just doesn't have that quality on the ball and his shooting is god awful. Not a game goes by when we don't see him get into a great position (admittedly something hes good at) before scuffing his shot or blazing over. He just doesn't have the technique - there's nothing more to be said really.
He's not the next Gerrard or Lampard - I think in time he could develop into a Ramires type player but that's the best we can hope for. Definitely has a role to play, but he shouldn't be starting in a No 10 role and Liverpool should find a superior alternative in January (obviously if they had landed their primary targets this summer Hendo would have been on the bench anyway).
Ved, Japan (Also, Cissokho is rubbish)
Fair Play To Arsenal
Beaten by a quality team who play some great football. They were a joy to watch at times in the first half. Hope we get top 4 and I hope Arsenal win the league.
...I feel a repeat of last season. Liverpool are still to beat a team that will finish in the top 6.
On a more serious note, that was a fantastic game and Arsenal were outstanding. As a Liverpool fan I was generally pleased with the performance, but Arsenal were simply on another level.
Pithy Rosicky Fanmail
I like Rosicky, a lot. He's very good.
One Gunner Still Isn't Happy
We didn't do badly but Liverpool are not a world-class team; if Sir Chesney committed that blunder right in front of Lewandowski rather than Sturridge and Ramsey's showboating produces on Wednesday half the amount of mistakes it produced today Borussia Dortmund will paste us so badly we would look like a sewer rat that got run over by a lawn mower.
Pretty Sure It's Been Ruled Out Before
Long time reader, first time writer here and after watching a pretty routine victory for the gunners today, a thought popped up....how about Arteta for England?
I think it's fair to say that Carrick is still a player that divides opinion and it is equally fair to say the consensus is Arteta is better. He was brilliant today in shielding the back 4 and controlling tempo. Arsenal at times looked tired and if Liverpool would have been able to play a more open/end to end game it would've fit their players better. I don't have the statistics, but it looked like Arsenal tried to "pass them to death" and Arteta was a key figure in this tactic.
Another point many people like to bring up is that it is a testimony to Spain's midfield depth that Arteta has never been called up, so I think there is little doubt of the quality he could bring to the England setup. He has the Everton and Arsenal connection so it wouldn't be like Hodgson would be bringing in a total stranger. He has shown great leadership ability, a brilliant tactical mindset, and the technical skills all the top Spanish midfielders posess.
Now I don't know how receptive Arteta would be in playing for the 3 Lions, but he has to realize that Spain won't be calling anytime soon and this could be his best (only?) chance to play in the World Cup barring some freak (knock on wood) injury crisis for Spain. Very interested in what everyone has to say.
United Are Back, Baby
Many have shared their views on Manchester United this season. And most have written the champions off. But in my honest opinion, United can still win every trophy they're participating in.
This is a squad that won the league with four games to spare, beating the likes of Chelsea, Liverpool, Man city and Arsenal on the road to clinching their 20th. Of course, Januzaj and Fellaini have been added to the fold. The former has really been impressive while the latter has still not settled at OT.
All that this team needs is confidence. At the start of the season, a run of bad results really dampened the spirit of the team , Moyes included , but after three wins on the trot in all competitions, we may be seeing a light at the end of the tunnel , and I believe we are only one win away from regaining full confidence (despite what Mr.Evra might say), and that's the game against Arsenal at OT. If we win that game, we would have beaten the "favorites" (we're still in November but whatever), doing that will not only boost the team's morale , but it will also make other teams fear us again.
Arsenal were so disappointing last season because they lacked confidence and were not really feared by lesser opponents. But this season, with the signing of Ozil aside , huge improvements can be seen in the same players that were so ordinary last season, such as Ramsey (Really, Amazing) and Giroud and Sczcesny etc.
In the end its all down to confidence, and hopefully we'll regain ours next weekend.
Prick Your Ears Back Jose
1. Retire Lampard by using him sparingly. I said this during the off season as I was getting worried about the 'buddy relationship' between Lampard, Terry and Jose.
2. Give ALL the players equal chances. Hazard plays quite badly a lot but is never on the bench. He hold the ball for too long and loses it poorly.
3. Play Luiz and Ramires should play in holding midfield.
4. Oscar is not a number 10, but could be trained in Pirlo deep-lying position.
5. Play Schurrle on the wing.
6. Bring back Lukaku.
7. Sell Ba and even Torres and bring in a genuine number 9 - Costa or Lewandowski.
David Shepherd Mutambirwa, Zimbabwe
Long ago, before wingers were worth 100 million euros, two men sat on a football field and stared at each other. Their names were Unused Player and Premier League Official.
They looked at each other, each daring the other to ask the question. After an interminable pause, it was Premier League Official who asked the question first.
"How many players should have to sit on the bench?"
"I don't know", said Unused Player. "I need my company, I can't sit here all day in the freezing rain and talk to myself. I want at least three, maybe four players to keep me company."
Premier League Official contemplated this for a while. "How about we have five players who sit on the bench?" he asked.
Unused Player looked thoughtful. "Nah, that won't do. If three players go in, like we decided, then I'll be left with only one other player to chat with. Let's say two more players, making seven people who are allowed to sit on the bench."
"Fine" Premier League Official said, and they shook hands and left the field.
The whole point of this ridiculous extended dialogue was to express my utter bemusement at seven being the number of players allowed to sit on the bench. First of all, I want to clarify that I understand that three players sitting on the bench is too minimal. A manager always wants to keep a goalkeeper, just in case, and there should be some variety to the types of midfielders and strikers sitting on the bench.
However, what I don't understand is why the Premier League allows seven players, and specifically seven players to sit on the bench. Were the benches too short for eight players? Was six an inconvenient number? Did seven have a nice ring to it?
If anyone can tell me why there are seven players on the bench, please tell me.
Sam (I hope Arsenal beat Liverpool) Langley, Japan
Can we all just realise that Chelsea had both Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku (still have him I know) on the books back in January of this year?