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If Arteta is fit he's certain to start. Ramsey + Wilshere isn't ideal from a defensive point of view (they were the pairing in the aforementioned Villa game).

Yeah only got away with it vs Tottenham because their midfield was Capoue/Paulinho/Dembele so the attacking threat was basically nil. Ramsey/Wilshere could be a good pairing in the future but it'll need a lot of work; currently versus any team with a decent attacking midfielder we'll lose (see Chelsea), and might still lose even if the attacking midfielders are shite (see Villa). Arteta will start, absolutely guaranteed, and as I've said in the Arsenal thread, I hope we start Gnabry to give us width and try and get in behind your wing backs (I don't think any team has successfully attacked that space yet since you switched to 3-5-2).
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I guess with a shoulder injury you can still keep fitness levels up even if you don't have full mobility. He had apparently been training for a couple of weeks.

I like the idea of him feeding Sturbridge/Suarez. The only part of his game that hasn't looked good so far is his finishing so I hope now he just plays it to one of them two instead of shooting himself :lol:

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Getting rid of big toxic contracts for underperforming stars were probably their best move last year. They were just lucky to have the Dodgers around to pick up their trash. They were also smart enough to keep the likes of Suarez and David Ortiz around who have both been amazing. Watching the Red Sox at least gave some faith that these guys know what they are doing. What a difference a year makes eh?

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They cut the wage bill of the Red Sox after they finished bottom last season. If anything, they're never going to do it again :lol:

Why was I under the impression that they were putting more money into the RedSox than Liverpool then. Maybe I'm just massively behind on my news regarding that side.

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True, although I was under the impression their keeper didn't try to cut it out because the whistle. Still, annoying.

We're not doing so bad overall. Mignolet's composure with crosses and kicks is still pretty bad though - every time I've watched us this season he seems to scuff a clearance and flap at a cross.

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Flannigan's impressed me this half, seems quite confident on the right wing. Still not fully sold on Cissokho on the other hand, he constantly seems to be falling over and looked like he was ready to take a swing at that Arsenal player when he was tackled right on the touchline after already having been shown a yellow card.

Still, no idea how this game is going to end up, it's been really entertaining and open so far, hope we can get something out of it.

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Well, disappointed obviously but there were some good moments and we're clearly still a work in progress.

What was most difficult to watch was us having some really good periods of football and looking the better team, then getting hit with a sucker punch at the other end, twice. It seems to take us a while to find any sort of rhythm again after we concede.

A few players need a bit of self belief, how many times does Henderson find himself in good positions and take a little too long, looking for another option?

I thought Sakho was great.

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Well, disappointed obviously but there were some good moments and we're clearly still a work in progress.

What was most difficult to watch was us having some really good periods of football and looking the better team, then getting hit with a sucker punch at the other end, twice. It seems to take us a while to find any sort of rhythm again after we concede.

A few players need a bit of self belief, how many times does Henderson find himself in good positions and take a little too long, looking for another option?

I thought Sakho was great.

Yeah, Henderson had two very, very good chances. I thought Lucas was poor and while we has some great periods, there were far too many loses of concentration and sloppy passes all over the pitch

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Poor performance today/good Arsenal performance.

I question the logic of picking Flanagan, boy was out of his depth today. Could have played Kelly there, or started with Hendo there who was a better option than him.

Good to have Coutinho back but you could tell he has been away, was a bit rubbish today with his passing and deliveries from corners.

Saying that we had some good chances, just not our day for finishing them sadly. Which makes the loss even more annoying. :(

Hope we bounce back next week.

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We were out passed in midfield today and the chances we did get we did not clinically finish. Take it on the chin & admit we lost to a better team today.

On another point what is up with the boy Sterling?

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Do you mean his constantly assaulting women or his lack of impact on games?

I thought the case was dropped? He has been very quiet this season & must not be impressing BR in training to even get in the team.

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He's been arrested a few times over hitting women I think. In football terms, I think everyone, including me, went a bit too mad over him when he first appeared. He has blistering pace and that made him look amazing, especially when we were struggling for players and weren't getting very good results, but he was definitely used too much last season. His touch any time he's played this year has been terrible, I think he has to put in a lot of work to get in the starting eleven now we've got a team that plays well together.

By all reports Suso has been flourishing in Spain, if we had a bit more squad depth I'd say a loan would have been the best thing for him.

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He's been arrested a few times over hitting women I think. In football terms, I think everyone, including me, went a bit too mad over him when he first appeared. He has blistering pace and that made him look amazing, especially when we were struggling for players and weren't getting very good results, but he was definitely used too much last season. His touch any time he's played this year has been terrible, I think he has to put in a lot of work to get in the starting eleven now we've got a team that plays well together.

By all reports Suso has been flourishing in Spain, if we had a bit more squad depth I'd say a loan would have been the best thing for him.

Not all of us did; I've always said he struggles to have a real impact in games and his touch has been pretty terrible since the turn of the year. I agree a loan would be good though (I think I said as much before the season started), so he is able to find some form and develop his game away from the glare of Anfield.

Anyway, I'm with dogsout on this one - I thought we were terrible on Saturday and outside of the first 10 minutes of each half we were never in the game. The team were completely overrun in midfield, looked constantly nervous against the pace and little flicks in Arsenal's offensive play and were lacking up front. I must confess that I wasn't particularly outraged at the disallowed goal because as soon as the whistle went it looked like the ref was going to book Sagna (which he did), but there's no doubt it could have changed the complexion of the match as I do still think Arsenal look a bit nervy when they concede. Still, a defeat was fair on the balance of play.

I guess, trying really hard to find something positive to say, Suarez just kept on trying and it's good that Rodgers looks to be sticking to the formation whomever the opposition, which shows a belief in it and can only help the players feel more confident in it too.

Sturridge's little sulk when Suarez put wide made me chuckle though because had the roles been reversed there is no way in hell he would have looked to pass it.

Still, what rankles a bit is not so much the result - we've had a terrible record home and away to Arsenal for a long time now - but the performance; Fulham at home on Saturday isn't the worst fixture to try and bounce back with and who knows, it could be back to a 2 point gap come Sunday evening.

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I guess, trying really hard to find something positive to say, Suarez just kept on trying and it's good that Rodgers looks to be sticking to the formation whomever the opposition, which shows a belief in it and can only help the players feel more confident in it too.

I'm aware you were looking for a positive here, but I disagree. He made one glaring change to the formation and that was to switch from 3-4-1-2, to 3-5-2. That might not sound like much of a change to some but I think it was massive on the day. Dropping Henderson back hurt us in a few ways:

1. It nullified our pressing game. It is already poor due to the depth of the team - since switching to 3 at the back, we have gone from trying to win it high and early to cutting off passing lanes from deep. Henderson playing high allows him to put pressure on the ball in an area where it can hurt a team.

2. It meant we had 3 around Ozil (who subsequently had a fairly quiet game) but also meant Ramsey and Arteta had acres to play in.

3. It left a gaping chasm between our midfield and our attack. This made it extremely difficult to play out from the back. That coupled with Arsenal's compact shape meant we got boxed in and forced into errors repeatedly. On top of that, it left the front two completely isolated.

My main gripe with our play since the change to 3 at the back has been the total lack of control in midfield. Employing the formation against teams that play a compact 4-2-3-1 (which is almost everyone) opens the game up. This happens because the wing-backs can bomb on without leaving us short at the back apart from on the wings, which isn't normally a huge problem because of the narrowness of the opposition. Once you take Enrique and Johnson out of that system and replace them with Cissokho and Flanagan, you're in trouble. The space was there against Arsenal, they just didn't have a clue how to exploit it. Unfortunately for us, Arsenal knew exactly how to exploit the space that our wing-backs conceded.

What would be admirable to me, is for Brendan to be true to his word and make the team the star. During the summer, he said he'd set the team up to play to Suarez but he wouldn't do that this season and it would be the team's turn. Well, I don't think that's been the case. As soon as Suarez became available for selection he changed to a system that would allow him to use him in his 'best' position without having to shunt an in-form Sturridge on to the wing. I was intrigued by the change of formation at first but I think I've seen enough now.

First of all, it's extremely reliant on us having good wing-backs available (how surprising!). And second, our defensive line has been so deep, it stops us from being able to play any kind of possession game. What happened to "resting with the ball"? We just sit deep and then counter-attack now. We're basically relying on the front two doing the business every single game because nobody else gets near to scoring. All three centre-backs have looked shaky and unsure of their roles. They don't know whether to press into the gaps being left in midfield, or hold their line.

I've a feeling we're going to see 4-3-1-2 against Fulham, which I'd probably be happier with. But our best team for me is 4-2-3-1, pressing high and staying compact. So we can't play both of our strikers in a pair... so what? One of them probably won't be here this time next season, and we don't owe him anything. I want to see this line-up against Fulham:

----------------Mignolet

---Johnson---Sakho--Agger--Enrique

-------------Gerrard--Allen

------Suarez---Coutinho--Henderson

---------------Sturridge

That front four can play a high-tempo pressing game. Allowing Gerrard and Allen to sit and control the midfield. It also means two players in particular become useful players to have on the bench: Moses and Sterling. There's no room for either one in the current system, whereas they'd both have qualities to offer were we to change it to the above. The main thing for me is get the bloody line pushed up a bit and keep the ball.

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