Looking to next season!

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Looking back on a very mixed season, I’ve decided to take a closer look at just how far Liverpool may be from having a title-challenging team from as early as next season.

This article is not to play “Football Manager” or any such thing, but rather to look at where the squad may need strengthening, as I’m sure we’ve all heard today that the club has signed 15 year old Alex O’Hanlon from St. Kevins Boys Club in Dublin, described as “an excellent full-back, and hopefully he might turn out like Gareth Bale” by St. Kevins club secretary Brendan Bermingham, Alex O’Hanlon turned down the advances of Manchester United and Arsenal, and he’s also spent time with both Real Madrid and Chelsea.

So, what’s needed for next season? Starting at the back; once, and if Pepe Reina stays, we’ll still have the best keeper in the league, with one or both of Péter Gulácsi or Martin Hansen as backup. Other than the wages, there’s no reason for Brad Jones to be stay. If Reina goes however, that will be the biggest hole to fill. So let’s hope Damien Comolli is looking at same-standard options, but mostly, let’s keep our fingers crossed and hope Kenny Dalglish convinces Reina to stay.

In Defense, for all the criticism they received early on this season over form and injuries, we should realistically expect Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Fábio Aurelio and Glen Johnson to be the experienced first choices, along with Martin Kelly, Jack Robinson, Danny Wilson and John Flanagan as the U21 squad regulars. That should leave room for three experienced additions, including at least two specialist left-backs, possibly Newcastle United’s Jose Enrique and Everton’s Leighton Baines, as for centre-backs, maybe Blackburn Rovers teenager Phil Jones or Bolton Wanderers centre-back Gary Cahill could fit the bill.

From the current club players on loan, we can probably expect Paul Konchesky to sign for Nottingham Forest, and probably Stephen Darby to go to Notts County. I think we’ll see Sotirios Kyrgiakos leave too. Has Emiliano Insua improved enough to return is a question for Dalglish!

At Midfield, the experienced first choices will be Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles, Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing and Maxi Rodriguez, with Jonjo Shelvy being the only sure U21 squad regular. The center therefore seems stocked, whether well-stocked or not is another question. Christian Poulsen will probably go, along with Joe Cole.

There is an obvious absence of experienced wide players, so that has to be the priority, with names such as Aston Villa’s Ashley Young or Stewart Downing, Manchester City’s Adam Johnson, Wigan Athletics Charles N’Zogbia or even Blackpool’s Charlie Adam in the fray. While I may be in the minority, I still have hope for Joe Cole to come good, and the club still owns Alberto Aquilani, who I would not be averse to having back, but then Dalglish may have other ideas.

There should also be room for a couple of other U21’s to get regular squad time in the Cup competitions. This is the most promising area, with the likes of Raheem Sterling, Suso, Conor Coady, Thomas Ince and David Amoo all possibilities, along with high priced options like Lille’s Eden Hazard.

Up front is where the Club is probably most comfortable for the first time in a long time. Andy Carroll, Luis Suárez and Dirk Kuyt as the three main forward options, with Daniel Pacheco as U21 cover. Pacheco had excellent couple of months with Norwich City, and many of us hope that it’s with a view to bringing him back for next season, rather than selling him. As a strong proponent for Dalglish’s return since last year, I’ll not criticize anything he does this season, but Pacheco’s lack of any game-time while he was here was very confusing. Nathan Eccleston is another U21 option, but David N’gog will be 22 going into next season and it may be in his and the club’s best interest if he went somewhere he can get regular game time.

So, that’s about half a dozen new players needed; not a major overhaul, but the club needs to make smart purchases, even if there is more money to be spent this time.



  1. This is awful. I don’t know where to begin taking issue with this nonsense. Fail.

  2. we need a top centre half, a top winger and a top proven goalscorer. our little genius raheem stirling will be ready soon and gerrard agger and kelly back – bring it on.

  3. The only thing that should concern any of us is Aston Villa, that who we play next and all we need to worry about.

    Yours sincerely

    Sir Bob Paisley

  4. Referees H. Webb and M. Atkinson are both god refs. And also 100 % anti-Liverpool!
    They have been hurting LFC tremendously for a very long time by interpreting the rules harshly against LFC, which is unlawful according to the rules of fairness!

    Yesterday (15 May 2011) Webb did this in the 0-2 defeat to Spurs:

    9 minute: goal – possible freekick to LFC?
    26 min. : P. Crouch acting, gets a freekick – destroyng a LFC pressure
    28min. : LFC contra L Suarez kicked from behind but no freekick no yellow card
    29 min. : Rose clearly commits penalty against Kuyt – not given
    45 min. : P. Crouch commits freekick against L. Leiva – results in a chance for Spurs


    46 min. : S. Pienaar should have been booked for a freekick against D. Kuyt
    47 min. : P. Crouch commits freekick but not given – results in a chance to Spurs
    54 min. : SCANDAL: Flanagans lawful shoulder tackle gives Spurs a penalty – outside of box!
    77 min. : Danish commentator: ” Webb has had many fifty-fifty decisions against Liverpool”
    83 min. : D. Kuyt`s acting gets LFC wrong freekick, danish commentator:”you could say LFC
    has had such a freekick in coming”

  5. For us to having a title-challenging team from as early as next season, we need to do much much better –
    1.Reina has already stated he is staying, so why you brought this up beats the hell out of me.
    2.We don’t actually know how much money there is for Kenny to play with, all this 50m, 100m is pure speculation..your guess is as good as mine here.
    3.We need better defence than Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Jamie Carragher, Fábio Aurelio and Glen Johnson, certainly better than Insua!!
    4.We need quality..real QUALITY in midfield someone in the mould of Viera in his prime to kick start our dominance…if we are going to have one.We CANNOT do with mediocre standard midfielders.(Steven Gerrard, Raul Meireles, Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing and Maxi Rodriguez, with Jonjo Shelvy) don’t fit the bill!
    5. Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Adam Johnson,Charles N’Zogbia,Charlie Adam have always been midtable team players or even worse ….some time or the other fighting for relegation…mediocre or worse standard!!!we need better quality to be honest!
    6.Eden Hazard is not coming to be a squad player as you have suggested infact its not even certain that he will come to be the guranteed 1st team player. UNLESS we pay top MONEY.
    7.I do agree with you though that Suarez and Kuyt are fantastic partners and we need to keep Andy Caroll away from them though.

  6. cant agree or even bare to read this at all sorry, Just for your basic lack of knowledge. your listing charlie adam, raheem sterling and aquilani as wingers, Dani Pacheco went out on loan which would explain why he didnt play much under daglish and this deals with squad numbers as opposed to squad quality.

    Not impressed sorry

  7. I think that we need Leighton Baines, Eden Hazard and Aldo De Nigris and this should be the line-up:
    ————-Pepe Reina————–

  8. Firstly as has been stated Pepe is staying and has stated that so wise up. Secondly why do we need 2 left backs? You include Fabio Aurelio in your list along with Johnson, Kelly, Agger, Flanagan and Robinson so there’s 6 who’ve played left back for us, albeit that in some cases it’s been a stop gap scenario. I’m personally very happy with Johnson, Flanagan and Robinson at LB but reality tells us we’ll probably recruit a left back but not 2. If we are going to recruit 2 players anywhere in the backline it’s centre defence I notice you mention Jones and Cahill who are both reportedly being chased by CL clubs and ignore Dann and Vertonghen who we’ve been linked with. In midfield we need quality, why does Maxi suddenly become an automatic player to stay on the back of 3 games? How about the previous 30? We need quality wide players yet you fail to mention Mata or Hazard whowe’ve been linked with. I have extreme doubts if Pacheco will stay, 1-0 down to Braga Kenny throws Ngog and Spearing on instead of Pacheco, that told me a lot about Kenny’s view on the lad. So in an ideal world I’d take a left back, a centre half (there’s an arguement for 2), a holder, a playmaker, 2 wingers, a striker and a partridge in a pear tree! As Tonio says there is to much fantasy going on so what will we buy? A left back, a centre back, 2 wingers and a striker would be my guess but and this is the beauty of the current LFC I nor you have a clue what Kenny will do and if we don’t how do the journos? I expect it’ll be an interesting summer.

  9. Sorry but i found NO quality in this article at all. You speak as though we know nothing about football…everything u said has been said before, and has been said on this blog as well. Pepe Reina is staying? Really??? Did you just hear of this news or what?

  10. People always focus on who to buy but building a winning squad is as much about who to move on. Kenny should have a clear idea of who adds nothing/little to the squad and I hope DC is working his socks off to find them new homes. Once this has been done there will be room for the younger players to break into the first team squad and for 2 or 3 new quality players to take us forward.

    We also need to remember Rome was not built in a day. Getting LFC back where it belongs will take time and patience. Buying players whilst important is only part (10-15%?) of this process.

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