We have always been talking about winning the title, every season we fall prays to some silly draws with teams like Stoke, Fulham, West Ham etc. Is there really a ‘missing link’? Or is it just the inexperience that Liverpool players have in fighting for the title? I feel this debate might be true as these players might actually do it.
1) Kyle Naughton (Sheffield United): A hugely impressive prospect at right-back, the youngster has a £7 million price-tag and a host of top-flight suitors. Capable of playing on the left (as shown in the recent play-off final) and on the wing, certainly one worth gambling on. Good competition for Alvaro Arbeloa.
2) Sebastien Bassong (Newcastle United): The Frenchman was hugely impressive during his debut season at Newcastle United and will surely be hot property throughout the transfer period. We’re a centre-half short following Legend Sami’s departure. Unless the likes of Ronald Huth and Mikel San Jose are deemed ready to step up, this type of purchase will be necessary.
3) Alvaro Negredo: Liverpool need a striker; not necessarily another Fernando Torres, but someone who can step up when ‘El Nino’ is unavailable. Rafa hasn’t had a reliable stand-in since Peter Crouch left, so Negredo would be a solid option – provided his situation with Real Madrid is sorted in a neat and tidy manner.
4) Ashley Young (Aston Villa): He’s English, which is a good start. He would repay his transfer fee in set pieces alone, an area in which Liverpool are curiously lacking. More gifted than Albert Riera and much quicker than Yossi Benayoun, the winger would essentially be a direct replacement for Ryan Babel (see ‘OUT’).
1) Paul Anderson: On the fringes and has spent most of his ‘Pool career on loan. A talented youngster, but a permanent move surely awaits.
2) Ryan Babel: Arrived at Anfield in 2007 amid comparisons to Thierry Henry. Two underwhelming years later, the Dutch forward may well leave after struggling for playing time. Still has a hugely promising future, just not under Rafa.
3) Phillip Degen: Due to a series of injuries, the Swiss defender has hardly kicked a ball since signing on a free last year. Perhaps it’s harsh to write him off, but unless Alvaro Arbeloa leaves, young Stephen Darby regresses terribly and Jamie Carragher suffers a terrible injury, it’s hard to see a place for him.
4) Andrea Dossena: With Emiliano Insua impressing whenever Fabio Aurelio had a spell on the sidelines, the Italian left-back was reduced to sub appearances in an attacking role this term. He scored a couple of crackers late on, but with Rafa needing funds, it looks like a return to Serie A is on the cards.
5) Adam Hamill: Much like Anderson, the winger hasn’t had a look-in where the first team is concerned and could wave goodbye to Anfield for good.
6) Charles Itandje: Signed as a stop-gap measure following Jerzy Dudek’s departure two years ago, the Frenchman has failed to impress when given the chance. Hugely unpopular with the Kop following his infamous Hillsborough misstep and should be shipped out.
7) Sebastian Leto: Showed plenty of promise during his brief loan spell in Greece, but ruined it all by throwing a hissy fit that left Olympiakos no option but to turf him. Could yet make the grade.
8) Jermaine Pennant: Was sent on loan to Portsmouth for the back half of the season and isn’t likely to return to Liverpool. Renowned as a lazy trainer and off-field scallywag, his place on the right wing has been well and truly usurped by the irrepressible Dirk Kuyt.
9) Krizstian Nemeth (LOAN): With a new forward likely to come in, this super-talented Hungarian is likely doomed to reserve action. Struggled with injury last term and a good spell in the lower leagues could get him on the right track. A genuine prospect, this one.
This Should Be Our 09-10 Formation:
Arbeloa – Carragher – Skrtel – Aurelio
Mascherano – Alonso
Kuyt – Gerrard(c) – YOUNG
Subs: Cavalieri, Skrtel, Insua, Lucas, Benayoun, Riera, NEGREDO
Plessis, Pacheco, N’Gog, Spearing, BASSONG, NAUGHTON, Gulacsi
PS: Lucas should have a chance.
Ramez El Hajj. Empire Of The Kop. YNWA