10 Bold Liverpool FC Predictions for the 2011-12 Season
Liverpool's spending this summer has been quite hefty, and with a lot of new faces at the Kop, fans are understandably excited.
Well, here are 10 bold predictions for the new season. These are bold, lads, so take them with a grain of salt and understand that even if they are slight exaggerations, I still think that they hold merit.
Read on, Reds fans, and share my optimism.
1. Andy Carroll Will Lead the League in Goals
I know a lot of Liverpool fans are torn on Carroll's huge transfer fee. This is understandable, as he certainly wasn't worth what was paid. But since we are not footing the bill (no pun intended), why worry about it?
Let's bask in the fact that we now have at our disposal a mammoth whose aerial prowess is undeniable. Not only that, but he's now got Stewart Downing and Stevie G serving up balls; and don't forget Charlie Adam's wonderful corner kicks.
I say with Carroll's deft feet, great left foot and nose for goal, we see a 20-goal return as he tops the league in goals. If it was Berbatov last year, why not Andy this year?
2. Steven Gerrard Plays in 30 Games
For far too long has No. 8 been on the sidelines. He has spent an awful long time recovering from a groin injury, and his checkered past has seen him unable to perform for too many games.
This year that all changes. With no European games to speak of, Gerrard will get plenty of rest. With Suarez, Downing and an improved Dirk Kuyt, Gerrard will have less of an offensive burden. Less stress means a healthier body.
Therefore, I say Stevie G is going to play in 30—that's right, 30—games this year in the Premier League. Who knows, maybe he'll even pip Carroll to the top of the scoring charts.
3. Martin Kelly Will Usurp Glen Johnson's Role as Right Back
He's a big scary fellow that Martin Kelly. He doesn't get forward quite as well as Glen Johnson, and he certainly isn't the same goal-scorer.
But Martin Kelly can defend. And, considering he's a defender, that's probably something Glen should do more of.
Well this year, Liverpool fans can finally sleep easy knowing that Martin is manning the right flank. Glen Johnson is oft-injured and too suspect defensively to keep getting the call. Kelly will bring an unmatched intensity and work ethic to a shaky defense.
Give it until winter break, and Kelly will have won the starting job off merit—not because some niggling ankle injury is seeing Johnson to the trainer's table.
4. Charlie Adam Will Regret Coming to Merseyside
Don't get me wrong. I love Charlie Adam. I love how lazy he is tracking back. I love how he can't tackle to save his life. I love his Scottish accent and his penchant for playing the complicated pass when the simple one will do.
But I just don't think he'll get it. Aquilani is a more complete playmaker, Henderson is more well-rounded, Spearing is younger, Meireles is more dynamic and Lucas is just plain better. There's not much room across the middle for a one-dimensional guy.
Now, I think Adam is a good player. He can play under pressure, he can score goals and he's got a rocket of a left foot. His free kicks aren't too shabby either. But where does he fit?
I know that Kenny wanted him. Generally if a manager wants a player, it means he's going to play him. But maybe Kenny was just getting a bit homesick; ever think of that?
Regardless, Charlie is going to rue the day he signed that contract, because he's not getting onto this side.
5. Stewart Downing Will Prove the Best Buy of the Summer for Any Team
A lot of Liverpool fans wanted Ashley Young. I get that. Young is a good player and it would be hard not to be disappointed seeing him go to Man U.
But Downing is better. He was Villa's Player of the Year for a reason after all. And this year he gets to play on a real team—not that trash that Villa was putting out. Depending on who's out there with him, Downing will have all kinds of support and plenty of targets to aim for.
His goal tally might not be astronomical, but he will dazzle. Liverpool fans, our left-wing problem has been solved for good.
Downing is going to be considered the best buy of the Premier League come season's end. You heard it here first.
6. Left-Back Will Continue to Haunt LFC
Why is it that Liverpool can never seem to field a serviceable left-back?
Maybe it's because Benitez hates the left side of the field. Maybe it's because Liverpool had too many problems elsewhere to focus on left back. Maybe it's just because Insua and Konchesky suck.
I don't rightly know, but I do know that ever since we lost a certain fiery redhead, we've been hurting on the left flank. Did he curse us? Doubtful, because Riise loves Liverpool. But something happened.
Now I am of the opinion that Jose Enrique is a quality player and I think we're going to sign him, but I don't care who you put at that spot, the position is cursed. So even when we get Enrique, he's not going to solve the problem.
Maybe we should switch to a back three instead.
7. Luis Suarez Will Win Player of the Year
Luis' talent is unbelievable. When he's not biting people's faces or ruining the hopes and dreams of an entire continent, he's creating goals. He scores them, he assists on them, he devours them.
There's just something about his game that lends itself to wreaking havoc on opposing defenses. He did it in Holland. He did it in South Africa. He just did it again in Argentina. He's going to do it in England.
Look, I'm not saying he's the BEST player in England. I'm just saying he's going to be the best player in England.
This may be Steven Gerrard's team, but it's on Luis Suarez's back that we will ride to glory.
8. Alberto Aquilani Will Play His Way into the Side but Still Go to Italy
Everyone knows Alberto is a class act. He's got ability for miles and he seems to always play the perfect, beautiful pass. It's his injury history that has marred his career, and that's what ruined him last season.
But dang it all if the boy can't play. In preseason he's looked great while other players have looked mediocre. Playing the Malaysian national team can make anyone look better than they are, but Aquilani is the real deal.
He will get his playing time because Kenny rewards players who deserve it. But Alberto is always talking about Italy; it's all that is ever on his (or his agent's) lips.
I think that even though he will play well this season, we'll still ship him back to the boot country. He just wants to be in Italy. Come to think of it, I'm not sure why he ever agreed to come to England in the first place.
9. No More Youth Will Break Through to the First Team
As to the classification of youth, I am referring to players who have not already enjoyed a first team debut as a starter. Robinson, Flanagan and the like do not count—they are already tried and true, battle-tested Reds with the ability to fill in successfully.
But that's where the buck stops. Our team is too deep now to hope for anymore breakthroughs. This is sad because I know everyone loves to see youth get a chance, but you'll have to look to the Carling Cup for that.
This is actually a good thing, of course, because it means we don't really need any extra players to challenge. I do think that next year we'll see more youngsters. But as of yet, having failed to offload some of the deadwood, it'll be tough times at Kirkby.
10. Liverpool Will Win the Champions League
What's that, you say? We aren't even IN the Champions League this year? My goodness, you're right! Let me amend my statement: Liverpool will take a Champions League spot this year.
That means a top four finish; but I'll do you one better and say we finish third. United are of course the team to beat, but Chelsea are fading and I don't buy Arsenal's chances, considering half their stars want out.
That leaves Manchester City as the other possibility to finish ahead of us. I don't think they will, personally. I think it's about time someone told Mancini, "No," and I think we're going to be the ones to do it.
That said, one of those three teams will pull out a half-decent season and probably top us. But from out of Europe completely to third isn't too shabby, is it?
So here's to the new season, new hopes and dreams, and, more likely, new disappointments. Let's raise a glass to King Kenny and hope things fall our way!