Liverpool FC: 10 Reasons They Could Win the League after 21 Years
Liverpool FC have been tipped as a dark horse for the Premier League by many an expert this season. Although the Reds have not really done too much to cheer up their fans in the preseason this time, the newly appointed gaffer at the club, Roy Hodgson has emphasized that he is hoping the club would reach peak form as soon as the season gets underway after a four or five matches at least and after their first match against Arsenal, they look well on track to challenge!
Here in the following slides I have brought together a collection of 10 slides that which could well enlist why Liverpool could well be the surprise threat for the title all the way!!
Captain Fantastic: Steven Gerrard in Form, Positive, and Content
Steven Gerrard in many ways has been the face of Liverpool FC for many years . Although Gerrard comes into this season at the back of a rather poor season last time , he did give some glimpses of form in England's otherwise poor World Cup run.
More recently, Gerrard was stunning in the match against Hungary, and though he played a little more of a holding defender's role against Arsenal on Liverpool's opening day.
However, in recent interviews and after returning from South Africa , Steven Gerrard has always stated not only commitment to the club but also the bubbly spirit that is present around Melwood.
With the mental blockages off and a more fresh approach to the game now at Liverpool FC , Steve Gerrard seems all set to give in his best as always and as we all know , form is temporary , CLASS is permanent, and Gerrard sure has that in plenty.
Young Stars Maturing!
Liverpool's academy may not have produced the best of English talent in the last decade , however, in very recent times the Reds have been able to clinch some major deals which has highly uplifted the status of the academy.
Although most of those exciting prospects like Raheem Sterling, Suso and Nikola Saric may take a little more time to break into the first team, some players have certainly grown up and would contribute to the bench strength in all aspects.
Players like David N'gog have been under achievers and thus under rated by most people however if some of his goals are anything to go by then there are every reason to believe that the kid is maturing fast.After what could be considered his best goal so far for Liverpool against Birmingham City last term when he had to shoulder a majority of the attack almost single-handedly for Liverpool FC, N'gog scored an absolute belter against Arsenal giving reminiscence of Torres' goal against Manchester United at Anfield last year.
That however is not all, Liverpool FC also has the services of the Golden Boot winner in Daniel Pacheco, who also had a few first team experiences last term, but may easily break into Liverpool's first team if and when the moment arises.
Add to that the likes of Emiliano Insua who could be used as a cover at Liverpool's left back after his transfer deal with Fiorentina fell through. Although yet to be a phenomenon Insua, has played a majority of Liverpool's last season and such experiences are expected to make him a more mature prospect for the club.
Last but not the least, Lucas Leiva has been a fighter and despite being booed even after whole hearted performances against top clubs, the lad has developed a combative mindset and never-say-die attitude which has kept him going. If and when Javier Mascherano departs , Liverpool FC will certainly look to the services of Lucas who has learnt a lot from his senior and more experienced partner last season.
All in all, in these four players Liverpool have a formidable bunch of youngsters from last season who have matured in their play quite a lot, an added advantage for Liverpool.
Roy Hodgson at the Helm
To some it may sound a little silly to a few others, it maybe a little pre-mature. Whatever it be, Liverpool FC's management's decision to hire Roy Hodgson as the club's manager has proved a positive move so far.
Although Rafa Benitez may have been a far better tactician than him to some, every manager has his own set of strengths and weaknesses and with a pleasing personality and strong motivational skills Roy Hodgson may just be something that Liverpool FC just needed at the moment.
There are also many other factors that could contribute to Hodgson's advantage. Firstly, Roy Hodgson is an Englishman and more importantly vastly experienced. In Roy Hodgson Liverpool FC have a manager who has bettered many a team in trouble. Mr. Roy Hodgson was already a fully trained coach 23 and is highly regarded throughout Europe not only for his experience but also his ability to transform even minnows to Champions. His initially jobs at Swedish clubs bears ample testimony of that. In just the span of 12 months he transformed relegation contenders, Malmo to champions, a feat which should make any upcoming manager proud.
Years later, Hodgson also did quite a good job when he took the Swiss national team to the second round of their World Cup campaign, a feat which is yet to be bettered. In very recent times he took a Fulham team which seriously stared relegation almost half-way through the last match of the league not only to a European competition, but also runners up at that.
With very limited resources at hand, Hodgson's philosophy of "Positive Brainwashing" with repeated practice has certainly made him reap the benefits thus far.With Hodgson at the helm being a towering personality, he may inspire Torres and Gerrard to produce some magical and memorable moments for the club.
Liverpool ending the last year's campaign 7th did look down and nearing a disaster, until the influential Hodgson stepped in. He immediately bought in the highly rated but Chelsea outcast in Joe Cole and the momentum was all of a sudden back.
There have been a lot of new faces at the club too and with Hodgson keenly on the look out for at least another striker to bolster the attacking options, there could well be another more exciting look to the squad and we may well be in for a surprise threat from the Anfield outfit for the title.
Joe Cole: A Source of Inspiration
Well Joe Cole may have become the first ever Liverpool player to be RED carded on debut, even though it must be said that the decision was pretty controversial.
However, there is no doubt in the fact that the Liverpool squad has been rejuvenated and the fans have been over joyed to see Joe Cole choosing Liverpool over the more plausible options like Arsenal and Tottenham.
Liverpool FC surely have a talismanic attacker in Joe Cole and any questions raised about Liverpool's mid-field creativity is expected to be put to rest with him.
Joe Cole's addition has well been hailed by pundits and players alike and could well spark the fire that has been missing in the Reds' ranks thus far.
The Best Signing for the Club: Peter Brukner
If the Reds fans were told to single out any single thing that has significantly contributed to their downfall right from the No.2 spot the season before to the dreadful No.7 spot, it would be a one word 'injury'.
Almost all the key players of the squad suffered injuries and that too at extremely critical times. Fernando Torres had been injury plagued throughout the season and even having the best record of goals per minute played couldn't earn Liverpool even a Top four spot.
Other than this players right from Gerrard to Johnson all suffered their share of injuries and the club suffered seriously as a consequence.
Interestingly enough, Liverpool FC's medical unit was considered as not upto the mark in dealing with the plethora of injury problems plaguing the club.
In what could be one of Rafael Benitez's best aquisitions for the club, Peter Brukner was requested by the Liverpool management to join the club's medical team.
Peter Brukner and his medical unit thus has joined the club with Brukner given the designation of Head of Sports Medicine and Sports Science from this summer onwards.
The highly rated Sports science and Sports medicine although is not expected to make the club overnight into an injury free unit, however, with such a person at the head, Liverpool FC can expect better treatment and thus faster recoveries for the injured players. All of which sounds really good for Liverpool FC especially considering the injury problems that plague the key players of other competing teams in the League.
Better Bench Strength
With the latest additions of Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen, Danny Wilson and even Brad Jones along with Joe Cole to the Liverpool FC squad, means that unlike last term Liverpool FC have a number of options to choose from when it comes to selecting players for both their central mid-field and down the wings.
As was evident from Liverpool's opening fixture although Liverpool FC have not have to really felt stretched as long as their attacking options were concerned.
With players like Maxi, Babel,Wilson, Kyrgiakos etc.. on the bench along with the promising youngsters (referred earlier), Liverpool FC seemingly have a mix of age and exuberance even there and they certainly look stronger and should be a greater threat even if some players are sold out to reduce the deadwood at Anfield.
Deja Vu for Arsenal
As it stands, Arsenal are supposed far better of than most of the top teams in the league in terms of debt owed by the club. However, they have a far bigger problem, the miser Wenger syndrome.
Strange as it may seem Arsene Wenger's Arsenal didn't look anything like what they were last season in most of their matches so far (one league match and pre-seaon friendlies). A young team which has evolved under Wenger has always known to have potential to do the greater damage, however they just seem to implode when it matters most with Arsene Wenger trying all sorts of combinations on the pitch resulting in players playing out of positions .
After a forgettable last three months last term, it was expected that Arsenal would go for a few good buys this summer and fetch themselves at least a better goal keeper than Manuel Almunia. With barely 13 days to go before the transfer windows slams shut, all Wenger has managed is another inexperienced import from France in Koscielny and a Marouane Chamakh who came for free really.All this after host of defenders including Gallas, Silvestre and Campbell has chosen to part ways with the club.
Now, many a pundit have put their bet on Arsenal being serious title contenders this season, however after the flurry of incidents at the Emirites, it is far from convincing as of now to think how Arsenal can turn it all around.
All this means that the Gunners are really up against it with a mountain of expectations on their back, not at all a favorable scenario. Comparitively Liverpool are really not under any pressure to win the League as most consider it to be a rebuilding process for the club. It is usually under these circumstances when the pressure is a little less that players perform their best. Moreover , Liverpool are also a better mix of age and youth which is sadly missing from Arsenal's ranks.
Unhappy Pensioners, Injured, Aged and Looking Thin!
Although Premier League Champions last season, Chelsea has really not had great enough pre-season on any counts and thumping possibly the poorest team in the league in WBA does little to glorify the champions this year. Moreover if we just look back at the last season, even Arsenal started of their season beating a rather demoralized Everton team 6-1. By the late March or early April, Arsenal were out of the race for the crown.
When the same Chelsea team took the pitch against a more serious title contender in Manchester United just days ago in the community shield, they weren’t half as impressive.
However there are also other alarming problems at the club. Clearly, players like Carvalho, Ballack, Joe Cole and Deco have added man-power to the Chelsea team right from their golden days in the Mourinho era. Now with the departure of all of them together what Chelsea needed were better replacements. With just Ramirez being the big buy for the club it remains a tough proposition for the club to maintain the bench strength that they could boast off.
Ashley Cole’s clearly doesn’t want to stay any longer at the club and reportedly handed in a transfer request only for Mr. Ancelotti to dismiss the same. Ashley Cole could thus feel missed out after his team mate Carvalho managed the coveted move to Real Madrid.
Drogba may have scored the easiest hattrick of his career , however, his injury concerns refuse to be ruled out completely and after two almost back to back operations on his hand and groin respectively, one gets a feeling that Chelsea would seriously err if they don’t manage to find an able replacement soon and with players like Anelka not really in some serious form, the thin Chelsea line-up looks a little fragile incase any major injury concern picks up.
With both Champions League and the Premier League to play for injury concerns due to wear out cannot be ruled out certainly. The fact that especially Essien, Cech and a host of other players are just back from injury and have no able replacements in the squad.
Comparing the sides, Liverpool possibly has the best bench strength in recent times for the club barring a few positions which going by the hiring spree at the club could easily be resolved in a couple of weeks time before the transfer window closes.
Moreover, Liverpool will not play the Champions League this season and the Europa would only be a far less distraction as compared to the former. As every Liverpool fan and player would know going all guns blazing for the Premier League this season would be the big silverware that the club would aim for.
Manchester United: Going Strong, But for How Long?
Manchester United may seem to soar for many, after their comprehensive thrashing of the Magpies, but then just like Chelsea, the Red Devils also faced a team which just popped in from the Coca-Cola Championship. Eventhough Newcastle are still considered a better team than WBA, it was probably asking too much from them to prove something away from home at Old Trafford.
The problems with Manchester United, are also on similar grounds like Chelsea, as many a critical player in their squad are ageing and although unlike Chelsea they have a better bunch of youngsters who have played with the team even last season, it is worth asking whether any of those players can replace the likes of Scholes and Giggs.
Although just like Liverpool, Manchester United have had quite an active transfer season, does having as many as six strikers (Berbatov, Rooney apart they have Chicarito, Bebe, Macheda, Owen) in the line-up do their cause a world of good?
Moreover, if you think that wasn’t silly enough, Sir Alex Ferguson has quite amazingly come up with the statement that he never saw Bebe play before paying a £7.4m transfer fee for the player. The choice is all the more stunning as Bebe being 20 wouldn’t even be a ‘home-grown’ option in the years to come. Combine that with the fact that players like Macheda who were instrumental in United’s title win 2008-09 rarely found a break in the first team.
With a mountain of debt on the club's shoulders and it is only natural to think that Manchester United have not really strengthened their squad where they need it most,i.e., midfield.Asking Giggs and Scholes to take them the distance time after time could well be too much to ask.
After missing out on Sneijder and Oezil Manchester United really look a little thinner on experience and could find it tough to compete at the same level in both the Champions League and the Premier League as a result.
The Change of Ownership
It may have taken time,but there is still reason enough to be optimistic about a possible change of ownership at Liverpool FC.
Amongst a lot of hype doing the rounds, what really makes the most important headline is the fact that sooner rather than later the club is nearing a take-over and all the steps are taken to make sure that the the ownership is handed to the "fit and proper" person.
As per recent reports, the takeover should be over by October, 2010.
Whenever the deal goes through this year, talks of imminent takeover, will certainly be the source of a lot of enthusiasm among the players in the squad and the manager. Especially player like Gerrard, Torres would be hughly pleased with the change in owner-ship as it could easily lead to heavy cash influx into squad building come January.
Moreover, after the takeover the club should be in a better position to attract better stars and also keep the present day heroes as well.
If Liverpool goes into the Winter window with some momemtum, it can be expeccted that if the takeover has occured by then, the Reds would really have an opportunity to build an even stronger outfit capable of challenging the best in the league in the second half of the competition.
No Champions League Football: A Blessing in Disguise
Strange as it may sound, Liverpool's biggest chance to be a major force in the Premier League arises from the the fact that the Reds only have the Premier League to gun for glory unlike all the other top four team who have to do the juggle
With a better and improved squad, Liverpool FC had already given a first hand view of what to expect from them. although down to 10 men, Hodgson's men really showed their mettle then on and were only extremely unlucky to lose out on all three points.
The mood has been very good at the Red side of Merseyside after Liverpool's change of management and with the Europa not really as big a distraction for the club, Liverpool FC have a very strong team amongst most other challengers for the title.
With other contenders busy for the Champions League , Liverpool FC would be in a better position to concentrate more on the domestic league title. Moreover unlike other upcoming challengers like Manchester City, who may be a strong team on paper but are basically a collection players who'd take their time to settle in, As a top four club for most of the concluding decade, Liverpool FC have not experienced a massive overhaul and thus have a better co-ordination amongst their players.
Amongst others Spurs face a daunting task having to juggle with the Champions League and the Premier League and Aston Villa being depleted of venom after O'Neill's and Milner's departure, both seem to be in unknown territory wherein the chances of faltering are extremely high for either.
.Although it must be said that considering Liverpool FC as a favorite for the Premier League may be asking a little too much too early from Mr.Roy Hodgson and his men, I have given a sequence of events which can certainly influence the competition and maybe gift Liverpool a meteoric rise and bring back memories of its golden days from the past !!