(The following post was written by our guest blogger: Elie Touma. You can follow him on Twitter here @EliTouma, he’s a huge a Liverpool fan and a friend of mine. I couldn't write about Liverpool even if I tried, so I'll leave it to him.)
A little over a year ago, Liverpool FC had 5 points from 5 fixtures in the league, having just faced humiliation at the hands of Northampton during a Carling Cup tie at Anfield. Roy Hodgson came out apologetic, angry, and most of all, embarrassed. Surely even he knew he wouldn’t last long at the club. Meanwhile, the civil war taking place off the pitch was drawing to a close, as the “cancerous” reign of Tom Hicks and Georges Gillette was nearing its end. A couple of months later, King Kenny Dalglish had taken over managerial matters, whilst New England Sports Ventures, now called FSG, bought the club and settled all off pitch matters.
After the disappointing end of the “Rafalution”, LFC fans finally had something to look forward to. The disappointing January exit of Anfield legend Fernando Torres brought sadness to most supporters’ hearts, but little did they know at the time that the Spaniard would go on to have a torrid time at Stamford Bridge whilst his replacement (or at least one of his two replacements) Luis Suarez, would quickly replace him in the hearts of the Liverpool faithful. The club finished the season strongly with some superb performances despite the absence, for the most part, of £35 million man Andy Carroll. The Englishman had become, at the time, the 12th most expensive player in history and the prospect of having the big man/small man combination up front proved almost too exciting for all Liverpool supporters.
Champions League football had become the target, and with money available at his disposal, King Kenny went on to sign Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Jose Enrique, Charlie Adam, Sebastian Coates and Craig Bellamy to bolster the squad, whilst Hodgson's detestable signings Christian Poulsen and Paul Konchesky left the club along with the likes of Joe Cole, David N'Gog, Raul Mereiles and Alberto Aquilani. Liverpool were certainly getting rid of the "dead wood" as Kenny looked to replace quantity with quality to help force the club back into the Champions League spots. Having spent around £110 million in 6 months (£20 million net spent), it is time to deliver on the pitch. So far, Liverpool have started the season fairly well despite disappointing results away to Stoke and Spurs, and find themselves in 5th place, 6 points behind the Manchester pair, with the Evil Empire's army set to visit Anfield this weekend in what promises to be a cracking encounter.
The performances haven’t been that impressive though. It’s still early in the season and a lot can change over the next few months whilst the new players gel, but despite that, people will argue that we’ve got some decent results so far. I try to be more patient but I find myself being overly critical most of the time and I keep wondering if the new signings are good enough to carry Liverpool back to the top echelon of world football. In my opinion, Liverpool have only been impressive once so far, and that was against Bolton (who have lost 6 of their opening 7 games) during the 3 – 1 win at Anfield. The performances have been quite inconsistent on the other hand; a match to forget at White Hart Lane, a terrible finishing display against Stoke City and half decent performances against Wolves and Sunderland at home. The Derby win brought smiles to our faces, but if it weren’t for Atkinson’s horrible decision to send off Rodwell, things might have been different. But then again, you can only beat what’s put in front of you so fair does to the lads. I shouldn’t be complaining, but given the money we spent, especially on our English players, our expectations are quite higher.
Meanwhile, my fellow supporters and I are wondering why the ever reliable Dirk Kuyt is being dropped in favor of Jordan Henderson, who has been fairly anonymous bar his goal against Bolton. Stewart Downing has been so average so far, that thinking about his performances I get this "meh" look on my face, whilst Charlie Adam has already had a lot of ups and downs. I didn't expect much from Henderson or Downing when we signed them, though Adam has proved me wrong on a couple of occasions. Andy Carroll has had enocouraging performances against Wolves and Everton, showing his teammates and his manager that we don't have to play hoof-ball whenever he's on the pitch as he's quite good with his feet as well. On a brighter note, Jose Enrique has been splendid at the back, with Bellamy putting in a couple of great performances as well.
Our main contenders for 4th place are Tottenham Hotspurs (as I don't believe Arsenal will offer much this season). Spurs may have a better starting 11 than we do, but I sincerely hope that our players prove my doubts wrong. One thing I'm sure of is that if anyone can take the club back to where it belongs, it's King Kenny. Time will tell, but for the moment, at least, we should focus on destroying the scum at Anfield on Saturday.