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Five Thoughts for Friday

Sometimes you've got multiple short thoughts, and sometimes you have to put them somewhere. That somewhere is here.

Sometimes you just like to use old pictures because sometimes you think about the ones that got away. :(
Sometimes you just like to use old pictures because sometimes you think about the ones that got away. :(
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

1) Steven Gerrard hasn't yet signed a new contract with Liverpool and the club are giving him all the time he needs. I'm not exactly sure why he needs ample time to consider this decision, as it seems fairly obvious: you stay with Liverpool. The fears/anticipation — depending on which camp you're in, and you might be in both — that the skipper could leave Liverpool for MLS seem particularly unfounded to me. Yes, the league would fall all over itself to sign an ageing Euro star of Gerrard's stature, but as with any other transfer it ultimately comes down to the question of whether or not the player is interested in the move. I'm 100% convinced Gerrard has no interest in picking up and moving across the English Channel let alone an entire ocean. Then again, prior to Episode III: Revenge of the Bite, I thought Luis Suarez was 100% going to stay at Liverpool and wouldn't angle for another transfer, so what do I know.

2) Brendan Rodgers has been rotating his squad to positive effect in the last few matches, allowing fans to unclench their balled fists and return to a world slightly less white-knuckled than the one they occupied for most of November. The question remains as to how committed he is to this rotation, and what that will mean for Mamadou Sakho once he returns to match fitness. The defender returned to training earlier this week, but after spending last year either injured or waiting for Daniel Agger to get injured so he could play, Brendan Rodgers hasn't exactly made previous overtures indicating that Sakho is his number one choice when fit. If Dejan Lovren is still out of favour, surely Sakho should get a chance upon his return, even if Kolo Touré is performing admirably at the moment.

3) Twitter is atwitter with theories that Mario Balotelli will get a five match ban for his ill-considered racist-in-places anti-racism message he posted on Instagram earlier this week. The FA is investigating, which is usually code for something silly taking place at the end of all this, but on the off chance that they do seek some sort of formal punishment for Balotelli's social media actions, do we really think he'll get five games? The FA is… unpredictable when it comes to handing out punishments, but even with that in mind we have to keep in mind other punishments they've doled out. Benoit Assou-Ekotto received a three match ban and a paid a £50,000 fine for congratulating Nicolas Anelka on usage of the "quenelle" gesture made famous in France, whereas Mamadou Sakho got off with a warning having been contrite and properly horrified when the meaning of the gesture had been brought to his attention. Balotelli's actions fall closer to Sakho's rather than Assou-Ekotto's end of the scale when it comes to social media blunders, and I wouldn't be surprised if the FA decide on a stern warning and a fine rather than an outright ban for the striker.

4) Is December simultaneously the best and worst month in the English football? So many fixtures, but also SO MANY FIXTURES! It's the antidote to the off season, and while fatigue can set in for both players and fans alike, can we really complain about it? Remember this month next June when you need an oasis in a desert of hideously stupid transfer rumours that will never pan out.

5) Midway through Brendan Rodgers' first season, he spoke breathlessly about Liverpool's history and, notably, the Liverpool Way™ when it comes to playing football. It was important to him to set about ensuring that the club play the same type of football at all levels, in part to make it easier for young lads to break into the first team after graduating from the Academy, and in part so that the club's footballing philosophy would have been instilled in them for at least five if not ten years by the time they got their senior debut. Much has been said about Rodgers apparently abandoning this footballing philosophy this season in an attempt to be more flexible and actually win some games, but one wonders how that affects the long term development of the club when it comes to integrating the youth that the club are so eager to trot out as shining examples of local boys (and a few transplants) come good.

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