WITH Liverpool’s season now finally over, it’s not hard for the mind to start slipping quickly forward to the summer and what’s in store for next season. Sadly, for most of us Reds, that’s been the story of the past 4 years: there’s always next season.
I wrote a few days ago that I feel that there is a void to be filled near the top next season and that the pressure will be on to fill it, with Alex Ferguson’s departure from the throne at Old Trafford. I think Moyes is a solid manager but I will go on the record before he’s even left Everton to say that he will be out of his depth at United. He may perhaps weather the storm but initially he will struggle. A lot.
I’m sure many will call me delusional to think that we have any chance of the league next season but that just leads me to the first thing I’m looking for in time for the next Premier League season:
5 . Sights Set Much Higher
One of my biggest bug-bears this season has been how often we have heard that we should be happy with finishing 7th or be happy with a half-assed cup run, or simply just sticking 5 past a relegation side. That isn’t what Liverpool are about. That will never be what Liverpool are about.
Next season needs to be much more about what we should achieve, rather than what we can. Setting our sights too high and not achieving those goals (but giving it a good go) is much more acceptable than setting our sights low and being content to just do enough.
4. Decisiveness In The Transfer Market
There is no doubt that Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have been two roaring successes. So far, 22 goals and assists [prior to QPR] since January shows that Brendan Rodgers does sometimes get it right.
Every manager is allowed to make mistakes so if FSG want the fans to believe in the manager and properly get behind him then they need to lead by example and get behind the manager again in the summer. If he identifies a target and believes they will improve the squad – no matter the cost – then they must fork out and show us that they believe in their decision to bring him in as manager, not drag their heels like we saw during the past two windows.
Just don’t let him sign Ashley Williams. Or any other Swansea player, for that matter. Except Michu.
3. The Past Needs To Stay In The Past
I’ve been guilty of this myself numerous times this season. When we’ve looked down and out during a game or been on a bad run of form, I always ask, “what would Rafa do?” I can’t help it, I love the man.
But I will promise to stop going on about Rafa if we can all agree that constantly referring to the past; comparing current players to past players and just constantly making ourselves more miserable isn’t helping our situation any better.
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I would give my right arm to have Benitez back at the club, but – miracles aside – it’s unlikely to happen in the near future, so I’ll just have to accept that.
Likewise, I would like people to forget the concept that it would be a good idea for Kenny Dalglish to return to the club, in any capacity. I would always like the comparisons to Jamie Carragher to stop before they start when any new centre-back has a slow start at the club.
Given our current situation, we’re clearly starting again, albeit in a relatively decent one to kick on from but to make a real go of it we need to remove the albatross from around the team’s neck which has been crippling Liverpool sides through sheer weight of pressure for years. Next season needs to be a new start. Whether I (or you) like it or not.
2. Luis Suarez Needs To Stay. And Grow Up
There I’ve said it. I was as annoyed with him as many of you when he committed his most idiotic act yet, as a Liverpool player but in the 3 games he’s been out so far we’ve scored 9 and let in 1 in 3 games, picking up 7 points from 3 fairly tricky games, showing we’re OK without him.
Don’t let the recent form of the team fool you though – this man can elevate us above the average whenever he chooses too and he’s currently the only player we have who could do that, regularly, on his own. He has great support players in Gerrard, Coutinho and Sturridge but he is still head and shoulders above.
But in order for that to happen there needs to be some serious input from the management and board prior to the new season about Suarez getting his house in order. I fully believe that a player like Luis will not be the same if you take that side of him out of his game but it has to be in measured amounts, or we’ll get more 8-10 game bans and he’ll become a genuine liability.
We need you Luis but not that much; buck your ideas up!
1. We Need To See More Of The Owners
Unlike many of our more vocal fans, I’ve never been a big critic of the current owners, FSG. Many point to lack of willingness to back the manager in the summer and the dragging of the feet over the new stadium/redevelopment of the current stadium as indications that they’re here for the money.
Of course they are – they’re businessmen! However, none of the above shows that. The only time the owners have not backed Dalglish or Rodgers in the transfer market is over Clint Dempsey last summer, and while I would’ve liked to have brought the American to the club, I could definitely see their point.
However, when they believe in the manager’s targets they have shown a great deal of cooperation in bringing in who the manager wants and that will hopefully continue in the summer.
As for the new stadium, it’s been a long, difficult process which has dragged on since David Moores was here, so FSG can hardly be blamed for having to get all of the cock-ups of the previous owners in order before making a decision. But now that there seems to be a plan in place, we need to see much more action and less talking next season, in that regard.
More importantly for me though, in the short term, is that John Henry or Tom Werner need to be in residence much, much more next season; we need to see far more of them.
Don’t get me wrong, I like that they’re much more ‘hands-off’ and are allowing the manager to get on with his job but at times this season it’s almost felt like the club was a parent-less child.
As much as I don’t want to make such comparisons, the Glazers have always had a similar method but there has never been a doubt that they run Manchester United and we need FSG to be much more ‘present’ in this regard next year, in the figurative and literal sense or fans really will begin to believe that their hearts aren’t in it.
So, bearing in mind that these 5 are in no particular order, what are your big ‘wants’ for the Reds next season?
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