"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."
Sadly, Liverpool and Roy Hodgson have not learned this lesson, and whatever momentum was gained from wins over Napoli and Chelsea is now firmly lost. I will give Roy credit for this: I never opened up a wound on my hand during a post game tantrum during the Benitez era. So congrats on that. Let's review the movie that kept rolling, even though the story is getting old now.
-Once again, Liverpool were far too deep, and basically let Stoke have the ball wherever they wanted it. They didn't press, the didn't harry, they didn't....do! While Stoke were always going to come out of their cage at home slobbering for blood, letting them gain not one or two but like six footholds wasn't going to help any body. Liverpool's attack consisted of hoofing it out of their own penalty area hopefully in the same zip code as Torres, which rarely happened.
-Hodgson made only one change to a side that was clearly tired on Wednesday. Maybe Babel wasn't ready to start a match, and I can only assume Dani Pacheco is dead. If Nathan Eccelestone is good enough to be a regular sub, then he's good enough to take a spot start (though I don't know either of these to be true).
-Every game, Hodgson has to sub Meireles out to bring on a genuine wide player? Why? BECAUSE MEIRELES ISN'T A WIDE PLAYER! Don't get me wrong, I think Meireles can be a very useful player, when he's in his natural central position. When shunted out wide, he keeps trying to get back to his natural, central position. This leaves Liverpool with no width, because...
-Both fullbacks can only advance about 15 yards into the opposing half before their shock collars go off. Speaking of which...
-...Paul Konchesky is the suckiest suck who ever sucked. Sorry, have to call them like I see them.
-So, if Hodgson has to make that sub every game, shouldn't he be clued in to the fact that it's probably not working from the start?
-Ryan Babel cuts in from the left and blasts. One out of every 36 times it's on target. The other 35 combine to miss by seven miles.
-David Ngog has been at Liverpool for three seasons. Has anyone told him they have a gym at Melwood? The dude gets knocked off the ball by a defender merely verbally suggesting he'd like to take it.
-There was a time when Martin Skirtel made me think he'd be pretty good one day. But it's clear now he only thrives when partnered with someone in top form. When Carragher got dodgy last season, so did Skrtel. When paired with the adventure that is Menelaus, he's even worse. It's clear his confidence is shot.
You can write this wrap for basically every game we play. I absolutely abhor hitting the panic button, but there's a lot at stake here. It's clear the top players have no faith in Roy. You can tell by their play, and though I think most transfer rumors are conjured up in a newspaper office by a guy with kebab stains on his dress shirt, there's enough smoke to think there's a fire. So it's unlikely that these players are suddenly going to believe in everything and turn this around under this regime. Secondly, as crazy as it sounds, with the League as competitive as it's been in years, the race for 4th is not over. Yes, they have six teams to leap, but the season is only a third gone and the gap six points. So much can happen. If Liverpool don't want to have to start from scratch -- because if they don't finish fourth Torres, Reina, possibly Johnson, possibly Gerrard, possibly a host of others will be headed to the exits -- they have to do everything they can to finish there. Is that going to happen like this?
No. No it will not.