Archive for April, 2011
This has definitely been one of the strangest seasons I have ever seen. By November 2010, I really couldn’t wait for the season to be over and to look to be able to look to the summer months hoping that they would bring in some new exciting signings to help re build the team. Now, five months later and I don’t want our season to end as we are playing some of the most enjoyable, attacking football I have seen since 2008/2009 season when we finished second.
When Rafa Benitez ended his reign during the summer of 2010 I have to say, I was filled with optimism when Roy Hodgson came in. Now before you slate me for saying this, I was basing this on what I had seen the previous season. I thought that Hodgson had done a great job at Fulham and would hopefully bring some good fortune and fresh players in to Anfield. He had gone into the transfer window and had signed some players who I was excited to see play such as Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic.
How wrong I was. Hodgson’s time at the helm of Anfield was rightfully short lived after the lacklustre performances in the first half of the season. By this point, there was only one man who could step in and save Liverpool Football Club’s season. Every Liverpool fan around the world was crying out for Kenny Dalglish to return as manager in January.
The recent results that we have had such as the destruction of the Manchester teams, the 5-0 thumping of Birmingham and the ever satisfying defeat of Chelsea 1-0 have restored happy times to Liverpool Football Club. The very way the players go about their job’s on the pitch is truly magnificent. We have seen four local lads break through into the first team this year and this is all thanks to the academy and to Kenny Dalglish for giving them the confidence and saying that he believed they could do it. Furthermore, the way Dalglish talks in the post match interviews just shows how much he cares for Liverpool. He constantly refers to how great the result was for ‘the football club’ showing how he is unifying the whole club.
The signings of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in January were a statement of intent from the owners. They are obviously willing to inject the much needed money to invest in new players to help take Liverpool back to the force that we should be. These two fantastic signings we made in January have been immensely pleasing to watch. Suarez has an incredible amount of skill and has set up many goals in the short amount of time he has been here for. Any Carroll showed why he is such a great player against Man City stunning the crowd with two fantastic goals. Also, the way no one can challenge him in the air is a great asset to have in the forward line.
With all this in mind, I am thoroughly looking forward to the final games of the season as unlike in November I am excited for the next game to come along. I can also only hope that the owners are putting together a deal for Dalglish to allow him to remain permanently at Anfield as he has done an amazing job in the time that he has been here. Finally, I am really looking forward to the summer and seeing which players are bought to strengthen our squad.
Last week of April 2012.. where do we see our Reds?
Some of those answers are dicey while some of those answers are cast in stone.
Whether we’d be playing semi-finals of Champions/Europa League is dependent on how we do in the next 4 fixtures (most of me believes that if we win the next 4 we would feature in one of those two competitions).
What’s cast in stone is that we would be right up there in the PL table. We would be not more than one win away from clinching the title. We would have humbled a lot of other so called ‘football teams’ but actually pretenders who think they can upstage us. We would be the team to beat. We would have at least 2 players in the top-5 goal scorers of the season. We would have the best GD. We would have the most expensive team in the league. We would have the most ferocious attack partnership, the fastest bloody wingers, the most creative midfield with the most unbelievable diagonal passes and the most cunning defense. We would not be more than a game or two away from getting back to our f**king perch.
We would be the club that footballers would strive to play for. Terms like ‘qualification for Europe’ would not apply to us. EA Sports would be about to launch their FIFA 13 game with our Reds as the strongest team in their software. We would no more have to bear competing with the likes of Spurs and City. We’d have a close to 100% win record at Anfield.
Europe or no Europe, I personally can’t wait for the next season. Though most of this post is rhetorical, I just want to share my premonitions with all of you so that a year down the line I could proudly claim – ‘I told you so!”. I’d have another couple of inches added to my chest size when I watch the Reds next season sitting in a multiple supporter bar. I’d love to go to a person wearing another shirt and commiserate him ‘Good game, sorry you had to face Liverpool today’. By June 2012, I’d be placing orders on store.liverpoolfc.tv for the new home shirt with golden Premier League patches!!
I have been accused to endorsing Europa League football, but mine was a case of trying to walk before I could run and perhaps of being a tad cautious with my pretentions and expectations. The math says that both Europa as well as Champions League football could be at the end of the tunnel, and there is light, a flicker perhaps, but it is still a light of hope.
Although I personally still feel Europa League football is a good alternative to no European football (if anything to give our rising stars experience) I will try to make some people happy by raising my sights and aim higher…..the target being Champions League football. At the present time there is an obstacle between us and CL football called Manchester City, with a hurdle in between called Tottenham Hotspurs. In this instance, and perhaps for the mere joy or savouring the possibility, we will assume that the Spurs hurdle will not prove to be an insurmountable and that somewhere along the way; the desperation of others will prove to be the catapult we need to land this goal.
Whatever computation is made, the Reds need to keep marching on and win the remaining four games. With two home games and one away, the Reds biggest battle will be the tie with Spurs which holds a conflict of interest. The other three games are against teams sitting in mid table and which have all acquired PL permanence from next season.
Man City on the contrary have another six games to go (seven if your included the FA Cup Final against Stoke City which will have a domino effect on the game before away to Everton and the one after again to Stoke). Their games have a much different predicament to ours! Blackburn (this evening) and West Ham are running the gauntlet and could be sucked down into Championship football, Everton will want to win higher than us, while both Stoke and Bolton will want to finish on a high. Yes, Man City can also go on a winning streak and notch up all 15 points, as the game against Spurs will be nothing short of a lottery.
All considered, it’s really a battle between three Clubs to land the lucrative and prestigious Champions League spot, or the less desired but still commercially important Europa League alternative. Whoever finishes 6th, position in which the Reds find themselves at present, only play domestic football next season.
My moderate optimism here will make many happy, and as I have been saying for the past weeks; until the math says it can be done, there is no reason why we cannot dream on!
Believe! Dreaming is free and dreams can come true!
Hope you all had a great Easter, not much happening yesterday.
Kuyt praises Maxi more…
Tamir Cohen dedicated his goal against Arsenal to his dad Avi more…
Sir Matt Busby’s son is disgusted over the BBC drama ‘United’ more…
(They should be sensitive to the families when they create stuff like this)
Juan Manuel Vargas is being linked again more…
On Twitter @empireofthekop
By Chandraditya Kusuma, Indonesia
The season’s almost over, despite there are many things that could happen in the closing, I could already said that the appearence of Liverpool FC in this season has been wonderful and awful in quite different time. We’ve seen them down in the table during Roy’s managerial time and climbing high during the King’s time. We’ve been let down by the performances of the reds againts smaller sides and their away performances earlier during (sorry but to mention again) Roy’s reign. But very proudly to say we’ve been very great against the other big four and Man City the rising power. The good thing about this season is after free falling down to the lower of the table, now we are rising up, up, and up with the #1 in the rank of “100 Players Who Shook The Kop” as a manager, King Kenny Dalglish.
Seeing this season’s about to close, I’ll review the performances of the redmen and pick some outstanding performers as the player of the season. We may have seen the unspectacular display from the like of Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen and the rise of the local lads like Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing, Flanno, and recently Jack Robinson (Those boys could be one of the highlight of this season) and also the winter fabolous newcomer, Luis Suarez and Andy Carrol. I’ve recognize our player(s) of the year and it is definetely not Konchesky nor Poulsen and sorry but not yet the boys and Luis or Andy. It’s those who have been outstanding this year consistently, those redmen who had put his socks over and over again for the team, and those who inspired the future kop idol. Yes I’m talking about Pepe Reina, Raul Meireles, Lucas Leiva, Dirk Kuyt, and Martin Skrtel. Ps: I really wanted to add Stevie G, but despite playing wonderful as always this season like his display in Napoli and Fulham match, he’s been battling a lot with his injuries. A little bit too much to be in the list.
#1 Pepe Reina
The Spanish who arrived right after the Istanbul triumph may have not enjoy his opener in Anfield this season. He unluckily had to be blamed for the Arsenal’s equalizer last minute goal that denied Liverpool’s win. Than in international match he also had another blunder againts Argentina. Well, those moments are the first and the last flop of Pepe Reina this season. Overall, he’s been wonderful, outstanding, fantastic, and every good words that could describe a player. With Dagger and Carra keep coming in and out the line-up because of the injury and the underperformed replacements Soto Kyrgiakos, Pepe has been wonderfully played for us. He saves the goal over and over again, there are plenty match where I was feel that we could go down to four or five but we didn’t and that’s because Pepe Reina our saviour. He deserves the recognition, to be the number one as Liverpool player of the season.
#2 Raul Meireles
He picked up PFA Fans Player of Year, how could that be possible?. Maybe we’ve heard that questions a lot by those who haven’t watch Liverpool much enough this season. Yes, Raul has been ‘the engine room’ of the team, he steals ball with Lucas, he passes ball with Stevie, and he shoots with the strikers. In times where Gerrards are injured we play not very bad and sometimes pretty good because of him. He’s been plot in many positions this seasons. In the earlier of the season he often starts at the center, and then the right-wing (playing not very good during Roy’s), behind the strikers where he play very great scoring many goals starting in the derby, and lately he played at the left-wing and playing very good too while sometimes running to the center of the field to build attack. For me, his display has been wonderful and obviously the best buy in our team, and #2 in my list :p.
#3 Lucas Leiva
Couple years ago we always heard mock about Lucas Leiva, that Yellow-head Brazillian midfielder who can’t pass, who made flops, and so on. But now, we’ve seen the same men and talked about him in a very different way. The number 21 had been phenomenal this season, some say that he is a best premier league midfielder in the making. He is dominating in the tackling departement, he’s marking and covering skills are growing to be great and now he can pass very-well!. We’ve seen his presence as crucial in some big-matchs, againts Chelsea he fight very well againts their midfielders and againts Man United, he put Scholes and Carrick in a very deep position. Actually not just in those match, but in almost every single match this season.
#4 Dirk Kuyt
Our current top-goalscorer, just beaten Torres last night when he scored againts Birmingham. He’s always been the crowd favorites I guess. A natural striker, but had a new role as a right-midfielder maybe ever since arrive in Melwood. Despite his attacking instinct and technical presence, Kuytergizer never mind to do dirty jobs, he slides and tackles alot, and for that we respect him as a commited player. This season Kuyt have been very consistently playing in the right-wing, forcing tackles, crosses and more importantly he scores many important goal, 3 of the most are scored in his compatriots goal, van der Sar’s.
#5 Martin Skrtel
He mostly acknowledge by his physical presence in the back four. I know he’s not the most talented defender in the world, his not really good in marking, his speed is average even for central defender, and he sometimes make flops. But this year, I see Martin has been working very good on his weaknesss. The miss of injury-prone Agger, Johnson, and Carra has been covered well by him. His presence should be recognize more. He deserves this place.
And that is the list, #YNWA
So what was Liverpool’s real problem under Roy Hodgson? Was it that we were a poor squad with too many players that couldn’t cut it in the Premier League or was it that Liverpool was a club in dire need of a Lucozade bar?
Against Birmingham we were without Daniel Agger, Glen Johnson, Fabio Aurelio, Steven Gerrard and Andy Carroll. These 5 players you could argue would all start if 100% fit. Their replacements? John Flanagan, Jack Robinson, Jay Spearing and Maxi Rodriguez. To me today wasn’t about being the best team (although we were quite comfortably) it was much more to do with how we play when we have that installed belief that we’ll win.
We were constantly being told by journalists, pundits and fans red or not that Liverpool Football Club was in terrible shape with terrible players and needed investment to make sure we wouldn’t move into middle table obscurity. After today’s game and games gone by I’d provide the case against that with confidence we are everything we weren’t suppose to be. ‘Jay Leiva’ were at it again, Lucas played and looked like a captain, tall and proud to be part of the ‘Red Revolution’, almost everything positive started with him or Jay.
I would say though that we need quality in depth but the joy of being able to rely on our youth to come in and do a job equal to their seniors is the most refreshing thing about Kenny’s return. We haven’t panicked, we haven’t played players out of position, Daniel Agger when fit was treated as a commanding centre back, not a second rate left back and Jamie Carragher hasn’t been shipped out to the right side of the defence to compensate for a disfigured back line. The belief around the club is incredible, every decision made by the front of house on the pitch is logical and correct and every move made in the boardroom is considered and productive. We’ve spent far to long having to create excuses as fans about why we haven’t claimed a Premier League title. I now look at our manager, and look at the way we set up each week with belief we can do something. The club hasn’t just reinstalled this belief into the players it’s reinstalled it into me!
I wouldn’t consider myself to be a fan that looks at our situation through red tinted spectacles, I like to be objective and comment on how I truly see it. We’re a club clearly on the rise. We can look at next season with new confidence of a decent campaign. We’ve been told money shall be spent to make improvements where needs be and stadium talk is fresh in the minds of the board. Everything I’ve mentioned is keeping me excited for the next game, for next season. How do you feel about the future of the club?
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