Gusts of strong wind are consistently moving away the storm clouds from Anfield as the Reds prepare themselves for what should be a season of resurrection. Finishing 7th and not winning any silverware, coupled with the departure of Rafa Benitez spelt doom and gloom for many Liverpool faithful. Barely a couple of months later, there is renewed optimism and belief in what may well the start of an important era for the Reds.
Now we have a new manager, and all our top players with the exception of Benayoun (he might have stayed had Rafa left earlier) and Mascherano (he already wanted out last summer) will stay, with or without CL football. The holding midfield player dilemma should be solved by next week (Christian Poulsen), and it is very likely that the sale of Mascherano to Inter will finance the arrival of a left-back and a striker (as Insua remains on the verge of leaving). The arrivals of Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovich, as well as hot prospect Danny Wilson seem to be inspired signings. Hopefully, we will also see the likes of Dani Pacheco, Martin Kelly, Jay Spearing and Stephen Darby burst into the side. Sammy Lee has stayed and Sami Hyypia will come back once his contract with Leverkusen expires. Roy has brought in a specialized team of sports science people that will have a positive effect on the physical work-rate and fitness of the players, and last but not least, we are all in trepid anticipation of knowing who the new owners will be in the hope that our debts are wiped out (and avoid paying almost Stg 50 million each year in interest that we can spend on transfers) and we can begin with the construction of the new stadium (which will boost the Club’s revenue by millions each year). We need to remember that the sugar-daddy spending era is coming to a close, and the Clubs will be a) not allowed to carry huge debt liabilities and b) allowed only to spend what they are able to generate in profits!
Now the actual playing! Our Europa League counterparts were no match for the Reds, not even a star-depleted formation, but what we did see was a more productive and stable 4-4-2 strategy, couple with players like Jovanovich, Pacheco, Rodriguez and Cole giving their opposition no reference points by constantly shifting their position along all the whole width of the attacking front with incursions into the penalty area coming from all four, with Lucas and Gerrard having their say too. This is going to be a different Liverpool, a totally different Liverpool. I will not commit myself any further, because all our top-of-the-table rivals have not (bar Man Utd) been exactly sitting pretty doing nothing. However I feel confident enough to say that we will most probably enjoy the coming season and that finally ‘at the end of the storm we will see the golden sky’.