Liverpool FC, quite possibly the most consistently unpredictable team in the English top flight. Two seasons ago they finished second, only four points away from top spot, and went into the 2009/2010 season full of optimism. Supporters and players alike believed this would be the season for The Reds to end their wait for the Premier League title. How wrong they were. Liverpool plummeted to a seventh place finish, narrowly securing a European spot, only due to Portsmouth not acquiring a UEFA club licence in time. With the new season rapidly approaching, Liverpool will look to forget about past troubles and move forward with a fresh-faced team.
The start of summer didn’t look promising for Liverpool, it seemed Hicks and Gillett were to haunt Anfield for yet another season. Rumours of the departure of both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres were strong and worrying to anyone involved with the club. An out-dated Rafa Benitez needed to accept he could do no more with the club and move on. Liverpool needed change, and that’s exactly what they got.
On the 1st of July, Liverpool’s best summer signing was unveiled: Roy Hodgson. The 63-year-old signed a three-year deal with the Merseyside giants. Hodgson has a managerial career spanning 34 years so far, showing the wealth of experience he will bring to LFC. Furthermore, the warm but direct approach that Hodgson brings to a team will suit Liverpool well. He will first focus on rebuilding the team, bringing new players in and keeping the biggest stars at Anfield. Then, and only then, his priority will change to taking Liverpool to previous glory.
The first summer signing for Liverpool took place before Hodgson’s arrival. Jonjo Shelvey was signed from Charlton in a £1.7 million deal, which will double when he makes his Premier League debut. Whilst this is clearly not a huge signing for the club, it is a good investment. Shelvey has represented England at Under 16 and 17 level and the 18-year-old will surely have a big future ahead of him at both Liverpool and England.
Hodgson’s first job was to finalise the deal of six-foot Serbian, Milan Jovanovic. He came to Liverpool on a free transfer from Standard Liege, a good addition to the squad as they look to build strength in depth. Jovanovic can play as a front man or out on the wing and will look to bully defences. Hodgson has since made three signings.
His first, which is also his best, was Joe Cole. The skilful, experienced and brilliant Cole is the bargain of the summer, coming from Chelsea on a bemusing free transfer. A great piece of business done by Hodgson for many reasons; not only is he a great player, not only was he free but he is home grown and respected amongst the players. With the new Premier League team rules, the arrival of quality home grown players is vital On top of this, his arrival was said to have influenced Gerrard and Torres in their decision to stay at the club. Which is more important than any signing. All in all Cole is a fantastic buy for Liverpool.
The next signing was young Scot, Danny Wilson. The 18-year-old was bought from Rangers for £2 million. Wilson certainly looks like a player for the future; he has represented Scotland at Under 17, Under 19 and Under 21 level. This looks very promising for Liverpool, with a future centre-back partnership of Wilson and Agger looking very exciting.
New manager, new signings, new era
Hodgson’s newest signing is Danish midfielder Christian Poulsen. With the seemingly imminent departure of Javier Mascherano, Poulsen would be a good and cheaper replacement. Poulsen, twice winner of Danish Player of the Year, has cost Liverpool £4.5 million, and as Mascherano has indicated he wants to leave the club, Liverpool should look to get up to £20 million pounds for the Argentine. This will add to the money from summer sales of Yossi Benayoun and Albert Riera.
Some of the best news for Liverpool will come if the club is finally released from the shackles of Hicks and Gillett. This looks ever more likely as interest in the club has soared. The Chinese tycoon Kenny Huang and Syrian businessman Yahya Kirdi are the two going head to head to takeover the club. Both would bring huge funds to Liverpool and free them from the American partnership. If a deal can be finalised soon, expect big signings and an exciting era for Liverpool FC.
This year, Liverpool should aim to climb back into the top four and qualify for the Champions League. A trophy is also desperately desired and Liverpool’s ambitions should involve a win in either the Europa League, FA Cup or League Cup.
With a new manager, new players and hopefully new owners, the future of English Football could swing from the blue of Chelsea and Manchester City back to the red of Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal.
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