Alternative Liverpool FC List: 5 Not-so-Bold Predictions for 2011-12
Well we've probably seen a lot of the predictions for next season flying about, ranging from winning a cup competition to who will win the Player of the Season award, and everything in between. Some spark great debate amongst fans, some seem wild and outlandish and hardly convince anybody of their likelihood of occurrence.
So in the true spirit of getting things right which people are probably thinking but don't want to say, here are five alternative predictions for the 2011-12 season which will more than likely come true!
5. Luis Suarez Will Get His First Red Card for Liverpool
Well I don't necessarily think it will be for hand ball on the line, but fiery Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez has something of a habit of getting involved in shenanigans on the pitch leading to red cards.
His World Cup dismissal last summer was widely reported, as was his attempt to bite an opposition player while playing for Ajax in Holland last season.
Suarez will no doubt be kicked to pieces in certain games this season as opponents try to bring him under control, something which they utterly failed to do in the final months of last season.
At some point, something has to give, and Suarez will likely see red for the Reds this season. But hopefully after creating or scoring the winning goal for the game.
4. Henderson or Downing to Be Criticised as a 'Waste of Money' After 1 Bad Game
£16 million for Jordan Henderson and £20 million for Stewart Downing is a lot of money, there's no two ways about it.
But the decision was taken to sign these players after deliberation, consultation and rational analysis and then determined as the best option for the club to buy, both for now and the future.
By that count, I would hope that the majority of fans will get behind the players wearing the Red of Liverpool, but it is pretty much set in stone that after a poor performance from either of them there will still be some queueing up to slate them as bad players, poor purchases and quite possibly enemies of the entire free world.
"A waste of money", some will cry. "We should have signed Nasri instead", will bleat others.
Well, never mind. These players are here now and should be backed to the hilt, just like Gerrard, Suarez, Reina. But still, at some point, they won't be....
3. Calls for Raheem Sterling to Play First Team Football Will Increase
In an age of football when pace and trickery are attributes to be cherished, nurtured, exploited and sold for millions of pounds, Raheem Sterling is set to become within a few short months one of the finest exponents of the game the Premier League has ever seen.
Actually, no. Raheem Sterling is a former under 18s player for Liverpool FC, who this season will start the campaign in the reserves side for the first time. Though he has excelled in his age group for the Reds and deservedly got involved with the first team for a number of training sessions and European trips, he is most certainly not ready to be considered part of the first team options at this moment in time.
Yes, he is a talented player from the youth side - one of many at present, I might add. Yes, he has the natural ability and, seemingly, the attitude to go with it to make it to the top level. But is he there right now, or likely to be there at all this season? Probably not. If he continues to progress well and improve after his step up to the reserves, maybe he'll get his chance alongside others such as Conor Coady, John Flanagan and Jack Robinson in the cup games and in further first team training sessions.
But his progression is only really just starting, and playing in competitions like the NextGen Champions League-style under 19s tournament this season is likely to further his development.
Sterling wasn't in the England full squad this summer for the European Championship qualifiers. He wasn't in the Under 21s side for their summer competition, or even the forthcoming Under 20s squad for the World Cup in Colombia. He is in the Under 17s team. Because that is where he is right now. That is his level, that is how far he has progressed, and if we leave him alone and let him continue working hard, with a bit of luck he might just come through in the seasons ahead and press for a first team place.
But don't expect him to light up the Premier League early on this season - and if you do start to demand his inclusion, expect your calls to fall on deaf ears from this writer.
2. Andy Carroll to Score His First Liverpool Hat-Trick
Maybe this one will seem to some people to be far less not-so-bold than some of the other predictions, but for me it is one of the safest.
I have absolute belief in the quality of Andy Carroll and cannot wait to see him regularly in competitive action for the Reds. For me Carroll has everything he needs to complement the players around him and the style that Liverpool are trying to play—as well as a few extra attributes which allow both himself and the team to change things around when needed.
I'm tipping Carroll to be one of, if not the, top scorer of the league this season—and I'm backing him to net a hat-trick at some point this season and outscore all his team mates.
1. Liverpool Will Qualify for the 2012-13 Champions League