Tuesday, May 20, 2008

End of year review

It's time to take stock, a stock take if you will. It was a mixed season. In one way we made progress in the league by finishing with a points total of 76, just 11 points behind the winners. This is well up on what we had last year and but for a bit of luck, some bad decisions and results like the brum draw where we didn't care, we could have been a lot closer to Utd. Utd won the league with 75 points in 1997. On the downside, we dropped a league placing from third to fourth, with Arsenal overtaking us. We had a good run in Europe and could have made the final. But injuries cost us domestically and in the champions league. As usual we had a bad spell, this time it was in Jan rather than our traditional November slump.

The defence performed well in Dagger's absence. Sami rolled back the years and Carra was great in Europe but not as good overall as he has been. Skrtel came in and did superbly. Insua made another impressive end of season cameo. More of that kind of thing.

In midfield the Monster Masch was monstrous. I wouldn't swap him for any midfielder. He is the best in the business at what he does. The solidity of our spine owes a lot to Javier. Himself and Xabi formed a solid base for Stevie to break from. This worked superbly well in the second half of the season and I expect us to continue in this formation next year.

The forwards were a mixed bunch. Babel was superb at times, like his Arsenal cameo, but looked a bit lost at others. A good debut season to build on but I would expect him to deliver on a more consistent basis next year. Kuyt started really badly after the death of his father in the summer. But since Christmas he improved playing the right sided role and scored crucial goals against Arsenal, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Everton. I love Kuyt but I fear we need somebody better in that role if we want to challenge for the title. When he's good, he's great but when he's bad, he's shocking.

Last summer we were blessed with the arrival of El Nino. He came to us form sunny Spain, he got the ball and scored again. And again and again and again. For a fee of £20m he proved an absolute bargain. He broke Ruud Van Nistelroy's record at Utd of scoring the most goals in a debut season with 24 league goals. Amazing. He went onto score 33 goals in all comps. Phenomenal. Give that the kid has just turned 24, there are many years left for him to improve. I think that the stability of coaching under Rafa has helped him improve his game. At Atleti he had a different coach every few months or every season which can't have been fun.
Where do we go from here? With a couple of decent buys this summer we might be able to put a title challenge together. But as long as the boardroom farce continues, I can't see us being focused on getting the right investment in the squad together. Utd and Chelsea have invested massively and we need to do likewise to get our first team and squad up to their level. So if Hicks is still with us in August, which looks likely, it'll probably be another season of third/fourth.

Player of the year: Torres, without doubt. The kid has been astounding. He's changed Liverpool, as you can see here.

Young player of the year: Babel did well for the first team but I'm going to go for Nemeth for the contribution he made to the reserves winning the league. I hope to see him getting a run out for the first team next season. This kid is going to be a star.

Game of the year: The champions league quarter final 4-2 win over Arsenal at Anfield. As dramatic as it gets.

Goal of the year: Fernando v Marseille. Watch and learn.

Best moment of the year: The comeback v Arsenal at Anfield. The ability of the youngsters and reserves to get a draw at the Emirates in the league was impressive. Beating Everton twice was good too.

Worst moment of the year: The Riise o.g. against Chelsea. Other than that I think we'd have made the final for the third time in four years. Thanks for the memories John. The "penalty" that Rob Styles awarded against us in the Chelsea match at Anfield in August was a sickener. The 3-0 loss to Utd at Old Toilet was terrible as was the 1-0 defeat to West Ham at Upton Park.

Signing of the year: Again with the Torres. The future's bright with the kid on board.

Our summer signings have begun and Phillip Degen, a 25 year old swiss right back, will be signing for free on the first of July.

Andreas Dossena of Udinese is being linked with filling the other full back birth. Apparently Capello rates him highly. The fee being talked about is somewhere between £6m-£8m.

Sammy Lee is thrilled to back working at Melwood. I think that he could be one of the most important signings we'll make this summer. Some of the older players were at the club when Sammy left in 2004 and he seems to be well respected. There is no doubt that Pako's departure last autumn cost us in terms of stability and planning.

Tom Hicks has been hit by the credit crunch. Does that mean that he'll be more likely to sell to DIC? Maybe not. I fear that we'll be stuck with this fool for sometime yet.

1 comment:

join soccerfanbase.com today said...

nice review , I hope the team will get better next season , it is high time we won the premier league after such a long time out

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