Last Sunday, Liverpool took to Anfield for the first time in the 2012/13 Barclays Premier League season to take on the current champions, Manchester City.
The game finished 2-2, with Liverpool gaining the lead twice before Martin Skrtel made an unfortunate error to give Carlos Tevez the ball in front of Pepe Reina, with the Argentinian rounding the goalkeeper to give City a point they arguably did not deserve.
Liverpool were a marked improvement on the side that so often disappointed at home the season before. Joe Allen bossed the midfield with accurate, intelligent passing. Glen Johnson and Martin Kelly bombarded up the flanks. Raheem Sterling gave Kolo Toure a day to forget with his speed and skill, while Luis Suarez grabbed his first league goal of the season with a superb free kick.
Liverpool pressed, pushed and harried Manchester City, not allowing the Champions to play their fluent, attacking brand of football, whilst on the ball they conserved possession wonderfully with intricate, clever link up play. Lucas Leiva, a man whose unfortunate injury last season greatly harmed Liverpool’s quest for a top four spot, was pulled off with a thigh problem. Yet Jonjo Shelvey came in to fill the spot left by the Brazilian and was superb, with Jordan Henderson and Nuri Sahin waiting in the wings.
Hours of anger and thoughts of what might have been followed the conclusion of the game, but by the time Monday came around, a renewed sense of optimism that had come with the initial appointment of Brendan Rodgers had once again burrowed its place in the minds of Liverpool fans.
And now, just a week later, the same fans feel nothing but disappointment at the summer’s transfer dealings and dread at what horrors another season without a goalscorer might hold.
What has changed?
Andy Carroll, a player who managed 58 games, 11 goals and possibly less than 10 performances to the standard of what he so often showcased at Newcastle, has gone on loan to West Ham, where doubtless the taunts of “Carthorse” and “Donkey” will dissipate into nothingness to be replaced by compliments towards his success playing for a team that plays so well to his strengths. Meanwhile, his success is likely to be confused with improvement and an ability to play in Brendan Rodgers system, which of course, he does not have.
This is no criticism of Andy, just a simple truth that his skills and strengths do not suit the philosophy and tactics exhibited and preferred by the current Liverpool manager.
Meanwhile Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing and Nathan Eccleston, each offering nothing but mediocrity in recent performances at Liverpool have departed.
Deadline day is over.
Before it Liverpool were enshrined in positivity, now, their fans rage and fume on the internet.
To put it simply, Clint Dempsey was MEANT to sign on deadline day. Throughout the entire summer, Dempsey had been a target for Rodgers and Liverpool, with an enquiry submitted early into the manager’s reign. Yet when the deadline came, the American had not signed for the Reds, but for Tottenham, who stole Gylfi Sigurdsson out from the Anfield car park earlier on in the window.
Why he did not, we cannot know. The knowledge we have is that Liverpool refused to increase their bid to the required amount and thus lost their chance, with Spurs able to stump up just a small part of the cash they had received from the sales of Modric and Van Der Vaart.
But is the reaction of anguish and disgust necessary?
Death threats have been sent to owners FSG via Twitter. Not only is this vile and uncalled for, it also does not make sense.
Some Liverpool fans have shown themselves to have incredibly short memories. When Fenway Sports Group and its principle owners John Henry and Tom Werner took over Liverpool in October 2010, they saved a club from tyranny and debt left upon it by less likeable Americans, Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
Ousting Roy Hodgson, inarguably the worst Liverpool manager in the Premier League era, and reuniting King Kenny Dalglish with his beloved club, was the next step. Over £100 million invested in players to relaunch Liverpool’s champions league dream came next.
And after all that, they are chastised for not signing Clint Dempsey.
2011’s stunning transfer spree was FSG’s big hit, their display of power and statement of intent and belief in Liverpool Football Club.
Unfortunately, it was wasted.
Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson may well yet become wonderful Liverpool players, particularly the latter, but there is no questioning that the price paid for each of them was vastly too great, whilst the extortionate fee paid to bring Andy Carroll to Anfield has already been dissected and demolished for its inexcusably irresponsible use of £35 million.
Slaughtered by the press for their signings, Liverpool finished eighth despite the massive investment placed in the squad.
And after such reckless and ambitious spending last summer backfired, FSG can surely be forgiven for showing some restraint in the transfer market this time around.
Nevertheless, due to the reaction from the fans and the obvious lack of forwards now in the squad, Liverpool now have until January to find a target, and make sure they bring him in to provide back-up for Fabio Borini and Luis Suarez.
But until then, Liverpool will have to manage. And manage they will.
A strong defence remains, while Liverpool’s signings have been astute and may give them the most talented midfield in the country.
Meanwhile Raheem Sterling has shown incredible promise for such a young man, and Luis Suarez remains an incredible talent capable of changing any game, even if his finishing can be wayward.
Their expected first team until then will be: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Enrique, Sahin, Allen, Gerrard, Suarez, Borini, Sterling.
It’s the same team that stopped the league champions from playing their own game at Anfield last week, but with the addition of Nuri Sahin from Real Madrid and the return of Daniel Agger from suspension.
And that’s encouraging, Dempsey or not.