But it must only be used for a shot seemingly launched from a catapult with reckless abandon. We also have mails on Dimi Berbatov, Cesc Fabregas and lots more...
That's the question posed in a wide and varied Mailbox, along with several others including Lloris dropping bollocks, Stewie Griffin's return & a thank you to David Healy...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Is Gerrard A Problem?
The current problem with Liverpool is easy to spot, but impossible to solve. It is Steven Gerrard.
Four wins from four games at the start of the season looked like a statement but the reality wasn't quite so impressive. Second halves have been poor at best - seven played and not one single goal. Results were bound to catch up with performances eventually and so it has proved in the last three games (though we played OK last night).
The team's performances are simply mirroring those of its captain. Gerrard is 33 now and his contribution noticeably declines after the hour mark, particularly the defensive side - he doesn't have the energy to make lung bursting recovery runs and towards the end of games it's common to see him making a tired half-tackle and being skipped past all too easily. Pressing is abandoned in favour of defending deep and this is putting huge pressure on Lucas and an unfamiliar back five and is the reason we have ended up under the cosh at the end of all of our games so far.
I'm not saying that Gerrard is finished or even that he can't complete a game - just that he can't start and finish *every* game. The man needs a break. Unfortunately I don't see where it is going to come from - according to FPL, Gerrard played 3,221 league minutes last season (one substitution, on 75 minutes, in his 36 starts) and so far this season he has played every minute of every game. Rodgers simply refuses to take him off. It could be that this is purely because we don't have a suitable replacement or even understudy (neither Allen nor Henderson are suited to the deep lying role), but Rodgers sold a CM over the summer with no effort to bring in a replacement so he can't have thought this was an issue. Maybe he's in thrall to Gerrard's personality or thinks the team will fall apart without him there, but either way it appears unsustainable.
This is by no means the only problem facing Liverpool at the moment, but while a shaky defence and somewhat flat footed attack should improve with time, the Gerrard problem will only get worse. If Rodgers has genuine top-4 aspirations he needs to be brave enough to play without his captain on occasion.
Jon Gibson LFC
... After watching Gerrard play yet another 90 minutes and having no impact on a game, I found myself asking myself if Stevie really is anything special anymore. Now considering a large part of me may actually be in love with the man, this was an especially painful realisation.
I'm well aware that ever since the arrival Rodgers he has been playing in a far deeper role, thus limiting his involvement in games, but even from this position I would have expected Gerrard to continue to be world class, albeit in a different way.
The reality is that Gerrard has been mediocre ever since Rafa left and hasn't put in a 'Gerrard Performace' since the halcyon days of the 2008/09 season, when He Who Must Not Be Named stole our title with that jammy goal against Villa.
Conor (At least he didn't take every single corner last night) LFC
Liverpool Lack Depth
While I'm disappointed at the result of Wednesday night's game, I was pretty satisfied with the team's performance. I actually expected us to lose because I felt the Manchester derby would spark the players into life (I guessed Moyes would rotate the team too to give Sunday's flops a kick up the batty) and the 8 players changed would be hungry to prove a point. I think Liverpool shaded the game slightly. But for Enrique's nasty habit of having a brian freeze a couple of times in each game, I think Liverpool could have taken it to extra time and won.
The main thing the match highlights however is Liverpool's lack of squad depth. The fact Sterling was the only impact sub Rodgers could make says it all really. BR has to take some blame for this. Aspas, Borini and Joe Allen should have been the players that add depth to the team but they have all been flops so far and Aspas just doesn't look like he can match the skill level of Suarez, Sturridge and Moses. That's around £32 million we've wasted. I don't see Allen benching Henderson as Jordan's work rate, commitment and steady improvement is to be admired and is impressive.
For LFC to truly push for that Champions League place, another 2 to 3 attacking players of good quality need to be bought in. The kind of footy the team is playing just needs a few more quality players to take the club into the top 4. I honestly think all Rodgers has to tighten up even more is his choice of players purchased. He is doing everything else right. On a plus side, Sakho looked really good. He was strong, played the ball out well, read the game well and looks committed. More signings like this please Brendan!
And oh, is it now safe to say that apart from the knock out stages of the CL, the league cup provides the best matches of the season? Players seem to play with much more freedom in this competition. Can't remember the last time I saw a poor game in it.
Seyi (That Man U team would have given more of a game to Man City) LFC
Still In Knee-Jerk Season
Um, in response to Budhaditya's mail from this morning, can I just point out that a 4th round victory at home in the Capital One Cup against a team in 5th place in the league doesn't constitute getting the 'monkey' off Moyes' back.
It would have meant something to beat Liverpool when they were top of the table...at Anfield. That would have been impressive.
Last night was not impressive by any means. United were at home and yet Liverpool looked the better team for most of the match.
Yes Moyes' United will grind out results against the league's cannon fodder this season and yes, they will probably place in or near the top 4 but their style of football thus far could only be described as 'excrement on bark' by even the most generous of critics.
This is the 'kneejerk season': City are crap/City will walk the title, Arsenal are rubbish/Özil will guide us to the CL, Chelsea in crisis/Chelsea back on top, Spurs will fail without Bale/New look Spurs can win the league, Liverpool will struggle without Suarez/Luis who? ...
5 games in. 5. Five! 5ive!?! J to the esus.
Hearts Keep Sinking
Loving the 'heartsinkers' put forward by your esteemed readership. Here's a few of my own.
Anytime a tall forward such as Peter Crouch or Niall Quinn displays great skill on the ball. " He's got lovely footwork for such a big man". A professional footballer over 6 foot able to use not only his head but his feet??? Who'd have thunk it?
Anytime Paul Scholes or Xavi misplace a pass. " Well it looks like he is human after all! " And here I was thinking Paul Scholes was a robot from the future sent back in time to kill John Connors and knock Liverpool off their perch.
Anytime any commentator states " That is the magic of the FA Cup! ". It;s not magic. They're not playing Quidditch for chrissakes. Small team beats bigger team. This happens every week in every league and every competition in Europe. The FA Cup is not exclusive.
Anytime a team scores just before half time. " The perfect time to score a goal! " Is it really? What even more perfect than the last minute of a game when the opposition can't regroup for 15 minutes and figure out how to respond over the next 45 minutes? Not so perfect now is it?
Anytime Jamie Redknapp uses the word literally in a sentence. " He's literally ran into a brick wall there Ruud." No Jamie. He literally hasn't.
Anytime Harry Redknapp uses the term " top top ". "He's such a top top player" Could someone please buy that man a book of adjectives. Not you Jamie. You'd probably come back from WH Smith with a bag of Haribo and Ainsley Harriotts new cookbook.
...My top heart sinker, is whenever Rooney is winding up for long range shot on goal, the commentator falls over himself to shout "ROONEEEYYYYY" at the top of his lungs before said shot is executed, so that they forever are associated and immortalized with a clip of a potentially great goal... HATE... IT! Stop trying to find your Kenneth Wolstenholme moment, youre never going to do it! Clive Tyldesley is the obvious chief culprit!
Jon (Any football on ITV is a Heartsinker by default) Andrews
...Every game Gerard plays every commentator drools over his passing ability. So it brings out the Hulk like rage in me when the airwaves go silent for at least 5 seconds after another Hollywood pass misses its target by twenty yards!
Bren (desperate to be published today) Dublin
...Ray Hudson and any other commentator (I'm looking at you Ray Wilkins) that uses players first names and even worse their nickname!
Do you hear any commentators on any other sport sprout such nonsense? Impartiality goes out the window.
Every time any of them say the words Stevie G or Crouchy or Chicharito, I die a little more inside. Martin Tyler, Gary Neville, these are commentators you want to hear as they aren't speaking like the players are their personal life long mates.
Greg, United fan
...This one annoys me no end...
Referee gives an advantage, however simple, but the move breaks down 3 seconds later. The ref sees there is no advantage and calls it back. Basic refereeing. Every single time the commentator says "Oh that's good refereeing there "
PS. Foreign keeper punches "Unconvincing"/"flapped at the cross". Joe Hart punches "A solid punch clear"
Definition Of Insanity
As an avid reader of football365.com I have noticed that the "definition of madness" cliché pops up every few weeks, and invariably it's attributed to Einstein. The latest example by Carolyn, (Ozil-iciously happy) South London Gooner. There are only two things wrong with this 1. It is the most overused and tedious cliché ever (even worse than "he'll be disappointed with that...").
2. Einstein didn't say this (evidence points to a 1980 pamphlet from the Hazelden Foundation, an addiction treatment center).
Seeing this quote misattributed to Einstein on a regular basis on this otherwise fantastic site is driving me insane, so could you please stop using it.
Arsenal had won 10 straight away games prior to their cup match against West Brom last night. As you know it was 1-1 aet and they won the shoot out. So my question is, have they now won 11 away games in a row or does last night count as a draw because the game itself was even?
What is the OFFICIAL line?
Chris (I really have now clue) Charteris
That Was Brilliant
Can't believe nobody has mentioned the cheating little s**t that is Suarez shouting "leave it" to Ryan Giggs who promptly left it for Suarez to gleefully take.
The lad just can't help himself.
System v Personnel
As Young, Valencia, and Nani (and anybody else who gets played wide), look on the works of Ronaldo and despair, I wonder if United fans aren't mooning for a type of player that no longer exists, and are misdiagnosing the problem. The players aren't intrinsically the problem, the system (and hiring a manager who'll perpetuate that system) is.
If one looks at the wide attackers being sold for large sums around Europe, they aren't "wingers" in the sense of the term that United fans are accustomed to. They tend to be either technically gifted, dribbling and passing playmakers who've gravitated wide to find space (Lamela, James Rodriguez, Hazard, Willian), or less creative but more prolific goal-scorers (Ronaldo, Bale etc.). United plainly lack any of the latter, and Fergie (and now Moyes) seem unable to use players of the former type that they do have.
Kagawa excels on the left for Japan, and should be able to do so for United, and Nani looks much, much better playing for Portugal than for United. Both play better for their national sides because they have more licence to attack. They play as part of a front three or four, in teams that set up more offensively and pro-actively, press higher, and attack more. Kagawa, in particular, benefits from a team that presses higher and more intensely, and attacks with more runners from deep (essentially, Dortmund, who United would do well to emulate).
Young and Valencia are truly terrible offensively, but generally (notwithstanding the loss to City) contribute defensively. United's default tactic for games where they don't expect to dominate possession is a retreat to 442, with two conventional banks of four in front of the opposition, a defensive forward playing in front to press the opposition's midfield (typically Welbeck), and van Persie playing as a striker. Young and Valencia are reasonably effective at this, but contribute nothing offensively, and teams have wised up to this. Wide attackers push on, and pin Evra and Rafael back, and full-backs can play higher, overload United's midfield, and confine United to their own half, pressing Carrick, and recycling possession. City did this is great effect on Sunday.
And they key reason for teams doing this is that they don't fear United out wide. When two of Ronaldo, Rooney (with pace), Tevez and Nani were liable to hammer you on either flank, and Scholes and Carrick could pick them out from deep, teams were obliged to drop at least their full-backs, and typically their wide midfielders back, which then relieved pressure on United's defence, freed Carrick and Scholes to play, and allowed United to play pro-actively. With Young, Valencia, and a less confidant Nani, playing deeper, United are denied this advantage.
Moyes being Moyes (and whatever his supporters say, he's scarcely Klopp or Bielsa tactically. He's far more reactive than Mourinho), he's unlikely to return a formation in which United push their wide players up level with their strikers, and to take any real risk in his system. And this is why, whatever he does do at United, he won't be doing it with exciting wide attackers.
Ahmed, Pakistani Gooner added in his mail 'P.S: An interesting fact - the number of times I have been published in mailbox is same as the number of times Spurs have won the premier league.'. Ahmed, you've now been published once but Tottenham have never won the Premier League. I think you might be getting confused with when the Premier League was won at White Hart Lane by Arsenal.
Cliff Mallinder, AFC
...Gattuso is now available.
Colin Williams, THFC