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Liverpool: Heading Out of the Darkness and Into the Light?

COS contributor Aquaman believes things are looking good for the Anfield faithful.

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Liverpool's new manager Roy Hodgson poses for photographers during a media conference at Anfield in Liverpool, northern England July 1, 2010. REUTERS/Nigel Roddis (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER IMAGES OF THE DAY)

I think most Liverpool fans will agree with me that last season has
already faded from memory like those terrifying nightmares you had as
a kid and then couldn’t remember the second you opened your eyes. It
was a bad, bad season but it’s behind us now and the future is
actually looking remarkably bright (not that the media would ever let
us think that).

Roy has been a gale of fresh air. It’s so nice to actually hear
questions answered straight without Rafa’s perpetual defensiveness.
Not that I’m knocking Rafa. I still maintain that he is a fantastic
coach and I was sad to hear that he had left (or been made to leave
more likely).

His heart is red and he really and truly did want the best for our
club. So thanks again Rafa for pulling us out of the muck and
polishing our name a bit. Unfortunately you built the foundations for
success and I have never had anyone comment positively on my home’s
fantastic foundations (and they really are top class).

Anyway, back to Roy and the present. Upon Rafa’s departure we were
left with a squad with zero confidence and a real financial problem.
No Champion’s league knockout rounds meant that our coffers had
suffered a lot, plus no Champion’s League at all this season is only
going to make that worse. But Roy arrived saying that the moment he
heard the name Liverpool he was sold and wore these problems without a
single mutter of complaint. Now we have a squad filled with optimism
and 4 new signings who have cost a total of 6.5 mil (although that
could rise to 10.5 mil and Jovanovic has to be creditted to Rafa).

Joe Cole was the signing of the lot as I’m sure everyone agrees. No
one doubts his quality and the players have been buzzing about his
addition (not to mention the fans). Joe is sounding really happy as
well which can only ever be a good thing. My only concern is that we
already have a player who plays the “fantastic flair player who
dominates the medical table” role with real class: Alberto Aquilani.
Yes, yes, I know that’s not fair and I reckon he’s going to be a real
sensation this season. Aquilani too.

Milan Jovanovic I am less sure about. I like his attitude; he’s had
his feet firmly planted the whole way through the ordeal. He could
also have pulled a runner when Rafa left, but he said he was signing
for Liverpool not Rafa. Great to hear. Also it’s nice to have a real
left winger for once. Although I’ve heard that he may be a left sided
Kuyt (ie was a striker now a winger and doesn’t quite remember all the
time).

Christian Poulsen is an interesting transfer and one which tells you a
lot about Roy. Firstly (according to Roy) we didn’t buy him to replace
Mascherano. So we’ve brought 4 players in now and have sold only Riera
from the first team. That strength in depth that we worried about is
getting dealt with (although we are still a striker or two short and
another left back would be good unless Aurelio is suddenly stricken
with good health).

June 19, 2010 - Pretoria, South Africa - Christian Poulsen of Denmark thanks the support after the FIFA World Cup 2010 soccer match between Cameroon and Denmark at Loftus Versfeld Stadium on June 18, 2010 in Pretoria, South Africa.

What it also tells us is something about Rafa that I hadn’t realised.
I looked at the age of our starters (before this transfer window) and
compared it to that of Chelsea and Man U’s. Here’s what I found:

……………….LFC……MU……CFC
21-22………II………..0…………0
23-24………II………..III………..II
25-26………IIIIII…….I………….II
27-28………II………..III………..IIIII
29-30………IIIII……..IIIIIII…….III
31+…………I………….IIIII………IIIII

Our squad is actually seriously young and has been for ages.
Liverpool’s average age works out to 27 (again this is before this
transfer window) while Man U’s is 30 and Chelsea’s is 31. What Roy is
doing is bringing in some more experience to our squad. Cole is 28,
Jovanovic is 28 and Poulsen is 30. None of these are over the hill and
yet they may give our squad that stability we need.

Danny is the final transfer that we’ve made and strangely some fans
are a little sceptical. They say we have such strong defenders
already, why do we need more youngsters when they won’t get to play.
Good point but Carra and Kyrgiakos are both 30+ and won’t be in the
first team reckoning forever. So bringing in the future now allows
them to learn from the vets and they’ll be ready just as the old boys
are thinking of hanging their boots up.

Special mention to Aurelio who has re-signed. Good plan in my book as
we weren’t going to get better without ravaging our bank account. Just
hope he stays fit for more than a few weeks in a row.

Things are looking good at the moment ad while I refuse to get ahead
of myself I am very confident about this season. The new medical men
may be able to keep Torres, Aquilani, Agger, Gerrard and Aurelio in
proper working order unlike the past. Roy has a good squad with some
real rough diamonds to polish (as he does best) like Babel, Insua,
N’Gog, Lucas, and all those promising youngsters we hear so much
about.

My prediction is that we’ll come a very comfortable third challenging
second. I’m not going to aim for any higher although I will be
ecstatic if we manage it. Then there’s the Europa League which we have
a real chance of winning this time. Hopefully we’ll also get a good
cup run or two for the first time in several years.

Keep your heads high redmen. It’s gonna be a long and thoroughly
entertaining season.

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More Stories christian poulsen Joe cole Liverpool FC milan jovanovic rafa benitez roy hodgson