Sunday, February 27, 2011

What Will Liverpool Settle For Now?

If you had asked Liverpool fans at the beginning of the season if they would take a 6th place finish in the English Premier League and to get to the latter stages of the Europa League, I’m sure most would have given you a strange look. Unfortunately though, most Liverpool fans would now probably take this offer with both hands.

Liverpool had a dreadful start to the season and therefore sacked Roy Hodgson in early January. There were several changes at the club last month, including Kenny Dalglish being re-appointed as manager, the departure of Fernando Torres to Chelsea and the late signings of Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll. Things at Anfield do seem to have improved, but with the season so far through, there is only so much that King Kenny can do in a short space of time.

Fans will now have to be realistic in their ambitions for the rest of the season and accept that there is a lot of rebuilding needing to be done at the club. The acquisitions of Suarez and Carroll are certainly a step in the right direction and they both have youth on their side. If Liverpool can hang on to other players like Reina, Gerrard and Meireles, then there is a good spine to the team and 2 or 3 other good signings could mean that those wearing Liverpool football shirts will be able to compete for a Champions League spot next season.

After a run of four consecutive wins and also clean sheets against Wolves, Chelsea, Fulham and Stoke, fans were starting to look up the league table and fancied their chances of challenging for fourth spot in the league. Unfortunately, a home draw against Wigan has stopped this run and the task to earn a Champions League position has started to fade again. That is not to say that the team cannot get into another run of form again, but there are certainly some very tough games ahead.

Liverpool still have to play Man Utd and Man City at home in the next few weeks. They also have matches against Arsenal at the Emirates and a home game against Tottenham and a final day clash with Aston Villa at Villa Park. With only eleven games to go, these are four very tricky matches to win. One team from Man City, Chelsea and Tottenham are also likely to miss out on a Champions League place, which shows how tough it will be. I certainly think that with how this season has panned out for the club, a 6th place finish for Liverpool would be regarded as a reasonable success.

They are also still in the Europa League and few would bet against Liverpool winning the trophy. Man City are seen as favourites at the moment, but Liverpool are certainly in with a shout. I would be interested to hear anyone else’s thoughts on this, especially Liverpool fans. Have I been too harsh or is this the consensus among Liverpool fans too?

Written by Eddie Smith, a sports writer who blog about football shirts.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The List to Dump for Liverpool’s Revival Process

Liverpool has gone through an immense amount of change in the past year; new ownership, Fernando Torres gone, arrival of some big names and big flops…after an impressive transfer period, the Reds appear ready to change up the squad to get back into contention amongst Europe’s elite teams. Some players will arrive, some will certainly have to go. Here’s who the Anfield faithful should start waving goodbye to:

1. Milan Jovanovic: Though the winger arrived on a free from Standard Liege just over 6 months ago, it’s time for the Reds to get any value they can out of the 29-year-old Serbian flop. He’s been atrocious since his arrival and if anything, they can try to sell the winger back to Liege or listen to “supposed” interest from Wolfsburg. Jovanovic is not worth the long-term contract he was given and the sooner the men in Liverpool jerseys can free up a spot on the bench, the better.

2. Fábio Aurélio: The 31-year-old winger back is well past his prime now. He’s starting to become injury prone and a back-line that has conceded a not-as-respectable 32 goals in 27 league games, the defense needs shoring up if they are to become part of Europe’s elite again. Plus, the club signed Aurelio on a free, too, so getting a tidy transfer fee for a player on his down years is a plus for John Henry and the gang.

3. Sotirios Kyrgiakos: Another 31-year-old defender for the Reds has performed decently at times, however, he never has been truly Premier League quality. When Liverpool seem desperate, Dalglish has employed the Greek international to become a target man and he’s largely failed at that role, too. Really, most of the backline needs help. It starts with replacing some pretty average players with some players of quality.

4. Joe Cole: It seems as if Cole has been letting age get the best of him. The 29-year-old England International has had 2 pretty awful past seasons (one with Chelsea, now halfway through his Reds season) and is now becoming an injury prone mess. Though his talent is undoubtedly good when he’s on form, it’s been a few years since this occurred. And no, Steven Gerrard. Joe Cole is not “better than Messi”. Maybe Blackburn could purchase the downtrodden “speedster” with all the rumors about Kaka flying into the Rovers this summer. Yeah, right.

Written by: Chris Behrens,