Sunday, March 27, 2011

Can Liverpool Steal 5th Spot?

As disappointing as Liverpool’s exit from the Europa League against Sporting Braga last week was, Reds fans can console themselves with the fact that for the first time in a couple of years now, there are plenty of reasons to be positive. Since the arrival of Kenny Dalglish, the fortunes of a club - who unthinkably considered the possibility of relegation just a few short months ago – have been transformed and there is cause for optimism once again at Anfield.

Just two seasons ago, Liverpool were part of the “Big Four”, a group of clubs at the top of the Premiership so dominant that we were told it couldn’t be broken into. Not only are Liverpool not in the top four anymore, they aren’t even in the top five! It is certainly possible Liverpool can regain their Champions League place by finishing in the top four next season, but to do that, they are going to have to secure European football next season.

As he struggles to find form at Chelsea, Fernando Torres is already a forgotten man at Anfield as the Kop worship a new season. Luis Suarez shirts have been flying off the shelves ever since the Uruguyan hitman arrived at the club and wowed fans with his exciting range of skills and finishing prowess. His classy finish against Sunderland on Sunday underlined his quality and the potential he offers Liverpool.

Liverpool are still in need of more quality additions to their squad to supplement the undoubted quality of the likes of Steven Gerrard, Raul Merieles, Suarez and Andy Carroll. With new owners who have pledged to invest in the team and the feelgood factor returning to the team with Dalglish, the summer certainly looks like being an exciting one for Liverpool supporters. But key to attracting players to the club is the lure of European football.

As things stand, not many would fancy Liverpool to catch Tottenham for fifth spot, with Harry Redknapp’s men sitting four points clear with a game in hand. However, the obvious distraction of Spurs Champions League quarter final with Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid could be the source that lets Liverpool creep in for an unlikely comeback.

Liverpool fans are certainly starting to believe. Sales of Liverpool football shirts complete with official football shirt printing have significantly increased since the arrival of Dalglish and victories over Chelsea, Manchester United and Sunderland have added to the confidence levels at Anfield. That setbacks will occur is undoubted, as the squad is still not deep or strong enough to show the level of consistency boss Dalglish would like.

But with Suarez in the form he is in and £35m striker Andy Carroll still to be fully integrated into the team, the signs are positive for Liverpool. It will be a tough ask to overhaul Spurs but with 24 points still to play for it is certainly a possibility.

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

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Luis Suarez – The New Hero

The 31st of January 2011 was an extremely busy day for Liverpool football club. The club had sold Fernando Torres to rivals Chelsea for a record-breaking £50 million, which upset many fans as they saw the departure of a world class striker as a major step down and that things might look bleak for the future. Fast-forward to March and things seem very different…

On the same day that Torres left the club, Liverpool purchased both Andy Carroll from Newcastle and Luis Suarez from Ajax, who cost roughly the same combined as Torres did. Andy Carroll made his debut on Sunday and will surely offer them something different up front and Torres has not made much of an impact at Chelsea so far. On the other hand, Luis Suarez has come into the Liverpool side and already looks like he will be a fantastic acquisition.

There seems to be a new lease of life for those wearing Liverpool football shirts at the moment. A lot of this is down to the return of Kenny Dalglish to the club, but Suarez has injected more energy and buzz about the time that has not been seen for quite some time.

The Dutch league is often criticised for having a poor standard as several players have come over from the Eredivise with a fantastic goal scoring record and have completely flopped in the English Premier League. Suarez’s goal record at Ajax was 81 goals in 110 games and although it doesn’t look like he will score anywhere near that amount in England, he can offer an awful lot more than putting the ball in the back of the net.

He might actually be the perfect partner for Andy Carroll and could end up with a great amount of assists at Liverpool. There’s no doubt that the Uruguayan forward can score goals, but I think he’ll be more useful playing the way he did against Man Utd on Sunday.

Suarez seems to be able to beat a man (or four) with ease at times and with energy levels that can match Steven Gerrard, it can only be a positive sign for things to come at Liverpool. It will be very interesting to see how his partnership develops with Andy Carroll over time, especially next season. Many wondered if Suarez and Carroll combined would be better than Fernando Torres for Liverpool, but it could turn out that Suarez on his own will do more for the club.

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