It has been 83 days since Liverpool played their last competitive match. But after an incredibly eventful summer, Liverpool’s season eventually kicks off today. The imagination of the fans has certainly been captured during pre-season and it has been busy at Anfield, with many comings and goings.
Fenway Sports Group have picked up where they left off in January. After bringing in Luis Suarez and Andy Carroll in January, King Kenny was handed a huge transfer budget to revamp the squad. He certainly hasn’t disappointed: Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing, Alexander Doni and Jose Enrique have all joined the club for a sum easily exceeding £50m.
The signings all seem incredibly shrewd. Some query Dalglish’s decision to spend such vast amounts of money on the players, but all – with the exception of Doni – have experience of playing Premier League football. This is crucial if Liverpool are to begin the season well, especially as Steven Gerrard is injured and Suarez and Lucas will be jaded following their Copa America excursions.
In the acquisition of Stewart Downing, it seems as though the issue of genuine width of the left wing – a problem which has plagued Liverpool for many a year – has finally been solved. Charlie Adam will provide guile and creativity to the team not seen since Xabi Alonso’s departure and Jordan Henderson will be a more than capable understudy to Steven Gerrard.
The sheer number of options at Dalglish’s disposal is exciting. Not just in terms of numbers, but also quality. The midfield is full of seasoned internationals including Gerrard, Lucas, Adam, Merieles and Aquilani. The fact that the departures of Merieles and Aquilani are even being mentioned shows the depth of quality in the squad.
A minor worry is that the club haven’t offloaded as many players as they would have liked to. It is no secret that Joe Cole and David Ngog have been offered to other clubs, but as things stand, they will not be following Milan Jovanovic and Paul Konchesky out of the club.
Another small concern has been the form in pre-season. Before the Valencia match, the Reds had shipped three goals a game against some incredibly mediocre opposition, although most of these matches were played with a severely under strength Liverpool side. In the final pre-season friendly, Los Che faced Liverpool’s strongest team of the summer, and a comfortable 2-0 victory was recorded.
All in all, the 2011-2012 season promises much for Liverpool. Dalglish has many decisions to make, both in terms of formation and personnel, but I’m sure he is relishing the prospect of launching a renewed assault on the top four.
I, for one, cannot wait.