The three players who’ll be sure to keep a wildly expectant fan base off Rodger’s back…for now.
Brendan Rodgers walked into the Anfield hot seat with all the eloquence and gusto of a man comfortable in the knowledge that he’s the right person for the job.
Unfortunately, such is the nature of his new club, the former Swansea boss could quite easily be left sobbing in a crumpled heap as his new followers berate him from all angles as early as January.
There’s an expectancy at Liverpool, based in the main on the glories of yesteryear, with old names forever recited by Kopites across the land as they cling to memories most perhaps didn’t even experience. The looming shadows of the likes of Paisley, Shankly and Dalglish is something every man in the hot seat from Benitez to Hodgson has had to deal with.
Some have done so to greater effect than others (sorry Roy), but what should daunt Rodger’s more so than any crazy string attached to his new task is that expectancy, that notion that Liverpool should be “more than just a club,” has been severely exasperated by the abject failings of recent times.
He’ll know that one of the largest fan bases in the world is far from satisfied with one league cup in six years, but he’ll also know that in order to succeed his way he’ll need time and more importantly the right tools.
Here’s three players that just might be able to help him out with that:
Nobody wants to be back up for Stuart Downing, but that’s exactly how far the City wingers international career has regressed this past year. He is however an extremely good player, and can consider himself unlucky to be so far down in the newly crowned champions pecking order. At 24, the former Middlesborough man will know his career has to kick start now if he’s to fulfill his undoubted potential, and under the attacking influence of Brendan Rodgers the wide man would surely thrive.
Liverpool have lacked pace on their right hand side ever since Benitez decided Dirk Kuyt was the man to inflict terror from that position, and they’d benefit hugely from Johnson’s direct nature and eye for goal.
Ask any Liverpool fan and they’d have you believe they could have won all their home games by around ten goals…they ended up winning six of their 19 matches. Whilst supporters claims inevitably result in extreme exaggeration, there is a valid point in the belief that the 8th placed side should have finished off a number of their opponents.
Yes they hit the woodwork a gazillion times, yes they had “good spells of pressure,” but the bottom line is they don’t posess a natural goal scorer.
Suarez is sublime at what he does, but when it comes to rifling it in from 5 yards out the Uruguayan comes up short on most occasions. Andy Carroll’s return to form meanwhile has been vastly over estimated. He’s a hand full, yes, but he’s not a top class goal scorer in any sense of the word… ever. Step forward Jermain Defoe. Out scored both last season with far less game time and is a predator in every sense of the word.
Another who should have the bit between his teeth after falling out of favour at Spurs and, at 29, the England striker doesn’t have much time left to prove just how good he is.
NIGEL de JONG
Has been linked with a move recently and after falling behind Gareth Barry and monster truck Ya Ya Toure, the Dutchman may be looking for another club. Inevitably however it will come down to just how much the player wants to play football, with his current employers paying him by the bucket load each week. De Jong is rather limited, but what he does is vital to the structure of any football team, especially one in Liverpool’s position.
What the side needs right now is stability and a platform in which to build Rodger’s expansive game plan upon. In Martin Skrtel and Daniel Agger they already have two quality centre back’s, with the return of Lucas and addition of De Jong their formerly weak spine would begin to have an impenetrable look about it. Perhaps more vitally, it’ll allow Steven Gerrard the freedom to enjoy the twilight of his career without the burden that comes with the responsibility of babysitting Jordan Henderson in midfield.
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