Matt Stanger watched Mesut Ozil answer his critics with a telling contribution in Arsenal's 3-0 thrashing of Aston Villa. It's now a question of playing him alongside Alexis Sanchez...
That's the message from a Man United fan in the mailbox. Plus, thoughts on Paul Lambert's new contract, the Alan Pardew dilemma at Newcastle and lots more...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Confident Liverpool Will Kick On
In response to Arsal, wondering about potential struggles for Liverpool next season.
Of course it won't be the same as this season, (maybe it will who knows), but with CL footall now gained, we are in a position to make 2 or 3 very good signings to boost the matchday squad. We will also have some out on loan players coming back, older, wiser and hopefully ready for the cause (at the very least Borini will make a better option coming off the bench the splinters in the aspas. Suso, Wisdom, Ilori, to come back, all of whom could make the step up. Add to that Teixeira, Alberto and coady should be pushing themselves to make a go of it next year as well. Rodgers has shown himself to be a tactically astute manager, which will help us continue improving next season as well. I can't see suarez leaving in the summer, I'd imagine him going in another year perhaps, but I'm the sure the last round of negotiations basically went like this: "if we get into CL, you ain't going nowhere Luis, if we don't make it you can go"
The difference between the likes of Wolfsburg, Montpellier, and to a lesser extent Dortmund, (and possible atletico this summer) is that once these teams won the league, the vultures swooped and bought all their best players. The only players who will leave Liverpool this summer are the ones Rodgers doesn't want.
In summary, Liverpool next season: same players, same manager (both more experienced, league winners or not), larger squad, 2/3 additions to be bought, and that shrink on our side, at the very least, we should be a fixture in the top four for a few years yet.
...Arsal as a Liverpool fan I can say only this, we've won nothing yet. If we win the title then I look forwards to a year of being Champions and some Champions League games, it'll be great! A good run and third or fourth will do me fine next season.
Next season is just that, right now this season is where we are at and it is looking and feeling great. How is this season working out for you? You should spend more time with your "beliefs" and "feelings" focused on United.
Lionel Blair would you have really wanted Mark Hughes last summer after he spent a bucketload of cash at QPR and nearly got them relegated, I say nearly because he was sacked before he did.
It is rubbish when people can justifiably make comments about your team being a "mid table club" but great when they whine about penalties or ropey wins because it means you are nearer the top!!!
Top Investigative Work
I was interested in the penalty debate for Liverpool and had too much time on my hands so decided to google what Luca James Sparks asserted was a dodgy penalty at Fulham. From Fulhams' official website:
"Heartbreakingly, just as 90 minutes approached, Riether dived into a challenge with Sturridge in the penalty area and chopped down the England striker."
I'm just not sure whose bias to believe...
Nick P, Burnley FC.
Worried Reds Could Become Selling Club
In response to 'Arsal' and his Liverpool-Wolfsburg comparison; is it more appropriate to compare Liverpool to Borussia Dortmund or Atletico Madrid?
-A team with an unbelievably loyal fan base (despite the troubles on and off the pitch);
-A team perennially on the brink, but never quite at the top (until more recently);
-A team with a young manager providing entertaining and attack-minded football;
-A team the neutral will (supposedly) favour (the words of the press, not mine);
-A team whose sum is greater than its parts (at least while we're talking about this season).
What would trouble me more than being a flash in the pan (let's face it - a league title is a league title), as a Liverpool fan, is that we become a selling club, much like Dortmund had to become in order to avoid bankruptcy and Atletico seem to have been forever. Tomas Rosicky, Christoph Metzelder, Robert Lewandowski, Lucas Barrios, Fernando Torres, Falcao, Sergio Aguero, David De Gea all sold/allowed to leave. I'm sure there are plenty others, too...but my lunch hour is running out and I can't be bothered doing more than a quick Google search.
We were often told to savour the performances of the Dortmund team of 2012/13, particularly in the Champions League. Pundits, commentators and Joe Bloggs in the street all had a potential suitor in mind ready to sign the next big player performing above their level in a Dortmund shirt - much the same as is happening with Liverpool (and I'm sure with Atletico Madrid, too) right now. Everyone looking in from the outside could see this was a team waiting to be picked apart by the billionaire-run teams. The vultures are hovering around Liverpool and Madrid as we speak.
Forget that Liverpool are now favourites for the title, Real Madrid will still be paraded as suitors for Suarez and another 'top (top)' team will soon be sniffing around for Brendan Rodgers. Forget that Atletico are leading La Liga, who are Diego Costa and Koke going to be playing for next year? Which tabloid or website hasn't lead these with stories like this?
The stories regarding the selling of the players which have put Liverpool in the position they find themselves in are far more troubling to me than wondering whether we'll only win the league this year and never again. I've waited 24 years to see a Liverpool title win. If we don't win it this year, I might not be able to hold out for another 24!
The comparison with Wolfsburg may yet be true and it may well be a flash in the pan, but Liverpool still need to win the bl**dy thing!
Strachan (Can still see us somehow managing to finish 5th)
I've been amazed with the amount of sour grapes I'm seeing from other club's fams about Liverpool's title challenge. Most seem to be convinced LFC are heading towards a title this season, even with some very hard games to come while under pressure. But I find the claim our front four are coming into form in the exact same time being the sole reason for our challenge just pathetic. Normally I would brush this off, but Luca James Sparks in the morning mailbox seemed to hit a nerve.
If the front four aren't all playing well then the cry is that we have relied on Suarez all season (circa RVP last season). When they do all play well then it's just they have hit form at the right time? Are you aware you're angry that 40% of our team is playing good, before you consider deeper midfielders, defence (skrtel has been immense lately) and keeper. Your making out like we are lucky because of them, you're talking about almost half a team!
After ranting, to get to your point, I think Liverpool playing incisive football, often being in the opposition box will always draw more penalties, that is simply fact. I suggest you get over your sour grapes that Liverpool are having a season to enjoy and tune in to Chelsea games if you prefer thinking the back four are performing at the right time, instead of the front four.
Sam (LFC have won nothing yet, but it would be glorious if we do), London
The Big Question
Having read the humorous story of Bjorn Frilund and the dildo in the fish's stomach in Mediawatch, I think the question on everyone's lips is...did he actually eat the fish??
Red, (asks the difficult questions),Dublin
No Worries For Pellegrini
You've probably had a few people point this out, but following the report in today's Mediawatch about the rather thin logic that Ian Wright has applied to the question of whether the Man City hierarchy will stand by Pellegrini, he seems to have missed another fairly important point.
Pellegrini, or Pell as Ian and his pals at The Sun would call him, has already won a trophy this season. Granted it's only the Capital One Cup, but it still counts.
Combined with still being in the title race and getting further in the Champions League than Mancini ever did I'm pretty sure the hierarchy at City would need to stoop to never-before-seen levels of madness to decide this means Manuel should be heading for the exit.
Thankfully I'm not a SunOnline subscriber so this may be hidden behind the firewall, but nevertheless I cannot believe that anyone would be paid for that opinion.
Lukaku To United?
Quick thought, if United are looking to sell Van Persie and Hernandez wouldn't it make sense to buy Lukaku?
A combo of the following as a front 4 looks pretty good to me: One of Rooney/Lukaku, plus three of Kagawa, Mata, Januzaj, Wellbeck, Nani (as much as some people hate him).
Just saying it might make more sense than Cavani, and Chelsea have shown they will sell players to United.
Nick Tiedt, MUFC
Having looked at our remaining fixtures, it looks like Newcastle are in the weird position of having a say in the relegation battle (Swansea and Cardiff), the race for 4th (Arsenal) and the title (Liverpool) without actually having any relevance to their own standing in the league (Well we might drop 1 place).
As I am in a huff at us not winning for ages, it is nice to know that we can mess up somebody else's season...particularly Liverpool (I'm not neutral, I don't like them). This of course will not happen as we will meekly donate 3 points to all 4 causes.
This won't happen, but it would be nice if Pardew told the first team to **** off for the rest of season and instead played the under 21's. They managed to get a credible draw with Man City's under 21's last night (Man Ciy's under 21's must be good surely?). I mean it's not like getting beaten will make a difference.
Paul (You say Triple H, I say HHH, let's call the whole thing off), Newcastle
A Few Thoughts
In this morning's mailbox, someone using the name Lionel Blair put forward the theory that Mark Hughes and/or Steve Bruce would have been better choices for Manchester United manager than David Moyes. I was put in mind of a joke from Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, from the Sound Charades round. When introducing the game, Humphrey Lyttleton would always tell a joke that left you wondering how he managed to get that aired before 7pm on national radio. Paraphrasing one such offering, I got to:
"Undoubtedly the king of mime was Lionel Blair, and who could forget Lionel's record time of 3.5 seconds, for Anchors Aweigh, when he mimed 'first word, sounds like' and pointed to Steve Bruce and Mark Hughes".
Suddenly, the reason Moyes was chosen becomes clear.
Elsewhere, Minty, LFC makes the point that if Phil Jones "had focused on one thing he might be a bit better at it by now". I am inclined to agree, but I can't help wondering how much of it is actually his fault. While this is an extreme example, Andrew Johnson once came on as a sub for England and played on the wing, even though he had never played there before. In both cases, it's more that players don't want to turn down an opportunity to play, because unless it's raining cats and dogs, or you're Carlos Tevez, why would you decline the chance to play Premier League or Champions League football for a massive club? Refusing to do so, and insisting on playing in his preferred role, would only have pushed him down the pecking order.
This is pedantic, but Willie, Dublin's suggestion that Paul was incorrect to refer to Triple H as HHH because this was a tautology was wrong. If I remember correctly, Triple H's because his original character was a snob called Hunter Hearst Helmsley, a shot at Vince McMahon's fellow Connecticut residents who sneered at his lowbrow entertainment. When the snob gimmick dried up, it was styled HHH, and only became Triple H after that. I may be wrong, I haven't seen any wrestling for a while.
Ed Quoth the Raven (really enjoying Palace being described as a tough game for Liverpool because it won't be), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts