"We Have To Dump Agger & Johnson" - Liverpool End Of Season Review 2013/14
What’s going right?
After five years of mediocrity, underachievement and near-financial-disaster, Liverpool are back in the Champions League, playing some of the best football in the country, and with a team that has made the fans proud to support their club again. A return of 84 points, 101 goals, and missing out on the title by two points; it’s been a blast, and feels like the start of something special, no matter how many rival fans enjoyed the late-season slip.
Given the wealth of things going right it seems incongruous to complain about a campaign that blasted apart pre-season expectations. But when you score 101 goals in a season you would expect to win the league; conceding 50 times is obviously not very good. Whether that problem is systematic or down to personnel is one that will hopefully be answered next season.
Got the right manager?
Unquestionably. Twelve months ago there were question marks as to Liverpool’s direction under Rodgers, who still looked like too much of a novice for the role, too focused on motivational speeches, and ridiculed for having a “philosophy”. Those questions have been shattered by the club’s best title challenge in a generation and routings of Spurs, Arsenal, Everton and Manchester United in the process.
Quite simply, Luis Suarez. 31 goals in 33 games, none of them penalties, and many of them jaw-droppingly brilliant.
Who would you like to sell in the summer?
Glen Johnson has been a strange player for some time, capable of looking calmly authoritative and inexplicably bone idle within a five-minute spell. He’s increasingly looking like an old man in a young man’s position. Daniel Agger is also nowhere near as effective as he once was and it is surely the opportune moment to cash in when strong replacements can be found.
Who do you want to sign?
Twelve months ago you’d have said players to go straight into the first team, but now it would be signings to strengthen the overall squad and bring attacking options from the bench. Adam Lallana would fit the bill, and the improvement Rodgers could bring from him is exciting. Champions League football will help Liverpool attract a better calibre of player than Lallana, and the type they were chasing last summer to no success.
Liverpool have been crying out for defensive reinforcements in midfield and on the flanks, and a leader at the heart of defence. This all assumes that Suarez doesn’t try to angle a move away from Merseyside and scupper the whole operation.
Best chant so far?
To the tune of Mrs Robinson:
“Here's to you, Jordan Henderson,
Brendan loves you more than you will know,
Woah woah woah!”
It’s been heart-warming to see the plaudits that Henderson has earned this season, and his sending-off against Manchester City felt like the moment Liverpool won the battle, but lost the war.
Best opposition player/team you’ve seen?
Aaron Ramsey was a revelation in the first half of this season, and it was cruel that Arsenal lost him to injury as their title challenge disintegrated. David Silva is a magical player, and was untouchable for half-an-hour at Anfield last month.
Biggest wanker of the season?
Ed Woodward for sacking David Moyes. All he needed was time and lots of it.
Funniest Moment of the season?
Off-field, the legendary Cafu becoming infatuated with Jon Flanagan - the “Red Cafu”. But for an on-the-pitch moment, Jason Puncheon’s magnificent lofted-through-ball-penalty at White Hart Lane.
Next season's prediction?
Cement a top-four position and push for the title again. Liverpool have prospered under Rodgers by being ambitious and pursuing glory, there’s no reason not to go for it again.