Look, let me tell ya something – if there’s one thing I’ve learned being a Liverpool supporter for all these years, it’s that you don’t count the chickens before they hatch. Not even if you hear little chirps coming from inside the eggs. Not until all the chickens are out and grown-up and ready to be fried do you start counting them.
So we won the Champions League last season, and are now on a great run of wins and clean sheets. We are in the FIFA World Club Championship and considered favourites to win the tournament. This is truly an exciting time to be a Liverpool supporter.
But let’s not get carried away. We’ve won only one thing this season – the UEFA Super Cup. We’re out of the Carling Cup, and although, as Anfield legend Alan Hansen says, we have a better team this season than last, this doesn’t necessarily mean we’re capable of retaining the Champions League title or overtake Chelsea for the Premiership.
Chelsea are still the benchmark team in the league, and are capable of adding more to the squad in the January transfer window. Clubs like Barcelona and Juventus are stronger this season than they were last season, and are going great guns both in their domestic and European campaigns.
So the worst thing we can do right now is to delude ourselves that we’re better than every other team out there.
The rebuilding of Liverpool FC hasn’t finished. It’s still in its early stages. But we’re getting there, of course, and we shouldn’t get ahead of the process by claiming victory and taunting other supporters of so-called crisis dramas and all that.
We still need a central defender – Hyppia maybe doing great right now with Carragher, but he is already nearing the end of his time at Anfield. Anybody who comes in – whether it be in January or in the summer – will have to slowly inducted into the Rafa Benitez school of defending.
A right-sided winger is essential. Garcia’s an attacking midfielder who loves playing in the hole between the attack and midfield. This is the reason why Rafa is keeping Gerrard mostly on the right, due to his running and crossing ability. Obviously we’d prefer Stevie G to play where he is best at – central midfield – Rafa’s reasoning is understandable considering our deficiencies on the right. Rumour has it that Benfica’s Simao Sabrosa is being lined up for a transfer during the January transfer window, but considering Benfica’s success in qualifying for the last 16 of the Champions League and that Simao will be cup-tied if he did move to Liverpool (he’s also injured and will be out of action till next month), it’s unlikely any move will take place until the summer. Fingers crossed, though…
Harry Kewell has made some improvements in the last few games. I’m honestly surprised at this. He is certainly not the same lazy petulant player of last season, although he is still far of his best form. Perhaps Rafa is on to something with this Aussie dude…
Getting a 20-goal striker is essential. Cisse is almost certainly on his way out, and Crouch, despite his likeability and ability to keep possession upfront, is not the regular goal-getter we seek. Morientes seems to be past his prime. I don’t honestly know whether Michael Owen will ever return to Anfield, and it’d be ridiculous to pin our hopes on that. Rafa’s a smart man, and he would already have targeted a striker to arrive in the summer at the earliest.
All in all, while we have a solid team this season, we’re still some players short of a great team. So let us not get ahead of ourselves and start dreaming of silverware just yet – let us just enjoy the strong defensive resilience of our back four marshalled by Mr Liverpool, the driving runs of Captain Stevie G, the assured passing of Xabi Alonso, the trickery of Luis Garcia, and Crouch’s continued attempts at scoring.
But most of all, let us appreciate the fine work being done by the Anfield management team, and understand that while we’re running really well right now, the finish line is still a long, long way away.