Matt Stanger saw Angel Di Maria display flashes of his talent at Turf Moor, but United's 0-0 draw against Burnley underlined that Louis van Gaal has his work cut out for him...
With a new stadium and back into European domestic football's premier competition, there are plenty of reasons for smiles from Athletico Bilbao supporters...
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Is Kieran, Liverpool basically saying that next year will be their year?
David McCulloch MUFC
Are Liverpool Just Another Keegan's Newcastle?
Another team who was fabled for their style but yet won sweet FA. That's how I view this current Liverpool squad. They've had a fantastic season, and good on 'em, but I think a combination of each player playing out of their skin coupled with the magic of Suarez and lack of anything else to play for (I.e cups) has resulted in this blip. If they don't win it this year, they will not have a chance as good as this for a while IMO, and I can see them just being another Newcastle - which to be fair, unless they win something this season, I guess they already are! Consistency is king, so that will define them.
I also think there's a certain amount of hyperbole around Rodgers (cue the hisses). He's certainly got some talent, but to come out and proclaim about playing football "the right way" etc is just arrogant guff - everybody wants to play "the right way", but they also want trophies. All he had to do was get a draw against Chelsea, which surely any manager worth his salt would've gone for, with the end result being, you know, a PREMIER LEAGUE TROPHY. Is that not worth sacrificing your mentality for one game? So he's either arrogant or stupid - or both. Let's see if another 20-odd years without a title will justify playing football "the right way" (eurgh).
As a completely unrelated aside - Ancelotti has taken over two Mourinho sides and arguably improved them, often by playing much better football. What does this say about Jose? Would love to know your thoughts.
Before you all have a hissy fit and start hurling abuse, I'm not saying any of the above is correct, its just my humble opinion.
...LFC have flattered to deceive. All this crap about how they play football the Liverpool way and they are so exciting to watch. Some small truth in it no doubt if you are a supporter of the club, but they are essentially nothing more than Kevin Keegan's attack-attack-attack, almost-won-it, love-it-if-we-beat-them, Newcastle United side of the 90's.
LFC have massively overachieved in a season when lots of others have really underachieved. Let's see if they have another season like this one next year or even in the next 20 years as soon as the other big guns have recouped.
Brendan Rodgers is a brilliant young manager? Let's see how his naïve, gung-ho, Newcastle-style, all-out attack, that so easily pleases simple Liverpool supporters, fairs against some of the more refined teams in the Champions League, you know, like Chelsea, who "boo hoo" defended against Liverpool's style, and didn't let them score loads of goals against them like all the other teams did, and so they are a very naughty, horrible team, that are anti-football for "parking two buses".
The fact that the common view this morning is that "Liverpool missed Henderson" shows the clubs real status in the European Elite.
The intolerable circle jerk about LFC being the neutral's choice to win the Premier League that has persisted in recent weeks is entirely mainstream media created and perpetuated, along with some help from the, as usual, arrogant LFC supporters. Just do a search on Twitter for something innocuous like "LFC" for last night's game's timeframe and you can see more than 99% of the posts are relief or joy or pleasure that LFC look like they have thrown it all away.
And speaking of the media and the players who voted for Luiz Suarez as their player of the year. You bring shame on the sport. Bite, cheat, be racist one year? Don't worry about that, come along score a few goals this year and we'll forget all that silly unimportant nonsense, and promote you to national hero by way of multiple player of the year awards. The fact that Yaya Toure has been the best player in the league by a country mile by any intelligent onlookers appraisal shouldn't concern you seemingly knowing a lot more than the average punter about the sport.
Stevie G's taken a lot of plaudits over the years for his captain fantastic performances, notably vs. West Ham in the FA Cup Final and AC Milan in the CL final. So it's only fair that he now takes his share of the blame for Liverpool's capitulation in the title run in.
During the Man City game a few weeks back when City equalised to make it 2-2 the camera cut to Gerrard twice and rather than the skipper barking orders at his men I was surprised to see him hand on hips, glass eyed wondering how it all slipped away again. Cue Vincent Kompany's miss-kick, and everything was rosey. Out of nowhere at full time (like JT at a cup final) captain fantastic suddenly emerged to deliver the infamous rallying call to his troops (or maybe it was to himself).
The following week it was his iffy first touch that allowed Demba Ba to join Didier Drogba and Thierry Henry as recipients of a vital Stevie G assist.
And now to last night. It's 3-2, Liverpool are within touching distance of going 3 points clear - and with Man City looking anything but convincing in the last few months this could have been enough pressure to break them. Again the camera cuts to Stevie.G, and he just looked dead inside. No rallying calls, no organisation - nothing. I couldn't believe for all the match winning performances over the years, when it came to the one title he wanted most all of he just visibly choked before our eyes.
Guy (Quarterbacks = No defensive cover)
That's Pretty Much It
Dear MC (Wouldn't it be cool if your real name was Hammer?)
I meant to send this last night, but then I fell asleep. Anyway, I thought I would save you some time and trouble by basically summarizing the next few mail boxes. This morning's mail box obviously contained a number of emails from Liverpool fans either saying how proud they were of their team or how Brendan Rodgers should be crucified for his obvious rookie mistakes. All very predictable.
This afternoon's mailbox will include a few follow up mails saying how Liverpool has nothing to be proud of or how Brendan is just staying true to his philosophy. Meanwhile, there will also be some emails from Chelsea fans saying 'don't you wish you had Jose' and how Brendan could learn a thing or two about being a bit more cynical. There will also be mails from the also rans (Man U, Spurs and Arsenal) on how next year is going to be their year. The first jokers will also start to sneak in. I imagine someone writing in saying 'did you see Coutinho and Moses playing a few Aspasses last night. The dictionary defines an Aspass as an unchallenged pass directly to an opposition player, for example from a corner kick... There will also be a few mails about how penalizing City for spending too much money by fining them a lot of money doesn't make sense.
Finally, there will be an incredibly dull mail from this Ipswich bloke living in Liverpool (I have willed my brain to forget his name, as all his mails are dull).
There, now you can leave early for a well-deserved pint or two. You're welcome!
Tom K (Ok, his name is Chris. Apparently, I can't get my brain to forget things just by telling it to do so. Maybe some Zen exercises would help... Or maybe 12 pints would do the trick)
City Deserve It
Chelsea's and Liverpool's late failures in the title race were very revealing. Chelsea went out because they couldn't score enough goals against teams with poor defensive records (Sunderland and Norwich). Liverpool are on the verge of going out because they couldn't defend against a team that had a poor goal-scoring record (Crystal Palace).
Manchester City had the best balance for the season: almost as many goals as Liverpool, but still the second-best defense in the league. In the run-in, they kept a clean sheet against the team that had difficulty scoring (Crystal Palace), and outscored the team that had a strong defense (Everton). They deserve the title.
PeterG, Pennsylvania, USA
When, Not If
I'm a MUFC fan let's get that out of the way first as it helps make sense of what comes next. After last night's game I hit twitter to see the initial reaction from my fellow supporters and of course I saw the gloating and the happiness but it reminded me of something, it reminded me of Anfield on Sunday 22nd of April 1992 Liverpool beat Utd that day 2-0 to hand the title to Leeds in what Fergie would later call a "sore one". The Liverpool fans that day were pretty much where Utd fans are now they finished 6th that season and managed to prolong Utd supporters wait for their first title in 25(at the time) years the happiness and gloating took place at the ground as twitter and the like wasn't around back then and Utd fans had to suck it up Just like 'pool fans are doing presently.
Now after the history lesson a word of warning to my fellow Utd fans, at that time although it hurt I think everyone 'pool and Utd fans alike knew it was a matter of time before the League crown was back at Old Trafford, momentum was building, Fergie had his teeth into the job and was getting the club running his way, now when you look at Brendan Rodgers the same can be said of him and Liverpool as a club, it is really a when not if scenario now for Liverpool, should they keep their current upward shift they will at some stage in the next few seasons win the league again and Utd fans should not fall into the malaise of celebrating any other clubs failures while our own club is in its own (alarmingly sudden) dip. Do I think Liverpool under Rodgers will have a 25 year reign of dominance? Highly unlikely, Fergie was a one off (particularly in footballing terms) and it won't be repeated again anytime soon but under Rodgers Liverpool have gone from a mid table club (7th,6th, 8th, 7th) in the last 4 seasons to 2nd and close as you can get to wining the thing.
So Liverpool fans, I've been there, felt the pain (you lot were the ones dishing it out) but I was always confident it was only a matter of time just like you should be. Utd fans lets concentrate on our club and hope that the right decisions are made to put the club back on even ground from the position it's in now and finally remember what goes around comes around and just like those fans at Anfield all those years ago it's easy to get lost in a team you dislike falling at the final fence but in retrospect it might be smarter to keep quiet as you will have to watch it happen eventually and with the way things are right now It'll be a few years before we'll see the premiership trophy at Old Trafford again.
Rodgers Will Come Back Stronger
If Brendan Rodgers has showed one thing in his short time at Liverpool is that he has the capacity to learn from his mistakes. Monday night's fiasco was the result of a young manager making young manager mistakes.
One thing that Liverpool can take away from this season is that we now have a host of young players who now have the experience of what a title run in is like. They also now have a manager who can truly understand the pressure of the run in.
What separates the Ferguson's and the Mourinho's from the rest is having the ability to gain experience such as being in a title run in and learning from their mistakes. Narrowly losing out of the title may hurt now, but players will be better prepared for seasons to come. With the bulk of Liverpool players being under 26 the experience this season may be priceless.
Rodgers commented on Liverpool's official websites entitled, "What we learned from last Sunday". What Rodgers failed to learn, apparently, is that sometimes you need to park the bus, especially if you are away 3 goals up and desperately needing the win. I refuse to place blame on anyone as we are a young team with a young manager all going through this experience for the first time (sans Gerrard and Agger).
Rodgers has a perfect platform to jump off from next season. As long as he learns his lessons from this season and with the addition of experience and quality personnel in the summer there is no reason Liverpool shouldn't be in a similar position next season.
Brian (Claret and blue is the new red) LFC
A Palace fan alluded to this in this mornings mailbox but I haven't seen it mentioned much elsewhere. The reason Liverpool blew that lead last night was pure arrogance. With the best will in the world, Palace were never going to have the motivation to come back from 3 down. That is until Suarez ran and snatched the ball straight after the 3rd goal and Liverpool players sprinted back to the halfway line effectively saying to Palace, come on lads kick it off so we can go and score another.
Players don't mind losing an end of season game if they have nothing to play for but they sure as hell won't put up with being humiliated. Liverpool genuinely thought they were going to get 6 or 7 goals and as soon as this became apparent the Palace players and fans responded in kind and Liverpool got what they deserved.
David (Isn't it wonderful to have a week where John Terry, Ashley Cole and Luis Suarez are all reduced to floods of tears)