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Liverpool’s Squad In Profile: Part One

Who deserves to stay at Anfield?

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Sports News - February 19, 2010

I don’t think that I need to explain why I feel that it’s necessary to
take a look at our squad in detail. We’ve had a shocking season and a
large part of the blame will (and probably should) fall on Rafa’s
shoulders. The owners are not without fault as well, but a largely
ignored factor has been the sheer bad performances of many of the
primary members of our squad. Whether from injuries, bad form, or
character issues, a lot of our big names have seriously let us down.
In this light, and with 4th place dangling by the finest of threads, I
shall be looking at the men who wear the Liverbird and weighing their
worth.

Goalkeepers

25 Pepe Reina
Has either recently signed a contract or is very close.
Bought for: 6 mil
Current worth: 20+ mil
One of the best goalkeepers in the league, yet he is oh so much more
than just a ‘keeper. On the field he dominates his area, marshals the
defence and is comfortable with the ball at his feet (which has earned
him a couple of assists as well). He is also one of the major
motivating forces both on the field and in the dressing room. He holds
the team together in a big way.
Pepe would be my favourite for Liverpool’s player of the season and
I’m sure that you’ve guessed that I think we should keep him.

1 Diego Cavalieri
Contract expires: Jun 2012
Bought for: undisclosed (probably 1 mil)
Current Worth: 3 mil
It’s a tough job being the number two keeper, but I have great faith
in Cavalieri. He hasn’t had a lot of chances to parade his stuff as he
usually only plays in cup games and we haven’t had too many of those
in the last 2 years (which is no real fault of his). Cavalieri strikes
me as being one of the best second string keepers in the league. Let
me put it this way: I’d be devastated if Pepe got injured, but I have
faith that Cavalieri wouldn’t be a liability and would probably do us
proud.
Tough choice here. If we are forced to sell to buy then Cavalieri may
well be a good sale to raise funds. I want to keep him, but the money
may be more useful.

Right backs

2 Glen Johnson
Contract expires: jun 2013
Bought for: 16 mil
Current worth: 12 mil
Hasn’t had the opening season that he will have dreamed of (which is
why I’d say his worth has dropped). He’s a definite improvement over
Arbeloa in the attacking sense. When he is on the field the right wing
works so much better. However it is his defending that has come into
question more than once. Because of his bombing runs he is often
caught out of position. He’s improving though. What I like most about
him is the effort he’s willing to put in. He doesn’t run like Kuyt and
he’s not in your face like Mascherano but he works quietly and
tirelessly moving up and down the flank helping out his team. Has had
a pretty bad case of the niggles though.
Personally, I like Johnson and I can only see him getting better. Keep him.

26 Philipp Degen
Contract expires: Jun 2012
Bought for: a smile and a handshake
Current worth: 2 mil
Cost nothing and spent his entire first season on the injury bench
which gave him a bad rep before he’d even kicked a competitive
football (ambitious buggers these footballs). In all fairness though,
he hasn’t set the world alight. Even more offensive minded than
Johnson (he reminds me of Ramos with his tenacity) but has a startling
tendency to put in at least one crazy and dangerous tackle per game.
Has been sent off this season (in the Fulham catastrophe) but has also
played as a right winger which, I felt, he did quite capably. Hasn’t
been involved for a long time and even Mascherano has been preferred
in his position.
I’d be surprised to see him stay. But we really need to replace him
with someone who is solid defensively. An Arbeloa type of fullback
would be ideal.

Left Backs

22 Emiliano Insua
Contract expires: Jun 2012
Bought for: undisclosed (probably 1.5 mil)
Current worth: 4 mil
Went from 10 appearances last season to 29 this one. Has his fans and
his detractors but I personally am a fan. What so many people fail to
realise is that the kid is only 21 (and was 20 at the start of the
season). Tackling can be taught (and he’s good at that), marking less
so, but positioning comes from experience. Give him another year or
two and he really will come good. The one thing that he will always
have against him though is his acceleration. He’s not slow, but he
doesn’t have the burst of speed that many good wingers do which can
leave him floundering at times. On the other end of the field he is
the best crosser in our squad and has the most assists for a fullback
in the league. Not bad for a 21 year old.
Keep him. Surprised?

12 Fabio Aurelio
Contract expires: Jun 2010
Bought for: a ray of Spanish sunshine
Current worth: contract expiring
Has spent most of this season the same way he’s spent most of the
others: on the injury list. Has always been touted as the epitome of a
“Rafa player”. Professional, sticks to the basics, technically good,
low risk footballer. Unfortunately he has become outdated. The squad
has improved in quality all around him and now he doesn’t really fit
anymore. His free kicks are a joy to behold but I wish that he could
teach one of our other players to do that because he is a bit of a one
trick pony.
I expect Aurelio to be on his way in the summer. He hasn’t done enough
to warrant a new contract and he’s an expensive hospital adornment.
Needs to be replaced though.

Centre Backs

23 Jamie Carragher
Contract expires: Jun 2011
Bought for: Brought through the academy
Current Worth: 8 mil
First things first: Shut Up about his value! I can’t hear myself
think. Geez. I’ll give you my reasons in a minute so just calm down.
Right. What can be said about Carragher that hasn’t already? He’s the
most dedicated footballer that I’ve ever seen. He lives, breathes,
eats and drinks football (though the latter two must be disturbingly
crunchy). As a defender he has been known to “always be there”.
Wherever you need that desperate last ditch tackle, that’s where
Carragher is. Sadly he is getting on a bit and I don’t see him playing
first team for more than two more years. This season he’s had one of
his few very bad patches. His value reflects his ever increasing age
but also his tremendous dedication. The song “Team of Carraghers” is a
homage to that dedication and fire that you just can’t buy. If our
whole team had it, we would be unbeatable.
His contract talks have gone wobbly and I’m actually not surprised. By
then he’ll be 33 and any extension would only be on a year by year
basis. It’s really sad, but he may well be off after this deal ends.

5 Daniel Agger
Contract expires: Jun 2014
Bought for: 6 mil
Current Worth: 12 mil
Certainly our most comfortable centre back on the ball. His drifting
runs up field are magic at times and his goals! Pfwoar! Hasn’t had the
most stable of season (much like all our defenders) and has been
particularly suspect in the air. His tackling on the ground is still
brilliant though and he adds a forward option from the backline. He’s
a really great player, this one, and at 25 he can only get better.
Needless to say I vote we keep him. He’s not a complete defender yet
but if he works on his heading then he will be.

In summary
Definitely keep: Reina, Johnson, Carra, Agger, Kyrgiakos, Insua
Possibly sell: Skrtel, Cavalieri
Definitely sell: Aurelio, Degen

Well that’s part one done. I’ll be back in a few days with part 2.

What are your thoughts on the matter?

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