You might notice that we haven't included a single mail about teams in pubs, because most of them were terrible. Instead we have a disgruntled Fulham fan and Scouse maths...
Villa are the latest team to get the pub treatment, while the morning mailbox also includes missives on Tony Pulis leaving Stoke and Chelsea's future under Jose Mourinho...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Beyond A Joke
At what point does it become safe to start criticising a manager? Because I am well past that point with Rodgers.
For all the talk of possession football, for all the pretty little neat triangles and passes, all I am beginning to see is the same game unfold every single match. We play the same game, too possession based to the detriment of actually shooting, too slow at build up play and almost inevitably conceding by being hit on the break after giving the ball away due to a rubbish pass. Every game is basically deja vu and it's getting beyond a joke now.
Rodgers needs to get the players to change things up a bit, we are too easy to read and slow in the build-up. By the time all the pretty little passes reach the box the opposition are back in position and holding a solid shape making it difficult to break through. If we would just attack on the break occasionally and give the opposition more to think about we might create more chances and become less predictable.
For me, I attribute most of these failings squarely at the feet of Rodgers. Yes, I realise we're not a top 4 team anymore but we should not be losing 3-1 at home to Villa! (no disrespect meant). I'm not normally one for knee-jerk reactions but I saw Hodgson had to go by this point and I'm saying the same about Rodgers now. Regardless of the quality of the players at his disposal he continues to play pretty passing football whilst leaving our defense outnumbered. Other problems with his short reign include Downing at left back, Borini for 11 million? Allen for 15 million? Letting Carroll go before even giving him a chance? Not playing the more technically gifted players in a more technical style of football? The list goes on and for me I've already given up on him.
If we finish in the top 8 I would be genuinely surprised!
Hennogs (LFC, obviously)
Agreeing With Miller
I am a loyal fan. I love my club and I am prepared to accept the inevitable bad days in the hope that things are getting better in the long term.
It doesn't stop me seeing some obvious short term issues that need addressing and I was writing a long, boring email about those things. Thankfully I read Nick Miller's article on three pieces of advice for Brendan Rodgers and it saved the MC having to read my childish attempts at expressing myself.
Anyway, the point I thought I was trying to make was just: read it, he is completely right. Completely. Every word. There, I said it. I'm going to have a shower, but not a sexy one.
Luke (with all the footballer man-love emails recently I'm pleased to see that the mailbox is doing its bit to combat homophobia in football) Red in Sussex
Dear fellow Liverpool supporters,
Possession and a vision is more important than goals and a victory. Get used to it.
Niall (the sooner we sack him, the sooner we can get a new vision) Washington DC
...Brendan Rogers has spent the entire season constantly talking about the need to keep working hard and focussing on one game at a time. Two wins somehow made him think talking about second place was a sensible idea. It was the moment I saw that headline I knew Liverpool were going to get beaten today although I didn't expect us to get spanked quite so hard. And it wasn't just the manager either, Allen chipped in with some commentary on how well the mental side of his game has adapted and there was a bit on the clever new training methods which mean players are more fresh. All words which set us up nicely for a huge fall. Credit to Villa as they were clinical and tore us apart. Not only that but they played mid-week as well. For all the excuses that Newcastle and Liverpool have had this year post Europa League matches, Villa got on with the job remarkably well.
This was a funny game because the stats tell a story of Liverpool dominance, with lots of possession and 25 shots, but having watched it, it was a game in which very few of the 25 shots looked particularly threatening and most of the better chances came when the game was already beyond us. I think Stewart Downing got dragged very wide for the second goal and it left a gaping space which Villa exploited amazingly well. Allen doesn't seem to know what he's supposed to do now Lucas is back from injury and Henderson probably deserved to start ahead of either him or Gerrard based on recent form.
The team need to learn to keep their mouths shut when asked about their aspirations. Manchester United players very rarely talk about winning the league, even though they do it so regularly. Instead the talk is consistently about working hard, winning as many games as possible and focussing on each game as it comes. Great teams like Man Utd of recent times and Liverpool once upon a time can be boring to watch because of that sense of inevitability; you know eventually they're going to win the game, but the amount of hard work that goes into making that inevitability a reality is something done on a training ground and on the football pitch, it's certainly not done in the media room.
I do love a bit of optimism when it comes to football because otherwise watching football would be a depressing affair for 99% of people but I also think no team in 9th position should ever be discussing hopes of finishing 2nd. Unless it's the very first day of the season and Man Utd find themselves 9th on alphabetical order.
Advice For Rodgers
What an absolute joke Liverpool can be sometimes, and truthfully it's almost always their own doing.
First Rodgers comes out and 4th isn't good enough anymore, no, now it's all "we can get 2nd place" which left Liverpool fans like myself with jaws dropped and just more comedy material for everybody else. Then of course, what should be a winnable fixture turns into a laughing stock with a very typical Liverpool performance: 1) Dominate possession 2) Do absolutely nothing useful in the final 3rd 3) Get caught on the counter attack and concede.
For all the talk of playing well but losing this season, today was more reminiscent of our 2nd half of last season where we just capitulated after getting close to 4th place, we played like bollocks and Villa deserved the win.
Anfield and Fortress in the same phrase has become an oxymoron, fat load of good those red nets did for us, truly sad considering how much history and prestige that wonderful stadium used to house.
So if Rodgers reads this website, maybe I can help him a bit with some Do's and Don'ts for the rest of the season.
- Get some strikers besides Suarez who don't stink up the place like your Borini
- Get rid of Pepe Reina. Yes I mean it. This isn't a knee jerk, anyone who's been watching him can tell he just doesn't care anymore and isn't what he used to be. If he's "too good" (which he isn't by the way) for Liverpool then by all means don't let the door hit you on the way out. We need someone young and hungry instead of him, Butland or Begovic, I don't care just anyone besides Brad Jones.
- Downing out, Cole out, permanently.
- Recall Carroll. Yes we paid for him so let's use him as a plan B, he doesn't deserve the treatment he's gotten from Rodgers.
- Get a backup defender and a proper winger and central midfielder. We can't ride the shoulders of our youth forever, Sterling already looks worn out.
- Give Sahin some playing time, why on earth did we waste so much money on him if he can't even start ahead of Shelvey and Henderson? I know he's been poor, but dear god, give him some game time to find his stride.
- Talk about getting 2nd place or any other nonsense that makes Liverpool looks ridiculous, most of us are very reasonable but we get crowded out by the fools.
- Do another disastrous transfer window like in the summer when we missed out on Dempsey because of 1 million and ended up looking like clowns.
- Give the players who are leaving playing time anymore, they don't care and neither should we (aka Pepe Reina).
- Mess this up, we've had some good progress this season, let's not let it all blow up and fall into shambles like it did this time last year. Liverpool truly can't afford another disaster year with another manager sacking and player clearout, or we're going to be mid table/relegation form forever.
One game isn't the end of the world, but by god we're gonna have do a LOT better than that.
CB (angry at such an abject performance) West Palm Beach, FL
Happy Villa Fans
In and amongst the inevitable Liverpool self-flagellation I thought it was worth commenting on the Villa side of things (and to maybe show that there are Villa fans that exist other than Conor Byrne).
Even when we were losing earlier in the season and looking pretty toothless, there were always the signs that we were going to start turning good ideas into goals and victories - and the last five days seem to be showing that the plan is starting to bear fruit.
Saturday's side was the youngest fielded in the Premier League this season by any club as well as Villa's youngest in the SkyFootball age (23 years, 309 days). It contained six graduates from our academy, two intelligent free transfers and the three players that we spent real money cost us a total of £12m combined (three fifths of a Stewart Downing). Benteke appears to be the new Didier Drogba, except that when Drogba was Benteke's age he was still three years away from graduating from Le Mans in Ligue 2.
We Villa fans have a rather unjust reputation for being fickle (thank you for that albatross Mr. O'Leary), but I think this season very much shows that we're quite happy even if results aren't there as long as it looks as if there is a plan in place.
Long live Paul Lambert and his plan.
... Ken Dodd, Cilla Black, Sue Johnstone, Ricky Tomlinson, Aby Clancey, Alan Hansen, Phil Thompson and the entire cast of f**king Bread, you boys have taken a hell of a beating!
COYVB, Jamie AVFC
You know the feeling you get when you see Jaws and a teen dumb blond goes skinny dipping?
That's how I felt when I saw Giggs needing his inhaler to take his place alongside Scholsey in central midfield.
Could be worse though. Ask Liverpool fans how their weekend went
Kel, MUFC (Phil Jones is a beautiful man)
Do City Need More Brits?
It seems moot to suggest that a portion of Man Utd fans feel obliged to offer us rhetorical, boasting diatribes over any trivial point that they can possibly conjure, often to an almost ridiculous magnitude.
Rarely, however, do they boast about the only thing that I'm actually unable to deny admiring.
Looking at the Man City team today, we had Joe Hart as the only British player in our starting eleven with Lescott and Sinclair on the bench. Maybe you can include the absent Micah Richards, Barry and Rodwell to our list of first-team British players, but in my book, Kompany aside, that was our best team out there today.
Of those, only Richards (signed at 14) and Hart (signed at 19) are arguably anything like products of our youth system. Perhaps Rekik and Razak (both signed 17, 18ish), who were unused subs, could also be classed as our youth players too.
Once Rafa has them sorted, plus one or maybe two players from January, I'd put Chelsea's team on a similar level of quality to Man City's, with similar numbers of Brits kicking about, injuries aside.
The other horse, Utd's team vs Sunderland had 7 British players in the first eleven; Vidic and Kagawa might get in that team, maybe Rafael. So four, five Brits minimum in the best eleven. Then the bench is full of Brits as well.
Which kind of brings me to the point, which is, I think that domestic players give you an edge. Some teeth and a kick up the arse. I wish City had more Brits in our team. Not saying we haven't got a great team, or that you can't win without domestic players, just that I'd rather have a few more, personally.
Not the ones Utd have got though, because they're all d**ks. Obviously.