The Transfer Window Starts to Close
Posted by john_mac on August 25, 2004, 08:20:16 PM
We've now brought five new faces into the squad over the summer and lost a few too, most notably the player who has consistently led our attack in recent years. A couple of youngsters have already been given a go (even if it is beyond me how Potter has suddenly gone ahead of Welsh in the midfield reckoning) and generally things are beginning to look quite bright.
Rafa has been enthused about as a coach who starts from the back and whilst I am far from being in a position to question him, I must admit to being almost amazed that we have started the season without a new central defender amongst the ranks. As comfortable as Jamie has looked in the position, I do think there are testing times ahead for him, and the team, if he is to remain there all season. Sami has looked less convincing, and Steph fast approaching the end of his contract has looked anything but.
Houllier had tried to buy a central defender on at least two occassions and I will not be surprised if one arrives before Tuesday, maybe one that is currently at the Olympics. I think that if we are going to challenge this season, and I know, inside me, that it is far more likely to be a season for consolidation and re-building, then we must strengthen before the deadline.
The midfield is an unknown quantity to me and I think most others (Rafa aside). I think that he will look to get more quality from Stevey and built on that with the talents that he now has at his disposal. Surely, surely, surely Harry is going to settle down and give us some of the quality that had every Tom, Dick n Archie creaming their kecks last summer at his signing.
Up front is a different scenario. Whilst Rafa has praised the current incumbants I think it is our biggest problem for the season ahead. Cisse remains an unknown quantity, and for his undoubted ability, he is still a young player in a strange country and it won't happen overnight. The fact that he is deprived of a natural partner to ease him in will only make matters more difficult.
As I have been for three years, I remain completely unconvinced of Milan's ability to be a top class striker, even more so a top class partner for Djibril. He's more likely to be a high quality understudy and alternative to the said. As a partnership I fear that at the moment neither has the required guile to bring the best out of the other. All of the above and probably more is true of FSP, and even at his best he still appears to snatch at things in front of goal. He may go on to be a truly top class player but I must admit that I doubt he has much to contribute for the season ahead.
This leaves Beni with a big headache. If he chooses to go with one striker, the miserable bastards who populate our stadium will see it as a negative step, regardless of the positives. If he brings in another striker, he will have to do so quickly and haste is not usually the best policy. To wait until January may be too late for this season, going now he would be unlikely to get the striker that he wants or needs.
It is the question of how to take the game to the opposition (and again I'm far from convinced that Milan can successfully do this against the packed defences that occupy Anfield) which will make or break the season. We have midfielders more than adept at carrying the game, perhaps more so than the forwards, and I wouldn't be surprised if we go for one out-and-out striker supported by one or two attacking midfielders come linkmen - it may be the solution. Even at this early stage I feel that the combination of Milan and Cisse will not be strong enough to see us challenge, so I feel it may be a case of one or the other. If we were to go with the two, the back up of Flo alone worries me further.
We need more strength in depth and whilst I generally would not be in favour of the type of wholesale change we have already implemented, I fear that if this season is to be a success, we still have to dip into the CL money and strengthen further before the transfer deadline arrives.© john_mac 2004
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