By David Gwilliam (@Gwillmau5)
I will be the first to say that I have been impressed with our pre-season performances so far, especially from the new recruits. I am eagerly looking forward to seeing Firmino and Benteke in Liverpool colours to see just how good they will be.
I am not going to lie, I had heard little to nothing about Firmino prior to our interest and I am now very reluctant to try and analyse a players performance based on “Welcome to Anfield” footage on YouTube as we have been burnt many times before. Those videos made Christian Poulsen look like Mascherano for crying out loud.
I have no doubt in my mind that James Milner will be a huge asset to our midfield. His energy in addition to our new captains will be a pleasantry to watch. What has also been nice to see is a fit Lallana showing that he is not going to make it easy for the Manager to leave him out the team.
It was expected that right fullback was a position that was going to a priority this pre-season with the Manager resorting to playing Emre Can in that position over Glen Johnson who was running down his contract. Let’s hope that young Jon Flanagan can get back fighting fit as he proved he is capable of playing at this level. But, the recruitment of Nathaniel Clyne is a great piece of business and will no doubt be a superb signing. Jordan Ibe has already been talking about how good Clyne is with his pace, power and defending but made special mention to the fact that he is as quick running back into position as he is pushing forward, something Johnson lacked in my opinion.
Young Joe Gomez seems to have become an overnight cult heroe amongst the Anfield Faithful already with his confident and powerful displays throughout pre-season and let’s hope that continues into the season and future. I just don’t want to get too carried away given that we have had past players come in play superb in pre-season such as Iago Aspas, Luis Alberto etc…. However I must add that I am rather optimistic with Gomez, but would like to see just how good Tiago Ilori because after all we did put down around £7 million for him.
This leaves our 2 striker additions in last season’s signing Divock Origi and Danny Ings who have both scored goals. I have been mightily impressed with Danny Ings who has shown pace, intelligence and an ability to finish. I will reserve judgement on Origi yet as I have noticed a bit of clumsiness in his play but that is not my opinion formed on this guy. Fernando Torres was the most clumsiest genius I had witnessed in a Liverpool Shirt.
What we need to now consider is who will be leaving Anfield as with 7 incoming I can imagine the wage bill being considerably high, and certain players will not be happy with bit part roles. The question is, why do we want to leave?
Jose Enrique – Was seen as a rock in his first season but did become somewhat of a liability when he formed a habit of trying to use his obvious strength as appose to simple defending. Injuries, the emergence of Flanagan and the signing of Alberto Moreno have knocked him down the pecking order. Thoughts?
Mario Balotelli – It was a gamble worth taking at the time that unfortunately hasn’t paid off. For some reason I cannot dislike the guy. But 1 premier league goal and 3 in total just isn’t good enough for a £16 million striker. Brendan Rodgers has tried but like most managers, failed to get him to adapt to a style of play other than Mario’s way. Your opinions please?
Fabio Borini – A none starter from the very beginning in my eyes. He was a trusted striker for Brendan Rodgers whilst on loan at Swansea from Chelsea, who seemed to have hit the heights in Italy whilst at Roma. New managers usually opt to bring in players they have worked with before and this prompted the manager to spend 10 big ones on Borini. For all his endeavour he has never really shown any signs of becoming a Liverpool player. Being frank, I would have made him accept the crazy offers from Sunderland and QPR last year as we are likely only to get half that amount now. Agree?
Lucas Leiva – A cult hero and the most frustrating playing in the world as he always seems to pick up a rather lengthy injury at the point when he establishes himself in the team and playing exceptionally well. He is one of the players I was referring to when I suggested that they may not be willing to become a bit part player. Would he be in your starting 11 with a fully fit squad?
Rickie Lambert – Everyone loves a local lad playing for his local team but with the signings made and the fact that he is coming towards the latter part of his playing career I think the opportunity in the Premier League will be the deciding factor for Rickie. He will leave and good luck to him. He will be happy with the opportunity to play and scoring for the team he supports. Anyone disagree?
Joe Allen – A Marmite player. I actually like him and think he does the great job in midfield. Someone who always offers himself for a pass, creates space for others and does the simples things a midfielder should do. But is he really going to get the nod in front on Milner, Henderson, Can and Lucas?
Who else could be open to offers from potential suitors, will any of these players be sold, who knows? But it will be an interesting Season to say the least. Make or Break for Mr Brendan Rodgers?