Liverpool FC English Premier League Champions: Now or Never
Every so often we hear the same old rumblings coming out of Anfield: "This is our year," or "We’re going to win the premiership, easy!" These hopeful ambitions come as quickly as they go because Liverpool always flatters to deceive in the Premiership.
This fact was proven in the season that they finished in second place after only losing two games along the way. For a team that loses two games in the whole season, how do you not win the Premiership?
For years it seemed like that question would be left unanswered—and Steven Gerrard’s resume would be left with an un-ticked box next to the league title, though he has won everything else there is to win with Liverpool. He desperately wants to lift the Premiership trophy to complete his legacy. With a Liverpool legend at the helm and Steven Gerrard in the engine room of an enthusiastic Liverpool, he may just yet realise his dream.
One reason why I believe Liverpool have their best chance in years to win the Premiership is because they will not have to deal with the distraction of European football. The European competitions bring at least 10-15 extra games for a successful run in the competition, and those extra games playing at the highest level take a toll on players. This has been proven over the years with teams such as Chelsea and Manchester United looking like they are limping past the finish line with six games to go.
While these teams will most likely be struggling to keep up with both competitions, Liverpool could sneak in the back door and wrestle the Premiership title from the likes of Man United, Chelsea and Man City.
The last time Liverpool came oh so close to winning the league, many experts and pundits placed the blame on the manager and his defensive tactics for failing to seal the deal. Had he been more adventurous, Liverpool may have turned a few of those draws into victories. However, that was not the case, and Liverpool drew an astonishing 11 games. If they had drawn two of those games they would have been champions on goal difference.
Liverpool now have a manager who will not be as defence-minded as Rafa Benitez. In Kenny Dalglish they have a manager who understands Liverpool and knows what the fans want and expect.
King Kenny, the messiah of Liverpool, will not allow their club to draw 11 games—he will demand that his team go for the jugular right to the death. This was proven by their dramatic late comeback at the Emirates towards the end of last season where, with virtually no time left on the clock, they didn’t give up and got their equaliser.
The Liverpool players have proven that they will put it all on the line for Dalglish; with the performances that they all put in, they all look like completely different players than they did while playing under Roy Hodgson. Dalglish demands his players put in a good performance and he gives everybody a chance, as shown by the faith he had in players such as Jay Spearing, Lucas Leiva, Martin Kelly and John Flannigan.
Just give King Kenny a few more months with Andy Carrol and he just might turn him into one of the most lethal strikers in the Premier League.
Everybody will probably be wondering how a team that finished in sixth place could be considered to win the league title in the span of a few months. Well, the Liverpool team that Kenny Dalglish has at his disposal is good enough to beat anybody in the league.
In the second half of the season, Liverpool demolished both Manchester clubs at Anfield, they beat Chelsea at the fortress that is Stamford Bridge and earned a draw at Anfield. The only team in the Top Six to beat Liverpool was Tottenham at Anfield, which came as a bit of a surprise. All of this was done, of course, without influential midfielder Steven Gerrard, who spent a lot of last season on the sidelines.
Nonetheless, with a world-class keeper in Pepe Reina, and a solid defence with the uncompromising Jamie Carragher alongside Martin Skrtel, Liverpool are currently a force to be reckoned with.
Their midfield oozes silk and steel with the likes of Meireles, Spearing, Gerrard, Maxi and a new boy named Charlie Adam.
Up front, they have two strikers that on their day will have any defender in the world in their pockets.
The little-and-large duo of Andy Carrol and Luis Suarez will, I’m sure, be the most potent strike force in the premiership—probably even more lethal than the pairing of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez at Manchester United.
And with the youngsters who impressed last year in the fullback areas, such as Martin Kelly and John Flannigan, you would feel that Liverpool perhaps only need one more solid fullback to compliment the players they already have in their ranks.
Despite my confidence in the current Liverpool squad, they are by no means a finished article; some work is needed before they can seriously mount a proper challenge. They probably need three more players: two wingers and a fullback.
It is widely rumoured that Liverpool are searching for a left back, with Leighton Baines and Luis Enrique being touted as possible new recruits by Goal.com. They are also in search of a winger or two; Stewart Downing recently signed with the club for 20 million pounds, as reported by The Guardian.
Another winger that Liverpool have been rumoured of making a move for, according to Goal.com, is Aaron Lennon. If Liverpool were to go for the England winger, it would keep with their new policy of signing young and exciting British talent. They have already done so with Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam.
I can see what Liverpool are trying to do by having the majority of the team influenced by one nation. Barcelona have shown how impressive a team can be when players are used to playing with each other on all levels of competition. However, the Barcelona/Spain team are on another planet in terms of talent.
Despite this, Aaron Lennon would be welcomed at Anfield with open arms—and the person whose arms would be open the widest would be none other than Andy Carroll. Since his move from Newcastle he has been lacking the sort of delivery from the wide areas that he thrives upon. With two natural wingers on either side of him he is certain to score more goals for Liverpool.
I believe Liverpool would like to offload one or two of their midfielders in Alberto Aquilani and Raul Meireles. I also believe Liverpool would be smart to keep these two and perhaps loan out Jay Spearing to gain more experience, or have him play backup to Lucas as the main defensive midfielder. When Gerrard was out due to injury last season, Meireles showed that he can be a key player for Liverpool.
As for Aquliani, I still believe that he is a good player, but I believe that he has been misused at Liverpool. In Italy he can probably play right in the middle of the field and get stuck in with tackles. It’s a little bit different in England, and were Liverpool to play him behind the striker, I think he would produce much better performances.
However, I believe this role will be filled by Luis Suarez. Having Aquilani as an option off the bench, however, would not be a bad idea, as he can be a game changer and it gives Liverpool a stronger squad.
The final reason why Liverpool have a chance of stealing Premier-league glory this season is because they have their very own captain fantastic in Steven Gerrard.
There is not much more that can be said about Steven Gerrard. He has saved Liverpool more times than he can count and is their superhero (and rightfully so). For too long he has had to carry Liverpool on his shoulders all by himself. Last season proved that this current Liverpool squad are very capable of doing things on their own without their talismanic captain.
If the team needs something special, I do not think they will always need to look to Steven Gerrard. With the likes of Charlie Adam, Luis Suarez, Andy Carroll and Raul Meireles, they have a group of players who can turn a game on its head in an instant.
Add Steven Gerrard in the mix to lead this group of players and Liverpool are the footballing equivalent of the Avengers, with Steven Gerrard as their Captain America. Without their captain, both groups have excellent individuals with their own unique qualities. However, with their captains to lead them they both transform into a team capable of taking on the world.
Should Gerrard stay fit and Kenny Dalglish add a fullback and one or two wingers to his squad, expect Liverpool to have a major say when it comes to the destiny of the Barclays Premier League Title.
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