The Fans View

Aquilani out for start of season – so what?

News from within the club has reported that new signing Alberto Aquilani will be missing from action for 4-8 weeks after undergoing ankle surgery.Aquilani2

This does add some concern to many of us faithful Reds. If you look at his injury record, he has had his problems but he has passed a stringent medical at Anfield which raises some questions. How stringent was this test? What procedures is he put through? And, how can the medical staff be so sure while his ankle is recovering?

I guess you’d have to ask them directly, because I have no clue – but one question remains that we could mull over until our questions are answered at White Hart Lane in the season opener – what do we do until then?

Much excitement surrounds Benitez’s latest capture but some skepticism is still evident. Rafa’s last and only two signings from Italy – Daniele Padelli and Andrea Dossena have hardly set the world alight with Padelli having a day to forget on his one and only game in goal, while Dossena has fallen down the pecking order at left back behind Emiliano Insua and Fabio Aurelio.

This, however, is not a rant because I am very excited by the prospect of Alberto playing in the Reds shirt once he overcomes his injury. According to players, past and present, Alberto is exactly what many fans have cried for since Xabi Alonso’s departure. A great passing game, surging runs, creativity and the ability to slot straight into the Liverpool system.

Unfortunately, we wont be able to see our new signing in action for a while and that throws up the question of what to do until he is on the paddock.

Many have lost faith in Lucas playing in a central role, some are calling for Spearing and some want Benayoun to play behind Torres and Gerrard to drop back. Let’s look at each of these options for a second.

Lucas has no doubt had his doubters, even his baggers, but he still remains a Red and therefore is an option. His career has been soured by various sections of the Anfield crowd publicly voicing their disapproval of some of his performances but many doubters have been silenced by some wonderful displays from the Brazilian in the back end of last season and pre-season including the 4-1 trouncing of Manchester United at Old Trafford and the 5-1 rout at St James’ Park against recently relegated Newcastle.

During pre-season, Lucas has shown he has grown into a more direct player, minimising sideways movement (although, still evident) and opting to drive through the middle. Not only his passing but his movement has been immense in the middle of the park.

Jay Spearing is another option. The 20 year-old has come through the Liverpool system and has found himself on the edge of the first team because of Lucas himself. Some good displays in pre-season along with an encouraging 30 minutes against Real Madrid in last seasons Champions League has seen many call for him to be given a shot in the starting XI during Alberto’s absence.

With a very tough run of games between now and Alberto’s return (Spurs, Chelsea and United as well as Aston Villa and Stoke all in the league), you have to wonder if he will be able to handle the pressure week in, week out. Faced with this situation, you’d be forgiven for having some doubts.

Yossi Benayoun has been the star of 2009 thus far. Since the turn of the year, Benayoun has produced some of the best displays seen by the Anfield crowd in recent years. His versatility has been priceless, being able to play on the left, right and through the middle has seen him in all three positions since his turn in form.

For Yossi to come in to the starting XI in a central position, that would require splitting the lethal combination of Gerrard and Torres. Is that worth it? We have seen the pair use their remarkable understanding to split some of the best defenses in the world during the two years they have worked together.

It runs a massive risk, indeed. While some would fight to death to prove splitting the pair would be detrimental to the side, Benayoun and Torres themselves have gelled together under the radar. Gerrard instinctively knows when to get forward and that has seen him produce some memorable goals and assists to lift Liverpool from almost certain despair but this forward movement, nonetheless, leaves a hole in midfield which is suicidal in modern football.

Whatever the decision Benitez and his merry men do conjure up, we should all be glad that the success of the club doesn’t rest on our judgment.

27 comments on
Aquilani out for start of season – so what?

  1. I think Benitez has not learnt a thing from last season. At leat Real learnt and went all out to get the players they need. It was payback time Benitez wanted Barry so much he would have sold Alonzo for free, we lost Alonzo from then. Benitez shld plss seek other ppls openions b4 taking decisions. I dont think Lucas has the quality to replace alonzo so why does Benitez stick his head out for him. We need to win the PL this season and gambling now wld not take us there

  2. Benitez will play his 4-2-3-1 formation as usual against Spurs…remember they beat us last season…On paper we are organised but our defence is cause of deep concern, believe Rafa will play a more compact side…benayoun and kuyt to provide support…masch and lucas to shore up our midfield and protect the defence…torres to labour on alone and gerrard to provide the killer pass…

  3. I agree with a a majority here we have no choice but to start with Lucas. you cannot replace Stevie and Torres they are to formidalbe going forward especially with Riera, Kuyt and on a good day Babel delivering and the whole object is to score more than the other team.

    Lucas will be alright i go to a fair few matches and in pre-season he has done well, with Javier next to him he should be solid enough, i am more worried about the defensive in line in hoping at least two of our centerbacks are fit.

  4. Lucas has definitely improved over the last 6 months or so, It would be wrong to disregard the lad because he seems to be the whipping boy if we don’t win every week. The morons who slag him are clueless as the lad is clearly changing his game to fit into our pattern of play, If you don’t want to support our players then don’t go to the games, Very simple really.

  5. That is what friendlies are for!!!!!! You are better off trying things pre season, than on the first day of the season, we could of won all of our friendlies playin our strongest side, but how valuble would that of been, instead he has tried several players in different positions, different formations etc, and come what may we will still be the most successful british side in football history!!!!!Y.N.W.A

  6. After the At. Madrid match i think we’re no closer to seeing who will play where come round one.

    Spearing was tried, Yossi was played inthe ‘hole’ behind Torres and Gerrard went back and we also started the game with Lucas in the middle and Gerrard behind Torres.

  7. The season is a long one, and if aquilani is not fit for a couple of weeks then liverpool will get stronger as the season goes on, lets remember alonso and mascherano only scored 3 between them last season, and we lost the league with them silly draws were we lacked goals. As for Lucas, i must admit i have doubted him in the past, but lets think about it for a minute, he is young, in a foreign country,plays for brazil and remember we have seen flashes of what he can do, so lets get off his back and support him because a player plays better with confidence and support. Benetiz is a good manager, and when he is wrong he will admit it, ok he or they signed keane, realised it wasn’t working and sold him and lost money, but he stands by lucas, and i think we should all as well. The season has not started yet, and some of our fans are already slagging our manager off, look at hargreaves for united, out for six months and he is not worth 25mill, sold ronaldo, tevez and replaced them with (i really want to play for england) owen, can you imagine us selling stevie g and say torres and replacing them with owen, and taggert has already said no more signings, were as rafa is still looking, that title has got our name on it, bring it home rafa Y.N.W.A

  8. I don’t know but I find it strange that Real Madrid offered us Sneijder, Van Der Vaart and Huntelaar and Rafa refused all of them. Do you think he would refuse those poorly because he is insane… or maybe he has another plan in his mind? Who knows… maybe he really is lookin at David Silva or David Villa….. I certainly hope so….

  9. Aquilani is a risky purchase bought purely on Rafa Benitez’s opinion. Let’s be honest, if Benitez didn’t give Roma 20m for the guy who else was lining up to pay it for him? No one, is the answer. This is probably Benitez’s greatest weakness as a manager. He buys one good player and two flops, just like last summer. The league title could be a dream by the time Aquilani starts a match. How long will he even stay fit looking at his record and how many Italians ever really prosper in the Prem?

    Rafa is his own worst enemy a lot of the time trying to be smarter than everyone else instead of using common sense. Aquilani was not a common sense buy for such a high fee.

    We all desperately hope this one comes off, although if we’re forced to rely on erratic Lucas to fill Alonso’s boots for 8 weeks then I wouldn’t be very confident of matching 86 points. He “improved in pre season” when we lost most games and played total rubbish as a team.

    • PAUL… sound like you managerial material to me……maybe YOU should be managing Liverpool and, not Rafa……………now when I snap my finger… will wake up….zzzzzz zzzzz


    • Paul, from past legends to current stars to even the England head coach, the reports are that he is a fantastic player. I dont see how he is risky when all we can base him on are his appearances and his reputation and both seem top class.

      His last injury was from someone’s challenge. That happens. Alonso could of been out for many a week if one of those rash challenges got him in the right spot, its a matter of millimeters with injuries.

      Yes this is a risk but every transfer is, especially expensive ones. I dont think it’s fair to judge either Rafa or Alberto until we see them play.

      If your referring to Keane, remember that Rafa wanted Barry but Parry bought him Robbie instead. I dont think Rafa had much choice in that one but with his added power with the new contract and Parry’s departure, we can really see what Rafa is like in the market.

  10. What up with some of you?….How can any of you put Spearing ahead of Lucas?, do any of you’s go to matches at all?, or do some of the comments here, made after watching ‘MOTD’….Why don’t we give Lucas a break, for me, he was the MOTM, against Atletico M,…and improving all the time, so give the lad a chance and, stop all this doom and gloom!………YNWA….remember that!!.


  11. I still donot like the idea of buyin an injured player for so much..We better have a concrete plan to start the season without a flop

  12. Surely, if a player as injury prone as aquillanni will be out for two months or possibly more since the injury may flare up again or another niggling injury. Why buy when you could buy injury free player surely if you have the money you can buy players. Real Madrid are serious about being the best which is why they have spent. The problem at Liverpool is inconsistency in the premier league when anfield should be a fortress. Lesser teams will sit back but liverpool need to break with pace and catch teams out. Crosses from the wings need to come in more regularly. Rafa while there is time just go out and buy another quality attacking player who can create for others and also score goals. Do not waste another season. League is very important therefore need DAVID SILVA or David Villa. If not get another creative combative flair player. Turn defence into attack quickly.

  13. why sign an injerd midfielder if benitez use lucas whith mash then we lost the prem before we start i can guarante that not looking forward to the start of the season

  14. Here’s a thought/question…

    By the time w signed Yossi from West Ham… wasnt he playing in the middle for them? i think thats where they thought he was best… is that right? i could be wrong but i seem to remember something

    so how about trying Yossi as the playmaker? could be worth a shot.

    I think overall we’re covered tho…. Altho its a shame to split gerros up but we have to be solid in positions behind theres first and foremost against tottenham. i’d whack babel behind torres and yossi to fill in for alby (i always feel Yossi does ace at coming in from the wing)

  15. 4-8 weeks at the start of the season is a hell of a lot of games. 10-12 games with a 20M signing not participating.

    We are talking about 30+ points! and the start of the season which could be crucial.

    No doubt Aquilani if in form will be a great player and I dare to say if 100% fit then better than Alonso.

    What troubles me is the injury – Aquilani has been out since March-, adaptation to the English game (will take some time) and team management.

    By team management I mean who will do the manouvering in mid field? Alonso was great in the he dictated the midfield and also very importantly he was the one and only to face refs and calm down our players.

    Unfortunatel Stevie who is rightly so our captain rarely faces up to the ref. Remember Mascherano’s incident, Carra’s incident with Arbeloa and many other incidents in which only Alonso faced the ref to explain.

    I would like SG to take up more of an active part in this regard.

    I still think there is no replacement for Alonso – strangely so the only player I could think of was DeRossi (Roma) Aquilani’s team mate, but then Roma would never let him go!

  16. think a triangle attack of Yossi Benayoun, Stevie Gerrard supporting Torres is a great option with Kuyt and Riera at the flanks and Mascherano holding the midfield..Means only 1 holding midfield, YES ONly 1 better of wanna more attack..Benayoun and Kuyt can switch places if they wanna get more attack and switch back and forth on the Right side of the flank..

    Lucas still need to improve..maybe how about one game lucas and one game spearing till Alberto is fully fit..?? Anyone?? I know it sound inconsistent but what choice do we have??

  17. Well, in the end, we have to assume Rafa knows best. For mine, I would not move Gerrard out of that slot behind Torres. And I just think it’s far too big a risk to be trialling Spearing in the role during League matches. Lucas, although many don’t rate him, is the only option here. He has shown glimpses of his true potential so hopefully he can use the opportunity to show us and Rafa that Aquilani won’t be an automatic selection when he is fit. We need at least three good midfielders fighting for those two spots on the field.

  18. Seen quite a bit of Spearing in the reserves and he’s a decent prospect and has good touch and balance. But Lucas is a better option at the moment

  19. No one has lost faith in Lucas, he had his critics but he improved a lot of his performances after Christmas and is after bulking up a bit which will help. If Lucas hits the ground running he will prove Rafa right and a lot of our supporters wrong including myself.

    I had my doubts but I seen something from him at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge to suggest this lad can do a decent job.

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