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Excited but Realistic…….

So here we are on the eve of another season in the Premier League and in stark contrast to last season it is one that as a Liverpool fan am looking forward too greatly. Cast your mind back 12 months and look at how during this time the club has changed. I for one wrote this time last year that only time would tell if Hodgson was the right man to take us forward and sadly by the time it was proved he wasn’t the season was basically over as far as competitions were concerned. Add to that the board room troubles that had the club on it’s knees these were times that none of us wanted to see at our club. So here we are 12 months on with new owners, financial stability, money for new players and more importantly a new manager in Kenny Dalglish. The combination of all these factors have enabled Liverpool Football Club to move forward in a way that no one could ever have imagined and so far it would be hard to argue against it all being positive. So as as fans what can we expect this season? The thing I have found with my time on Twitter and writing this blog is that some fans can have unrealistic views on where the club should/will finish at the end of the season and last season I received tweets from fans that were expecting big things after the signings of Joe Cole and Raul Mirelies even predicting finishing as champions! But with clubs like Man City, Spurs and Chelsea all spending much more than us last season we were always at best looking at a top 4 finish and that in my opinion was always going to be difficult based on the previous season under Rafa Benitez. So after a dreadful first half of the season the 6th place finish that was finally achieved was in all honesty better than we all hoped. Should we expect better this season? During the close season the management team of Dalglish and Cammoli have brought in good quality players such as Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Andy Carroll, Luis Suarez, Stewart Downing and as I’m writing Jose Enrique all who have good Premier League experience and all who should offer something that has been lacking during previous years. Having been one of Stewart Downings fiercest critics over the years I have to admit that his time at Aston Villa has matured him into a good reliable and consistent performer who I believe will not only benefit the team as a whole but also benefit Andy Carroll immensely by hopefully providing numerous opportunities for him. Charlie Adam is another player I am happy is at Liverpool as he proved last season that he can be influential, creative and score goals from midfield which is also something that has been missing from previous seasons, albeit under Kenny’s style of play last season goals from midfield became a more regular occurrence. I believe he will also provide us with other alternatives for set pieces and free kicks, taking the pressure of our captain. I have to admit I don’t know too much about Jordan Henderson but he was obviously well respected at Sunderland and can only be a good prospect for the immediate future for Liverpool. As with many Liverpool fans I am very keen to see what he will offer Liverpool this season and hope that he will be a great success and with Kenny’s backing I am confident he will be. This is the season that I believe we will see the Carroll – Suarez partnership blossom into the kind of strike partnership that will cause defences many problems and provide the return of goals that we are all expecting. Suarez has already proven that he is a major threat in the Premier League by being at times unplayable and a nightmare for defenders. Carroll seems to have recovered from his injury problems of last season and has started to look a real threat during pre season and I believe the midfield that Kenny has assembled will not only score goals but also create goals for him and I am very much looking forward to seeing this develop during the season. However a slight concern I do have is in the defence. The one thing I am hoping for this season is that Daniel Agger can stay fit. He is a defender in the Hansen mould that provides calmness across the back four and can start attacks from defence and when he plays the team look a far better and balanced side. I am concerned however that we could be left short in terms of centre backs as in my opinion I cannot see Jamie Carragher being the main stay of our defence during this coming season. I fear that he will struggle against teams when we are away from home who play with quick attacking players. In my opinion we need a full time pairing of Agger and another proven Premier League defender, such as Gary Cahill, with Jamie being good quality cover in case of injuries. I don’t believe that Skrtle and Kyrgiakos are good enough cover as pre-season has shown us leaking too many goals against far weaker teams we will be facing in the Premier League. Jamie Carragher has been a great servant to the club over many years and still has a lot to offer but I fear that his best is now past him and that we should now be concentrating on developing a new centre back partnership that can be the mainstay for the next 5 years. I am not trying to be critical for the sake of being critical I just have concerns that unless the defence is strengthened this could be the main weakness of the team this season. I am confident the team will score plenty of goals this season and as Liverpool fans that is what we want to see but I don’t want to see us compared to the Newcastle team of 1996 who scored goals for fun but couldn’t stop leaking them which in the end cost them the league title that season. I also need to remember the position of the club 12 months ago compared to today and be grateful to the new owners because under FSG the club has already progressed further than any of us could have imagined and therefore are we in a position to really criticise at all? As fans we all have our own opinions of how the team should be improved and the players we want to see come in, but I for one believe that this is the best squad of players the club has had for 20 years. I cannot remember looking forward to a season as much as I am looking forward to this one and believe that a top 4 finish is well within the teams grasp even though in my opinion I don’t think we will win the league. So for me this season is all about excitement but staying realistic……. YNWA

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My Interview with ‘What a Fantastic Run’ – The Return Match

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC, You'll Never Walk Alone | Posted on 13-05-2011

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Well its been a while since I have posted anything on my site and apologies but the last few months have been rather busy. However we have all enjoyed the return of King Kenny and what he has done for our club. I have a few ideas for some new blogs and will start writing them in the next few weeks.

In the meantime I have recently been interviewed again by the Spurs blog ‘what a fantastic run’ (www.whatafantasticrun.com) for our upcoming game on Sunday. Thanks again to Dom from What a Fantastic Run

WFR: It would appear Liverpool have had the mirror image season to Spurs. How has it been for a Liverpool fan?

This season has certainly been a down and up season. 35 years as a fan i have never seen a Liverpool team so disjointed and lacking in confidence as seen the first half of the season. What has happened since January has been in some ways a miracle and now we all don’t want the season to end!

WFR: Obviously there has been an upturn of results since Kenny took over. What do you put this down to? A change in tactics? A better motivator?

The upturn in results has exceeded in my opinion most Liverpool fans expectations. At the time of Kenny’s appointment we were just all happy that the king had returned. What Kenny has done is change the way we play. Over recent weeks in particular you have seen the team pass and move like the old teams of the 80′s. He has played players in their ideal positions and played to their strengths but in my opinion he greatest asset has been his man management skills and his ability to get the best out of every single player at the club with a smile on his face. Lets not forget the very important role Steve Clarke has played in our resurgence. The players have commented publicly how training has improved and become more enjoyable. This in turn has been carried out onto the pitch.

WFR: Jay Spearing has done a great job while Gerrard has been injured. What do you think will happen when your captain returns in the new season? Should he still walk straight in to the team? Has his absence shown that he is in fact very droppable?

What the absence of Gerrard has proved is that Liverpool are not a one man team, something the media and “experts” have labelled us for years now. As you say players like Jay Spearing have come in and performed to a level that we haven’t seen prior which is a testament to them and the new management. Giving players like Jay Spearing a run in the team and him performing to a high standard has also proved that our squad wasn’t as bad as first thought. Obviously having Gerrard back next season will be a massive boost and in my opinion it would be difficult to leave him out but what recent weeks has shown is we have a good strong crop of local youngsters coming through the system and able to step into the team if our best players are injured which is only a good thing. And more importantly Kenny has the faith and belief in the youngsters to come in a do a job.

WFR: Spurs fans are currently spilt on whether they want the club in the UEFA Cup next season, is this a game that neither sets of fans would fancy winning?

I can understand why fans are split on this subject as over the past few years the competition has become very poor. I think if the prize was a place in the Champions League next season then you would see an improvement. In the case of Liverpool fans the majority would like to see us in the competition next season especially after not having a chance in hell of qualifying 4 months ago. I personally think that it’s a winnable trophy but also think it’s an opportunity for the squad players to perform and gain experience which in turn helps the first team. In Spurs case it’s a trophy there to be won and surely that’s what a football team aim is, to win trophies.

WFR: After your win over Birmingham I commented on my Twitter feed that Liverpool fans were telephoning TalkSport to claim they are true title contenders next season – do you believe this is the case?

The are stats flying around at the moment that say that since Kenny has taken charge we have scored more goals and are second to only Chelsea in the number of points achieved in the Premier League so do i think we can challenge next season……yes i do. With more additions likely to be added and the style of football we are playing we have to be seen as a challenger for the title next season. Remember we have outplayed Man Utd, Man City, Chelsea and drawn away at Arsenal in the last few weeks and not many teams have done that this season. The appointment of Kenny and Steve Clarke has given the whole club the belief and that has been transferred onto the pitch. I also believe that Chelsea, Arsenal and even Man Utd have to improve their squads with, in the case of Chelsea and Utd, having too many older players past their prime. It’s going to be very interesting.

WFR: Tottenham fans a a little annoyed at the club for not taking the same gamble as Liverpool on both Suarez and Carroll, many feel this has cost us dear in the latter half of the season. Just to rub it in further, how are they doing in your eyes?

I personally think that the reason for your decline after January was the fact Harry didn’t go and spend some money. When you are in the champions league and wanting to ensure you stay there the squad needs improving at every opportunity. Im not sure what the finances are like at Spurs but did they have a spare £50m to buy both? In the case of Suarez i think it would have been difficult for you to buy him as he had indicated his desire to move to Liverpool and was holding out for that move. However I believe he has been the buy of the season. At times he has been unplayable and if you are a defender it must be an absolute nightmare to mark him as he is always on the move especially when he hasn’t got the ball. To be honest we haven’t seen too much of Carroll yet due to injuries but what he did show in the Man City game recently was how he has the ability to score goals from anywhere and also bully defenders. I think the partnership of Suarez and Carroll will an exciting one next season and I cant wait to see them play more games together.

WFR: You also have Daniel Comolli within your ranks, a man who was very much in the firing line at Spurs. With rumours abound that Kenny is due to take over Liverpool on a full time basis, how do you see that relationship panning out?

That’s an interesting question and as i write this Kenny has signed a new 3 year contract along with Steve Clarke which is the only news we have been waiting for. In terms of Comolli’s relationship with Kenny i think it will be a good one. I’m not an expert on Comolli but didn’t he buy some of your better players at the club? What he has shown so far is that we are looking at the right kind of players who are the right age and will fit into the way Kenny wants to play the game. I’m confident it will be a success.

WFR: Who has been your player of the year for Liverpool?

Without a doubt it has been Lucas Leiva – he has improved dramatically over the past 2 seasons and has now shown what a good quality player he is. I am not afraid to admit that during his first 2 seasons I thought he wasn’t good enough but now happily admit i got it wrong. Under Kenny especially we have seen a side to his game which means he gets forward more and also provides killer passes to the front men. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Lucas is one of the first names on the team sheet as he has now become a very important part of Liverpool FC.

WFR: Do you think there will be many comings and goings in the transfer market this summer? What areas need to be looked at?

I believe it will be a busy summer for us. There are obviously players that are surplus and will be moved on but what the new owners did in January by spending £50m on 2 players (albeit they received the same from the Torres sale) was their intention to spend money on the right players. In my opinion we will be looking at 2 wingers, a midfielder, a left back and a centre back with names such as Ashley Young, Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam and Gary Cahill being talked about as possible signings. I’m sure there are other names and im sure that we will sign at least 2 marquee signings. In all the summer looks like it’s going to be very exciting for all Liverpool fans and for once it will be all about who is coming in rather than star players leaving!

WFR: What has been your stand out Liverpool moment of the season

There have been 3….The appointment of Kenny as caretaker manager, Liverpool destroying Manchester United at Anfield and the appointment of Kenny as full time manager. If you had asked me this question back in December I wouldn’t have been able to think of any….

WFR: And the worst?

The worst moment for me as a Liverpool fan this season was the period between August and December – I have never seen a Liverpool team play so badly on such a regular basis and as a fan going into every game thinking that we will lose was very depressing times, but thankfully that period is now far behind us.

WFR: And finally, lets get some score predictions

As you know from the last game at White Hart Lane I rightly predicted a 2-1 win to Spurs (proving my point above) but this time it will be different. So i am going for a 3-1 win to Liverpool on the basis that Anfield has become a fortress again and the type of football we are playing will be too good for Spurs on the day.

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