BBC BLOGS - Phil McNulty

Time for Liverpool to start winning

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Phil McNulty | 08:45 UK time, Monday, 12 November 2012

At Stamford Bridge

Brendan Rodgers insists Liverpool must no longer look in the rear view mirror - but admits the road ahead to restoration may be a long one.

In among the cascade of optimistic messages that have epitomised Rodgers's short time at Anfield, the cold chill of Liverpool's current status came in one statement from the manager after the 1-1 draw at Chelsea.

"The club finished eighth last season. If we can improve on that if would be fantastic for us. That is the reality of where Liverpool is I'm afraid," said Rodgers.

This counts as expectation management on a grand scale. It is a long time since the prospect of finishing seventh would be regarded as "fantastic" at Anfield but Rodgers clearly feels this is the context in which he is working after succeeding sacked Kenny Dalglish.

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Mancini must recognise brutal truth for Man City

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Phil McNulty | 06:56 UK time, Wednesday, 7 November 2012

At Etihad Stadium

When Roberto Mancini's rage against the slow death of Manchester City's Champions League aspirations finally fizzles out, it will be replaced by the recognition of a brutal truth.

Mancini was the flesh and blood embodiment of all the frustration this competition has brought City as he stalked on to the pitch carrying bitter disappointment and a burning sense of injustice at the end of the 2-2 draw with Ajax.

The result leaves the Premier League champions needing to win their final two games at home to Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid and away to Borussia Dortmund, then a few other cards to fall favourably, to avoid a second successive departure at the group phase.

This combination of an imminent exit and a contentious finale led Mancini to boil over for the second time this week as Danish referee Peter Rasmussen and a television cameraman felt the full force of the Italian's fury.

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Lame Arsenal a shadow of Man Utd's former foes

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Phil McNulty | 21:32 UK time, Saturday, 3 November 2012

At Old Trafford

Sir Alex Ferguson was almost wistful as he sounded like a man pining for the dangerous days of flying pizzas in the Old Trafford tunnel.

The meeting between Manchester United and Arsenal was once a fixture to count on if you wanted pure theatre on and off the pitch.

It was a match that decided titles and provoked behaviour, good and downright awful, reflecting those pressures.

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