Liverpool: A Legacy Is Forming & We Should Be Excited
The two biggest questions arising from Liverpool’s flurry of transfer activity this summer are thus: ‘Can they manage to do well without Suarez?’ and ‘Can they manage to do well with Balotelli?’
Losing your certified star player is a heavy blow and Suarez, for his myriad and glaring faults, was the main reason Liverpool were close runners-up in the Premier League last season, an unprecedented rise from a modest 7th place the year prior.
A return to the Champions League and higher expectations means that Liverpool could not afford to coast as much as they may have been allowed over the last four or five seasons. The fans and owners feel that real success is around the corner and if last year’s triumphs can’t be matched or bettered Liverpool’s trajectory will be hard to predict.
With £75 million to spend and whatever the club’s US owners were willing to stump up, Liverpool’s critics rubbed their hands with glee and hoped they would ‘do a Spurs’ and pack the squad with new and expensive talent that commands as much familiarity as a meeting of blind amnesiacs; a notion almost fully dispelled by Liverpool’s incidental 0-3 trouncing of Spurs last weekend.
Suarez’ replacement, Mario Balotelli, the Peter Pan of European football, was both a risk and a bargain at a cool £16 million from his boyhood club AC Milan. Though his reputation precedes him everywhere he goes, his talent is undeniable and that cheeky grin is enough to make even the most ardent cynic want to tousle his mohawk. If his performance at Spurs was any indication, he might just be the bargain of the season.
Barring the late trolley dash for the Italian Rapscallion, Liverpool’s dealings were characterised by quick targeting and transfers. While the press fell over themselves to congratulate the Chelsea-Man City funny money duopoly for doing the same thing, Liverpool have slipped under the radar. That might entail a lot less pressure on what is a pivotal season for them.
Emre Can and Lazar Markovic already look to be astute and progressive signings, and the potential for some frighteningly fast and accurate play with the likes of Coutinho, Sterling and Sturridge means Liverpool’s already ludicrously efficient forward line may well go supernova as the season trudges on.
The jury is still out on Liverpool’s most expensive summer signing, Adam Lallana. Purchased for £25 million, with no shortage of thanks to the English Player Premium Algorithm, the ex-Southampton winger is still sidelined with an injury and has yet to make a competitive start for his new club. Southampton’s reluctance to let him depart speaks volumes about his talent and potential.
Speaking of the south coast club, much was made in the press over the ‘exodus’ they had to endure in the close season and Liverpool acted fast to take some of their prized assets. Dejan Lovren is already proving to be a strong, quick, no-nonsense centre half while Ricky Lambert, waved away upon a local-boy-done-good theme, will want to prove he’s no bystander for his hometown team.
Liverpool’s defensive shortcomings proved to be their undoing last year, and the purchase of Lovren combined with the two exciting full-backs Javier Manquillo (which sounds like a type of cheese) and Alberto Moreno means that a lot of fans’ wishes may finally be granted and Glen Johnson is stuffed into a carboard box and shipped to Outer Mongolia.
In the ‘one for the future’ category, 19-year-old Divock Origi was taken from Lille only to be sent back immediately on loan.
Liverpool’s second-most notable outgoing was long-serving ‘keeper and penalty hero Pepe Reina who has taken his leave to Bayern Munich after being unceremoniously dumped by Rodgers to make way for Simon Mignolet. In better news, Sebastian Coates has finally gone, if only on loan to Sunderland. Finally, after a long spell at the club, Daniel Agger has surprisingly returned to Brondby. Let’s hope he accidentally pocketed the magnets that seem to be on Martin Skrtel’s head and his own net when he left for Denmark.
We talked about this being a pivotal season for Liverpool and it is, from the owners down to the manager and players. With Reina and Agger’s departure, Gerrard’s slowing down and the sidelining of Lucas Leiva, Rodgers has now got most of the first team in his own image or transfers.
The fans are excited by the prospect of a legacy being formed. With big nights against Real Madrid due to come, this could be the time for the generations of fans bitter at missing Liverpool’s 70s and 80s heyday.