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Is this really the World Cup……

After months of waiting the greatest show on earth has finally arrived…..or has it? The first games in each group are almost complete and you can say the tournament has yet to start. I have watched most games and followed the others online (some of us do have to work you know) and I can safely say 90% of the games have all been boring and with the exception of the 1st half of the Germany game and the South Africa game there has been a distinct lack of quality shown by all teams. Are these really what the best 32 teams in the world are capable of? Why have teams struggled to perform? Are we seeing the results of ever increasing league campaigns where players haven’t got anything left in the tank? Another major point could be the lack of ‘true’ atmosphere in the stadiums where you see large sections of the ground empty in each match and the crowd being drowned out by the ever increasing annoyance of the Vuvuzela’s. The England match was a prime example of thisĀ  – normally the England supporters resident band would be playing and the England fans would accompany them but on Saturday all I heard was a sound like a million bees buzzing. I know its an African tradition but how annoying must it be to be in the stadium sat next to thousands of people blowing horns in your ears?? In reference to the empty stadiums what are the reasons for this? Have FIFA overpriced tickets? Surely when the greatest sporting event takes place all tickets for every game should be sold out? FIFA surely must address this as soon as possible as the tournament could be in danger of being a damp squib! Personally I think the tournament will kick off for real once the 2nd round of matches kick off as all teams will now know what they need to do to qualify and in most cases that will be a win. So hopefully we will see the type of football we’ve all been waiting for and that the excitement of the World Cup will really begin otherwise we will be asking ‘is this really the World Cup?’…..

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Excited but Realistic…….

Posted by Spencer | Posted in Liverpool FC | Posted on 09-08-2011

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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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