This summer the world witnessed the first ever World Cup to be held on African soil. As was expected the news surrounding all club sides was kept to a minimal but it would appear that that once again, England’s most successful club was the topic of much debate. This summer focused upon the increasingly worrying state of affairs in the Liverpool board room with many stories floating around about potential buyers such as the Chinese businessman Kenny Huang.
Reflecting on the events of this summer and knowing what we do, the euphoria that Liverpool fans endured over the summer now appears to have been over nothing as Huang has pulled out and since then the talk of a new buyer has died out but in my own personal opinion I for one am glad to see that my fellow Kopites are unrelenting in our protest towards our boardroom infestation. I feel that it is both a tribute to the passion of our supporters and merely a display of what this club means to every one of us. What is more, our passion has sent a clear message to any potential buyers of what they must embrace if they want to take over the Mighty Reds.
On the pitch this summer we saw two Liverpool players get their hands on the World Cup trophy. Despite not playing goal keeper Pepe Reina and striker Fernando Torres both hoisted the World Championship trophy above their head. Another two players from Liverpool took part in that world renowned spectacle in Johannesburg. Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel both had their Dutch hearts broken by the final 1-0 score line. Alongside the four finalists Gerrard, Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Mascherano, new boy Milan Jovanovic and yes even Jamie Carragher appeared at the tournament so I think it’s fair to say Liverpool were well represented in a tournament which I believe eventually lived up to the hype.
Post World Cup and the focus was on new manager Roy Hodgson who had appeared to slip under the radar into his new role. But once South Africa had had its spot light, Roy got his. In my own opinion I thought he had a very successful summer. Not only did he manage to keep hold of star man Fernando Torres, but he also managed to finalise the deal for Serbian forward Milan Jovanovic which despite having been agreed upon principle for months was stated as not being ‘concrete’ in the media. Now I know what you’re thinking, Hodgson also managed to keep Gerrard as well? Well not in my opinion, I feel that Gerrard, despite being England’s best player at the tournament didn’t attract the interest everyone was expecting from Madrid and the Special One and simply decided to stay with the reds through some strained sense of loyalty perhaps? Either way the reds managed to hang on to all the big names prior to kick off of the new season.
Hodgson’s biggest success in my opinion was the business conducted over the summer with Chelsea. A deal which essentially saw Liverpool get £5.5m and Joe Cole in exchange for Yossi Benayoun is a good overall picture for Liverpool fans I think. Now last year I was one of Benayoun’s biggest fans but with the clear favourites of Kuyt and Jovanovic on the wings, let’s face it he wasn’t going to get a chance (not that he’ll get more of a chance at Chelsea either) but I can understand his motives.
Finally to the on the field matters for the reds now and a very disappointing pre season campaign for the Mighty Reds in which they scored a grand total of 0 goals. Ok, that was bad, but not worrying yet especially since when in competitive action they were looking good. Our first competitive game came against Macedonian outfit FK Rabotnicki signalled the start of a potentially long Europa League run all the way to that final in Belfast come May. David Ngog really stepped up when the team called for him in Macedonia with two very good goals which meant the home tie a week later carried a lot less strain for Hodgson and his boys. Nevertheless, our Cockney manager still named a fairly strong side which eventually ran out comfortable 2-0 winners and fired Liverpool through to the playoff round where fellow English clubs Aston Villa and the ever annoying Manchester City join the competition. After a 3-1 aggregate score line Liverpool secured their passage into the group stage of the competition despite the minor scare at the hands of the Turks.
Last season I think we’re all agreed that it was disappointing. The 2010/11 season never really got off to much of a better start. The fixture ‘computer’ clearly decided to treat Liverpool harshly by giving Arsenal at Anfield on the opening day followed up by a trip to Eastlands a week later. Surprisingly some might say, rightfully I say Liverpool took the lead against Arsenal as man of the moment Ngog scored to give Liverpool the lead until literally the last kick of the game when a very uncharacteristic error from Pepe Reina gifted the Gunners a 1-1 draw to kick the season off.
If we thought that was bad, what came next was the definition of a disaster. A 3-0 drumming at the hands of Manchester City, the team that many are dubbing to replace us in England’s top four alongside Tottenham and possibly Villa. Now I don’t know about you but I think that at Christmas when BBC Three do their annual most annoying things of 2010, I for one would place Manchester City within the top 3. The performance we displayed against simply glorified the concept that you can buy the Premier League title because we made them look like champions. Not that they weren’t good, but they just weren’t that good.
At the weekend our third game of the new campaign was played and finally a game which wouldn’t usually be worthy of Sky’s Super Sunday line up. A home game against West Brom. Kopites witnessed a Premiership debut for new signing Christian Poulsen and also the pre-match unveiling of new 14 Million Euro signing Raul Meireles. Overall the game was still not a great performance but most importantly the Reds walked away with the 3 points and it was great to see El Nino getting on the score sheet for the first time since last season.
It was an eventful summer for the reds and now there’s only a few items left to cover. Firstly is the almost certain transfer of Paul Konchesky to Anfield? I for one would like to see this transfer go through as I think Konchesky is a talented player and a certain goal from the wing at the Millennium stadium comes to mind.
And my final topic to cover for this admittedly long article is the recent Carling Cup and Europa League group stage draws. Needless to say the Carling Cup draw has been kind to us but the Europa League has thrown up some pretty tricky ties. Most notably the team to whom Everton where embarrassed at the hands of just a few years ago, Steaua Bucharest, Alongside Napoli and FC Utrecht we haven’t got a necessarily easier route through the group.
As per usual if you have any thoughts, opinions or debates about what I’ve written then simply comment and let me know what everyone else is thinking.