Such is being a Pool supporter these days that even the emphatic victories, ones that would have you bouncing around for at least at least a few hours if not the whole day, come with a caveat. While it's certainly better than most of what we've been seeing, just what do you make of a win when there is no opponent?
Let's say this: when Villa saw there would be no Carragher, Gerrard, or Torres, they must have fancied their chances a little bit. Or maybe they were just cold. So we can at least bask in that the Reds were able to swat away a struggling side without their spine. That's twice in a row at Anfield, which is encouraging. And there have been more good performances lately than bad, as Spurs was just a bad result from idiocy from a certain left back. So we'll take it.
-The one prediction I've gotten right in basically two years blogging for SB Nation on a variety of things is that Raul Meireles would show much more at his natural center of midfield position once Gerrard got hurt. He has done that. He's clever, his passing spot on, and his free kick delivery is on par if not better than Gerrard's.
-But Hodgson will have to decide if he wants to stick with this 4-4-2, and if he does who's going to get the shaft out of Lucas, Kuyt, and Meireles. Raul is clearly not a fit on the right side, but Lucas's form makes him pretty undroppable. Kuyt will always have coaches tongues attached to his ass, and he doesn't hurt anybody for certain. Honestly, it would take a manager with much bigger balls than Hodgson but I honestly think it's worth a pop to have Meireles and Lucas in the middle with Gerrard having a free role "from" the right. Not "on" the right. Maybe he doesn't quite have the legs any more to make that work as he did in 2006. Or maybe he'll be slotted in between Torres and the Meireles/Lucas axis, which makes the most sense. Wait and see.
-Maxi Rodriguez continues to be useful, and I continue to be stunned.
-Paul Konchesky didn't fall down or boot the ball into his own net or make me punch something. Consider that a win.
-Glenn Johnson got beaten for pace by Stewart Downing once, and that really can't happen. Still quite lively going forward though. But when the big opponents come, I'd rather see Martin Kelly out there.
-Hard to judge our center backs, not facing any attack at all.
-Yep, now this is where Ryan Babel and David Ngog disappear for about a month.