A finish above arch-rivals Everton, two domestic cups and a Europa League spot to help give the youth a run out next year will be okay for Kenny. But the Champions League will be the key objective and it is absolutely imperative for Kenny Dalglish that he gets it to secure the additional revenue required to help take the club back into the upper echelons of European football. The period will help provide reflection upon what has been a torrid league season it has been where inconsistency has been rife and the club’s finishing in front of goal has been abysmal.
Living up to the creed set out by the American owners, Kenny was told to buy British, buy young talent and buy players with the potential of a greater sell on value. With the help of Damien Comolli, he assembled a squad that had set about launching an assault on the Champions League spot, whilst harbouring a veiled desire of even pushing on for Championship. This however didn’t commence, on the contrary it appears the club has gone further into the abyss, at least going by league standings.
A war chest of one hundred and ten million pounds has been spent on largely a British contingent of players; many will say the money was spent wastefully. I too was among the large portion of fans dismayed by the acquisition of Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adams. Andy Carroll was not suited to our passing style, Henderson and Charlie Adams were both central midfielders acquired, in spite of us boasting the likes of Alberto Aquilani and Raul Meireles along with Steven Gerrard and Lucas. Stewart Downing is already twenty-seven and a player who serves more as a full-back then a winger in my eyes. An Adam Johnson he is not indeed and the return on the investments have illustrated this with the limited amount of goals and assists between them this season despite the numerous amount of appearances they have made this season.
My view drew the ire of many fans on the website who thought I was simply chatting out of my backside. I felt with good pre-seasons, Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani would thrive this year, not to mention Maxi Rodriguez who with only seven Premier League starts has four goals, more than Henderson and Downing combined. If given the chance and feeling wanted, I feel Aquilani would have stayed as would have Raul Meireles. But knowing you have Charlie Adams and Jordan Henderson as your replacements, one would have felt disheartened and sidelined hence their desires to seek a move elsewhere. Wrongfully so in my opinion considering the talent they possess compared to the players we brought into the club.
I’m not one to boast of my predictions but I feel that I’ve been proved right and this summer will be pivotal in the development of the club. Liverpool has a solid base to start from knowing we have a good defence and keeper. What we require is pace in abundance and a deadly finisher. Perhaps a throwback to the days of Michael Owen, a striker with pace and agility that plays on the shoulders of central defenders and has an eye for goal in the box. Wingers are a must, Dutchman Elias of Hamburg for instance would be ideal. A player that can jink past a full back within a blink of an eye and can score goals, unlike Stewart Downing this season.
Many wishful thinking fans will throw out names such as Eden Hazard and Edison Cavani whereas the die-hard loyalists will call for patience and to stick with our current crop with maybe one or two additions without a complete overhaul. I prefer to take the middle-road and believe a clear out of some players, a promotion of some of the youngsters and a couple of signings could make all the difference to our campaign next year.
In dealing with the youngsters, I clearly believe the club need true impact players. Looking at our bench, we are over-loaded with the likes of Coates, Dirk Kuyt and Jonjo Shelvey, players that are unlikely to rock the proverbial boat so to speak during games when pace and skill can be decisive against tiring legs to pinch a result. Raheem Sterling who came off the bench just a few weeks ago along with Toni Silva are two players who stand out from the youth system. Both play for their international teams at the under-age levels and both possess the required attributes that will shape their careers. In the context of next season, coming on for fifteen or twenty minutes here and there will definitely garner them more experience maybe even the possibility of a first team position if they manage to impress.
With the likes of Joe Cole and Alberto Aquilani returning I would keep them because of the experience they possess and quality they bring. There are talks of off-loading them because of the wages they command and the burden it’s putting on the team’s resources but I feel they possess far more quality than the likes of Charlie Adam’s and Jordan Henderson. With Lucas coming back into the fold next season, I feel Liverpool have more than enough depth in the middle of the park.
What will be crucial for Liverpool are a right-sided winger and a finisher. Ibrahim Affelay has become disenchanted with the limited minutes he has received at Barcelona. I feel at a cut-price he would be happy to move away from the Catalan giants to gain regular football having fallen behind the likes of Telo and Cuenca. He has the pace and skill to not only provide regular assists next season but to chip in with a few goals, something our current “wingers” Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have failed to do on a consistent. A goal scorer in the guise of Walter Lavezzi would perhaps be an ideal position. His goal record in Italy isn’t the best because he has often played the role off of poacher Cavani, but given the chance playing with the likes of Suarez; both will provide and scores goals all day long hopefully forming a deadly partnership. Another position we may need cover for is left-back but this is less of a priority. What do you the fans think we need?