Year of the "Liverpool": Oh Wait, Didn't We Say That Last Year?

..... .....Correspondent IJuly 28, 2008

"We need to take points off the other top 4 clubs."

"Take Gerrard and Torres out the team and you've got a mediocre side."

"Benitez can't rotate and expect to win the league."

The doom mongers and naysayers have already spoken, weeks after the transfer window opened.

With the imminent arrival of Robbie Keane, is still not enough to put a smile on the red half of the Merseyside mouth, and it begs a serious question: "Just how far away are Liverpool from being genuine challengers?"

Granted, if Keane does sign it will introduce a new angle for the attacking verve of the team yet we still find ourselves repeating the need for wingers, any team who wants to win anything cannot perform without the pace, flair and creativity that the likes of a Quaresma, a Ribery or a Mancini would bring.

Ribery is happy at Bayern Munich, and with Mancini swapping Rome for Milan, albeit the blue and black side, Quaresma is the name we find ourselves linked with on more than one occasion.

As a fan, you crave for the likes of a Quaresma, who will excite the crowd, something we haven't seen since King Luis left in the makeweight for El Nino to storm the Premier League defenses, and as frustrating as he was attacking he would either make your rub your eyes in disbeliefe or try and tear out a chunk of hair from your head.

The myth about Gerrard being taken from the team weakening us on the whole needs to be dispelled, as the fact of the matter is players like Carragher, Agger, Reina, Mascherano, Alonso and Babel are fit enough to grace any of the top teams in the league.

Gerrard and Torres are a match made in heaven, like Owen before him, Torres finds space where there may be none, drifting in and out of defenders like Casper the friendly ghost.

Gerrard’s ability to link the play will now be burdened by Keane and I truly cannot wait to see a team consisting of Gerrard, Torres, Keane and Babel as a four-pronged attack.

Alonso and Mascherano behind them, with Lucas and Plessis as a back up.

David N'Gog is a name that does not breed familiarity but in Rafa we trust, and the fact Jean Alain Boumsong is his cousin will not sway my view either way.

In truth, I am duly excited about the start of the season and throughout the next few articles I will try to encapsulate the atmosphere surrounding Anfield as well as possible.

Benitez is, bit-by-bit, improving the squad to what he wants and what he needs.

Although a third “trophyless” season may be one too many for the Anfield hierarchy, the fans back Rafa with all their might.

Hicks and Gilett will face another season of uncertainty from the fans until they make Benitez their priority instead of making a quick buck.

We can always look forward to one thing though, finishing above the “Blue boys” from across the park.