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Some Links to Chop Up a Slow Week

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Would have been nice for a midweek fixture, wouldn't it?

Instead we get to stew in the juices of disappointment until the weekend. Joy.

I guess we have to take solace in the fact that swift justice was enacted in the Albert Riera affair, and it looks like the Spanish winger is headed to CSKA Moscow. All that's left is for him to agree to terms and the deal is done. As I mentioned before, there was never going to be any other outcome after news of his statements broke, but it's unfortunate it panned out this way. I still think he's got bundles of talent, but for whatever reason he didn't showcase it at all this season and everything went south.

Less controversial, but Jay Spearing's also off for the rest of the season, heading to Leicester on loan. It's just as well, since Spearing only featured five times this season and has never looked likely to displace Lucas, Aquilani, or Masch in central midfield. This news comes just a day after Robbie Threlfall extended his loan to Bradford City. There's a fair few of Liverpool's younger talent spread out across the Football League, in addition to a few across Europe, so hopefully they're getting the opportunities that have been so tough to come by at Anfield.

And of those who have been getting regular opportunities, at least lately, there seems to be some optimism. Ryan Babel, whose playing time increased after talking to Rafa (and Twitter), has even more playing time on his mind, and there's no reason not to right now. With the departure of Albert Riera, Liverpool have no left-footed wingers, and the combination of Benayoun and Maxi hasn't proven entirely effective playing ahead of the young Dutchman. At least Babel has the pace to give teams a different look, and while that doesn't entirely solve the problem, it diversifies the attacking options. More coherent points made by nate on the same topic here.

The recent play of Steven Gerrard hasn't helped things any, and while Fernando Torres is hitting his goalscoring form, his attitude has made him frustrating to watch. Not a huge surprise, then, that Rafa has called for the both of them to meet expectations. I know the frustration of a failed season has to be wearing on the both of them, and they'll always be the two that will be held most accountable, but they've been increasingly petulant. There's a fine line between playing with passion and being bitchy, and I think they're both toeing it. In one case, you could say it's being scuffed. ZING!

And if you're really stretching for good news, which you sort of have to at this point, Martin Skrtel and Fabio Aurelio might return next month. In the case of the former I don't know that there needs to be any rush---Jamie Carragher and Daniel Agger have been effective in the middle, and the Greek has proved an able back-up. In the case of the later, however, his return couldn't come soon enough. Emiliano Insua has really struggled lately, but without any capable replacements he's been the only option. Aurelio hasn't been the most consistent when he is fit, but a brief spell for Insua would be welcomed.

That does it for today---Sunday nearly broke my brain and my spirit, so for right now I'm trying as much as possible to avoid the elephants in the room. Otherwise the rest of the season is going to be unbearable.