Monday, June 16, 2008

The off-season: Liverpool

In my opinion Liverpool have not progressed under Rafa Benitez. This will irk some Liverpool fans, including my father and brother. There is evidence for this. I know underneath him they have won the Champions' League & the FA Cup. Most Liverpool fans will want to win the Premier League title the most, after eighteen years and counting without lifting the top division trophy. In the four years with Benitez at the helm, they have finished fifth, third, third and fourth. He has money to spend on players and he bought some truly awful players who don't fit in. If Benitez doesn't fix the problem soon, he will be the next manager out of the door.

GK: Pepe Reina, Charles Itandje, Scott Carson, Nikolay Mihaylov

With Reina cementing his place as the No. 1, everybody else is playing second fiddle. This has irked Carson who wants to go but can't because of the ludicrous price tag Liverpool has placed on him, Mihaylov is at FC Twente for next season, leaving Itandje to back-up Reina. There has been some reports Reina needs more competition as his form has dipped slightly but I doubt Benitez will recruit another goalie.

RB: Alvaro Arbeola, Steve Finnan, Phillip Degen

A problem area for Benitez, he may finally have recruited the right-backs he needs in Arbeola and Degen. Finnan will go which will be a disappointment as he has improved and been consistent in Benitez's years as manager.

LB: John Arne Riise, Fabio Aurelio, Emiliano Insua

Since the right-back position SEEMS to be finished, Benitez can focus on the left-back position which has been gradually falling apart. Riise's form has dipped, especially last season, and seems to be moving on (presumably). Insua is too young to play a major role whilst Aurelio is probably going to play back-up to whoever Benitez brings in.

CB: Jamie Carragher, Daniel Agger, Martin Skrtel, Sami Hyypia

Hyypia's Liverpool playing career was only prolonged due to Agger's injury for most of last season. With Agger coming back to fitness, Hyypia appears likely to move on.

WG: Jermaine Pennant, Yossi Benayoun, Ryan Babel

The whole of Liverpool's wingers are completely useless, meaning Benitez will require at least two wingers during the summer. Pennant just fritters in and out of games; Yossi Benayoun was a great player in an average team but now is an average player in a great team; Ryan Babel is more suited to playing upfront behind the main striker. Out of the three, Pennant is most likely to go whilst the rest are staying behind.

CM: Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso, Javier Mascherano, Lucas

The transfer saga regarding Gareth Barry is ridiculous. Liverpool already have four top quality central-midfielders, so why do they need a fifth? Even if Alonso leaves, Barry still has to rotate with Mascherano. He should stick with Villa, since they can equal or overtake Liverpool in two years' time.

FW: Fernando Torres, Andriy Voronin, Peter Crouch, Dirk Kuyt

With Torres likely to be in every match, everybody else is just playing as his partner. Voronin and Kuyt, although crap, seem likely to stay with Crouch going.


In: Left-back x 1, Winger x 2, Forward x 1
Out: Carson, Finnan, Riise, Hyypia, Pennant, Crouch (+ Antony Le Tallec, finally)

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