Liverpool FC: Predicting the Reds' Winners Of Every Major End Of Season Award
There are 34 games left to go in the Premier League season. A lot of wins, losses, and draws are ahead. A lot of happiness and sadness, ups and downs, laughs and cries. A lot will change between now and the 13th of May, 2012.
That is, to say the least.
One thing, however, will remain the same. That is the way we scrutinize the players. The way we look back at the season and present our opinions on the year that was. That never changes. That will never change.
We will always give out the same praise, recognize the players who deserve it, criticize the players who don't, and form a memory of the season that was.
The main way we do that is by doling out homemade awards. There are typically ten major ones. While it is difficult to fairly distribute those awards among the players in the squad at the end of the season, it is even more impossible to try to predict the winners at the beginning of the year.
Nevertheless, here is a try.
Most Underrated Player: Dirk Kuyt
The Dutch forward has long been one of the Premier League's most underrated players, and that is likely to continue this coming season.
He has always been an important player for the Reds, but his work curiously always seems to go unnoticed.
He works extremely hard for club and country, and is the kind of player who loves to make those around him love good.
He is one of the most unselfish players in the League on the field.
With Liverpool's possible move to a 4-2-3-1, it would make sense to see Kuyt on that far right wing spot, across from Stewart Downing.
There, he would be able to provide support to Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez, as well as play the key role of turning defense into attack. He would be a vital part of that formation.
Up until his 13 goals last season, Kuyt had never been a big goalscorer. He does all the 'behind the scenes' things very well, and tends to rack up the assists. He is a versatile utility man, who Liverpool can put anywhere on the field and expect a strong performance.
At the end of the day, Kuyt is an invaluable player for the Reds. He deserves every little tiny piece of credit he gets.
Runner-Up: Andy Carroll
Most Overrated Player: Glen Johnson
Despite a few appearances at left back last season, the acquisition of Jose Enrique will see Glen Johnson move back to the right defense spot.
That is where he has spent his career, and that is where he has made a name for himself in the Premier League.
Unfortunately, he has failed to make a name for himself amongst the Anfield faithful. They complain about his lack of energy and seemingly lack of defensive ability.
That said, it is not necessarily his fault.
Johnson has been plagued by some really badly timed injuries during his time at Anfield, and has yet to complete anywhere near a full season.
Reds fans have never been given the opportunity to see him for a full year, and that has only hurt his cause.
Johnson is an offensively gifted player, and maybe that's where he belongs. He always looks strongest going forward, and there has been talk of him making a move to the right wing spot permanent. Liverpool certainly need help there, and it would be interesting to see them give the 27-year-old a chance there.
Johnson signed a new two-year contract this summer. It's likely Liverpool let that deal expire and allow John Flanagan to step into the team permanently.
Runner-Up: Jamie Carragher
Worst Signing: Doni
This is nothing against Doni. The award is not to do with his ability, but rather the ability of the other players Kenny Dalglish signed this summer.
Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Jose Enrique, Sebastian Coates, and Craig Bellamy will all make significant impacts for the Reds as the season progresses.
Doni on the other hand was brought in to try to solve the club's curse in the backup goalie department.
He was by far the best candidate on the market, and his signing could prove to be a real steal for the club.
That said, it's unlikely he makes too much of an impact behind Jose Reina. Reina has established himself as one of the elite goalkeepers in the Premier League, and unless he gets injured he should play all 38 games.
It will be up to Doni to pressure him and bring out the best in him. Only then will the signing be considered a success.
Runner-Up: Jordan Henderson
Best Signing: Charlie Adam
This competition is wide open.
Several of the club's new signings have impressed so far, all having had a positive effect on the club as a whole and having contributed.
That said, Charlie Adam will have separated himself from the pack by the end of the season.
When Steven Gerrard returns, it wouldn't be surprising to see Liverpool move to a 4-2-3-1 formation with Adam settling in alongside Lucas.
The two create a strong partnership of offense and defense, with one being a powerful defensive midfielder and one being a more creative option. Gerrard's return will only have a positive effect on Adam, who will have less pressure on him to be the only attacking option from the centre of the field.
He should be more relaxed and more able to play the game that allowed him to tear his way onto the world scene with Blackpool last season.
While it is impossible to predict what Adam might have accomplished by the end of the season, it is likely we see him develop into a key cog in the Liverpool side. Only time will tell, but I have a feeling time will tell only good things.
Runner-Up: Jose Enrique
Breakthrough Player of the Season: Sebastian Coates
He may be new to the European game, but Coates is already touted as the 'South American Phil Jones' and is projected as a future top tier player.
With Liverpool's lack of elite depth and size in the heart of the defense, Coates could have a chance to break through as soon as this season.
At 6'6", he would solve that defensive crisis in a heartbeat.
The Uruguayan was signed from Nacional for around £7 million near the deadline, and he comes in as a player for the future rather than an immediate fix.
That said, Anfield legend Jamie Carragher has had a tough start to the year, and fans are calling out for him to be replaced. Many believe Coates arrived in the right place at the right time.
Coates was an unused substitute against Stoke, but it is likely he features against Tottenham. After that, the sky is the limit for Seb Coates.
Runner-Up: Conor Coady
Defensive Player of the Season: Daniel Agger
When fit, Daniel Agger is one of the premier centre backs in the world. His problem? He never seems to stay fit for a sustained period of time.
That said, so far this season Agger has looked good. He finally appears to be in full form, and has been arguably the strongest link in the Liverpool squad.
He is the cornerstone of a Liverpool back four that looks stronger than ever.
If the 26-year-old Dane continues to develop alongside Seb Coates, the Reds defense will be among the elite in the world.
Agger is a top tier defensive player, and in only a matter of time he himself will be an Anfield legend.
Provided he stays fit, he will undoubtedly emerge as the club's top defensive player this season.
Runner-Up: Jose Enrique
Attacking Player of the Season: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez has the advantage of being extremely versatile.
He can contribute as a winger, attacking midfielder, forward, or striker, and can be used effectively in any formation the Reds throw out at their opponents.
He is the centrepiece around which the Anfield team revolves, and he will continue to be the spearhead at the front of the force that is Liverpool for many years to come.
As for this season, the sky is the limit for Suarez. He has looked dangerous every time he touches the ball, bringing fans to the edge of their seats.
It's hard to predict how much he might put up, but one thing is sure:
Luis Suarez is rapidly establishing himself as one of the world's premier goalscorers. He could easily eclipse the numbers Fernando Torres managed in his first debut with the Reds.
Not only is he Liverpool's top attacking threat, but he is becoming the club's franchise player in Steven Gerrard's stead.
Suarez will be Liverpool's top attacking player at the end of the season.
Runner-Up: Stewart Downing
Golden Boot: Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez will undoubtedly be the club's top scorer by the end of the season.
As mentioned, he is the team's top offensive threat, and he will be relied upon to score their goals. He could score hundreds, proverbially, of course.
Suarez has scored two goals through the opening four games of the season. Mathematically, that will translate to 19 goals in a full 38 game season for him. Very proverbial, it turns out.
That said, it is an impressive haul for a player in his first Premier League season. He is still only 24, and has a bright future ahead of him. He just needs to be patient.
With the right surrounding cast, the goals will roll in. Steven Gerrard will start that. He is an immense talent, and Liverpool are incredibly lucky to have him. 19 goals would prove that.
Runner-Up: Andy Carroll
Young Player of the Season: Martin Kelly
The 21-year-old Martin Kelly is the best young player in the Anfield system.
He has been ready to step up and become a key player for the team for a while. This will be the season where he finally cements his spot in the team.
Glen Johnson's injuries will open a door for Kelly. He is a natural centre back, but his versatility means he is available for selection all across the defensive line.
He appears to be established himself as the first reserve in all four defensive positions. Odds are Liverpool won't have their top four options all fit at the same time too often.
Kelly is ready to become an elite player in the Premier League. This is the year.
Runner-Up: Sebastian Coates
Player of the Season: Lucas Leiva
As late as the beginning of last season, Lucas was joked about between Reds fans all over the world.
Simply put, he wasn't good enough for a top tier team like Liverpool.
Those fans have swallowed their words. Lucas has established himself as arguably the league's best defensive midfielder, and has emerged as the rock in the Liverpool midfield.
The wind beneath the club's wings. Without him in the centre of the park, Liverpool are weak. The team's attacking hopes rest on Luis Suarez's shoulders. Their title hopes lie on Lucas's.
He has started strong again, and there is no reason to assume he won't have another solid season.
The Brazilian has seen a much better midfield grow around him, and the offensive support around his defensively-minded game is now a lot stronger.
Liverpool's midfield options complement each other a lot better than in previous seasons. There are no weak links. That is in large part because of Lucas.
He will be Liverpool's most valuable player this season.
Runner-Up: Luis Suarez
Follow Jake Ware on Twitter at @JacobWare95