Who’d have thought at the beginning of last season that come 29th July 2010, Liverpool would be the first English side to be kicking off the new season in the Europa League.
Of course soccer purists could have told you that the loss of Xabi Alonso, and no adequate replacement being sourced, would have dire consequences for the runners-up of the season before, but Rafa being Rafa wouldn’t listen.
Fast-forward to this summer and they welcome Woy Hodgson, who takes charge of his first competitive game tonight. Although from the outset, it seems like the first test at Trent Bridge would be much more his cup of tea than a Europa League qualifying tie in Macedonia for the right to be taking part in the tournament proper come the back end of August.
But what does the current season have in store for the storied club from Merseyside, and ultimately what do fans of the Merseysiders want besides their giro?
For a start, as Joe Cole was so quick to point out, there’s that magical atmosphere they possess up at Anfield. The same magic that has seen them pick up how many Premier League titles? As many as Scunthorpe. (for the uneducated observer that would be none) So besides the intimidation of that ground, what else could the fans possibly want?
Brings us to the next point of contention for Reds’ fans: the yankee doodle chairmen, George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Much like rivals Man Utd they’ve been saddled with mountains of debt and simply don’t have as much clout to clear it. Yes, they could sell Fernando Torres, but the losses in the long run would simply not be worth it. As much as David N’gog and Dirk Kuyt try, you can’t see them creating anything on the scale of El Nino. What can the fans do to oust the chairman besides peaceful protesting though?
How about, as they regularly attend games, the fans tar and feather them. Seen quite regularly on shows featuring Johnny Knoxville over in the states, I’m sure he’d come over and do it himself if the promise of publicity was there. It would be even funnier if you got nicer than nice Woy to have a go. If you can’t get tar into the ground, just pay some kids to steal their car stereos whilst the cars are parked up. The police aren’t likely to take much notice to be honest.
But where can the Liverpudlians expect to find their club languishing come the end of the season?
The top five does look well and truly out of the question. Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal look safe as houses in the top four, Tottenham, however, look about as safe as a Liverpool star’s mansion, whilst they’re on a European away date. Some are saying that Man City could win the league, so the best the scousers can really hope for is sixth. It would only take Torres and Stevie G being fit for all 38 games for them to make a top four challenge though. They’re that good.
Although if Torres leaves, Gerrard gets injured, and Woy decides that Dickson Etuhu and Bobby Zamora might be the best solution to this they could be in for a long season. What are those relegation odds for Liverpool then?