Pre-Season and Has It Ironed Out Several of Our Problems
Yesterday's game against Valencia marked the end of Liverpool's pre-season preparations before the Football Season begins for the Premiership next week. It was of course the game that marked the return of us the supporters to Anfield and a chance to have a good look at the club's new signings.
But did it tell us anything? That I am really not too sure about. Yes we travelled to exotic places and gave our Far Eastern supporters, something they thought they would never witness. This was not only watching their heroes play, but the community part of the club also played their part with visits to children's homes, shopping malls and gave coaching lessons to under privileged and disabled children.
The situation on the pitch was totally different and I can
understand why the matches were played in the way that they were. On arrival,
they had to cope with the time difference, which in normal circumstances takes
several days to get over. The team of
course did not have this and with the high humidity and temperatures, changes
were made quite regularly to ensure that none of them suffered lingering
effects that could mar the start of the English Premiership season.
There was also the 'Shop Window' effect, which saw most of what we the supporters call the rejects out on show, so that they can be moved on. This meant that we had players on the pitch who really did not want or need to be there, which of course can affect the attitude of the complete team.
On the plus side, it gave Kenny the chance to show off Charlie Adam and some of the players who had returned from long term injuries as well as several of the youngsters he had introduced to the first team at the end of last season.
The style of play and lack of clean sheets in the Far East set alarm bells ringing. The players did not seem to be able to jell and it became blatantly obvious that we still need some new players brought into the club. I know we have some good defensive players but sometimes help is needed and that time is now.
The team of course then came home and Doni, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson joined their new team mates before the next stage of the pre- season tour which was to be in Norway. Now as we all know, events in Norway took a terrible toll on its people and with Liverpool agreeing to fulfil their fixture, hopes were high that this would be the one, that would show us the pre-season preparations were now gathering pace.
They arrived in Norway and immediately the club paid its respects to its people. In scenes reminiscent of Hillsborough, there were carpets of flowers by Oslo's churches. To one of which, a bouquet of Red and White roses from the City of Liverpool and Liverpool Football Club and their supporters worldwide was added too by Ian Ayre.
John and Linda were also in Norway and as expected a more or less first team was selected to play. Kenny also took along with him, several of the clubs up and coming youngsters, one of whom was Raheem Sterling. The match although, not as disjointed turned into a draw, which I suspect, given the circumstances was the right outcome, but it still showed the gaping holes in our defence.
The team returned to England and with 'the big one' against Valencia approaching, we had the return of Lucas to the squad, which sent sighs of relief through the supporters. Lucas as we know, was berated by the supporters but under Kenny has proved what a great player is turning into. If he can block a ball he will. The excitement of seeing Mata in the flesh I suspect also added to the expectation of the supporters. It also signalled that football our weekly fix was just around the corner.
The playing surface at Anfield looked as beautiful as ever and once the team sheets were read out, you knew you were in for quite a game. Kenny had chosen to play, what I suspect is as near to his first eleven as he can without, Stevie, Skrtel and Suarez.
The game started and it felt as though the old Liverpool was back. The pace and the passing was absolutely fantastic with Stewart Downing showing just what a fantastic buy he was. Andy Carroll scored the first goal within seven minutes and if he can keep that up throughout the season, then the team's goal tally should become quite interesting. The only downside was Glen Johnson being taken with a suspected injury to his calf. He was though replaced by Martin Kelly, who I feel is the better player and should take precedence over Glen on the team sheet. There were the usual fouls etc throughout the half but it ended with Liverpool going back into the dressing room at half time in the lead.
The second half of course was the one where changes would be made and they were. Lucas came on and the improvement was there for everyone to see. Joe Cole and Ngog came on to try and impress, but I do not believe either will be in a red shirt come the 1st September. They are a fair way down the pecking order and certainly need to be moved on. Liverpool seemed to have command of the game though and Valencia are either not as good as people believe them to be, or they were having a bad day. I know one thing for sure. I simply cannot understand why people think Mata is great. To me he seemed like a normal footballer, nothing more.
The game ended with Liverpool sealing a win with a late goal by Kyriakos, assisted of course by the goal machine called Dirk Kuyt. Our pre-season was now over and Sunderland awaits.
Hopefully from next week, we will begin to see the lessons that hopefully have been learnt by Kenny and his staff.
1. The dead wood needs to be sold or loaned out.
2. We need to get in several more experienced players.
3. Work needs to be done to ensure everyone jells together quickly.
4. On the plus side, Kenny gave several of the youngsters a chance to show what they can do and I am sure we will see many of them play their part in our progress towards the Champions League spots this season.
There are of course many more things that I have not highlighted here both on the negative and the plus side but I am sure Kenny will do his best to ensure the Liverpool team on the pitch from next Saturday onwards will be one that we can be proud off