Liverpool's pre-season has been shaky to say the least, but if Downing and Carroll gel and Suarez continues apace, fourth place should be achievable...
Pre season: Good, bad or ugly?
Even if we batter Valencia at Anfield tomorrow, it’s been as ugly as Dirk Kuyt after an accident involving a chainsaw dipped in face eating acid wielded by a naked, engorged, Kyrgiakos. 15 goals conceded with consecutive 3-0 losses to Hull and Galatasary is not ideal, and has further highlighted the need for a quality left-back and a dominant centre-half. Saying that, it’s pre-season, Downing has looked good, Carroll has scored and all that matters is the Sunderland game.
Hopes for the season:
As much as try and root myself in stark reality, it’s hard not to, usually when sat on the bog, dream about taking maximum points from the first ten games by playing powerful attacking football with Downing and Carroll forming a fearsome partnership and Suarez running amok. All I really hope for, though, is that we finish in the top four and play reasonably attractive, effective, football.
Fears for the season:
Carroll will fail to develop, Downing will snap his knee in three places, Suarez and Lucas will take too long to recover from the Copa America, Henderson and Adam will be massive failures and the knives will come out for Kenny on Fleet Street. That and Arsenal won’t be as bad as we think they are. We have to kick them when they are down.
Absolute bare minimum you’ll accept
Fourth, it has to be. To continue the development of the squad and club we have to be back in the Champions League. John Henry has said the same himself, and if he splashes out on two more players then he has every right to believe we should be able to steal ahead of Arsenal and Spurs and attempt to get closer to United and Chelsea.
Fixture you’re most looking forward to?
Manchester United, October 15. They are the barometer at the moment and it will be interesting to see how we match up. I’m fairly confident we can overrun them in the centre but worry massively that, if the full-back situation isn’t sorted, they could tear us apart down the flanks.
Got the right manager?
Not only the right manager but probably the only one who could’ve come in and reversed the mood so quickly. While disappointed we haven’t signed an electrifying South America winger / playmaker like Diego or Lamela, I understand that Kenny wants to hit the ground running with players accustomed to the Premier League. The jury may be slightly out, but with Steve Clarke’s experience I think we’re in very capable hands.
By Christmas you’ll be…
In the mix, preferably in a dog fight with City, United and Chelsea at the top with a nice gap opening up below us.
Joe Cole is never going to play off the main striker now that Suarez is here and he is neither quick not penetrating enough to do damage from the flanks
Player you’d most like to sign?
Loads, all at the same time, in a massive splurge next week that shocks everyone. I’m not sure Enrique is the answer at left-back as he’s too attacking, but he’s probably the best option to fit in straight away. I’d love Xherdan Shaqiri, but in reality we need to sign Gary Cahill, fast. Carra can’t go on forever, Agger can’t stay fit and Skrtel is injured.
Which player should we look out for?
El Pistolero, Luis Suarez. If he isn’t knackered from his exertion at the Copa America then I expect him to hit the ground running. I don’t think he’ll score 20+ but he will make us tick. His ball retention is good, he skins players with ease, loves a scrap and can score from anywhere. He is the key.
Which player would you love to ditch?
Joe Cole, if for no other reason that to get him off the wage bill. He’s never going to play off the main striker now that Suarez is here and he is neither quick not penetrating enough to do damage from the flanks. Nothing against him, but he is a very expensive substitute. And obviously Poulsen
Opposition hate figure?
Tim Cahill. It’s too easy to hate United players, Tim Cahill is a tool. The celebration, the stupid face, the fact he goes on holiday with Phil Neville. I detest him.
Tell us something we don’t know about your club?
After the past few years of airing dirty laundry I’m not sure there is anything you don’t know. Hmmm. Ok, I used to work for an ex-Liverpool defender. When he signed in the 90s, he expected to be offered £10k a week. Sitting down with Roy Evans and the board, he was offered £35k before even asking for anything. He calmly went outside with his agent, leapt around, walked calmly back in and asked for £40k. He got it.
What won’t happen this season?
Steven Gerrard won’t play 20 games. Rumours abound that this infection is much worse than they are letting on. After his injury problems as a younger player (and his love of junk food, a late night, gangsters girlfriends etc) he was always going to struggle as he got older. I just hope the decline isn’t as sharp as it could be, he deserves a couple of good seasons under Dalglish for his performances over the past decade.
It’s hard to look past YNWA but I love Fields of Anfield Road. Sounds ace when everyone is in full voice.
Where will you finish?
Any other news?
Robbie Fowler is still god.
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