New season, new players, new hopes.
Whenever a new season begins every football supporter in the country hopes the new season will fulfil their dreams, for some it’s about titles, for others survival although I’m not sure what Leicester City and their new found followers will be hoping for this season.
However, staying closer to home and thinking about Liverpool; well we would stay closer to home if the new Main Stand was ready only we’re still another month away from completion of that particular project. What we don’t know is how far we are away from the completion of the team project [or whatever these things are currently being called].
The pro-longed pre-season games don’t tell you very much. Instead of arriving back at Anfield on the same day, the senior squad arrived back over a period of about a month. Others may have even commenced their pre-season with another club, others might be thinking about going to another club and by the end of the irritating rumour inducing Transfer Window some might well be with different clubs and new faces could still arrive. I can safely play the arl arse card and say, “It wasn’t like that in my day”.
We seemed to pick up injuries after every game; so much so that it could be autumn before we know if Simon Mignolet has got a spot of competition for the goalkeeping slot. Joel Matip – who some feel could help plug the huge gaps that regularly appeared in our defence over the past couple of years – still hasn’t spent many minutes on the pitch as Lovren’s partner; of course there are suggestions that Dancing Dan has got an injury…who’d have predicted that? And who knows what’s going to become of Sakho?
So after nine pre-season games I don’t know if we’re all that much wiser about who will be lining up at The Emirates on Sunday – or who won’t be. What we do know is that as the players jetted across the ocean after a few games in the north of England to a few games in mid-America and then from Wembley Stadium to Germany last season’s levels of inconsistency was still very much in evidence. I know The Kaiser sent out totally different teams against Barça and Mainz but to win one and lose one 4-0 still leaves many scratching their heads – well it does me. If the two results had been reversed it might have been understandable; but this sort of stuff was happening for just about all of last season. Herr Klopp also hinted that some of the defending in the pre-season games left more than a bit to be desired. Hence the need for the likes of Lovren and Matip to play together or whatever pairing the manager wants, and the same goes for the full backs. I’m sure this is what Jürgen wanted as well.
Despite this I believe we can improve on last season’s abysmal league form but we need players to, and I quote, Hit the ground running. The old excuse of needing time to settle doesn’t wash with me especially when it comes to players who’ve already spent a year or more playing in The Premier Division with other clubs. Levels of consistency need to be there from the likes of Firmino and even Coutinho. Saido Manè has got to do what Benteke [and a few others before him] failed to do and that’s at least prove he was worth buying. In short; the excuse book has got to be ripped up.
I expect the manager to treat every competition with respect and intent, unlike his predecessor. There’s going to be time between games and unlike last season The Kaiser will have plenty of it to sort any issues out. His biggest problem might be keeping players who don’t get in the side satisfied and convincing them they’re still part of the team [project]. There’s also the chance the spotlight will be centred over Manchester as the TV companies cream themselves over Mourinho and Guardiola. Let them slug it out both physically and verbally whilst we steal in on their blind side.
Although the two Mancunian clubs have got new managers and have spent multi-millions we can’t worry about them and what they do is no concern of ours. By comparison Chelsea’s almost tightened their money belt but they’ve still spent plenty and like Liverpool, won’t have any European games to interfere with their efforts to climb back up the chart. Arsenal’s still Arsenal and Wenger’s still Wenger but those four clubs, again like Liverpool, will have plenty to prove this coming campaign. Tottenham might have a hangover from what happened at the end of last season but on the other hand it could act as an inspiration. This might go against the grain, but Everton look like they’ve finally appointed a decent manager.
So the weekend starts here, although we start on Sunday against a Gooner’s side that the media’s telling us has more than enough shortcomings. Having to play three games on the bounce away from home isn’t ideal [four if we count Burton in the League Cup] but it will tell us a bit more about this team of ours and how they handle the matter. Forget Steven Gerrard’s “We go again” comment. It’s like Tony Blair once said, “Time to do”.