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New Year’s Football

So 2011 ended on a slightly high note for Liverpool, with a win over Newcastle, and the teams around us almost all losing…..

…2012 could have continued this great run, but we got spanked by Man City. Still I suppose the silver lining in the cloud is that it meant United couldn’t go top.

Moot point in the end though as United then proceeded to get spanked by Newcastle, with a couple of great goals scored by Newcastle, the funniest one going down to Phil Jones though.  Here’s the YouTube link with some great audio haha:

On the same day, Everton also lost so not too bad there either.  It seems that everybody is starting to realise how pants the Everton is, including their goalkeeper, Tim Howard, who opted to bypass all his team mates and go straight for goal:

The Man City game also marked the start of an 8 game ban for Luis Suarez.  King Kenny states that the bigger picture wasn’t fully represented in the 115 page document, and I still think an independent panel should not have included a man who once saved Alex Ferguson’s career.  Also seems harsh that a man who has been found not a racist, but been done for using comments related to race has gotten a longer ban than the previous player who admitted the charge of racism (who initially received an 8 match ban but was able to reduce it on appeal to 3).  Suarez also got a bigger fine than some nations have received for heavily racist chants from the fans.  Still what can you do when the FA is such a complete and utter corrupt organisation.

On the bright side there is a possibility that the 8 match ban may result in one positive.  All season Liverpool have struggled to find the back of the net, and even Suarez himself, although looking lively, has failed to score as many as he should do.  We also have 3 cup games coming up, which I believe the 8 match ban also counts for, so he will be halfway through his ban from that Man City defeat and the cup games.  The first benefit is that Andy Carroll may finally get a decent run of games.  Maybe with that run of games he will finally get back on the scoring sheet.  It amazes me how much stick he gets, yet in the games he has played he has (in my opinion)  come close to scoring a number of times, and done a great deal of work off the ball. When Suarez misses the target or hits the post people are quick to say how unlucky he is. It’s about time Carroll got the same level of support.

The second benefit is that the owners may be more willing to pay money for a new striker, which couldn’t hurt.  We do have a number of strikers in the squad but not many would be considered prolific.  Kuyt is a great worker, and can score a few important goals but I don’t see him as a man who can lead the line.  Bellamy has a lot of pace but again I would prefer to see him on the wings coming in at the far post or attacking players than being the target man.  Carroll, as mentioned above, needs a few more games and better support.  Maybe the return of Gerrard can help here, as he has already put in some fabulous balls for Carroll in the short time he has been back.  So we could do with another striker who can take on the role should either Suarez or Carroll get injured or banned.  You don’t get to Champions League football, nor do you win league titles (especially if you are in Europe) with one or two strikers capable of leading the line.  The interesting question I suppose is who would fit best.  There has been talk of Torres coming back, signing Darren  Bent or possibly buying from abroad.  All three have pros and cons.  Torres left on bad terms but then again so did Rush and look what he achieved on his return.  He is of course in a bit of a slump but again, Rush failed in Italy too (maybe because it was like playing in a foreign country eh Rushie?) Many slate Darren Bent as not being a star player but you can’t fault a guy who has consistently been in the top scorers list year in year out.  He may not lead it at the end of the season buy he’s always scored a decent number of goals.  The last option of buying from abroad would be the riskiest in my opinion.  Short of buying a top star (which I assume may be out of the question) it would be a risk to see if the new player would fit into the English game.  I was astounded how quickly Suarez adapted but let’s be honest for every Suarez there are a few Voronins, Jovanovics, Meijers, Dundees and N’Gogs.

Of course I still think we need to prioritise getting a defensive midfielder, although we may well do better to bring in an established Premier League player on a 6 month loan than buying one.  I have always been a big fan of Lucas and was finally happy to see him getting the credit he deserved.  Shame that just as he was finally being hailed as a great player he got that season ending injury.  However, the experience with him (and a number of previous defensive midfielders) should points us away from buying another in a panic buy.  It’s hard to tell how Lucas will recover from it, as a knee injury has been known to cut many an aspiring careers short.  However, I would assume that he will at the very least be given a chance to prove himself once he returns.  On top of that getting any new player is always a risk, so paying a large amount of money for a player that may well take a few seasons to get established, during which Lucas may well firmly take that position back for himself seems like maybe it isn’t worth the risk.

Still the transfer window is open, and of course newspaper silly season has started.  No doubt by the end of this week or next Liverpool will have been linked with a number of unlikely candidates but I anticipate that we will bring in at least 1 or 2 new players.  We could of course see the sale of a couple of players too, including possibly Joe Cole.

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