In recent weeks, Liverpool have been greeted with optimism throughout the English press. This is a far cry from only a few months ago when, at every possible opportunity, Liverpool Football Club would be dragged through the mud and slaughtered for the way in which their 2009/2010 campaign unfolded. Some would argue that the club deserved every ounce of their criticism, nevertheless, with the new Premiership season fast approaching the woes of the previous campaign seem to have been placed on the back burner and a wave of optimism has struck everyone associated with Liverpool. As we enter a new era under the guidance of boss Roy Hodgson you would envisage, after the debacle of last year, that the only way is up. Roy’s reign so far has done nothing but suggest that, under his control, the team can once again produce the football that the fans know they are capable of.
Under pressure and with a second-string squad full of youngsters, Roy and his team, in the manager’s first competitive game in charge, managed to secure a vital result against FK Rabotnicki whilst putting in a comfortably impressive performance in the meantime. Many Liverpool fans have, in the past, had to endure the painful experience of having to watch Liverpool struggle away from home in Europe, often with a full-strength squad. So to watch the team comfortably defeat our Macedonian opponents with a starting 11 packed with players unfamiliar to first-team football was an inspiring and encouraging sight to behold. There is a strong, refreshing sense of positive change at Liverpool since the start of Hodgson’s tenure as manager and, although the boss indeed had his critics when first appointed as Liverpool manager, he has, with what he has achieved so far, proved most of his doubters wrong. A winning start to competitive life is always the perfect way to kickstart a successful campaign and that is what us fans will be hoping Liverpool can produce this season.
For me, this feeling of optimism surrounding Liverpool Football Club really started when it was announced that we had secured the signature of England international Joe Cole. A signing of that quality can only be a positive thing for the club and after we were able to beat off the competition from other high-profile clubs, even without the opportunity to offer Champions League football, it sent a clear message of intent to the rest of the teams in the Premiership; a message that Liverpool were down but they are right back up again. In terms of transfers in and out of the club, Roy Hodgson has put players up for sale that the fans have been crying out to be sold in recent months only for Rafa Benitez to keep faith with these underachievers. Names such as Phillip Degen, Damien Plessis and Emiliano Insua spring to mind. Overall, with the transfers that have been completed so far Hodgson has ticked all the boxes for the type of players that the fans want to see coming through the door at Anfield; quality to improve the first-team, strength in depth for the squad and players for the future.
With the domestic campaign set to begin in only two weeks, Hodgson is shaping together, piece by piece, a squad capable of challenging for top honours. I, for one, am relieved that, finally, as a Liverpool fan, I can look forward to watching the team and fill my thoughts and expectations with optimism rather than the all too familiar pessimistic viewpoint. It’s fair to say Roy Hodgson has done no wrong since walking through the doors of Melwood at the beginning of the month and may his successful first few weeks as boss be a sign of things to come for the future and give us fans something to cheer about after suffering a dismal twelve months.
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