"This is it, don’t get scared now.’’ Hey, one of our new signings' little brother’s name is Kevin Mac Allister. Of course there was going to be a reference to the Greatest Christmas Movie Ever. You’ll Never Home Alone.
Anyway, speaking of Christmas, it’s Christmas Eve for Reds, as the new season starts tomorrow. In fairness, the last few days have been very Christmas-like. Running around trying to get your shopping sorted at the last minute rather than having got your business done when things were quiet six weeks beforehand. And paying over the odds as a result. Or, worse still, getting gazumped at the checkout by an over-aggressive buyer. Yes, it’s a metaphor. I’m not going to do all the work for you.
Speaking of people not doing their job, what about Jörg Schmadtke? Big Jörg? Jarg Jurg? Jörg Schmadt his pants? The nicknames will come soon enough. Sooner than any of his signings, anyhow.
Before getting on to the new season, the pre-season needs to be addressed. The general consensus is that it has been a shambles. The two lads we have brought in – Alexis and Dom – should be fine. Klopp’s record in the transfer market is astounding. There have, of course, been blemishes, but Alisson, Joel, Konate, Virgil, Andy, Fabinho, Gini, Thiago, Sadio, Mo, Diogo, Diaz, Gakpo, Nunez (you’ll see!) mean he deserves our supreme confidence. Those two signings aside, everything else has smacked of a lack of professionalism for which heads should roll (they won’t).
This has been typified by the Lavia and Caicedo shambles (even if we sign one of them, this doesn’t make the situation any less embarrassing). Lavia, first. Southampton value him at £50m. So pay it. It doesn’t matter if he worth that. (He’s probably not). But if you’ve decided you want him, then you have to stump up the cash. Why lowball (£45m with add-ons)? The add-ons are going to happen anyway if we’re successful. And what’s £5m more in today’s market? Especially when you’ve got £52m Saudi money (and the concomitant reduction in the wage bill). Not to mention Bobby, Milner, Ox and Keita being off that same wage bill…
Of course, this was embarrassing enough but then we were faced with the débâcle of the Caicedo transfer. The Manager of Liverpool Club said in a press conference on Friday morning that "I got told I can confirm that the deal with the club is agreed. Whatever that means exactly in the end we will see."
We did see, as we learned later in the day that it wasn’t happening and he would probably be going to Chelsea. To paraphrase the historic Kop banner ‘‘Moises said ‘Come forth’ and Liverpool came second.’’
Serious questions need to be asked about this whole farce.
- Where do FSG stand in terms of investing in the team?
- Who is in charge of transfers at the Club?
- What does Big Jörg do?
- Why was Klopp allowed to bring him in?
This has overshadowed the build-up to the new season, during what should be a time for optimism for fans. And it has also disrupted preparations for the team. So where do we stand a few hours from what’s going to be a crazy ride, again?
Well, it’s the hope that gets you, as they say, so here’s hoping that:
Alisson remains the best in the world. He was our best player last season. Hopefully we won’t need him as much this, but if we do, he’ll be up to the task.
Virgil gets back to his imperious best. He’s captain now. He’s got to set an example. His role will be key to where we finish.
Trent can combine both roles that he’ll be asked to play. Vice-captain. Future captain. He is also key to all we do.
The new lads hit the ground running. If they do, we’ve got a great chance of having a great season. Curtis came into his own at the end of last season too and in the summer with England. We still need to strengthen in the middle of the park but we should be okay with the five or six we’ve got.
Competition for places up front will keep everyone on their toes. There are two spots up for grabs (Mo starts every time). Gakpo, Nunez, Diogo and Diaz will all be desperate to start. And the two who don’t should provide great options off the bench.
Added to this, the lack of intense European football (while our main rivals will all have to juggle that calendar up to December at least) and things don’t seem so grim.
For all that last season and the pre-season were a shambles, there are reasons to be positive. If not, what’s the point in even turning up. Top four is a must, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we did much better than just fourth.
If there is one thing we have learned from Klopp and his teams, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Up The Reds!