All Liverpool fans will look back at the 2011/12 season with mixed feelings. While Kenny seems content with what was achieved when he stated that “it was not a bad season”, adding more recently that “the transfer market always brings up surprises but what the surprises are going to be I can’t help you because I’m not clairvoyant. But what I can say is that we are not actively looking to move anyone out”, meaning that he is ultimately happy with the squad he helped forge last summer.
Recent events seem to portray a slightly different view coming from the ownership! Fenway Sports Group have shown their dismay by cracking the whip three times in the space of a few weeks, the highest profile casualty being Damien Comolli followed by Peter Brukner (Head of Sports Science), and more recently Ian Cotton, who was Director of Communications and had been with the Club for over 15 years! There persons which held very important posts. Whether the whip cracking will continue remains to be seen but there is no doubt that when heads start to roll it means that things are not right, if anything in the minds of those holding the whip!
Let’s face it: we won a domestic cup winning on penalties against a Championship side, which produced another piece of silverware for the cabinet and got us back into European football ‘through the back door’. Mind you, we ALL aspired for Champions League football. We all hoped last summer’s overhaul would give us the right impetus to get back amongst the Premier League’s elite, but it was not to be.
Question is: if we were so average at best this season, what’s going to happen next season when we will have to add Europa League football in the equation?
Our biggest flaw, in a nutshell, was our alarming inconsistency, made more evident by our inherent inability to convert the massive amount of chances. We imprecated luck because we hit the woodwork so many times, but then we were also ridiculously clumsy with all the penalties that came our way (Carling Cup final included) and which we so frustratingly did not convert.
The fact that we were ‘just not throwing it in the net’ was immediately evident and it was mind boggling to see that the Club did nothing to rectify the issue in the January window! Things went from bad to worse and post January we endured our worst league run in decades!
Kenny seems to be ‘safe’ from the whip, but the availability of the likes of Benitez, Capello and more recently Guardiola might be haunting his thoughts in the back of his mind. If Kenny is convinced that he has what it takes to move the Club forward the majority of fans would want him to stay, but if that is not the case then most of us would find it more elegant for him to make the first move because as much as this Club has unparalleled history and consideration, the owners see all this as an investment and as much as they might accept a slow progression, I am sure they will not accept any backward movement.
The question now is: have we remained stable, moved forward, or gone backward? We ALL know that the net spend on players has not been what the media proclaims it to be. In that respect, Fenway have been shrewd and balanced the expenditure with cunning. We have been very disappointing in the Premier League, but we have added silverware and we are back in Europe, so as much as we expected better, we have in fact, progressed, crawling at times, but progress we did!
Liverpool Football Club remains a dream club to play for, and will always attract top players, even though we need to come to terms with the fact that top players will want CL football. The Reds are already linked with a plethora of budding and established starts, and there are rumours that some players will effectively leave. Kenny said only Fabio Aurelio is on the way out but we all saw Maxi waving at Anfield. I suspect a few others will follow suit. My take on this is that a few players will opt to leave, and some will definitely be shipped out on loan, which would only mean that we will see new faces. With Europa League football on the cards, we need to add depth, quality and options, across the board!
Crack the whip Mr Henry!
p.s. Written before final defeat to Swansea this afternoon…….!