Now that the season is over it is time to review it and try to make some sense of what worked and what went wrong.
We have competed in three trophies this past season, we won one, finished second in another and we were a disaster in the most important one. Finishing 8th in the league is unacceptable for a club like Liverpool F.C.
We did clear a lot of dead wood last summer and reduced the wage bill, the only player we shouldn’t have lost was Raul Meireles. Meireles was promised more money by the previous regime however this current regime wasn’t able to fulfill that promise. Who do we blame for losing Meireles? Kenny? Comolli? The Owners? I quite frankly don’t know, but if someone wants to leave you risk a lot by keeping them. Let us not forget the mysterious case of Aquilani who might return to LFC after AC Milan didn’t play him enough games to automatically sign him. (the Aquilani case requires its own write up so I will not get into it now).
So what went wrong at L.F.C. last season?
First and foremost I think we can all agree that the summer signings didn’t rise to any of our expectation.
Craig Bellamy, without a doubt has been the best signing (or re-signing) from last summer however he has been limited to the number of games he can play due to the ongoing issue with his knee.
Jose Enrique has done a pretty decent job filling in a position for the ever injured Fabio Aurelio. Unfortunately Jose did show a lack of confidence especially when it came to shooting on target.
Stewart Downing, unfortunately has to be a big disappointment and I am sure he will agree himself, the guy has potential and has great skill but his confidence and self-belief keeps coming back to haunt him.
Charlie Adam was another disappointment although in his defence I was starting to see him starting to partner with Lucas pretty well before the Brazilian was injured. Charlie did miss the last few games due to an injury and we were still poor so for sure we can’t blame him for all our disappointing games.
Jordan Henderson has shown some moments of brilliance and at age 21 the young lad has some very good years of football ahead of him. However he will have to work hard to win the Liverpool faithful.
Doni proved to be a decent stand-in for Pepe Reina who I must say had his worst season at L.F.C.
Sebastian Coates another young lad that shows promise. Not many games for Sebastian however he also did manage to score a beauty.
No one can argue that we have missed Lucas Leiva, things were on the up before he got injured. Stevie G. has been terribly missed again, unfortunately it seems that we will not get the old Stevie we knew so he will have to adapt to playing in a different role than he used to.
The Suarez/Evra case:
We got Fergied with this one. I am afraid Taggart really got us here, the whole event was not only a big distraction but we lost Luis Suarez for eight games.
Woodwork & missed penalties:
All our top penalty takers (including Stevie G) missed penalties last season and of course we can’t forget the woodwork, 33 times if I am not mistaken. Yes, we were unlucky however more focus, better confidence and more training would have turned these into goals.
Maxi and Kuyt not playing
Of course the criticism I have also heard has been the case of Maxi and Kuyt. I must admit I would have loved to see both of them play more games last season but we don’t know what happened at Melwood.
My verdict :
So how did Kenny suddenly become a “bad manager” after lifting us up from the doldrums in the second half of the 2010/11 season. How does one wake up one morning and suddenly lose his magic touch? This is the same man who won four league titles as a manager. Of the managers still active only Alex Ferguson has won more top English division titles than Kenny, so how is Kenny that bad?
Yes we have a couple of signings that aren’t exactly stellar but so did Rafa in his first season at LFC, remember Josemi & Nunez? We have paid a lot of money for the players signed by Kenny but in my opinion I don’t think it was Kenny’s fault we got them for that price. My feeling is that Comolli was the one negotiating the prices and that is why he probably got fired.
As far as all the games are concerned it was sure a mixed bag; we lost to Bolton & Swansea, we lost to Fulham and WBA at home, we got hammered by Spurs (4-0) yet we hammered Chelsea (4-1). We beat Manchester City and United in the cups, we even beat Arsenal early in the season. We finished below Everton in the league table yet we beat them three times. The games we have played sure can prove one thing, we can beat anyone but we can also lose to anyone.
On the bright side we have seen young Raheem Sterling make his debut for the first team and I do agree with Kenny’s approach to him on this. Raheem can’t be thrown out to the wolves, he needs to be given time to ease into the first team. Like Raheem we have a few other stars in the Academy so yes the future still looks bright.
And YES Kenny should (and must) be given at least another season to prove that is still the right man to lead us forward.
On Twitter @empireofthekop