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sorry michael completely missed your message there in the int'l break. think pogba is well out of reach i'm afraid :) schneiderlin, m'vila, camacho...there are still names out there, despite the huge number who moved in summer. regardless of overall shape (352, 433, etc) if we continue with three in the middle, we need one more for depth. the 1-2 shape in midfield suits us far better and lucas is better in that role than as one of a two IMO, but we'll see if that shape remains once coutinho is back, who obviously thrives being able to remain closer to goal.
other signings depend on what formation we use going forward. if BR intends to stick with present system, we'll need another wingback, preferably just one who can cover on both sides, pereira perhaps or santon. it's a million miles away from the popular opinion, but i think billy jones might also be worth a look or two. also we'll need another forward if we persist with two up top, though it could just be borini coming back from sunderland where he's obviously not going to play any more than if he was here as sub for us.
Hiya Michael, thanks for the message.
On Sturridge, yes, he can be selfish. But there's not a striker on the planet who scores goals who isn't. He's averaging 4-5 shots per game for us in the league, which is far from excessive, about third highest in the league. Importantly though, he's scoring goals from those shots. If he wasn't there'd be more of a case to argue of course but he has around a 17% conversion rate which I think gives him the right to have a shot or two from range, etc.
Important thing is improving his decision-making over when to take on that shot and when to obviously pass. If we had been 1-1 or still 1-0 down against Fulham when he had that 1vs1 with Schwarzer I like to think he'd have squared the ball for Shelvey/Coutinho, but as we were in front he opted to shoot himself. Mistake, but a bit understandable. In the decision-making aspect though, yes, I definitely think B.Rodgers will help him there. I think that's one of Rodgers' strengths. But look at other games, and DS does pass the ball. Henderson's goal vs Newc, for example.
Don't forget (or let others make you forget!) that as well as 10 goals in 13 PL games since joining Liverpool, Sturridge has got three assists as well in that time. For a goalscoring striker that's good - in fact it's only 2 less than Suarez, 1 less than Bale and the same as Defoe and Giroud. and they've had all season playing with their clubs.
To answer your questions.
1) I don't rate Lucas highly because he really isn't a very good player. His tackling is poor. His success ratio is 64 percent overall and 53 percent on first time tackles. That's shocking for a DM at the highest level. His passing is substandard when it comes to anything over 10 yards. With our current lack of creativity in midfield he needs to be either passing the ball more creatively, or winning the ball better to get the team moving forward on a counter attack. Neither of those things happen with him at DM. Sandro and Scottie Parker are both better. Felliani dominated him against Everton. Cattermole got the better of him against Sunderland. There's also Essien and Ramires. Moving down the league really isn't relevant because none of those players would get in a top team. Lucas wouldn't get a game at United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, City or Everton. He shouldn't get getting a game with us. He's a good sub to have, he works hard and he gives his all but he's simply lacking in quality.
2) Blackburn finished runner-up the year before they won it, and then signed Sutton. They went into the season considered joint favourites with United. Cantona's suspension gifted Blackburn that title. If he hadn't got suspended, United would have won the league that year. I think Spurs are clear favourites now because of their midfield and their attack. In both areas they're better than us. Only Suarez would get in that Spurs team from our midfield and attack and I'd include Stevie in that because it's impossible to know how good he's going to be, and Rafa Van Der Vaart is a great player. We need to get at least 2 players in Jan to have a chance. Or we need Spurs to throw it away.
3) 3-1 Liverpool. United are hugely over-rated. Their defence is a bit of a mess and with the crowd behind us, Suarez in form and flappy DeGea trying to deal with Carroll's presence I think we win this one. This is the only game I will be calling for Carroll to start. Downing, Gerrard and Adam need to start in midfield and get crosses and highballs in non-stop. DeGea can't cope.
4) Possibly not til next season but I think he'll play in the Cups this season.
5) Lucas Moura. Steven Gerrard should play there for now, but Lucas Moura is the one I want long term. Mario Gotze would be a close second choice.