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Responses To O'Reilly
To put some perspective to N O'Reilly's senseless babbling about the trophy belonging to RVP and not United. If I recall, his contribution was just as immense for Arsenal last season but Arsenal never found themselves in this sort of position in the league. In fact, if he were still at Arsenal this season, do you really think they would be in the same position United are in at the moment? I've no doubt that RVP has improved United and I for one absolutely worship the guy, but fact remains, the team wins the trophies, and United (even though not vintage of late) have been by far the best team in the league this season.
Supersub (I guess this means Barca are nothing without Messi), JHB
...What does Fergie ACTUALLY do ?
I mean, the first few titles were all down to Eric Cantona. Then he got lucky with that batch of kids. Then it was all down to Ronaldo and now it's all down to Robin van Persie.
Has a manager ever won so much while doing so little, and has a one-man team ever won so many titles.
...Be under no illusion City fans, this isn't your team's second place. It's Edin Dzeko's and you should be kissing his arse for sharing it with you.
Without his goals, City would have a meagre 40 points, leaving them far adrift of the title race! Or so goes the world of N O'Reilly, who believes that if RVP had been injured or performed poorly at Manchester United, Sir Alex would have just decided to play 10 vs 11 for most of the season.
Without each team's top league scorers, United would still have a 3 point cusion over Chelsea (sans Lampard) followed by Arsenal (42 pts without Walcott), with City rounding out the Champions' League places 4 points ahead of a Bale-less Tottenham. So I think that would make it their "team's trophy", with RvP having merely provided a king-size cushion at the top of the League where Chelsea and Arsenal's top scorers haven't made their goals count so much.
A Lyon, SRFC
...N O'Reilly im going to have to disagree..
RVP left Arsenal because he couldn't do it on his own.
I'm sure you'll get quite a few of these mails in response to N O'Reilly's nonsense about RvP. I've seen this argument paraded around quite regularly and it's quite annoying how prevalent it is, especially considering how nonsensical it is.
The logic behind this particular argument is so fundamentally flawed it is hilarious. What exactly does it mean? If United played with 10 men they wouldn't have as many points? Wow, truly groundbreaking stuff! I bet United would have less points if they played without a goalkeeper, too. Perhaps the only valid point is RvP's brilliant equalizer against West Ham in the FA Cup keeping United alive.
When Ruud left, people said United would struggle to score. When Ronaldo left people said the same thing. When will they learn? Someone always steps up and makes up for the loss. With or without RVP, United would be challenging for the title. Make no mistake, RvP has been absolutely brilliant and is the main reason United will most likely hoist their 20th title with relative ease. Unfortunately, to simply remove his contribution to the team and identify where United would be in the table is simply short sighted and frankly, stupid.
Don't Panic, Pool Fans
Don't panic! Last night was one of those nights when we were just never going to score. I said at 65 minutes West Brom would win 1-0 and even went to the bathroom before Gerrard took his penalty, saying he'd miss it.
This season is a wash - mid-table mediocrity, though signs of improvement. Let's just keep a lid on the moaning and wait and see how we fare next season, if we can keep hold of Suarez and add some quality at the back (including a new keeper) I'm quietly optimistic.
Mike D, Liverpool fan in London
...Or Do Panic
As Liverpool look over the wreckage of another league season, it is time to start asking questions about why the minumum requirements (fourth) cannot even be met now. God, they are not even asked for or barely hoped for. Houllier got sacked for managing fourth for goodness sake!.
Arsenal have 44 points and are still in the chase as they always are. Yet, they have dropped 34 points. Why can't we be as mediocre? That would be acceptable because we would still have an interest. West Brom, Swansea and Wigan was supposed to a run of games that were winnable. But Liverpool always look like winning one game in a row.
We dominate often but then look at the score and go "eh?" Has any one of our midfielders ever seen the whites of the goalkeeper's eyes? Do they know what a net looks like? Why does Gerrard look like he's had a facelift?
We can't even hold on to two goal leads now and seem to fade badly. After the excellent display against Arsenal and Man City and PR fanfare of Sturridge's arrival, how many extra games are we winning?
At least Kenny made us compete for trophies. Rodgers will be redundant - in terms of challenges - if we get stuffed by Zenit.
I don't fancy watching this team play for nothing for the next 3 months. It is agonising enough already.
...Cannot even begin to put into words how angry I was when the speeding train-wreck that is Brendan Rodgers' Liverpool conceded the first goal against West Brom. My anger was again compounded when the ridiculous Rodgers came out with more excuses and positivity in his post-match interview.
His side are 9th in the premier league AND going the wrong way. I never thought I'd see the day when the likes of Swansea, West Brom and Stoke became our equal, but that's exactly what has happened. As soon as Gerrard stepped up for that penalty I knew Foster would save it. It's not bad luck either. Rodgers is a cancer within this club and his badness is so widespread that we don't know how to win any longer even when the points are gifted to us on a plate.
I can't be bothered to go on about the specifics for this latest on-field debacle, but it's now pretty bloody obvious that Brendan hasn't got a clue how to turn it round, and his philosophy isn't working. The stats of last night's game only tell half the story. For all the possession, how many real clear cut chances were there? Very few. It was summed up to a tee when in the first half Jonjo Shelvey (Who should never play premier league football again) ran past a full back and cut the ball back across the face of goal. The nearest two players were Henderson and Suarez, who were hovering on the edge of the box looking curious as to how the situation would develop. Well unless Gareth Barry was on the pitch its fairly clear that nothing good was going to come of it from our point of view! The mind Boggles....
My final point is probably not a revelation to many neutrals, but it seems to me that Liverpool are extremely easy to play against. Basically all you need to do is sit back and watch them pass the ball about to each other while taking the odd long range shot. Very occasionally this will result in a 4 or 5 nil loss if you are an out of form Norwich or QPR, but mostly this would end in a draw. I say 'would end in a draw', as this used to be the case not long ago. The added bonus these days for away teams when coming to Anfield is that your resolute defending will always be rewarded with a goal or two of your own from a set piece. This is as sure as night follows day.
The defence is an utter, utter shambles, and we don't have the firepower of Man United to go and outscore the opposition. Sad times, but entirely self-inflicted when your owners appoint managers on a flavour of the month basis and have no real clue about the sport. I will now try to enjoy Luis Suarez' final 12 games in the premier league.
Rodgers out, obviously.
Daniel (Borini isn't worth 12 pence let alone 12 million) Benvenuto
..."Liverpool v West Brom"... I watched a 90 minute documentary last night which was essentially Liverpool's season in a nutshell'.
Dominate possession... CHECK
Lots of lovely passing... CHECK
Lots of shots on goal... CHECK
Limp and impotent finishing... CHECK
Fall asleep at the end... CHECK
Mark (Lukaku beasting us in the last 10mins was Drogba-esque - what a player he may become!) LFC
How Much Progress Has Been Made?
After painfully watching through another "typical" liverpool performance in which we dominated possession and had 20 shots on goal I've started to question our progress.
Quite truthfully we do not, and were never going to get into the top four this year, and every time Rodgers has hyped up our chances we have lost. Under Kenny many games were like tonights but still Rodgers and the team are heaped praise for drawing games, or putting in good performances without the result! I have backed Rodgers from the start but enough is enough and I'm increasingly concerned about Jojno, a man on many occasions in the first half of the season looked like someone capable of gracing the number 8 shirt in a few years, but since the Stoke game my opinion has changed somewhat.
How much progress have we made?
...There is no better team to play when you're stuck in an awful rut than Liverpool. Just ask QPR and Wigan last season.
The team were pretty poor at retaining possession, which was only masked by the fact that Albion were even worse for long periods. Enrique reminded me of why I hated seeing his name on the team sheet for almost an entire season tonight while Suarez gave a lesson in taking a lot of shots and not actually making the keeper make a save.
I am frustrated at the way in which we missed a penalty and five minutes later were losing to a team who hadn't threatened at all up to that point but can't really be too upset with Gerrard given how many games he has single handedly dragged us through. It was classic Liverpool though, I saw Paul Little on Twitter saying this was smash and grab territory and he couldn't have been more right.
This is classic Liverpool again though, people mention fourth place as if it is realistic, the team get humbled by a team that have been pretty poor for a long time. Everyone looks stupid and it is back to square one. I am going to scream into a pillow now.
...A couple of months ago a Liverpool fan (hi Joel Bradley, Tokyo!) wrote in to the Mailbox to opine that a few players linked to LFC in the summer that ended up at Spurs were "bullets dodged".
After he was linked with the vacant post at White Hart Lane last summer, I'd just like to say: Brendan Rodgers... bullet dodged!
Owen, THFC, Hackney
Disappointing but not unexpected result. After creating about 10 chances in the first half to no avail it became clear that we would struggle to score tonight. Me and my old fella agreed prior to Stevie's penalty that the form Foster was on tonight indicted that he would save it.
This was the Liverpool of early season - neat passing up until the final third and then a lack of ideas, incision and composure. Who could have predicted when we signed him that the loss of Sturridge would have such an impact.
Taking nothing away from the Baggies though. They were disciplined, they worked hard and - vitally - they took their chances. They did lack a bit of ambition but having not won in 8 games their priority had to be to not lose. That they gained confidence as the game went on (which resulted in a couple of goals) was down to our continued wasting of opportunities.
Glen Johnson had a bit of a shocker - it was all the more apparent because he's been so consistently good for so long.
Enrique wasn't much better.
On a positive note we did play very well for long spells, some of our passing and movement was a joy to watch, albeit without a good enough end product.
Also, Lucas appears to be coming back to his best with some fantastic tackles and interceptions and Henderson continues to impress.
Bring on the Europa because winning it would seem to be our best chance of being in European competition next season, all things considered.
...No doubt my fellow Kopites will be fuming at the result tonight, and to a point I can agree with them. The odd dodgy performance aside, things have, I believe, been on the up since our dog rough start to the season. But with tonight's performance reminiscent of last season, i.e. playing well and not getting the result to match, I'd like to take the time to address an issue that's been annoying me for a while. It's fairly straightforward really but Brendan, could you be a dear and stop playing central midfielders as wingers?
I know it seems like a fairly simple task, and we're not exactly flush with widemen at the moment, but I'd rather have an out of position Borini than Hendo on the wings. Granted we should have Assaidi back before long (who knew getting crocked could lead to being picked for ACoN?) but the effectiveness of Downing tonight exemplifies what could have been achieved by out and out wingers. Quite simply, 4-3-3 should not be played with four central midfielders. I'm a fan of Brendan, but he doesn't half make it hard on himself sometimes.
Sam, LFC, Yorks
Just to follow up on Páraic (London Irish)'s email... I'm also Irish, and a Man Utd supporter. Like Páraic, I started following the team because my best friend was a fan. He supported them because his older brother and his dad were Man Utd fans. I was the oldest in my family and my dad was a Bolton supporter (because they used to be good, apparently) who were a few divisions down at that time. He was no help to me. So, again, like Páraic, I didn't reallly know any better.
But my decision wasn't really glory hunting. This was around 1985/1986, I was 9 going on 10, Ron Atkinson was in charge, Man U did happen to be the reigning FA Cup champions, but they also had quite a strong Irish presence in the squad - Paul McGrath, Kevin Moran, Frank Stapleton, and Norman Whiteside (yes, I know he was Norn Irish, but still the same island, let's not get political here). But Liverpool, at the time, were winning leagues and European Cups and a lot of our other friends started supporting them - they were the real glory hunters. I continued to follow Man U just to remain loyal to my BFF. I also remember really liking the crest. The little devil in the middle, and the yellow mixed in with the red was much more appealing than that bird with a twig in it's beak. And especially popped out in the Panini sticker albums.
My younger brother started supporting Liverpool because they were still winning things when he got interested in football, and because most of his friends were fans. Also because we were sworn enemies and he couldn't be seen to support the same team as his geeky older brother. My sister also started supporting Liverpool because Man Utd began to win lots of things and everybody hated them for it. She jumped on the ABU bandwagon at first and then started to side with my brother to gang up on me! So picking a team is not always about glory hunting. Sometimes it's just to be mean to your siblings.
Niall (nostalgic in Cape Town)
...Here's a 'knee Jerk' that even John Nic might like.
As a kid/teenager in the '80s I never really had much time for football. Swimming was my thing and anyone who knows anything about serious swimming training knows that it is very time consuming. Basically, when you're not at school, you're in the pool. Of course I watched Mexico '86 and Italy '90 but that was really the extent of my football interest. During that time, if anybody pressed me for a club allegiance I would facetiously say 'Everton'. The two main reasons being that half the English team played for Everton and all of my mates supported Liverpool - despite us living in Sussex (There are your 'glory hunters', John!). I don't recall even watching an Everton game such was my lack of interest.
Fast forward to September 1993 and I'm starting my 2nd year at Uni in London. I moved in with 4 mates who absolutely insisted I choose a team as they were all mad football fanatics. I pondered over it and thought, "Well, I'd best choose a London team so I can actually go an see a few games. (Note: that was when a student could still afford a ticket).
I asked the 4 guys who they supported. All of them supported Spurs!!
My answer was predictable: of course I chose Arsenal!! Told you I was facetious!! (Actually the decision was quite simple given that Arsenal had just won the cup double).
Anyway, I decided to go to the games and had my own 'Fever Pitch' moment the first time I went to the North Bank. I went to loads of games and became a 'Gooner' in my own right. Again, pretty easy given the quality of football we were playing in the late 90's and early '00s.
I now live in Australia and still watch every game I can - even though they are in the middle of the night - (you do know that we get more televised Premier League games than you lot don't you! Haha!)
I also flew from Sydney to Paris in 2006 for the Champions League Final.
Am I still a 'plastic fan', John?
Al, Arsenal, Sydney
Since Mr. Young's injury, United have played 6, won 5, and drawn 1. Scored 11, conceded 3.
I merely mention this, if anybody wishes to draw conclusions from this about the extent of his monumental uselessness, they're welcome to do so.