By China Acheru
The cycle revolves again from this weekend. The English Premier League season kicks off and once again Liverpool fans will begin to ask themselves the usual questions.
How far can we go? What is even our target for the season? Is it the League trophy? Will it be a mere title chase, top 4 finish or a Cup win?
Then we must ask again, what are our realistic targets? This is where I hope to share my thoughts because some targets are simply not realistic.
For a Liverpool fan of over thirty years, you’d expect my targets to be unrealistic because some of us just do not want to forget our glory years. You wouldn’t blame us, would you?
I became a fan in the Bob Paisley era when we were winning everything that mattered. Then we won Champions League trophies, League titles, FA Cups, just name it and Liverpool was winning it.
Between the Bob Paisley days and now we have seen a side that won it all crumble to one that has not won the League trophy in 20 years.
We have finished 7th, 5th and 8th on the table in succession. We actually went six years without a trophy of any kind before celebrating a League Cup win.
We have also hired a coach most of the fans thought knew nothing about the way the club played and was kicked out by fans’ action and also brought in one who was a legend in his playing days and first stint with the side as manager yet could not take us past 8th on the table.
Now we have a kid who has no experience managing a club like ours, his biggest ever achievement before now being the Swansea manager… Swansea?
That has been the lot of Liverpool in the last thirty something years, but can Brendan take us back to where we belong? Where can he actually take us?
First things first, I do not believe Liverpool will win the league and I’m not holding my breath. I am not even trying to imagine it.
With all the Liverpool optimism I do not see that happening this season.
Now the next thing will be how far up the table we can be by the end of May.
Is top 4 a realistic target? I think it’s something the club should go for?
Do I think it is possible? Yes, everything is possible but let’s put it into proper perspective- to get into top 4 we would have to knock out one of Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea or Arsenal and hope that the likes of Newcastle and Tottenham do not over achieve.
Manchester City seem unstoppable at the moment while it will be unthinkable to even imagine seeing Manchester United finish outside the top 4. If we must get into top 4 it will have to be at the expense of Chelsea and Arsenal.
Chelsea just won the Champions League and FA Cup and they beefed up their squad with the likes of Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and Oscar.
Arsenal managed to sneak into third place last season and have spent money on the likes of Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud while Robin Van Persie just moved to Manchester United and the future of Alex Song lies in the balance.
Can we cash in on the inconsistency surrounding these two London sides and get into top 4? Yes, but we must also get our acts together.
We must also close the gap between ourselves and whoever wins the league.
Last season the winners finished with 83 points and we had just 49 (What a shame); two seasons ago, the winners had 73 points and we had 52. This is not where Liverpool, the Mighty Reds should be.
For a side that finished 8th last term and let go of Dirk Kuyt, Maxi Rodriguez, Craig Bellamy and Fabio Aurellio, bringing in Fabio Borini, Joe Allen and Assaidi does not exactly make us the stuff of champions overnight.
Then the futures of key players like Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger and Andy Carroll must be sorted out.
The team needs to know who the team is early enough to start playing like one.
Yes, Brendan has said he will be bringing in three more players before the close of the window and the rumour mills have them as Nuri Sahin, Clint Dempsey, Tello, Adam Johnson and Theo Walcott but these are just rumuors.
In the Benitez era, Liverpool beat the other members of the Big 4 (Which we were part of then) but failed to beat the smaller sides.
In the Roy Hodgson era, Liverpool lost to every side that managed a shot at our goal (practically).
In the Kenny Dalglish era it was easier for our players to hit the post than actually score and no, we were no longer mentioned as big 4 in the Kenny Dalglish era.
In the Brendan Rogers era, we expect a different brand of football. We want to possess the ball and frustrate our opponents enough with our possession to actually destroy them and then win.
I expect Brendan to slowly tinker the squad until he gets the right mix. I expect the squad to play as well as they did against Gomel at Anfield in most of the games played.
I expect less balls to hit the post and more to actually go in. I expect Borini, Suarez and Carroll (if he stays) to benefit from our passing game but how far can these take us?
Is 4th place too much to ask? I don’t think so.
You Will Never Walk Alone.
Head of Sports
Cool/Wazobia FM, Port Harcourt