Liverpool: 10 Reasons for Reds Fans to Be Hopeful About Next Season
We’re just a couple of months away from the start of the 2012-13 Premier League season.
And, as is the norm, the wait for the new season is bound to excite the supporters, for it is the period of arrivals and departures.
Although the Euros have taken a little bit of shine off of the preseason excitement, Anfield has managed to keep its supporters buzzing, be it the club transfers or the demolition plans!
So, allow me to set the ball rolling by talking you through, over the next 10 slides, the reasons that gives hope to each and every Liverpool Football Club supporter across the globe.
Just like every other manager in the past—from Bill Shankly to Rafa Benitez—Brendan Rodgers too will be welcomed into this illustrious club with as much expectation as there is anxiety.
Supporters are eager to find out what this new era means in terms of trophies and success for the Reds. Liverpool have, for the last 20 years, been involved in a hot pursuit of the Premier League crown, but they've come up short every time.
Having endured a disappointing 22 years since they were last crowned champions of English Football, Liverpool are looking to the Irishman to finally break the curse after Gerard Houllier and Rafa Benitez came very close to doing that in 2002 and 2009, respectively.
Brendan, for his part, gave all signs of a positive personality in the press conference that announced his appointment to the hot seat at LFC. However, how much of that will result in positive performances on the pitch is a question that will be answered as the new season begins to unwind.
But for now, the supporters are hopeful that Brendan Rodgers will be the man who will lead their club to glory.
Promise of Tiki-Taka Football
With Brendan Rodgers came the promise of a revolutionary style of play made famous around the world by FC Barcelona and the Spanish Men’s National Team.
Rodgers’ first task at hand is to once again make Anfield the fortress that it used to be. Too many disappointing draws and defeats to lower-ranked clubs took the fear out of a trip to L4 in the opposition ranks.
Possession football and a brand new attacking style of foreplay is another one of the reasons why supporters can remain hopeful for the new season.
Aquilani Out, Sigurdsson in
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Alberto Aquilani was a class player and an Italian international when Rafa Benitez agreed a cumulative fee of £20 million with AS Roma back in 2009.
However, his time at Liverpool has been nothing short of disappointing. Plagued by injuries and an inability to settle with life at Merseyside meant the talented Italian midfielder had to be farmed back to his native on loan with Juventus in 2010 and AC Milan in 2011.
Recent rumours suggest that AC Milan, who incidentally failed to trigger the clause that would have made his loan switch permanent had the player made 25 appearances, are willing to negotiate a cut price deal of £3 million for the creative midfielder.
Given the player’s troubles, it is safe to suggest that he will be a good riddance so that Liverpool are saved from the unnecessary press that they will otherwise gain from this saga. Although, that would mean Liverpool have to take a massive hit on the fee originally paid for his services to Roma.
And now, entering the scene is 22-year-old attacking Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Sigurdsson, who had a fantastic six months with Rodgers’ previous club, Swansea City, is poised to sign for the Merseysiders after he expressed his interest in following on in the footsteps of Rodgers.
Sigurdsson represents a shrewd piece of business for LFC and at a mere £7 million, he's a superb addition to the Liverpool squad.
Also, Sigurdsson qualifies as homegrown talent because of his youth development and subsequent senior career at Reading.
An attacking midfielder with good set-piece abilities and a sharp eye for the goal, Sigurdsson represents the first of Rodgers’ business deals at LFC and as such, it comes with lots of hopes pinned down up on him.
Major Stars Set to Stay
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Liverpool’s poor performance in the concluded season had set off rumours that key players like Martin Skrtel and Luis Suarez may be interested in a switch of clubs for want of Champions League football.
Dirk Kuyt, who also was one of the major stars rumoured to move on, did indeed find a new home with Fenerbahce in Turkey. But the others eventually gave their word to stay on despite the lack of Champions League football for the third season in succession.
This is a major positive for the fans, and it gives them that extra bit of hope of retaining a better squad for the new season.
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In an earlier article, I’d discussed the importance of the role of a winger in Rodgers’ style of play.
Swansea had Nathan Dyer and Scott Sinclair. Liverpool no longer have Kuyt with them, leaving Downing as the only recognised winger in the squad.
Downing’s first season at Liverpool drew criticism from everyone alike, as the winger failed to record either an assist or a goal to his name. His performance record for the Three Lions squad too isn’t impressive, as the attacking winger has yet to open his account in 34 international appearances.
Kuyt, indeed, was a major player during his six-year spell at Merseyside. And the Dutchman’s departure leaves a vacuum on the right wing.
It is for this reason that finding a suitable replacement for the hardworking Dutchman becomes an important task.
Rumours of Liverpool plotting a bid for Manchester City outcast Adam Johnson should seek to ease the worry of the supporter. Liverpool’s Downing woes may also see them look to bring in a quality left winger to provide competition for the former Middlesbrough winger.
With an improved wing attack, Liverpool—with Andy Carroll—will certainly pose a serious threat going forward.
Increased Youth Player Involvement
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Brendan Rodgers served time as a youth and reserve team coach at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho.
This proves he knows a thing or two when it comes to coaching and developing youngsters, although the Liverpool academy is more renowned than its Chelsea counterpart for the quality of its talents.
Rodgers will look to set straight a few things that went astray under Dalglish, such as the criminal under-use of academy talents. The names of Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, Conor Coady and Suso spring to mind.
Add to it 19-year-old Portuguese youngster Joao Carlos Teixiera, and we have an excellent bunch of academy talents waiting for that one opportunity to raise their first-team credentials.
Return of European Football
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Europa league doesn’t often get the credit that it deserves, as it allows an opportunity for clubs finishing outside of the Champions League qualification places to still be able to experience the joy of facing continental competition.
Although it is an unappreciated tournament, the Europa League does provide the chance to visit little European clubs and towns, which adds to the excitement of football.
For the Reds, the chance to play in the Europa league means a return of European nights to Anfield after a brief year out of it.
Liverpool, by virtue of their Carling Cup triumph, will enter the third-qualifying round of the Europa league, but they'll come up against an opposition they should be able to beat.
The Reds will most certainly look to secure Champions League football by the end of the 2012-13 season, but that shouldn’t deter the supporters from dreaming about another trophy.
Who still remembers the dream night at Dortmund?
Liverpool, for the first time in six years, will begin a season as defending champions of a trophy.
Although, the Reds will be defending their English League Cup trophy, so the supporters can take heart in the fact that this champion mentality shall push them ahead to perform better in the league as well as in the more meaningful cup competitions, such as the Europa League and the FA Cup.
Decision over the Stadium
The progress over stadium plans had, for several years, been at an impasse.
But recent developments seem to suggest otherwise. Yes, talks of acquiring property around Anfield are still in the premature stages.
However, John Henry and his associates seem to be stepping up the task of implementing the redevelopment plans. If early signs are anything to go by, then LFC looks set to stay at Anfield rather than opting for a move to Stanley Park.
It is better to get the whole stadium deal completed in quick fashion because the sooner it does, the better it is financially for the club. At least, the supporters are hopeful that a repeat of the Hicks & Gillett saga doesn’t happen with FSG as well.
Yet Another Season of Hope
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Rodgers, at the time of his unveiling, was smart to avert any unnecessary pressure by boldly stating that his project at LFC was going to take time.
In essence, he had borrowed himself some extra time by telling the supporters to expect less out of the new campaign.
By doing that, he has also successfully managed to lower the bar set for the Liverpool players, which will certainly lift the media pressure.
But every true Reds supporter will attest to the fact that Liverpool Football Club don’t start the race thinking they’d do well to win against Man U, Arsenal or Chelsea. Liverpool don’t start the race to qualify for Champions League.
Liverpool has and will always begin the race as a top dog and one of the contenders to beat to get to the Premier League trophy. Liverpool Football Club will be starting this new season with hope…hope that in the end, the one elusive silverware returns home.