Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Exeter 1-3 Liverpool: Luis Suarez scores and provides as Liverpool march on.


A third Luis Suarez goal in as many games helped Liverpool book a place in the third round of the League Cup, as Exeter were comfortably seen off at St. James' Park. 

The Uruguayan gave Kenny Dalglish's side a 23-minute lead, before playing a part in the other two goals, teeing up Maxi Rodriguez and Andy Carroll to give the visitors a healthy lead in the second round tie.

A Daniel Nardiello penalty handed Exeter some consolation for their efforts, but Dalglish's 200th win in all competitions as Liverpool manager means that it will be his side progressing further in the competition.

With the Reds being starved of European competition in 2011-12, it's no surprise that competitions like the League Cup are to be taken very seriously, with a very strong line-up (featuring the likes of Jose Manuel Reina, Charlie Adam, Martin Skrtel, Suarez and Raul Meireles) taking to the field.

A great atmosphere greeted the two sides, who were separated by 60 places in terms of league football, but Liverpool could have dampened the good mood on just 10 minutes. Adam's short corner led to the Scot finding himself free in the Exeter penalty area. His near-post effort was forced behind by 'keeper Artur Krysiak.

The hosts showed glimpses of what they could offer to the evening, with an unmarked Nardiello heading into the arms of Reina, just before Raul Meireles' involvement in the match was cut short due to a shoulder injury.

Liverpool took the lead midway through the first half. An incisive counter attack saw Rodriguez free Jordan Henderson on the right-hand side. His cross proved too high to fully deal with for Krysiak, who could only claw it into the path of the on-hand-to-score Suarez.

In between the opener and the interval, the visitors' superiority was on show, with Rodriguez and Adam coming close to doubling the lead. Suarez wasn't letting up; his deft chip in first half stoppage time providing the travelling supporters with plenty to be happy about.

The failure to take such chances almost punished the Merseyside outfit just moments into the second half though, as Nardiello's attempted lob of Reina nearly went in. Despite the effort evading the Spanish goalkeeper, it lacked the power or the accuracy to hand Exeter an unlikely equaliser.

And the hosts' chances of a comeback were ruined when Rodriguez doubled Liverpool's advantage on 55 minutes. Having collected Henderson's pass, Suarez advanced into the area and eventually slipped a ball across the face of goal and into the path of the Argentinean, who dispatched with ease.

Two was soon three. Andy Carroll ended the visitors' scoring with a powerful effort from the edge of the box. It was the January acquisition's first goal of the new campaign. Suarez, who again played a part in the goal, was replaced by Stewart Downing during the celebrations. His departure prompted a standing ovation from both sets of supporters.

Downing almost made an immediate impact, cutting in from the right and forcing Krysiak into a smart save. Carroll headed wide from the resulting corner.

Exeter were handed a chance to reduce the damage in the final ten minutes, as Skrtel brought down Nardiello in the box. The former Manchester United trainee stepped up to fire home a 'souvenir goal' for the home side, but it was Liverpool that advanced into the next round.
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Saturday, August 20, 2011

Arsenal 0-2 Liverpool: Suarez ends Emirates drought.

Luis Suarez scored his second goal in as many games, as Liverpool victored at Arsenal for the first time in over ten years.

The Uruguayan came off the bench to seal a 2-0 win, following an Aaron Ramsey own goal.

The result takes Liverpool to joint top of the league (this match report was composed prior to the remainder of Premier League matches being played) and concludes a 14-game run without a win at either Highbury or the Emirates Stadium since the 1999/00 season.

Kenny Dalglish made two changes to the side that tied with Sunderland on the opening weekend, with Dirk Kuyt and Martin Kelly replacing Luis Suarez and Jon Flanagan respectively.

The hosts preparations for the match had been severely hampered by departing players, extended suspensions and defensive absences, the latter point being further compounded by an unfortunate injury to centre-half Laurent Koscielny just minutes into the encounter.

Liverpool had the best of the early chances, with Andy Carroll's header forcing a save from Wojciech Szczesny, whilst a Jordan Henderson equivalent kept the Arsenal goalkeeper on his toes.

Charlie Adam, making just his second appearance in a Liverpool shirt, attempted to find the net from the centre circle. His effort travelled well, but didn't come down enough to deceive Szczesny.

As the interval drew closer, long range efforst from Emmanuel Frimpong and Samir Nasri improved the mood amongst the Arsenal supporters, but Arsene Wenger's side struggled to assert any real dominance on the encounter.

The Reds' first opportunity in the second period arrived through Kelly, whose powerful effort, from a Carroll pass, hit the post.

The Gunners' best opportunity in the match came midway through the latter half. Having started to use the ball much better, Arsenal's new club captain, Robin van Persie, forced a smart save from Pepe Reina via a close range effort.

Just when it seemed as though the hosts had control of the match, a reckless challenge from Emmanuel Frimpong on Lucas Leiva earnt him a second yellow card. In truth, Martin Atkinson could have produced a straight red with minimal fuss.

Immediately following this game-changing decision, Dalglish replaced the tiring Carroll and Kuyt with Suarez and Raul Meireles, in the hope that freshening up the forward line will help break down the inexperienced and depleted Arsenal backline.

However, it was Downing that threatened first, finding room behind on the left. His powerful shot across the goal was only just palmed away by the impressive Szczesny.

The Liverpool goal did arrive eventually, with a lack of communication in Arsenal's back four leading to Aaron Ramsey deflecting the ball into his own net. Ignasi Miquel, making his debut from the bench, attempted to clear the ball, only to see it ricochet off of the Welsh midfielder and into the North Bank goal.

Suarez then ended the contest in the 89th minute, stroking into an empty net following a smart passing move from Lucas and Meireles.
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Friday, August 19, 2011

Liverpool v Arsenal: View from the Opposition

With Liverpool set for their first away trip of the season at The Emirates on Saturday, we asked freelance football writer and Arsenal fan Jamie Dalton what he expects from the fixture. 


The big talking point going into the game will undoubtedly be the departure of Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri's seemingly imminent move to Manchester City. Just how much does the loss of the two players weaken your side?

Although pretty much all of us have seen this coming for a while - especially in the Fàbregas saga - There is no doubt both are a big loss - this current team was built to accommodate Cesc in his best position. He is one of the finest midfielders in the world. Arsenal were criticised at the end of the season for not being incisive enough and losing Nasri and Fabregas so close together only compounds that.

The signing of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw Arsene Wenger splash a lot of cash on a relatively unproven, if not immensely promising, player. How do you rate the former Southampton man?

I admit I haven't seen him that much, but what I have seen I like - I think the plan was to let him stay a season more at Southampton but Liverpool's interest forced Arsenal's hand. He's a typical Wenger player - quick and technically sound - I think he'll make a few appearances this season - but we don't expect trees to be pulled up.

With the departure of two key players all but done, how do you expect Wenger to spend the cash? Serious spending on big names or another crop of youngsters with plenty of potential?

Before the sales of Cesc, Nasri and Clichy - I was of the opinion we needed four more players, just to freshen a squad that is still stale from the collapse of last season. Arsenal need big characters which is why players like Gary Cahill, Chris Samba, Scott Parker would be ideal. We also need a creative mind to take over from Cesc. Juan Mata fits that bill. In honesty I think we'll get one "big name" and pad the rest with up-and comers with big reputations I.e Martin, Hazard.

Which of your players would you say going into the game poses the most threat to Liverpool? 

I think Arshavin will start and he's always had a good record against Liverpool but the talisman is the new captain Robin Van Persie. He's only now starting to show the country the form we know he's capable of. He's been able to add prolific goalscoring to his game and if anyone can turn a game, it's him.

Liverpool have had an incredibly active summer in the transfer market, how do you rate the players Liverpool have brought in and does it improve them enough to secure a place in the top four?

A lot of people have given Liverpool stick for the prices they've paid this summer. Not me though although I think Henderson is slightly too expensive from what I've seen of him. Downing was a clever signing, even at £20m - if he crosses enough balls for Andy Carroll to head enough goals and Liverpool make the top four - he's worth it. Charlie Adam is an incredibly gifted player but have doubts about his off-ball workrate. I think for Liverpool to finish top four they still need a top centre-back and cover for Carroll as the doubts over fitness rumble on.

Which Liverpool player, including new signings, worries you the most going into the game?

Luis Suarez. The only player in the Premier League I'm envious about. The guy is a genius and can create from nothing. I'm not sure how he gets on away from home in big games but for Arsenal's sake - I hope he is as quiet as he was at The Emirates last season.

Finally, can we get a prediction for the score? 

I still think Arsenal will win 2-1 but wouldn't be surprised if Liverpool take a point. The Emirates crowd will be a big factor. If they support the team like Udinese then it'll be a big plus. Too many times they were eager to get on the players back.

(Photo provided by Crystian Cruz)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Positives outweigh negatives in Liverpool's draw with Sunderland

After a summer of spending, the Barclay's Premier League got underway on Saturday. Whilst the Reds failed to win, there was lots to take from their draw with Sunderland. 


Walking up to the ground on Saturday, there was a real buzz around Anfield, one which hasn’t been around for quite a while. The summer signings, combined with the fact that FSG and King Kenny seem to have returned us to the Liverpool way of doing things, meant hopes and expectations were high as the clock ticked towards 3 o’clock. Ninety-minutes later, the excitement had waned slightly, replaced by a sense of disappointment.
However, unlike in the past, the disappointment wasn’t as full-on as the Roy Hodgson era. Back then, you left the ground not only angry at the result, but also the way we had played, the tactics used and the complete inability of some of the players picked. With no light at the end of the very dark tunnel, that feeling stayed with you for quite a few days, most of the time until the next game. At tea-time on Saturday, the disappointment that was felt was a much milder version.
As with any draw or defeat, especially at home, there was the obvious disbelief that we had failed to take three points from a fixture we were expected to win. The walk back to the car consisted of trying to pick the bones from the result; where we had gone wrong and why we always seem to start the season so slowly. An hour later though, as I reached my North Wales’ home, even though still disappointed at the result, I was starting to look at the positives, of which, first-half especially, there were quite a few.
Sitting in the pub at 2pm, Kenny’s team filtered through; and it looked strong. Initially, I would maybe have gone for Kelly over Flanno and Kuyt for Henderson, but looking back I don’t think either change would have made much of a difference to the first-half display. 

Despite a few early Sunderland corners, we started well, with Suarez winning the penalty in only the fourth minute. Although he missed, we gained momentum from it and really started zipping the ball about. As I looked down from the Kop, I noticed how well balanced the side looked. Down the left side of the pitch we had a quartet of Enrique, Downing, Agger and Adam. All with brilliant left-foots, all comfortable on the ball. Patrolling the right, we had Flanagan, Henderson, Lucas and Carragher; all right-footed, hard-working players. Up front we had Suarez and Carroll, again well balanced with one right-foot, one left and one big, one small.
A well-balanced eleven
Most of our early build-up play was concentrated down the left, with Enrique and Adam especially, showing the quality passing they possess. But such was the speed that the ball was zipped about, we were able to quickly stretch play over to the right, a position from where the majority of our threatening moments came from. The foul which led to the free-kick and subsequent goal, was to the right of the Sunderland box, whilst Downing’s temporary switch to the right flank resulted in him blasting his way through the visitors’ defence before crashing a shot against the bar.
When Sunderland tried to come out with the ball, Lucas, Adam, Henderson, even Suarez, all harassed the Black Cats’ players into giving the ball away. We were unlucky to add to our lead with Adam’s screamer of a shot well saved by Mignolet and Carroll’s back post goal wrongly chalked out.
When the whistle blew at half-time, the mood around the ground was good. All the new signings had impressed in their own way. Enrique looked solid, Downing creative, Adam comfortable and Henderson safe and hard-working. On top of those, Suarez was at his normal energetic, creative, brilliant best.
However, when the teams came out for the second half, a totally different Liverpool emerged. The first 5 minutes consisted of the reds’ giving the ball away, with Flanagan and Lucas the guiltiest parties. The high-tempo of the first-half was suddenly at walking pace, allowing Sunderland, in particular young midfielder Colback, to get a hold of the game. It was no surprise when they equalised through Larsson’s fantastic volley.
Now level, the emphasis was on us to step up, but for some reason we couldn’t. Personally, with Flanagan and Lucas struggling, I would have replaced them with Kelly and Spearing to introduce a bit of energy and zip to the team. Instead, Kuyt came on for Henderson and later Meireles for the worn-out Suarez. Neither change made much difference; in fact Raul on for Luis meant a decrease in our attacking prowess. As the game wore on, there was only one team looking likely to win and it wasn’t us.
The fact that the team were unable to raise their game and looked physically gone was a cause for concern. I know Lucas and Suarez have only just comeback from the Copa America, but there should be no excuse for the rest of the squad. I think the problem is our pre-season preparation. We have so many players on our books, that our pre-season games consist of multiple substitutions, sometimes a different team each half.


I think we put too much emphasis on getting the whole squad fit rather than the ones who are going to start the season. The likes of Insua, Degen, Poulsen, Wisdom, Wilson, Coady, Ayala, Sama, etc are all players unlikely to feature for the first team this season, so why do we try and get them fit in pre-season? Even the likes of Aquilani and Cole have seen alot of pre-season football, but were nowhere near Saturday’s squad. 


The idea of pre-season is for the team to be in tip-top condition for the start of the season. We clearly aren’t. It’s not a one-off either, we tend to do this every year. Instead, I’d rather see us follow Man United’s tactic of having a core squad of around 20 first team squad players whom we get 100% fit. The rest of the players, some of whom could be playing for their futures, could be sent out as Liverpool XI’s to play games against local teams such as Wrexham and Tranmere, all of whom could do with the money from the visit of a reds team.
As well as the obvious drop in fitness levels, the second-half of Saturday’s game saw a change in tact. After a half-time talking to, Sunderland obviously defended better as a team, but after enjoying first-half success building the play through the cultured left-hand side of our team, then switching to the right, we helped Sunderland’s cause by playing predominantly down our right side. Carragher and Flanagan are both fantastic defenders, but distribution is not one of their strong points. In front of them, the same can be said for Lucas and Henderson/Kuyt, all more famed for their industry rather than their creativity. Too many times possession was given away too easily.
So the whistle went and a draw on the whole was a fair result. Despite the score, there were enough positives from the first-half to ensure that the disappointment I felt immediately after the game was short-lived. We are moving in the right direction and as the new players get used to the Liverpool way and the squad’s overall fitness improves, I’m sure Saturday’s result will become nothing more than a blip.
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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Liverpool 1-1 Sunderland: Suarez and Larsson on target in opening day stalemate

Liverpool were unable to victor on the opening day of the Premier League season, as Sunderland held Kenny Dalglish's side to a 1-1 draw on Saturday afternoon.

A Luis Suarez header on 13 minutes was cancelled out by a second-half volley from Sebastian Larsson, meaning that, despite being dominated for large periods of the match, Steve Bruce's team headed home with a point.

Heading into the game, Dalglish opted to give four of his five summer signings their competitive debuts, with Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson, Stewart Downing and, somewhat surprisingly, Jose Enrique being named in the starting line-up.

Just seven minutes into the match, Liverpool should have been in front. Charging down an attempted clearance from Kieran Richardson, Suarez advanced on the Sunderland goal. Having rounded Mignolet, the Uruguayan was clipped by the desperate lunge of the former Manchester United midfielder. In many circumstances, Richardson's actions would have warranted a red card, but Phil Dowd settled for a yellow, much to the home crowd's dismay. Suarez, fresh from his goalscoring antics at the Copa America, stepped up to take the penalty and, despite the confident run-up, failed to hit the target from twelve yards.

Missing a penalty can hinder the confidence levels of any player, but the no. 7 didn't seem to be affected by such a mistake, making amends just six minutes later. Having been awarded a free kick on the right-hand side, Adam swung the ball into the visitors' box. Having peeled off his marker, a glancing header from Suarez found the bottom corner at the near post. It was the first goal of the entire Premier League season.

Liverpool thought they'd doubled their lead on 20 minutes, but Andy Carroll was adjudged to have fouled Anton Ferdinand in the build-up to his disallowed strike, which had come about as a result of an excellent cross from Downing.

The hosts had a number of opportunies to strengthen their strangehold on the game (numerically speaking), with Charlie Adam forcing a smart save from Mignolet, whilst a lengthy run from Downing led to the England winger crashing a shot on to the woodwork.

Sunderland did threaten before the interval, with a teasing Larsson free kick evading absolutely everybody, but it was clear that Steve Bruce wasn't impressed with his side's performance.

After half time, the format of the match changed, with the Black Cats starting to retain the ball and Liverpool beginning to tire after a quick, hard first 45.

Youngster John Flanagan, an unexpected inclusion for many, was caught in possession by the impressive Larsson, whose centre gave Asamoah Gyan an easier chance than he made of it.

The visitors' goal arrived as a result of poor man-for-man defending, with a deep ball finding an unmarked Larsson. Having peeled away from the inexperienced Flanagan, the former Birmingham City midfielder somehow managed to guide a precise volley past Jose Manuel Reina.

It was a frustrating moment for Dalglish's side, who could have been out of sight on another day. The equaliser gave Sunderland the incentive to take control of the match.

Liverpool offered very little in the final half hour, although Carroll looked to change that with a neat turn and shot which deflected just wide.

A tiring Suarez was replaced by Raul Meireles with 15 minutes remaining, but a fresh pair of legs did little to influence the game, as the visiting defence held firm to ensure an unlikely point.

Liverpool v Sunderland LIVE

Friday, August 12, 2011

Liverpool v Sunderland: View from the Opposition

Liverpool are set to take on Sunderland in the opening game of the Premier League season and The Anfield Opinion has been talking to The Northern Echo's Scott Wilson about the Reds opposition on Saturday.

The big talking point going into the game will be Jordan Henderson's potential clash against his old club. What reaction do you think the Sunderland supporters travelling to Anfield will give the 21-year-old?

I think they'll give him a fairly good reception. He was always a fairly popular player, being a homegrown lad, and he didn't agitate for a move away from Sunderland. I think most fans also think that £20m is a pretty good price for such an inexperienced player.

A number of clubs were reportedly interested in Connor Wickham this summer, given the competition how much of a surprise was it for you that Wickham ended up at Sunderland and how big a signing is he for the Black Cats?

I wouldn't say it was a surprise necessarily, but I think it was definitely a reflection of how far Sunderland have come that they were able to sign someone like Wickham. He could go on to be a great player, but he's only 18 and people have to remember that. Steve Bruce will handle him carefully and he won't start against Liverpool.

Sunderland have made a number of signings over the summer, including a couple of former Manchester United players who I'm sure Liverpool supporters will give a warm welcome! Who out of the new boys do you think will have the biggest impact at the Stadium of Light?

I think John O'Shea will be an important addition to the defence, but I think the key signing could turn out to be Craig Gardner. Sunderland haven't had a goalscoring midfielder for quite a while now, and if Gardner was to chip in with ten or 12 goals this season, that would be a massive help.

Out of Liverpool's squad, including the new signings, who are you most looking forward to seeing play this season?

It's going to be really interesting to see how much of an influence Stewart Downing has at Anfield. I covered a lot of Downing's matches at Middlesbrough and I think he's a really under-rated player. For some reason, he gets a negative reaction whenever he plays for England, but I think he could develop into a really top-class winger.

Liverpool supporters are all hoping for a top four finish this season. Do you think that's achievable or will the wait for Champions League football continue?

It's achievable, but it certainly won't be easy. I think Man United, Man City and Chelsea have three of the top four positions sewn up, so that leaves Liverpool fighting with Arsenal and possibly Spurs for the fourth one. Arsenal are in a fair bit of turmoil at the moment though, so Liverpool would have to have a fighting chance.

On the subject of league positions, where would you expect Sunderland to finish and what are the biggest hurdles they have to overcome in order to have a successful campaign?

I think they'll finish somewhere round about eighth, but I wouldn't rule out an outside tilt at a Europa League place. The biggest hurdle is probably keeping their key players fit, because they have a number of players who suffered serious injury problems last season.

Which Sunderland player should Liverpool supporters be most worried about going into the game at Anfield on August 13th?

On the evidence of pre-season, I'd say Stephane Sessegnon. He'll play in the hole behind Asamoah Gyan and he could be one the surprise stars of the season.

Finally, what's your prediction for the final score?

I'd like to see Sunderland get something, but I suspect Liverpool will win. Probably 2-1.

What the fans think...

98% of Liverpool fans believe their team will win the game on Saturday, with only 2% think the game would end in a draw and none of those asked thinking the game would end in a Sunderland win.

31% of Liverpool fans believe that their team will win by more than two goals, with 64% of Reds' believing that there will be more than three goals in total in the game.

Sunderland fans are more optimistic about their chances, with 38% of Black Cats supporters predicting a win for their team, with the same number predicting a loss. 23% of Sunderland supports think the game will end level.

0% of Sunderland fans believe they'll win by more than two goals, with 64% predicting there will be more than three goals in the game overall.

The average prediction for the score, as predicted by both clubs, is 2-1 to Liverpool.

(Statistics courtesy of the Scoreboard Facebook Premier League Prediction Game)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Liverpool Season Preview: The Bloggers Opinion

With the new season fast approaching, The Anfield Opinion asked a host of Bloggers and notable Twitter users what they expect from the Reds in the coming season. 


The Tweeter known only as @BrianKettle

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

So far an 8, but could end up a 10 or a 6, depending. Adam and Downing look like excellent signings, Henderson a decent gamble, Doni a solid back-up and the youngsters sound exciting, at least. Getting rid of Konchesky at any price was good business. If we lose Cole, Poulsen and Jovanovic and pick up a left back, centre back and back-up striker -- 10. If none of the above -- 6.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Downing. Width and delivery in an area where we're short. Adam a close second.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

With no new signings -- Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio; Gerrard, Lucas, Adam; Downing, Carroll, Suarez.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

(i) First, always first. (ii) Fourth -- maybe third if Manchester City or Chelsea implode.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez. Our most inventive player since Barnes and yet as determined as anyone else on the field.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Carroll. I expect him to do a lot of important work that doesn't get noticed and take a lot of criticism for not scoring goals.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Fourth position, off-field stability and continued investment -- setting the stage for a title challenge in 2012/13.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Injury to key players -- Suarez, Carroll, Downing -- in positions where we have no quality replacements.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Norwich, Swansea, Wolves.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea and Chelsea.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Chelsea, because I see them getting hammered.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Aston Villa, if they spend their windfalls wisely.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

David Ngog. Whether with a midtable team or as Carroll's back-up, he'll score goals with decent service.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Fernando Torres. At Anfield. Comparing what he used to have with the money he traded it for.

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Parody Lucas Leiva Tweeter: @NotLucasLeiva21. Occupation : Liverpool Midfielder. Professor of Short Passing at The University of Anfield.

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

I’m still here, so that’s a good start. But what does worry me is that we’ve signed two more central midfielders. Now while it is true that I have become the complete defensive midfielder - as Kenny put it, I used to destroy attacks, but now I destroy attacks, but there’s still a worry the gaffer might drop me. Lucas Leiva wasn’t built for sitting on the bench – he was built and tailored for the sport of football. Still, if Charlie tries to take my place – I’ll punch his tooth out. SS Copenhagen is still here too, the crap twat. 6/10.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Juan Mata. What, really? Oh… Downing then.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Our eleven best players. That includes me. And ten others.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

i) 1st. This is Liverpool Football Club. Ii) 2nd. This is Liverpool Football Club.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Are you daft? Me. Who else is capable of reaching my pass accuracy statistics? Bloody no-one. Next.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

I love playing with Speo. Not only is he a much underrated player but he makes me look beautiful. Anyone who looks like a cross between Porky Pig and Bobby from King of the Hill is automatically a hero. And he doesn’t have a song. QED.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

If you offered top four and a trophy, I think we’d all bite your hands off. Suarez definitely would.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

It’s a tough one but i’m going to have to go with the opposition teams.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Man Utd, Liverpool, City, Chelsea. Bittersweet.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

QPR, Norwich, Everton. Bitters.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Its always great to beat Spurs. Shithouse overachieving Newcastle of the Souths. Its just Redknapp really, he’s even tried to tap me up the horrible tax-dodging, flappy media darling. Plus he looks like if Andrew Lloyd Webber covered his face in bacon, then had a stroke. He also looks like some kind of love child born from a despicable threeway between a half-deflated balloon, a Bulldog and a rotting Cockney corpse. Plus they’ve got Sandro, that lanky tit is trying to replace me for Brazil. Don’t think so pal.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

I’m really, really good friends with big Darren Moore at Burton Albion. Not only is he a top bloke, but he can fell a tree by exposing his abdomen. That’s all I need in a friend. If there was a chance of getting them in the FA Cup then I’d jump at it.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I think we’ll surprise a few people, it’s so different under Kenny. The emphasis is on winning now, rather than the Hodgsonian tactic of ‘lowering expectations’. But I also think Manchester United B will do well too. Steve Bruce’s head may be the only thing larger and more horrendous than Jordan Henderson’s transfer fee, but they’ve had a good summer.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

N’Goals has a surprising package. But definitely not him. I’d say myself, but my impeccable consistency is hardly surprising any more. I’m gonna go for John Flanagan.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Christian Poulsen. I’m really looking forward to seeing him as a non-LFC player.

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Joshua Askew - HoldingMidfield.com

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

6 - don't like any of the incoming except for Doni, glad no one has left (yet), squad depth is good, lack of left-back a little worrying

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Jordan Henderson - not great at the moment, but looks one for the future, could also play the Houghton role in Kenny's 4-4-2

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina; Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Aurelio; Lucas, Aquilani, Meireles; Suarez, Carroll, Maxi/Kuyt/ (to a lesser extent) Gerrard

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

i) 1st!

ii) Somewhere in the top four, not a lot of quality about at the moment.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez/Lucas

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

In the wider context, Lucas. Among fans, Johnson.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Top four

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

An injury crisis or finding the right tactical set-up

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Four of Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man City and United. They seem about equal, so impossible to tell at the moment.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Norwich, Swansea, Wigan/Blackburn

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Man City

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

maybe Fulham

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Hopefully Aquilani

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Aguero

---

Alun Parry -presenter of the LFCKopCast.com podcast

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

About a 3.

We've not managed to shift our deadwood. We've added to deadwood as loans finish and players return home. We've missed out on some key transfer targets. And we've overpaid on players who don't really fire up much excitement.

I was very excited about the possibilities before the transfer window started. I'm not very excited now we're approaching the start of the season.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

I really don't know. I'd like to think Downing because if he turns out great for us then that will really add something. But I can't help but have my doubts. At the age of 26 in an England team that is poor on the left, he still hasn't really made the England left wing slot his own. In a poorish England team, how good is he? But I'm hoping it's him because that's what we need.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

I'm alarmed at the failure to sign a left back and hope we rectify it. And I'd like to see us rectify that. I'd have liked to see us get a really good centre back too.

So, that aside:

Reina
Kelly Carragher SkrtelOrAgger NewLeftBack
Johnson Gerrard Adam Downing
Kuyt Suarez

I'd like to see Carroll earning his price tag and unseating Dirk up front but he hasn't earned that yet and Kuyt has done well with Suarez.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

i) Top 4 ii) 5th or 6th.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

I don't really want unsung heroes to be honest. It's time we had a bit of sparkle isn't it. Rather than someone getting a pat on the head for "putting the effort in."

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Top 4.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

I'm not sure we've done well enough in the transfer market. We have a squad that has deadwood draining cash that we can't get rid of. And our rivals are ahead of us, and the likes of City are adding players like Aguero, while Arsenal look set to sign Mata.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1) Man U
2) Man C
3) Chelsea
4) Arsenal

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

I think sadly Wigan are vulnerable having lost Nzogbia. And now may lose McCarthy. They only just escaped this time and it's hard to see their squad and think it's better. Then probably two of the new 3.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea, I hate everything they stand for. Man City too. They're the Chelsea of the North.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Arsenal. Always Arsenal. Guaranteed to see a football team who try to play the right way.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Hopefully us, but I don't see many surprises really. I don't see any managerial appointments in the mid regions of the league that make me think someone is suddenly going to do something. If Villa had got Martinez I'd have said them, but they settled with McLeish instead.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I really don't know. I rate N'zogbia and he deserved to go to a bigger club, but Villa playing hoofball won't suit him.

I know what I'd like it to be. I'd like it to be Aquilani. You can see he has talent, it'd be nice (if he stayed) that we actually saw the best of him.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

There's plenty of great players in the Prem at the moment, but I find it difficult to look forward to seeing them because they're playing against us when I do. I'm more hoping they've pulled a muscle the night before. There's been nobody since Thierry Henry that's really got my affections in that way.

---

Chris Mann - The Equaliser Blog

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

I'm undecided so I'll give it a 6 out of 10. The likes of Downing and Adam have the potential to be excellent players for Liverpool, but I can't help but feel that the club is perhaps selling itself slightly short in terms of the calibre of player it is pursuing.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Downing. His crossing ability in conjunction with Andy Carroll's aerial prowess could prove to be a highly effective combination.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina - Johnson, Agger, Skrtel, Aurelio - Lucas, Gerrard - Kuyt, Suarez, Downing - Carroll

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

1) Top four 2) Sixth

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez will be seen as the major attacking threat and his sharpness in front of goal will be vital if Liverpool are to have a successful season.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

If Jay Spearing continues to mature as a player then he could have an important role to play at times in the season ahead.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

The quick gelling of a new-look midfield, a top six finish and a cup run.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Potential difficulties in integrating a new midfield.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1) Manchester City, 2) Manchester United, 3) Chelsea, 4) Arsenal

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

I think QPR, Blackburn and Swansea could all be in for difficult campaigns.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

I'm not a Liverpool fan, but it would be interesting to see The Reds beat Man City and mix it up at the top.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Again, I'm not a fan, but I always look forward to Merseyside derbies.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Sunderland have strengthened well and, if they show a bit more consistency, they could perhaps mount a challenge for Europa League football.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Adel Taraabt. His ability is no secret, but you just can't predict what the guy's going to do next...

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

It should be great to watch Kun Aguero in the Premier League.

---

Dan Thomas - Co-Owner of 11aside.com

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7. I'm happy with the players we've braught in this summer, if not always happy with the prices. as for players leaving - I think we may still need to move a few on. it'll A give us a bit more cash should we need to buy anymore players before the close of the window, and B ease the wage bill a little.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

I believe Charlie Adam will prove to be the most important signing.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

My starting XI right now would be Reina; Kelly, Carragher, Agger, Johnson; Adam, Lucas, Aquilani (if he stays), Downing, Suarez; Carroll.

Though this may change once gerrard is fit

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Obviously we should aim to finish as high as we possibly can. I believe we're more than capable of making top 4 - though I think a title push may be beyond us this season.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Luis suarez, without a doubt.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

I really couldn't say. last season's was definitely lucas, but i'd like to see how these new signings fit into the team before making that kind of prediction.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A top 4 finish.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Our defensive frailties.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

I can't give you an order, but I think the top 4 will consist of Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City and United.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

I think Swansea, Norwich and QPR will all be relegated. Though they all had fantastic seasons in the Championship last season, I don't think their squads have the ability to survive in the premiership.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea, and Manchester City.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Swansea, because i'm Welsh, and i'm delighted that a Welsh team is in the premiership.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Norwich - even though I expect them to go straight back down, I think the style of attacking football Paul Lambert has them playing, they will certainly give teams difficulty.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

This is another I really can't answer at the moment.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Sergio Aguero.

---

Andrew Steel - Editor of halftime-oranges.blogspot.com

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7.5/10. Some potentially good signings but question marks over the prices of a couple. Although, if Downing can supply the crosses that help us into the CL, then that pays for itself. Similarly, if Henderson keeps developing, he can be a great long-term investment. Left back still needed, though and it would be nice if we could shift some more dead-wood... if only people wanted them!

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Either Downing or Adam. Downing for his crosses, something we have been missing, seemingly, forever and Adam for his set-plays. We've been seriously lacking a consistent threat from corners, again, for ages.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Difficult to say. I'd guess different opposition would see different players pick, but, out of the new boys, I'd be expecting to see Downing start most games.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

We should aim to finish as high as we can. I think the title is certainly out of our reach, but there's no harm in aiming that high. Realistically, pushing for 4th spot would keep me happy.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez. The midfield reinforcements should mean that our reliance on Gerrard should be relaxed quite a bit but, in my opinion, Suarez is the only player we have that can pull something from nowhere and change a game.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Hard to say but, if we get Enrique, having a good, solid left-back could be the one of the most important improvements we make and it's a position that isn't really given much attention when talking about their effects on a good team.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

See Q4

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Injuries. Without the added games of European football, and using the CC for youth development, we should have a clearer run but we need Agger to avoid his injury problems if we are to be at our best.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1. M*n U*d

2 Chelsea

3 Man City

4 LFC

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Swansea, Norwich, Wigan

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

All of them!

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Swansea. I like their style of play.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I think Sunderland have made some very astute signings and could, possibly, be pushing for a Europa League spot.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I'd like to see Grant Holt (Norwich) do well because he was one of my favourite players at Barrow and it's pretty unreal that he's made it into the Prem. Realistically, though, I think Conor Wickham might impress a few people.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Aguero. Mainly because I've not seen a lot of him outside of European games and highlights on TV. Interested to see how he fits into English football

---

Max Rhodes - Contributor to The Anfield Opinion

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7. I would hardly say I've been overwhelmed by the sıgnıngs the club has made thus far but, nonetheless, I thınk they are all good. Adam and Henderson could both be brıllıant players provıded they both learn to keep thıngs sımple, short and slow where approprıate - the former ıs often too quıck to opt for the Hollywood ball, where the latter ıs sometımes guılty of tryıng to play too quıck. Both are young and appear to possess good attitudes, though, so they should be quite malleable.

And whılst I was underwhelmed by the prospect of Downıng at fırst, you can't help but be ımpressed by hıs statıstıcs.

Donı, meanwhıle, appears, ın theory at least, to be a much more able deputy to Reına than a player who many Middlesbrough fans were glad to see the back of.

In terms of outs, ıts been a little more disappointing, as probably goes wıthout sayıng, with Konchesky the only player sold for a substantial period of time.

However, Jovanovic now on his way as well, as well as rumours Joe Cole has put his house up for sale gives us reason to be optimistic, particularly if it grants us the means to sıgn a left back and/or a centre back. Ideally both.

Meanwhile, if Aquilani is still at the club come September 1st, I can’t help but feel it may prove to be a blessıng in dısguıse.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

I thınk Adam ıs the BEST player of the four sıgned (though Henderson may yet overtake hım), but I thınk that - at least ın the short term - Downıng wıll prove to be most ımportant. Hıs crosses for Carroll ın partıcular could be worth 10 goals or so next year.


3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

(4-3-3) Reına; Kelly, Agger, Carragher, Aurelıo; Gerrard, Lucas, Adam; Suarez, Carroll/Kuyt, Downıng.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) Will finish, in reality?

ı) Fınıshıng fırst ıs not ınconceıvable and 12/1 odds are, ın my vıew at least, a faır representatıon of realıty.

ıı) somewhere between 3rd and 5th. Probably 4th.

Kenny's one-game-at-a-tıme approach ıs by far the most logıcal, though. Delusıons of grandeur have haunted Lıverpool far too often ın the past for Dalglısh to let them do so agaın.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez. He's stıll a bıt raw, ın my opınıon, but that detracts little from his genıus.


6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

It’s almost a cliché now to answer thıs sort of questıon wıth Lucas Leiva but, even wıth that ın mınd, hıs passıng has ımproved hugely ın the last year or so; or, at the very least, hıs confıdence has grown to the extent where he feels comfortable tryıng longer, more ambıtıous balls. Whatever ıt ıs, hıs all round game - both the defensıve and attackıng sıdes of ıt - has come on remarkably and I thınk ıt would be a bold man who emıtted hım from the startıng XI. And Dalglısh - whılst bold - ıs, I strongly suspect, not that man.

Charlıe Adam ıs also a contender for thıs, as I feel many – particular among the fans – underestımate hım.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A GOOD season would be the form of a top 4 fınısh. A good cup run or two, to boot, would also be nıce - and ıs certaınly realıstıc, partıcularly wıth no European 'dıstractıons' - but as long as the former ıs achıeved I'd expect I'd be happy wıth that.

A decent season would be a top 5 fınısh and I don't thınk such an eventualıty would be fatal, but were Lıverpool's Champıons League exodus prolonged for a 3rd year, then I thınk there could be trouble.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Collectıve over expectation. Rafael Benitez’s final season as manager at the club springs to mind. Expectations were arguably too high going into that season and that probably helped paved the way for everything followed in that fateful campaign.


9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1) Chelsea.
2) Man Unıted
3) Man Cıty
4) Lıverpool

Lots of people antıcıpate that City will claım the tıtle but, personally, I’m not as optımıstıc about theır chances. Its entırely possıble that they could wın ıt, of course, but they were as ınconsıstent as ever last year and I thınk ıt would take a lot on theır part to jump from 3rd to 1st - and everythıng brıdgıng that gap would represent - ın a sıngle season, partıcularly wıth new European adventures ımmınently upon them.

Thıs, despıse the sıgnıng of Aguero and the potentıal partnershıp he could form wıth Tevez. Wouldn't be surprısed to see them start slowly and fade, perhaps even gıvıng way to Dalglısh and co.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

In all honestly, I know very lıttle about any of the promoted sıdes. I expect QPR to stay up though, Norwıch to bravely succumb to the ınevıtable after two successıve promotıons and Swansea to suffer a sımılar fate on the last day of the season. Also, wouldn't be surprısed to see the wheels come off at Blackburn eıther. Hence, the followıng (or somethıng not too dıssımılar):

18) Swansea
19) Blackburn
20) Norwıch.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

The home games against Chelsea and West Brom spring to mind. Torres or Hodgson? I'll go for the latter. Furthermore, ıf Lıverpool ever reach double fıgures, for goals scored ın a single game agaın, I hope ıt ıs that one – it couldn't happen to a nıcer guy.
Tottenham and Arsenal away are both long overdue though, having said that, so I’ll go for Arsene Wenger’s men.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Well, ıf that lıttle West Brom fantasy I've just dreamt up comes to fruıtıon than that would be somethıng to look forward to. In all serıousness, though, I'll opt for Chelsea ın what ıs the last home game of the season. Could be symbolıc and, hopefully, ın a way that Liverpool can appreciate.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

There could be a few; ıncludıng Vılla, Chelsea and any number of the promoted sıdes. I'll go for West Brom though - It's Hodgson's terrıtory and a European place ıs entırely realistic.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I'd lıke to thınk ıt would be Aquilani ıf he stays but I’ll go for Jermaine Beckford. He’s had a year to settle into the Premier League now, I can imagine him taking a step up this coming season. That’s probably just me trying to be original with my answer though.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

It'll be very ınterestıng to see how Mata does ıf he ends up at Arsenal, so I’ll say him. I'll also be keepıng tabs on Taraabt, Aguero, as well as a certaın Spanısh strıker, though.

---

Lewis Cubbin - Under 18's representative on the Liverpool Supporters Committee and Match Reporter for The Anfield Opinion

1. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Tony Evans' "The opposition" response to this question made me chuckle. As they say, the obvious is only obvious. It isn't wrong. So that and injuries.

2. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

A strong seven. Despite not being in European competition this year, we've seemingly managed to acquire our top targets. However, I'm obviously still unsure on whether the players that have been brought in are of the standard that we hope for. In terms of outgoings, it's naturally worrying that we haven't been able to release ourselves of certain players, mainly because of lengthy contracts and handsome wages.

3. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

In the short term, Stewart Downing, but in the long haul, I'd like to think that Jordan Henderson can become a great player. The former provides us with qualities that no other player in the current set-up can boast, whilst the latter's price tag would suggest that Dalglish and the management team see real quality in him.

4. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

One thing that impresses me about our purchases (thus far) is the flexibility that they clearly add to the squad. I believe Liverpool can look towards a number of formations next season, which is a great 'asset' to have. A 4-4-2 template of my preferred line-up would be: Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Aurelio; Gerrard, Lucas, Adam, Downing; Suarez, Carroll.

5. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? iI) will finish, in reality?

I hope this transfers well, but I'd like to think that Liverpool treat the world that is the Premier League as their oyster in 2011-12. In reality, I'd be pleased with a finish in the top four, but I wouldn't like to deny that we have the means to challenge for the top honours this season.

6. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

In my opinion, Jose Manuel Reina. For me, he's the best in his trade, and his qualities really are missed when he's absent. Last season was probably his worst in a Liverpool shirt (even then he was good), but I'd like to think that an improvement in his individual performance will collectively help us compete.

7. Who do you think is the team’s most underrated player?

That's difficult. Although this isn't answering the question, I'd say that Glen Johnson is underrated. It seems to be the opinion of the many that the English right-back can't defend, but I think that his weaknesses have been blown out of proportion. I see a full-back who tends to position himself cleverly, which helped him during his stint at left back after Dalglish's arrival.

8. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A top four finish would constitute a good season. It's important that we immerse ourselves with 'the elite' on the continent once more. Until we return to Champions League football, I can see it becoming increasingly difficult to sign personnel from the top bracket of the European game.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4?

I feel quite sure that Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea will qualify. After that, I'd say that Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal would battle it out for the remaining place. Given the lack of continental interruption, I think we could win that particular race.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Again, a difficult question. Of the new sides, despite being promoted as 'champions', I can see QPR struggling in the top division. I'm also interested to see how Newcastle cope, what with the squad looking constantly more disgruntled, and key players seemingly being forced out. I don't think I can confidently deliver three sides here, though.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season?

I have very little respect for Chelsea, so I would probably say them. I'd quite happily take not beating all three if we beat everybody else mind.

12. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I don't know why I've been doing so, but the summer has saw me keeping a close eye on Mick McCarthy's Wolves, and I can see them being a really difficult side to play next year. Their preparation seems to be going well, and the signing of Roger Johnson could prove to be crucial for them. They probably won't be the surprise package that everybody else thinks, but I can't see them being as inconsistent as they were last season.

13. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

What with the consistently poor form of Chelsea's forwards, I can see Daniel Sturridge really cementing his place somewhere within the set-up at Stamford Bridge. For me, he's the forward partner that can complement both Drogba and Torres, and I hope he's given the opportunity by Villas Boas.

14. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

It's between David Silva and Luka Modric. Both were fantastic last season, and I can see the duo being in better situations come the end of the transfer window. The former will have a Premier League season behind him, whilst the latter will surely be at a club that, in his opinion, matches the ambition.

---

Joanne Greenway- Blogger at 10mh.net


1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

Feeling a hell of a lot cheerier than I was this time last season so it’s an upbeat 9/10. It seems like we’re back in control, there looks to be more thought going into purchases and we’re buying players for now and the future. I’m happy.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

One for the future as well as this season, but Jordan Henderson. Important for him as I think he will develop his potential with us, important for the Club as it shows our intentions. A lot of the club greats were unproven when we bought them, so I’m glad we’re returning to that policy of bringing on talent.

3. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? iI) will finish, in reality?

Aim to win it, always. More so this season with a break from the European competitions, as we definitely need to be back in there next year.

4. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez, for sure. He’s had a great summer and I hope he’s back at Anfield raring to go. I’d also love to see the Academy players grab yet more of the glory.

5. Who do you think is the team’s most underrated player?

Now Lucas has won over most of the doubters, perhaps Kuyt? Wasn’t too sure about him at first but think he showed real class through all the headaches of last season.

6. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Number 19?! A good Cup run would be nice but not essential if we could give the Mancs a bit of elbow...

7. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Now most of the off-pitch distractions have been removed, the only thing that can stop us is ourselves. The squad’s been strengthened but there are still a couple of weak areas and the way we picked up injuries to key people during the run-in last season was terrifying.

8. Who will make up the eventual top 4?

Chelsea, us and the two Manchesters. Always premature to write Arsenal off though...

9. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season?

Chelsea, either by quite a few Suarez goals or one deflected in off John Terry, I’m not fussy.

---

James Herd - Student, broadcaster and blogger


1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

Added much needed depth to the squad. A lot of thought behind each signing, too. However, we are still a little short in certain areas for me (centre-back, up-front). Can’t expect the squad to be re-built in a summer, though. 7/10

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Stuart Downing; just what Liverpool needed. If he stays fit, along with Carroll, Liverpool will score plenty of goals this term.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?


Reina Johnson Carragher Agger Aurelio Gerrard (when fit) Lucas Adam Downing Suarez Carroll

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Don’t think the club should be setting long-term goals like that. As Kenny always says, ‘one game at a time and we’ll add them all up at the end of the season and see where we end up!’ Personally, I think that 4th is a genuine possibility, but it won’t be easy.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Lucas

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Glen Johnson

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A season without a protest.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Defence, looks fragile at times. And injuries; Gerrard, Agger and Aurelio all had bad luck recently, that needs to change.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

City, United, Chelsea, Liverpool

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

QPR, Swansea, Newcastle

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea, always a big game for me, living down South, and Torres has added a little extra spice to the fixture.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Portsmouth in the cup, hopefully.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Norwich

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Jamie O’Hara

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Simon Ellis-Jones - Freelance TV sports producer

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7/10 – We’ve paid too much for both Henderson and Downing, but the policy of buying British is encouraging. Kenny must have really wanted Henderson as moved for him so swiftly, and it will be interesting to where he slots in. Downing’s form against Valencia looked good and he’ll be crucial for Andy Carroll.

As far as those we’ve let go it’s been very disappointing; Joe Cole is still here, Aqua, Maxi and Ngog could have gone – but at least Jovanovic has finally left.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

The left back we have to sign this week. Otherwise it has to be Downing.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

It’s nice to admit this is almost impossible to predict. Does Kuyt have to make way this season? He’s been a certain starter for the past few years, but with the new quality coming in, maybe he’ll have to miss out. All I know is Reina, Carra, Agger, Johnson, Gerrard, Suarez, Downing and Carroll will play every game.... if fit.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Aim to finish top, obviously. Will finish 3rd.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Carragher – if he can give us one more huge effort we could just do something special. And I suspect he’ll have to lead the side more than he’d like.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

The Kop rarely leave a hero unsung.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

In reality finishing top four would be a good season, compared with last year.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

The quality of the other top sides, and Gerrard’s fitness.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Man City

Man Utd

Liverpool

Chelsea

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Norwich

Swansea

Everton

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea. Have an intense dislike for them and their fans.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Man City, you never know which City side will show up – but there are always goals.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Wigan – they’ll finish top half.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Bobby Zamora. He’ll score 20 goals.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Fernando Torres....

---

Paul Grech - Editor of ALiverpoolThing.com and contributor to Well Red Magazine and The Tomkins Times

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

I'd rate it around 7. Liverpool have gotten most of the players that Kenny Dalglish wanted and, at the same time, sent out an important message when they decided not to match Sunderland's bid for Connor Wickham. At the same time, Liverpool clearly want to buy a left back, a central defender and a back-up striker. Those might still come but, having, missed out on Phil Jones and Gael Clichy, whoever comes will be second choice.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

I've never been a huge fan of Stewart Downing but, having seen a fair bit of him last season, I think that he will add that incisiveness that has been missing at Liverpool in recent years.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

The big question is left-back because Fabio Aurelio is the obvious choice but, at the same time, he is so often injured. Anyway, going with the 4-2-3-1 adopted by Liverpool at all youth levels, I'd say something along the lines of Reina - Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Aurelio - Lucas, Adam - Suarez, Gerrard, Downing - Carroll.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Top four is the stated objective and I think they should make it.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Luis Suarez, both on the pitch and commercially. Fantastic player.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

I'd say Lucas but most people seem to accept that he's good nowadays. So I'll go for wee Jay Spearing. Constantly improving, tough tackling midfielder.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A top four finish and an FA Cup win.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Injuries and inconsistencies at the back.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Blackburn, Wigan and QPR

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Spurs, because of 'Arry, Manchester City, Chelsea and, although I have huge sympathies for the club, I'd love to see Liverpool trash WBA because of Woy.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Swansea. Nice to see a Welsh side in the Premiership.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Adel Taarabt was fantastic in the Championship and is a great talent.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Think that Kun Aguero is a talent but, to be honest, I don't think there's a player I'm looking forward to see as much as Luis Suarez.

---

Karen Gill - Granddaughter of Bill Shankly and the author of The Real Bill Shankly

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

Jury is still out actually but if you insist... 7 out of 10. Jordan Henderson comes with a rather large price tag so a lot of expectation there for someone so young. Charlie Adam was pivotal for Blackpool but whether it was a case of a big fish in a little pond remains to be seen.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

We've seen pre-season what a little creativity in the centre of the park can do so perhaps Charlie Adam.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

The first names on the team sheet for me would have to be Reina, Gerrard, Suarez, Carragher and Agger. Then Aquilani, Carroll, Kelly and Johnson, Henderson and Downing.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Liverpool owes it to the supporters to follow my granddad's philosophy of first is first and second is nowhere so the aim at the start of the season should be just that. (That's the only reality!)

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Pepe Reina. He's pure class.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Carragher. I know fans do recognise his contribution but I feel he deserves more!

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Nothing less than a Champion's League place to get us back on track once again.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

If we suffer a crisis of confidence.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1st Liverpool (see reasons above!)

2nd Chelsea (If Torres starts scoring)

3rd Man united (Unwillingly but realistically)

4th Man City

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Not sure but maybe Swansea, Stoke City and West Brom

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Arsenal, so we can break the spell they seem to have cast over the last few seasons.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

The losing ones!

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Possibly Aston Villa. Despite losing Downing, Young and Friedel they still have a very good spine in Given, Dunne and Ireland.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I've heard Wes Hoolihan was one of the stars of the Norwich team last year. He may be the Charlie Adam of 2011-2012

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Sergio Kun Aguero ..never say die attitude and sublime technical skill of the Argentines.

Liverpool Season preview: The Fans Opinion Part Three

With the new season fast approaching, The Anfield Opinion takes a final look at what the fans expect from the Reds in the coming campaign. 


Dan Kennett - 36-year-old data analyst and Kop season ticket holder

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

EIGHT. I’m fairly happy with the arrivals so far and fully expect at least one more major signing before 1st September. However I suspect I’m in the minority because I’d long accepted that we wouldn’t be signing a string of world class “ChampMan” players. If we can move on at least 4 of Degen, Jovanovic, Poulsen, Cole, El Zhar and Jones before the end of the window I’ll be even happier


2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Downing


3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

This is a bit of a bugbear of mine. I believe it’s no longer about the starting XI, it’s all about the squad. Last season, there were TWENTY FOUR United players who played over 15 games. Our problem which we are in the middle of rectifying is that the squad players we currently have aren’t strong enough to allow us to maintain good results when better players are absent. All our signings this summer improve our squad.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

We should aim to finish 1st but in reality we’ll be in a straight fight with Spurs and Arsenal for 4th and could end up 6th again.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez. However, if we could guarantee Agger playing at least 32 league games that mantle could pass to him.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Downing.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A bit like Man City last season. Champions League plus a good cup run.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

The fact that there are 5 other teams in the league with better squads than us.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

City, United, Chelsea and then Arsenal/Liverpool/Spurs. I’ll be optimistic and say Liverpool

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

I think Wigan’s number will be finally up this year along with 2 of the promoted teams Norwich and Swansea

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

West Brom and Spurs. Both because of their managers

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Chelsea and the return of El Nino will be a very, very interesting day

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Can’t see any major surprises myself. If pushed for something left field then how about something left field in Newcastle finishing “best of the rest” in 7th?

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I’m looking forward to seeing how Yohan Cabaye does at Newcastle, especially alongside one of last Summer’s best signings Cheik Tiote.

15.. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

David Silva. If it wasn’t for Hicks and Gillett he might’ve signed for us under Benitez.

---

Neil McIntyre - 30-year-old Lower Centenary season ticket holder


1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7/10 - could do better. I'm not questioning Kenny's judgement or the club's strategy, but there have been no stand-out arrivals, we still have far too much dead wood within the squad, we *STILL* need a left back and Aquialani might still leave. I trust the club to resolve these issues before the window closed. (my priorities - I would prefer Aqua to stay & really want a new LB).

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

At the moment, Adam, as I think he'll enable us to be more productive away from home, where chances are at a premium. I also think that if his inclusion forces Gerrard into a wide right position it will improve our team.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina

Johnson/Agger/Cara/new LB

Lucas

Gerrard Adam

Downing Suarez

Carroll

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

We should aim for the title every year. I think we'll finish top three, but that we are capable of winning the league this year, without the distraction of European football.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Luis Suarez will be the most effective player in the entire league, so him.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Given the reaction to his arrival, probably Downing. However, Agger's presence in the starting XI allows us to keep a higher defensive line, which in turn leads to more offensive play. A fit Agger is a massive boost.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Top three and the winning the FA Cup would be okay.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

The only obstacles to our season should be the things that are beyond our control - refereeing decisions and so on.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea & City. Not prepared to commit to an order!

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Newcastle, Blackburn & Norwich.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Not bothered. Winning away to the big teams would be nice, I guess.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Chelsea. AVB has the magic touch, and I want to see what he does to Chelsea.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I think Arsenal could be surprisingly poor.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I reckon Joey Barton will surprise a few people.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Fernando Fucking Torres. Can't wait to see that cunt.

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Nicky Allt - Writer of shows and movies, has done more 38-42 games seasons than is right for a man with a family. 

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7/10 still need a class centre back.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Downing

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina Flanno Skrtl Agger Robinson Gerrard Meireles Lucas Downing Suarez Carroll Subs: Henderson Kuyt Sterling Cody

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

First. First.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Lucas

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Top Four and the FA Cup

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Not having Confidence and not having the crowd fully behind them. Injuries.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Liverpool, Chelsea, City and Man u

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Everton, Everton and Everton

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea, Arsenal and Chelsea again.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

QPR cos Bradley Orr plays for them, and he's a massive Scouse Red and a good lad.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Everton, when they drop.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Suarez and downing

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Aguero - we should have got him.

---

Nik Colman - 43-year-old computer programmer

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

Transfers in: 6/10 (Henderson good for future but ready to play now, Adam decent, but suspect temperament, Downing an excellent buy). No left back and Insua doesn't have a squad number.

Transfers out: 1/10. Our attempts to offload Aquilani baffle me when no serious attempt to get rid of Cole. Konchesky gone is good. Degen, Jovanovic, Poulsen, Aurelio, Cole etc still on books and it looks like Insua will be moved on.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Stewart Downing - need his consistency and delivery. Great attitude as well.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Insua/A.N.Other, Henderson, Lucas, Adam, Downing, Aquilani/Carroll, Suarez

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

3rd or 4th - certainly top four. Have to get back in the Champions League.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Luis Suarez.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Lucas

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

4th

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Lack of team cohesion. Large scope for Adam/Carroll/Suarez to piss each other off. Seeing too much of Adam and Carroll's attitude in pre-season and it worries me.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1: Chelsea.
2: Man Utd.
3: Man City.
4: Liverpool.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Don't give a shit as long as it isn't us.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Spurs. Would wipe the smug smirk off 'Arry's face.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Swansea City and West Brom - Both like to play the game in the right way.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Swansea City

14. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Fernando Torres - want to see him fail again.

---

Dickie Felton - 38-year-old season ticket holder


1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

9/10

The real business was conducted earlier this year. Torres out with Suarez and Carroll in. Great buys although the Carroll deal looked expensive over time it will be a bargain with his goals and impact. The summer signings have been fantastic. Very ambitious of the club to now be prepared to land £20m+ players. Adam is a steal. Henderson and Downing very expensive but quality. All in all in very happy with the signings. Thought we would have got rid of a few more players but good to see flops like Jovanavic and Konkesky shipped out.

I stopped short of giving transfer activity 10/10 as would like to have seen a centre back signed too.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Kenny! - on the field Charlie Adam. A bit of steel we have been lacking for a while.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

It will be a mystery until kenny announces team an hour before first game but I will have a go (and I've left out Gerrard as he's injured)

Reina, Carragher, Agger, Johnson, Downing, Henderson, Adam, Lucas, kuyt, Suarez, Carroll.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Aim to come first. In reality top 4

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Despite all the new signings - Steven Gerrard. He was injured for lots of last season and we need a big campaign from him. This is his year.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Glen Johnson.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Top 4 and a cup

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Man u, Chelsea, man city, spurs and arsenal!!!

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

Liverpool, man utd, man city, Chelsea

Come on I'm always positive at start of season!!!

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Swansea, Norwich, west brom

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Chelsea.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Swansea - their fans will be crazy!

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Liverpool!

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Glen Johnson.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Torres - would love liverpool to clinch title on last home game of season with Chelsea the visitors, and rub Fernando's nose in it!! - we can but dream...

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Adam Whitcombe - known as 'bruiser', militant Scouser

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

I'll rate this at the end. Henderson the first signing has a great engine, he works hard and seems like a humble lad. I've not seen much of him but what I have seen is his ability to pass and move. Adam has a great range of passing and ideal to play with Lucas in a 2 whether 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1. He'll get the ball to Downing out wide which will be great. Downing has pace, an excellent cross, has skill even though he's not called Downinho. He'll be an asset on either wing and I'm looking forward to seeing him in a 3 with 7 and 9 or a 4 man midfield or either side a 3 man attacking midfield behind Carroll. Doni is capable cover for Pepe and is as good as we can hope for, what top keeper would happily sit on the bench all the time?!
I would've personally liked to see a hard man come in for the midfield like De Rossi is spoken of as. We miss Mascherano. I'd have liked a good young striker in to improve on N'Gog. My score reflects the fact that our business in unfinished.
7.5/10

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

It's a hard question. Henderson will be an important buy for years, the other 2 for several years too and both offer something we needed. I'd say Downing as the most important as we really needed a proper winger.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

What I'd select: (4-3-3) Reina; Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Kelly; Lucas, Adam, Gerrard; Downing, Suarez, Carroll.

I hope we get a player that isn't "out of position" at left-back. I trust our players to cover it very well but it'd be ideal to have a "real" one as Aurelio is "always injured."

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

We should always aim for top four.

In reality we can finish 4th and hopefully improve and challenger further over the next 2 years.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez without any doubt. He has the 'spark' people like to talk about in a cliched manner. No one else has his ability and he's settled and confident and committed. He's probably the best player in the Premier League.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Lucas will be the unsung hero. Last season whenever I checked, which was often, he'd usually managed 85% passing accuracy. Whatever those passes included it's great to have someone so reliable on the ball. He made the most tackles in the league apparently which no one usually looks at. Imagine where we'd have finished last season without him anchoring the team. Actually don't.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

I'd say 5th would be 'good'. After what has happened in the last 5 years we have to be realistic. We CAN get 4th though and I hope we will which would be amazing.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

The main obstacle is the strength of other sides who have managed to improve when we were stag sting under the old owners. The mancs haven't really improved but they do what they need to. City spend what they want and Chelsea have a superb young manager. Arsenal are always top 4 wen though they bottle actually winning the league. King Kenny will inspire the lads though.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

I'm not predicting the mancs winning it. I'll go with: 1. Chelsea. 2. Green and gold do as you're told Mancs. 3. Man City. 4. Liverpool.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Blackburn, QPR, Norwich.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

Arsenal. I don't hate them but we need to start beating them again.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Norwich. I quite liked them in the past. I remember that awful Asics kit they had in 1990 when they drew 0-0 with us in the league games. I don't mind them as a team at all.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I think Swansea will do better than a lot of people think. I say that because people often say they'll go down but I think they'll do well at home. If they manage to strengthen the defence and get some results away they can get 12th which would be a great season.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Weiss at City. If he gets some games he will do well.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

I wish he hadn't come to the Premier League but Aguero is a great player. He'll be exciting to watch as long as we are above them and stay above them all season.

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Malcolm Mann - 25-year-old matchday steward

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7/10. Think that left back was the priority position and is yet to be filled. Would have liked to have seen a bit more deadwood shifted by now as well, but very happy with the players that we have signed so far.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Charlie Adam as we were missing a link between midfield and attack last season.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Kelly, Lucas, Adam, Suarez, Gerrard, Downing, Carroll

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Should finish third. Will probably finish fourth.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Luis Suarez

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Glen Johnson

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Back in the champions league and at least a cup final.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Competition from the other clubs

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1)Man Utd, 2)Man City, 3)Chelsea, 4)Liverpool

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Wigan, QPR, Newcastle

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

QPR. Despise Neil Warnock with a passion.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Norwich

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Fulham

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Danny Graham


15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Sergio Aguero

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Greg Laughlin - 32-year-old mortgage adviser 

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7. Decent signings so far, though defence looks like it still needs strengthening. Hopefully we can get rid of some of the deadwood too.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up? 

Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Kelly; Lucas, Adam, Meireles; Kuyt, Suarez & Carroll. But what do I know!

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality? 

Aim for top 4, will finish 4th or 5th.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC? 

Top 4 and a trophy.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season? 

Injuries.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order? 

Man City, Arsenal, Man Utd, LFC.

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated? 

Newcastle, Aston Villa and QPR.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season? 

Chelsea.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield? 

Arsenal.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year? 

Swansea.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Balotelli.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

David Silva.

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Paul Edwards - 37-year-old lawyer and Anfield season ticket holder, also works as an LFC researcher for the Football manager series of gsmes

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7/10. We've strangely bought loads of midfielders when other areas of the team are lacking and we've struggled to move on the deadwood.

Statistically our signings all make sense, Downing Adam and Henderson all have a great record for making assists.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

For the money and width I hope it's Downing.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Starting XI is tough, depends on who is fit and the opposition but a core of Reina, Johnson, Agger, (if fit) Carra and Enrique, Lucas, Adam, Gerrard, Suarez, Downing, Kuyt and Carroll isnt bad! I know that is 12 but Gerrard is out!

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Aim and reality are the same, top 4. Due to a lack of Euro football 2nd or 3rd is possible I think IF we start well.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Luis Suarez, could become one of the greats if things went well and he doesnt suffer a hangover from the Copa America.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

As ever Lucas, we've missed him pre season already!

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

A good season must involve a trophy and an easy top 4 finish.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Lack of signings in key areas like up front and centre back, combined with huge spending from City, United and probably Chelsea.


9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1. United
2. City
3. Liverpool
4. Chelsea

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

All three promoted teams are utter crap so them but Wigan Newcastle and blackburn may try hard to go down.

11. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Most looking forward to Everton so Kenny can batter them! Their bitter fans have done nothing but abuse him.

12. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Sunderland, have built and bought a new team so top 8 possible.


13. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Henderson, if he is as good as the Sunderland researcher (for Football Manager) tells me he could be then he could make wide right his own position.

14. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Aguero, will he settle in at Man City?

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David Sutton - 35-year-old Main Stand season ticket holder


1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7 - some good additions (Downing in particular). Disappointed at a lack of a centre back and our failure to shift some deadwood

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

At the moment, Downing. Will help Suarez & Carroll.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Skrtel, Kelly, Lucas, Gerrard, Downing, Kuyt, Suarez, Carroll

Downing should play regularly. The other 2 should play a fair bit though

4.. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

Aim for 2nd - and finish top 4

5.. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suarez

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Lucas

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Champions League qualification & a cup

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

Weaknesses in defence - particularly at CB.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1. City
2. United.
3. Chelsea.
4. Liverpool

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Tough question. Blackburn, Newcastle, Swansea

11. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Always like beating Everton

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Fulham

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Hopefully Downing

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Aguero

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Ian Maloney - Owner of LoveFollowConquer and contributor to The Anfield Wrap

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

7/10 Pleased the owners have stuck to their word and backed Kenny. Only moan I have is the imbalance in the squad as I right this. Thought we’d have left back and centre back sorted by now. Outgoing needs to be sorted out, wage bill too big, Cole needs to go.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

Hendo I reckon will surprise everyone. I also think Kenny bringing Steve Clarke to Anfield was a master stroke.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

3-5-2 at the back at home:

Reina; Carra, Skrtel, Agger; Henderson, Gerrard, Lucas, Adam, Downing; Carroll, Suarez.

4-4-2 or 4-3-3 away:

4-4-2: Reina; Kelly, Carra, Agger, Johnson; Henderson, Gerrard, Lucas, Downing; Carroll, Suarez.

4-3-3: Reina; Kelly, Carra, Agger, Johnson; Gerrard, Lucas, Adam; Suarez, Carroll, Downing.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

i) Top 4 ii)3rd

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

As Carra and Gerrard won’t play the full season for different reasons I reckon it will be down to El Pistolero to fire people up. I reckon we won’t rely on an individual though the way we have in the past, if we need to change a game we’ve now got the bench to do that.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Lucas

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Top four and play good old school pass and move.

8. What is the main obstacle to LFC enjoying a good season?

As the squad currently stands if we pick up any injuries in deference it could spell trouble.

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

1) Scum,
2) City,
3) Liverpool,
4) Chelski

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

Norwich, QPR, Swansea

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

i) I’d like to see us do City ii) Liverpool will most want to win the next game

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

Be nice to see Riise back at Anfield but I’d have to say the Scum

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Norwich if they manage to stay up

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

I reckon we don’t need to look any further than Martin Kelly, he’ll be a regular come the end of the season.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Aguero

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James Owens - Sports journalism student and writer for Micro LFC

1. How do you rate LFC’s summer business, thus far, in terms of both transfers in and out? Give it a rating of ten and explain why.

5/10. Straight down the middle. In short because, although, in Adam, Downing, and presumably Henderson, we’ve been able to bring in players who appear to have been Kenny/Comolli’s first choices, we’ve also missed out on at least three (Jones, Young, Clichy) to rival clubs, largely because we’re not in the Champions League.


Until we’re in the Champions League, as far as players we approach are concerned, our ‘project’ is just that: a project, and one with no guarantees of success. So it’s inevitable that most players, when given the choice between us and a club who are already there, will opt for the latter.

The other element of our transfer dealings, of course, is shipping out the mountains of dead wood. That’s basically Cole, Degen, Jovanovic, Konchesky and Poulsen, and in each case, because of how poor the players are, the massive contracts they were given were and their age (or in Degen’s case, fitness record), the crucial thing is just shifting them off the wage bill. Any fee we can get is a bonus.

It’s encouraging that Jovanovic is off the wage bill now, as he along with Cole was the biggest drain on the wage bill. As for Poulsen and Degen, we’ll just have to wait and see if we’re able to shift them, but as things stand, it looks like getting rid of Cole won’t be easy.

Looking ahead, I’d hope that by the end of the window, we’ve managed to add a really good left back to the squad. If you exclude Johnson, Kelly and Flanagan, who’ve all played a left-back, we’ve got three options in that position, all with question marks over them. Aurelio due to his appalling injury record and advancing years, Insua because he looked defensively vulnerable before leaving for a fairly unproductive year at Galatasary and looks like he may be sold, and Robinson because he’s still only 17 and probably has a fair bit to learn and a lot of development to get through, physically as much as anything.

The situation at centre back isn’t entirely dissimilar. For those reasons, I’d also like to see us add a centre back who could form part of the spine of a team that will compete to win the Premier League and the Champions League over the next five years or more. That said, it could be that we’ll be in a better position in January or next summer to make that signing, particularly if, as planned, we get back into the Champions League this season.

What is so frustrating and still causes me anger, both in terms of the players we’ve missed out on and the ones we’re struggling to offload, is that even now, in the first 12 months of an era which has begun with great optimism, all the right signs from the club’s ownership and a very strong finish to last season after Kenny’s return, we’re suffering quite considerably because of how the club was run so appallingly in the 12 months prior.

, it was really just those last few months before FSG took over which saw much of the damage done. Cole, Jovanovic, Konchesky and Poulsen all in, and at considerable expense in terms of wages, but worst of all, Benitez replaced by Hodgson at a total cost of around £9 million, when Kenny expressed strong interest in the job himself. Now obviously, there’s no guarantee that had he taken over last summer, Kenny would have led the team to a top four finish, but given that we were 12th and five points off the bottom when he took over in January and roughly 3rd for form between his return and the end of the season, you’d have to think that just by virtue of understanding and uniting the club and not being totally unqualified for the job at hand as Hodgson was, he’d have had a fighting chance at least of getting us there.

It just worries me that come next May, if we finish outside the top four, we could be ruing the woeful mismanagement of Purslow’s time once again, nearly two years later, and potentially looking at a looking at a long and very uncertain road back to competing to sign the best players and win the top honours. Because make no mistake, whatever were to happen on the pitch between now and then, that would be the root cause.

2. Who do you believe will prove to be the most important signing?

I think Downing may prove to be the most important signing of the players we’ve added to date. Where Adam is likely in my opinion to be most effective against weak, defensive opposition, what Downing is likely to add should be more or less equally useful against all opposition. What the stats tell you is that he tends to stay fit (touch wood), he delivers more crosses than almost anyone else in the league, the quality of those crosses is very good overall and he creates a lot of goalscoring opportunities. Add to that the presence of Carroll and the fact that, as left-footed wide player, he’ll provide width, and he looks like he could make a big contribution for us.

3. Who do you think should make up the starting line up?

I’d expect Reina, Johnson, probably Carragher, Lucas (although possibly not against weak opposition at home), Adam, Gerrard, Downing and Suarez all to start more or less every league match they’re fit for, and personally, I’d hope to see Agger start as well when fit.

4. Where do you think Liverpool should i) aim to finish? ii) will finish, in reality?

i) Cliché alert: As high as possible. Which, if we avoid major misfortune with injuries, that shouldn’t be any lower than fifth or sixth but probably won’t be higher than third or fourth.

ii) Fourth or fifth.

5. Who will be Liverpool’s most important player next season?

Suárez. In his first half season, he was one of the stars of the Premier League, and he’s the most gifted player at the club. It’s possible that Gerrard may not quite be the explosive, all-action force he was once was, so Suárez’s energy, skill, ability to worry the opposition (sometimes allowing other players to profit from having more time and space as a result) and sheer audacity could be the different between draws and wins, both against the weakest opposition and the best.

6. Who do you think will be the team's unsung hero next year?

Well seeing as all but the biggest morons now recognise that 1.) Lucas’s job is an absolutely critical one and 2.) he’s possibly the best at it in the Premier League, it’s unlikely to be him as perhaps it was a couple of years ago.

If Downing stays fit and plays most games, and continues to deliver the same sort of end product which has him as the fifth best creator of goalscoring chances in the Premier League since 2004, and does it in the same sort of understated, unspectacular style which sees him so often derided, possibly him.

7. What would constitute a good season for LFC?

Finishing fourth in the league or higher.

Ultimately, since, in my opinion at least, we’ll be hard pushed to actually mount a genuine title challenge, what we do this season is really a matter of setting ourselves up as well as we possibly can for the future; in other words, getting back into the top four at a minimum.

If we get knocked out of both domestic cups at the first hurdle at Anfield by League 2 opposition we’d all be disappointed and embarrassed at the time, but by the time the FA Cup winners have had their open top bus parade in May, no one will care so long as we’re back in the top four. Win both domestic cups and finish fifth and we’ll get two cracking days out at Wembley followed by yet another summer of being unable to attract the best players in the world, and of missing out on the massive revenue which results from Champions League qualification. And missing out on all that for a third year running may be impossible to recover from in the foreseeable future.

All that said, winning one of the cups (ideally the FA Cup) would obviously be lovely. It’ll be six years next May since we won a major trophy and our record in the domestic cups since then has been awful. Winning a cup, especially the FA Cup, whilst finishing in the top four, would be fantastic. Finishing in that top four and winning both domestic cups would obviously be even better.


The strength of Arsenal, Chelsea, City and United. All four could easily finish above us, and if they do the season will be a failure.

As I don’t feel we’ve got too much chance of finishing higher than fourth, I think the main obstacle could be the success of Arsenal’s dealings between now and September; who they keep, who they buy (Mata/Turan/Jagielka all linked) and how successful those signings are, because of the sides who finished above us last year, they look the most vulnerable (I’d expect us to finish above Spurs).

9. Who will make up the eventual top 4, and in what order?

I would expect Chelsea, City and United to make up the top three in some order, with Arsenal or ourselves in fourth. My gut instinct is that Vilas Boas will be a massive success at Chelsea, and that they or United will win the league. Which of the two may depend heavily on who they each add to their squads between now and the end of August, and who well anyone they add actually does (I’m thinking mainly of Modric in Chelsea’s case and Sneijder in United’s).

10. Which 3 teams will be relegated?

All of the newly promoted sides have question marks over them, but of the established Premier League clubs, I’d guess that Wigan might be the most likely to succumb to the drop this year. I wouldn’t be massively surprised if all three of QPR, Norwich and Swansea go down, or if it’s two from them plus Wigan.

11. With the exceptions of Everton and Manchester United; which team, more than any other, would you like for Liverpool to beat next season/would Liverpool like to beat next season?

In terms of pure satisfaction and schadenfreude when seeing the goals go in and at the final whistle (and for several hours after), Chelsea.

In terms of giving us the best chance of achieving our most important objective of all, Arsenal, simply because they’re the team who, in theory at least, look the most vulnerable of last season’s top four.

Like just about every Liverpool fan, I don’t like United, but I’ve got respect for the club and many of their supporters in ways in which I’m unlikely ever to feel for Chelsea. The free plastic flag left at each seat for the ‘big’ games, later followed by free scarves, the booing of their team and their own players after even a disappointing half (contrast our singing of ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ during stoppage time of the first leg of Champions League quarter-final tie at Anfield in 2008/09 when he trailed them 1-3, to their booing at half-time in the second leg while still in a winning position on aggregate despite being 0-2 down on the night), the crap songs delivered in an annoying accent, the artlessness of most of their ‘banter’, and perhaps funniest of all, the copy of our old Torres banner, reproduced in full, including the ironwork from the top of the Shankly gates. That said it all. It’s hard not to view much of their support with mirth and contempt.
As for Arsenal, the meeting at The Emirates on the second weekend of the season in particular could be massive, both in mathematical and psychological terms. It’s also worth noting that that fixture will fall between the two legs of Arsenal’s Champions League qualifying tie, which could be both a distraction and a cause of tired legs for them. Nicking a win there would do wonders for our confidence in finishing in the top four and it could seriously hit their and their supporters’ morale, which has already taken a clattering this summer.

12. Which visiting team are you most looking forward to seeing at Anfield?

No one in particular to be quite honest. At a push, Everton, because it’s always funny laughing at their fans and their antics, so long as they don’t get a result!
Besides that, I actually quite like watching us against any team who are really defensive, where we’re spending minutes at a time passing the ball around in their half just trying to move them about and work an opening. I’m probably the opposite to a lot of people in that respect because given the problems we’ve had at times in recent seasons breaking that kind of opposition down, I’d imagine many people hate that kind of game, but personally I love that sustained tension and sense that after a patient build up a crucial scoring chance could only be one pass away when a team just sit back.

13. Which team will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Well I suppose if Norwich take a scalp or two and stay up, particularly if they do so comfortably, they would be, given their relative lack of Premier League experience and Lambert’s policy of generally going for younger players from the Football League.

Beyond that I find it hard to say. He’s quite rightly much maligned for his six months at Liverpool but I wouldn’t be all that surprised to see Hodgson lead West Brom to a top half finish. Judging from what he was like in charge of us, I’m not sure he’d be capable of much more than that with any group of players, however good, but up to a level of respectability he’s pretty good at getting a side organised and difficult to beat, and they’ve got some useful players in the likes of Brunt, Tchoyi and Odemwingie.

14. Which player will be the league’s surprise package next year?

Whether he will or not is another matter, but I’d like to see Steve Morison at Norwich do well, just because of the back story. He’s coming up to 28 now, he left Northampton when he was 20/21 and dropped into non-league football while working in an office for a couple of years before joining Stevenage, then getting back into league football with Milwall where he scored at a decent rate both in League 1 and the Championship, and now he’ll get a chance in the Premier League.

It’s actually not as rare a story as people might assume; in the last couple of years in the Premier League there’s been DJ Campbell and Jermaine Beckford who’ve had a similar kind of career trajectory, but even still it’d be nice if Morison or someone with a similar background made a real impression.

15. Which non-LFC player are you most looking forward to seeing next year?

Obviously Aguero comes with a big reputation, and having seen very little of him myself, it’ll be interesting to see how he does and just how good he is.
Also De Gea. United enjoyed plenty of success between Schmeichel’s leaving in 1999 and van der Sar’s arrival in 2005, but they went four or five first choice keepers in that time, so everybody will be watching De Gea closely in his first few games, particularly as he’s only 20 (worth noting mind you that Reina, despite looking about 20 years older, was only 22 when he joined us from Villareal in 2005).
Beyond that, it’ll be interesting to see how much Wickham features for Sunderland and how well he does given that we appeared to be interested in him for some time before deciding that he wasn’t worth the sort of money Ipswich wanted for him.
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