It was foreseeable that Kenny Dalglish would return to managerial status at Liverpool F.C given Roy Hodgson’s abysmal start to the 2010-11 season. The former-Fulham manager took only 27 points from a possible 60 and wasn’t exactly living up to expectations. Dalglish took over immediately following Hodgson’s departure and is still employed in a caretaker role. He’s been in charge for half the amount of games Hodgson was and yet accumulated 20 points so far. Things are looking up for the Reds, but undoubtedly far from where they want to be. So the question is; where do they go from here?
Assuming King Kenny carries on his inspirational return, we should be seeing Liverpool playing more European football next season. It may not be the kind they’d prefer but Europa League is still a step up considering their exit this year. Currently, the only competition they are now involved in, the Premier League will require all of the club’s focus, managers and players alike. Steven Gerrard should be fully fit in the immediate future and it’s precisely the right time for players such as Dirk Kuyt, Lucas and Raul Meireles to be hitting form, so it’s a good job they are.
There are two players however, who almost carry the seasons’ hopes entirely on their shoulders. The result of a January over-haul, the Liverpool attack was reconstructed entirely in regards to strikers, and although Fernando Torres is a massive talent to lose, Luis Suarez and Andrew Carroll are undoubtedly awesome replacements. Proven at both of their previous clubs statistically, both forwards show a lot of promise. Suarez has netted twice in five games and is lending a tremendous hand in assists while Carroll has only made two appearances due to injury, but undoubtedly will make an impact.
So, £58 million in one transfer window could probably be called sufficient in regards to strikers, so where else does the team improve? Defense is certainly an issue in need of addressing. Jamie Carragher is a versatile stalwart of the Merseysiders, but injuries and age would see the defender finishing his long Liverpool career in the near future. After being such a massive figure in the heart and right of defence, a replacement is vital.
Martin Skrtel has moments of brute-force brilliance but unfortunately for the Slovak, they’re just not frequent enough to warrant a label of world-class defender, and if Liverpool want to get back to the heights of European Champions, that’s what they’ll need. A similar story could be raised with Sotirios Kyrgiakos, except maybe with a little less brilliance, and a little more clumsiness. There is promise at the back though, with the likes of Jonjo Shelvey and Martin Kelly being possible stars in the making. However, as more and more transfer gossip is piled on Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger, full backs will also need to be looked at this summer. Candidates at the moment are Inter Milan youngster Davide Santon, as well as Fiorentina’s Juan Vargas.
Midfielders at Liverpool generally seem to be coming into good form lately as mentioned with Meireles and Lucas. Maxi Rodriguez is looking more comfortable in the team the further we get into 2011 and Dirk Kuyt can’t help but keep scoring, albeit in a more attacking role with Carroll’s absence. So, the primary objective here is exportation. Joe Cole and Milan Jovanovic both looked like great deals due to their price tags (free), but in retrospect, there may have been a reason for those tags.
Also, Christian Poulsen and Alberto Aquilani, purchased for a combined £20 million+ are not fulfilling needs and would be better off the books. With a decent defensive midfielder, who they have not replaced since losing Javier Mascherano, their team would gain invaluable stability in the middle. Possible players to consider for the position would be Everton’s Jack Rodwell, a target of rivals Manchester United, as well as unsettled Real Madrid middle-man, Lassana Diarra. It’s unlikely the Toffees would relinquish their starlet to leave for Liverpool however, and Tottenham’s Tom Huddlestone may be a considerable alternative.
As the title suggests, Liverpool are going to be on a long road back to the ‘good ol’ days’. The good ol’ days when not only was European football assured at football, but successful too. The days when the Premier League title was within their grasp and not a far-off dream. The road will be long, that is for definite, but after four seasons without a trophy, going as low as anyone would dream a legacy like Liverpool to go, they must recover. Whether Kenny Dalglish will be the man to initiate such a reversal, we’ll just have to wait and see.