After Chelsea's title hopes took a severe blow with defeat to Sunderland, Matt Stanger ponders where it went wrong for the Blues. Jose Mourinho has much to answer for...
While other managers have been quick to speak about limitations, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez have pushed the boundaries to embarrass their peers...
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This Was Sent on Friday Evening
To Brendan Rodgers (quoting Skyler White),
SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP.
*Drops himself in the pool*
As a Liverpool fan I am absolutely sick to the back teeth of reading some bobby b*llocks comment by Rodgers (or Gerrard for that matter) about how good we are, followed within 24 hours by an abysmal performance on the pitch. SHUT UP.
...I rate you and think you're a potentially great young manager, BUT STOP TALKING ABOUT THE FREAKING TITLE. Every time you talk about Liverpool winning the title, we inevitably drop points in the very next game. Without fail. Every. Single. Time.
Just talk about taking it one game at a time, will you? Thanks.
On the bus on the way home from Anfield and I just thought I would throw my thoughts into the mix.
1) Thank The Lord the Cissokho is only on loan. Awful.
2) Without Lucas (or even Joe Allen) our midfield is woefully short.
3) Twenty minutes in and everybody in the ground knew we needed more presence in the middle. Except Brendan it seems.
4) Gerrard cannot play the holding role. At least not without another body in there which then seems pointless.
5) Villa played well and came with a plan that worked.
6) Unfortuately it seems that part of that plan was time wasting the likes I have never seen before. Summed up by a defender deliberately dropping the ball over the advertising boards!
7) The derby is going to be interesting to say the least.
Carl (Need a drink after that but on a January detox. Bum) the Welsh
...Amongst the doom and gloom that will inevitably be in the mailbox today here is a sensible reaction to Liverpool v Villa game.
As it stands right now, with the squad available, Liverpool is living by Rodgers and dying by Rodgers. Although that sounds bad, as long as Rodgers get it right Liverpool are fine. Unfortunately this weekend he did not.
One cannot fault Rodgers for the team he put out...on paper. At home, with a great record, an attacking lineup is what every fan wanted to see. However it proved to be one change too much as the Reds looks discombobulated from the first whistle.
There are three things we can take away from this game:
First: Simon Mignolet is increasingly becoming a liability at the back. Taking the ball off of Johnsons head for the second goal is now the 4th personal error in five games for the Belgian. This time it cost Liverpool two points.
When Mignolet was brought in one of the attributes highlighted by Rodgers and the keeper himself was his ability with the ball at his feet. Either Mignolet is not very good with the ball at his feet, or lumping the ball forward is what he is being instructed to do.
Second: With 10 minutes remaining in the game and a substitution in his pocket, Rodgers refused to put on one of the two attacking options he had on the bench (Moses and Aspas). Being down a goal and switching to a 3-5-2, Cissohko was the obvious choice to be taken off. Devoid of any ideas in the final third from the left, Liverpool put all their eggs in the Sterling basket.
Why Cissohko was kept on only Rodgers knows. Perhaps it was to send some kind of message of John Henry, making his presence known for first time since Rodgers was hired.
Third: The Gerrard conundrum.
Gerrard's place in the team is now a serious issue for Liverpool. For all of Rodgers talk about reinventing the midfielder all he has done is place a spot light on his aging talisman. This was highlighted by the reluctance to put Gerrard back into the CDM roll after Lucas was injured.
When Gerrard was out of action Liverpool's midfield was quick and dynamic. Henderson was up top mixing in with the forwards, arguably his most effective period this season, while Lucas and Allen kept the midfield ticking. Is Liverpool a better team without Gerrard? It may depend on the game.
It is not all doom and gloom however. This may prove to be an important point come May. If there was a time to underperform doing it mid-January in front of the owners after talks about needing invest may be the best time.
With Lucas now injured at least two players are required in this window. This performance may be the turning point in Liverpool's season if it means players coming through the door.
Brian (see you in the transfer blog) LFC
...A few thoughts on the Liverpool match:
I've been waiting to see Mignolet get caught out on crosses. Since the season started he's avoided coming to grab crosses, and obviously he's been put through some training and then he thought he'd grab one yesterday and got it completely wrong. Startling lack of confidence. Competence too?
Liverpool were struggling to break down Villa and the camera panned to their bench for options. Moses, Aspas, Luis Alberto. Pathetic. Zero game changers. Rodgers should've taken the £20 million he wasted on that bunch and thrown it at Pastore or someone proven to be good. His squad would have the same numbers by keeping Borini and Asaidi from their loans.
The lack of game changers is the reason why they definitely won't win the league. Will it cost them top 4?
How poor is Coutinho now? I barely noticed he was playing. In summer there was mailbox talk about him being better than Oscar. It was debatable before, it's definitely not true now.
When the game was 66 minutes old and it looked like being a stalemate, Joe Allen was brought on 'cos Lucas was injured. All I kept thinking was "How did you cost £15 million?"
Lack of goals from midfield is also worrying. Coutinho has been missing some sitters. Has Joe Allen ever scored? If Henderson and Sterling get goals into their games they would have to be a shout for the England squad at the World Cup. Maybe Sterling could even get in the team?
Ally Cissokho is pants. That anyone ever passes to him surprises me. Where's Flanagan gone?
Nick (Please don't leave us Ings) Poninski
Not A Wilshere Fan
Interesting article by Daniel Storey on how Wilshere is back on form. Wilshere is back to his best, wilshere is the saviour of the universe blah blah blah. Wilshere is Wenger's biggest problem not because of his form but because he can't tackle and his frequency of losing the ball in key areas. When he plays as part of the 2 in the 4-2-3-1 formation, he likes to drive with the ball from deep and run at defenders. There's nothing wrong with that except when he bursts forward and runs at the opposition, he loses the ball and there's at least 5 players ahead of him(front 4 + a FB) and then he'll decide to lie down while his teammates are frantically running towards there own goal trying not to concede.
His strengths are Arsenal's weakness and causes an imbalance in the team thus making it easier to counter attack arsenal on the break. Against the lesser teams and especially on home turf Arsenal can afford such luxury players like wilshere in that role. But against the bigger teams and he will be found out to be the liability that he is. Wilshere is 4th choice midfielder behind flamini, arteta and ramsey when all fit and deservedly so. And the notion that wilshere starts ahead of ramsey is sheer nonsense. Ramsey scores more, creates more, runs more, tackles more and is more positionally aware.
Mexico Rules OK
So I'm in the process of watching a Mexican football match and it's taken me 70 minutes or so to realize the most notable difference: the referee is not confronted at all, let alone after damn near every whistle.
Players are not feigning injury. Players are actually playing; the whistle blows, players take up their positions and go about playing.
Matt Carr, Durham, NC
The Real Quiz
Top 3 stylish touchline managers in the Premiership.
1. Mourinho (if I was that way inclined it would be him or Gary Barlow)
2. Pochettino (mainly wears black. Speaks Spanish. If he had a mask he'd be Zorro, just with a high pressing game)
3. Pardew (excellent loafers, sharp suit)
Oh Hey There Mr. Taking Everything Too Seriously
So you think that because the content is free it can be shit and that's fine?
Are you a charity? Do you work for free?
Or do you get paid from advertising money that is generated according to how many people visit your site to read the free content?
If someone thinks your article is sh*t then you should consider what they say and attribute as much or as little weight to it as you want. To exempt yourself from the consideration because the person who read your article didn't pay for it makes it sound like you think you're being benevolent when really you are doing your job. Which you are paid for. By your profit making employer. Whose profit is generated as a result of the number of readers.