Hello fellow Reds! I am Blake Salisbury and I am giving my end of the season assessment as well as a look into the future from Liverpool’s 2009/2010 campaign. A tough season it was as we saw many events that didn’t go our way, beach balls, volcanoes, injuries, lack of finances, etc… we just couldn’t catch a break. The campaign started out with lack luster performances at Tottenham, at home against Villa, and away at Chelsea. Our inconsistency away from Anfield was certainly a reason why we didn’t finish in the top four as we finished with just five wins, six draws, and eight losses dropping twenty four points against teams like Fulham, Sunderland, Portsmouth, and Wigan. Dropping out of the Champions League, FA cup, and the Carling Cup early definitely made this season feel like a complete failure.
Liverpool did finish much stronger then they started as the boys defeated Tottenham at home without Torres and Gerrard, came back to win in each 2nd leg of the Europa League against Lille and a strong Benefica squad, snatching a last minute goal against Aston Villa, and a win against Everton. Losing some tough matches, we dropped big points against Arsenal, a close game against Manchester United, league winners Chelsea, and dropped out of the semi-finals of the Europa league after failing to prevent an away goal it still seemed like a tough season from beginning to end. The worst loss of the season was against Wigan that basically ended our chances of finishing fourth. Our home record was strong with thirteen wins, three draws, and three losses. The home losses were at home was against Arsenal, Chelsea, and Aston Villa. Torres being injured half the time really was the decisive factor for not qualifying for the Champions League. Torres still managed to score an impressive eighteen goals in twenty two appearances as he is the engine to our attacking game. Next season the reliance of Torres should be eased with hints of signings such as Milan Jovanovic being the step in the right direction.
This season did have some impressive showings from a number of new players in the squad. In the January transfer window Rafa picked up Maxi Rodriquez on a free transfer from Atletico Madrid. Maxi started fourteen games had a goal along with three assists, while setting up numerous chances that proved he was valuable to the team. Summer signing Alberto Aquilani came on late in the season with three assists in one game and had great goals against Ateltico Madrid and Portsmouth, his injuries kept him sidelined as he was only able to start nine times in the campaign. Young players such as Pacheco, Robinson, Ayala, El Zhar, etc… all had chances to play when they were subbed in and Pacheco and Ayala certainly have a bright future.
The future of the club is certainly the spark of debate. Who will stay? Who will go? Will there be new investors? Will there be new owners? Will there be a new manager? All of these questions are talked about constantly and no one really knows what will happen. Personally, Rafa Benitez has to stay on for our club to make a quick turnaround. Rafa has always been given the policy of selling to buy and that has crippled his ability to bring in players that can contribute to the team. Many people say he has thrown away millions pounds on signings, but no one mentions the amount of money he has had to sell to even bring in new players. During his Liverpool career, he has spent £228,976,000 on new players, while having to sell £145,100,000 away to receive the money to finance those signings making his total net spending just at £83,876,000. That is an average of £16,600,000 of spending money a year.
That is not enough for anyone to compete with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, and Manchester City, and yet Rafa has been able to give Liverpool a FA Cup, European Cup, a European final appearance, and four out of six top finishes in the premier league. That is a resume which makes him one of the top managers in the world and there is no reason why he shouldn’t be given an opportunity to turn this team around. The selling of top players such as Gerrard, Torres, Mascherano, and Reina have all been discussed in the media, and to be honest it is scary to think about. Our future really depends on the sale of the club, because without new investments current players may look elsewhere to win trophies now that teams spending more money seem to have success. Whatever the case may be this off-season is the most important off-season in Liverpool history.