I managed to get through about 50-60 minutes of Liverpool’s friendly with Galatasaray on Thursday night before starting to lose interest. The boys that took part put in the effort they certainly tried and did a lot of running, they were not at fault in that sense. Also, it’s hard to complain from the point of view that we fielded what was effectively our reserve team against Gala’s strongest side, so a 3 nil defeat was hardly unexpected.
Moving forward, if we were to face the Turks 6 months down the line (if we’d been in Europe), you can probably say that Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Skrtel, Kuyt, Gerrard, Lucas, Adam, Downing and Suarez would’ve all been starters and that’s without considering that both Aquilani and Meireles may still be at the club as well. Any Liverpool side missing those players is going to be much-weakened anyway.
But the reason I say that this is the strangest pre-season the club has had in years is that we’ve barely seen any of these players yet, even after half time. Perhaps the only one that has really taken part so far has been Andy Carroll and that’s because he was working on his fitness after his injury kept him out for all but the last couple of months of last season after he’d signed. There’s also the fact that Reina and Gerrard have been not long had serious operations and are in rehab; then there is Lucas and Suarez only just having returned from the Copa America.
However, that doesn’t explain why – thus far – we’ve not seen more than 10-15 minutes here and there (and usually not together) of any of our established first-teamers. Then you can include the likes of Maxi and Aurelio and throw in all of our new players as well: Adam, Downing and Henderson and there’s only Doni who has seen any significant action as of yet. Now, before there I get a barrage of abuse telling me I know nothing, I’m not saying that I demand 5 nil wins from all of our friendlies and I certainly don’t think playing our first-team in every game would be a good idea. All I’m saying is that I’m slightly concerned about two things: a) that these friendlies are being used primarily as a shop window, to move on the likes of Aquilani, Ngog, Cole and Poulsen because all four of them have seen plenty of action and not one of them is likely to feature next season (even if they are still at the club) and b) that there have been too few occasions when our new players and 1st choice players have been played together and been given an opportunity to work out each others game; to gel together and find that bit of cohesion that we would all hope for before the season gets going.
With just over two weeks to go until our very first game of the season, it is a bit of a concern as far as I’m concerned but we still have two games left to throw a few of them into the mix and see what comes out. I’m hoping to see a much stronger side against Valerenga next week, now that the pre-season training has been under-way for close to a month. With the final friendly at home to Valencia, it’ll be a good work out in preparation for the game at Anfield with Sunderland a week on. I have no doubt that Kenny and the coaching staff have got everything in hand and I have faith that they know what they’re doing but from what we’ve seen in pre-seasons gone by, the line-ups and casual way in which our friendly games have been treated so far have been a little alien to me to say the least. What do you think?
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