Liverpool’s first pre-season friendly is this Saturday against Tranmere so I thought it was a good tie to look at how the upcoming season is shaping up for Liverpool.
Last season Liverpool came in a disappointing fourth place in the Premiership 11 points behind Manchester United. The good news for Liverpool fans was that the 11 points was a huge improvement over the 21 points that united beat Liverpool by in 2006-2007.
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The problem for Liverpool last season was the 13 draws in the league. United had 6 and the difference cost Liverpool the league. For 2008-2009 it looks like Rafa has been focusing on patching up his sometimes leaky defense with new signings Phillip Degen (right back) and Andrea Dossena (left back). These players along with Jamie Carragher,Martin Skrtel and the fit-again Daniel Agger should make the Liverpool defense harder to penetrate.
One question for Liverpool is who will back up Reina. As Chelsea and Man United have seen over the last two years that having as solid back-up goalkeeper is vital. It looks like Benitez is going to go with 25-year-old Palmeiras goalkeeper Diego Cavalieri which leaves me wondering what will happen to Scott Carson. Carson doesn’t want to be a back-up but it appears that Liverpool are over valuing him ant around 10 million pounds, making him difficult to sell. Why Liverpool did not make him part of the Barry deal is beyond me.
In midfield the ongoing Gareth Barry saga should end soon with Barry joining Liverpool and midfielder Xabi Alonso’s going to Juventus. I would like to see Liverpool add at least one winger who can provide Torres with consistent quality service so it is no surprise to hear that Espanyol winger Albert Riera is on Rafa’s wish list.
The transfer of Peter Crouch to Portsmouth for 10 million pounds is a good price of business by Liverpool but now they need to replace Crouch. Tottenham striker Robbie Keane remains on Benitez’s wish list as are Real Mallorca’s Borja Valero, Real Madrid’s Ruben De La Red and Valencia’s David Silva. Liverpool need two new forwards and I don’t know if Rafa has the money to buy two quality players.
Who Liverpool can bring in up front between now and the end of the transfer window will have a big impact on their prospects this year, but at the moment Liverpool looks like they will be improved over last years team.