Am awful lot has changed since my last post about developments at Anfield.
Kenny Dalglish joined Daniel Comolli and others in being given the sack by Liverpool’s owners. It was an unpopular decision with supporters, who were loyal to ‘King Kenny’ to the end. A tortuous period of rumour and speculation followed, before Brendan Rodgers was prised away from Swansea City, becoming the 2nd youngest manager in Liverpool’s history.
The Carnlough man has impressed with his forthright press statements, and now that the season has officially started, he will get an opportunity to make improvements on the pitch.
It could be a slow process, but Liverpool fans (and the club's owners) must be patient. Rodgers needs to be given a number of years to implement his system, barring all but the most unforeseeable disasters.
The manager has made two signings over the close season. First to arrive was the young Italian striker, Fabio Borini. He marked his competitive debut at Anfield by scoring with an adept volley, after clever play from Luis Suarez.
Last week he was joined by Joe Allen, captured from Swansea, after a £15 million release clause in his contract was triggered. At that price his signing is a gamble. I suspect that the fee was inflated by the fact that Allen is a British player.
Still, Rodgers has a high regard for the midfielder’s ability and the system which he intends to implement does require mobile players who are comfortable on the ball in the centre of the pitch.
The manager’s preferred tactics have been described variously as 4-3-3, 4-5-1 and ‘tikka takka’. As I noted previously, it is a strategy which is likely to suit Luis Suarez in particular.
So it’s an exciting time for Liverpool supporters, but a note of caution. The manager can make some improvements straight away, but the current squad is still in need of renovation. Allen and Borini have arrived, but the likes of Charlie Adam, Jay Spearing and Stuart Downing remain. They have also, rather worryingly, played a notable role in pre-season matches.
The hunt for a wide player continues. The Uruguayan, Gaston Ramirez, has been mentioned, while Portugal’s Ricardo Queresma is viewed as a possible alternative. Though Liverpool has a notoriously patchy record in the transfer market, where it comes to wingers.
As ever, the manager’s season will be considered a success if the club is in next season’s champions’ league. Cup success is regarded as an optional extra these days.
A top 4 finish is achievable, but if it is not attained, it will be time for the owners to demonstrate some patience.