Liverpool End Of Season Review: Lies Exposed, Thatcher Goes And Steady Progress On The Pitch...
The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?
Not been many of them, unfortunately. It has been a season of steady, unspectacular progress with few real highs. I’d say the 6-0 drubbing away at Newcastle. Suarez had just been handed his ten match ban and we had little to play for, yet we put in a brilliant performance, with Coutinho and Sturridge looking absolutely top class. Our attacking player has been transformed by the arrival of those two in January, and gives us great hope going in to next season if we can keep hold of the maniacal Uruguayan.
The season ticket shredding moment?
Not so much a season ticket shredding moment, but the most disappointing result was definitely the home defeat to Manchester United back in September. The findings of the Hillsborough Independent Panel had been released in the week prior to the game, and it was a poignant day at Anfield. We completely outplayed United, and took the lead early in the second half through Gerrard. Rafael equalised about ten minutes later, then we missed a few chances, Suarez had a contentious penalty appeal waved away, and then late on they were awarded the softest penalty of the season, which Van Persie converted. Absolutely sickening, probably more so because of how emotional everyone was due to the occasion, but I remember it took days to get over that defeat, which is unusual for me.
Moment that just about summed it all up?
Throwing away leads away to both Arsenal and Manchester City within the space of a week. In both games we were the better side, but we lacked the resolve that the top teams have and ended up coming away with two points from those games instead of the six that our play deserved. At times we’ve outplayed the best teams in the country, but ultimately that counts for nothing unless you can performances into points. Definitely a case of so close yet so far, which might as well replace you’ll never walk alone as Liverpool’s motto.
Got the right manager?
I think so, yeah. Sure, he may love the sound of his own voice and give opposition fans an endless stream of embarrassing quotes with his propensity for middle management spiel, but Brendan Rodgers comes across as an honest, determined, hard-working fella, and I really want him to succeed. For the most part we play good football, we scored plenty of goals this season once we got the attacking reinforcements that we sorely lacked, and the development of the younger players has been really promising. I do question has ability to spot a player, though, and his desire to bring Ashley Williams to Liverpool has me worried, but with this new transfer committee approach, hopefully we’ll have success like we did in the January transfer window rather than last summer’s.
Player of the season?
Luis Suarez, who else? He should’ve won the PFA Awards as he has been the best player in the country this season – and the most consistent of all the nominees - but since when have footballing awards been given on merit? Again, honourable mentions to Coutinho and Sturridge, who would have run him close had they been here all season.
What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?
Not much, really. Our main problem is that we’re mentally and physically soft, which needs addressing in the summer - and that can only be remedied by signing the right types of player to complement what we already have. We do look defensively frail at times, and I attribute a lot of that down to the lack of physicality in the side, as well as accepting that some of it us to do with the tactical set up of the game with the full backs constantly getting forward to provide width. Two dominating centre-backs and a physical holding midfielder should really solidify the spine of the team and give us the platform to let the skilful players work their magic in the opposition half.
Which player would you like to sign?
With Carra retiring, and Skrtel and Coates looking likely to leave, we could need up to three new centre-backs depending on whether Rodgers sees Kelly or Wisdom playing through the middle. Kolo Toure looks a goer, but I can’t remember seeing him play at any time in the past two years so have no idea what sort of shape he’s in. If he’s anything close to the player he was at Arsenal then it’s a no brainer on a bosman, and he brings experience and leadership that we lack in defence. I like the interest in Toby Alderweireld and Kyriakos Papadapoulos; they are the calibre of player we should be trying to sign. If we could sign one of them that would be terrific, to get them both would be unreal. We could do with a physical holding midfielder; someone in the mould of Etienne Capoue at Toulouse, but hopefully the scouting department can unearth a bargain from somewhere like Diame or Tiote. An extra ‘offensive’ player – someone who can play in any of three front roles, or maybe as an advanced midfielder – would be marvellous. I doubt we’ll get Eriksen, but someone like Josip Ilicic, Patrick Herrmann or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang would give us quality options in attack. Now I’m just being greedy, aren’t I?
Our aforementioned inability to hold on to leads against the sides above us; we’ve thrown away leads to Manchester United, Everton, Manchester City (twice) and Arsenal. Had we won even two of those games, who knows what we might have achieved? Also, not signing another attacking player before the summer transfer window shut effectively killed off our season. Nice one for that, FSG.
If I ever don’t answer this question with John Terry, you have the right to sleep with my wife. Not that I have a wife. Or a missus. God, I’m all alone.
Scouse pie, la. Not that you should get a pie inside the ground, like. Go the Jia Lun opposite the garage outside the ground and get fishcake, chips and curry. Sort your hangover from Friday’s debauchery right out, that. Or it would if we ever played a 3pm kick-off on a Saturday any more.
Our repertoire of songs has taken a blow with the departure of some cult heroes over the past year or two, as well as the untimely passing of Lady Thatcher. The almost hymnal rendition of You’ll Never Walk Alone as the QPR game ended and the curtain was close on Carra’s career was immense, though.
Player’s tweet of the season?
I don’t follow many of our players, but Suso’s one calling José Enrique gay for having his teeth whitened was absolutely hilarious, and the FA predictably went completely over the top and fined him ten grand for it. Gobsh*tes.
Best laugh you had all season?
The Thatcher related capers after she finally popped her clogs the other month. Just a shame she didn’t live long enough to see justice finally served and all those involved in the Hillsborough cover up held to account for their actions.
How do you plan to get through the summer without football?
I can’t wait for the break, to be honest. Absolutely sick of the headlines being dominated by scandals and off-the-ball incidents, so I welcome the silly season and ridiculous transfer rumours. Have Sky started advertising Jim White and transfer deadline day yet?