If the result at West Brom was a slap in the face, the extent of the injuries to Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger mutate that slap into a right hook knockout. Not only have we lost our best central defender by far, we have also lost our only stand-in left full-back (bar a recovery from fragile Aurelio) who also happens to be our first choice right back and who’s deputy (Martin Kelly) is still on the injury bulletin.
I do not totally share Dirk Kuyt’s optimism that our seven game run-ins could be seven back-to-back victories which would theoretically propel us into Europe and give some dignity to a season which started on a catastrophic note. I am not being pessimistic, I am just being realistic.
We have four home and three away games left to play. The team above us in the table is Spurs, currently 5th, as its useless aiming any higher. They are five points above us with one game in hand, and that’s the bad news. In our last three games we’ve taken six points while they have taken three, and that’s the good news. We have seven games to play, while they have eight (five home, three away one of which at Anfield) plus an almost useless return leg of the Champions League fixture with Real Madrid. Now I don’t know if the latter is good or bad news.
While the chances of Spurs imploding following what looks likely to be a bruised exit from Champions League football is possible (they do have to face City, Chelsea and the Reds away), as always we just have the do our part and win as many games as possible. Performances on the level of West Ham and Brom caliber are not permissible. Easier said than done? Definitely!
Post May 22nd, whatever our faith will be, we should witness what promises to be a mass exodus of old, and as mass influx of new players leaving and coming to Anfield. I will not dwell on the usual suspects already given the chop by fans and media alike, but will mention the probably high profile departures of players like Aquilani, Joe Cole and what promises to be this summer’s saga: Pepe Reina.
Selling and buying players is not as simple as many are lead to believe, and it’s not always a question of money and how deep your pockets are. We usually hear expressions like ‘transfer kitty’ and ‘war-chest’, but the importance of these is in truth very relative. When we target a player the first thing to look at is whether that player wants to come to us. Second comes the price and/or exit clause and third comes the player’s personal terms (can we afford his demands). When we are selling a player it is a very similar process. It’s more a question of a Club coming for the player and that particular player accepting to go to that Club ecc, ecc.
The players coming in will first and foremost need to have the desire to wear the Liver Bird on their chests and play for one of the most prestigious clubs in the world, yet knowing that we are still a fair distance away from returning to that prestige. It’s the new Liverpool project that needs to be the decisive factor in luring talent to Anfield. FSG, Damian Comolli and Kenny Dalglish need to convince some of the best talent in world football that Liverpool are on the up. Hopefully, that climb will commence come August 2011.