Liverpool are twice the team they were at this stage last season, but they're not without their problems. With a pending ban for Luis Suarez and a misfiring Andy Carroll will Dalglish have to go shopping in January?
What’s going right?
We have a harmonious, feel-good factor off the field; an exciting, attack-minded side on it. The football has been scintillating at times, something that hasn’t been said since Roy Evans’ time. Only Man City and Chelsea have had more efforts on goal, no team has conceded less. And best of all we have a legend as manager, someone who has unified the entire club and, unlike his predecessor, actually seems to know what he is doing.
Finishing. They say it's the hardest part of the game. Carroll, Kuyt, Suarez and Bellamy are doing their utmost to prove it. We’ve hit the woodwork more than any other team and no less than six opposition ’keepers have walked off with the Man of the Match award. Only two sides have had more efforts on goal; only two sides have a lower conversion rate.
Got the right manager?
Without question. Incredibly there are still some prominent hacks who try to argue the gap between Hodgson and Dalglish is less than the width of the Atlantic, but all evidence, both statistical and anecdotal show we’ve gone from rudderless relegation candidates to being a goal-scorer away from the top three – in less than a year.
Lucas had started the season as he ended the last, cementing his reputation as one of the most dynamic midfielders in Europe. Even though he picked up his injury three weeks ago, the Brazilian still tops the Premier League tacklers list. Any team would miss such an influence. How the team cope with his season-ending injury will go a long way to deciding whether we enjoy the trills of Champions League football next term. To paraphrase Don Corleone, our true Star player for the season has yet to reveal himself.
Incredibly there are still some prominent hacks who try to argue the gap between Hodgson and Dalglish is less than the width of the Atlantic
Who would you like to sell in January?
Would love to see Carroll go to another Premiership side, but only on-loan. There’s definitely a good player in there somewhere, he just needs a consistent run of games to get his match sharpness and confidence up to speed. Unfortunately with the competition for a top four place so fierce, Dalglish can’t afford to give the big man that run of games. Ideal scenario would see Carroll go to a mid-table side, do well and come back to us full of confidence for our 2012/13 Champions League campaign!
Who do you want to sign?
Heresy to say it, but Torres would go down a treat! We are one top class finisher away from Man City form and Torres could be the man. If the rumours of Chelsea being willing to sell for ￡20 million are true we should snap their hands off. Form is temporary, etc. Besides, it’d be nice not feeling obliged to refer to him as ’that treacherous, money-grabbing twat’ every time I watch him play.
Best chant so far?
’There’s only one Gary Speed’. Former Evertonian or not, the Welsh manager’s tragic passing was honoured with the utmost respect up and down the country, and Anfield was no exception.
Best opposition player/team you’ve seen?
Best player? Take your pick from half a dozen keepers; best team? Swansea. Gutsy performance with no lack of verve and skill. Well deserving of their standing ovation from the Kop.
Biggest **** of the season so far?
James Lawton of the Indo wins a tight race for this accolade (unlucky Henry Winter, you were very close). After petitioning for the appointment of Hodgson and then losing face as the owl look-a-like’s laughable incompetence led to relegation form, Lawton is desperate for Dalglish to fare similarly and therefore redeem himself a small degree. So desperate, in fact, that he wastes no time in writing obituaries for Liverpool’s season after each dropped point.
End of season prediction?
This depends entirely on getting a top class finisher in January and our ability to cope with the loss of Lucas. If we achieve both a top four place should be guaranteed, failure and it’ll be Thursday nights, Channel Five.
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