At last, the long wait is almost over. Our Premier League campaign is set to start on this Saturday against Sunderland.
Though there were some doubts being cast upon the start of the season, especially for the London club with riots seen across the city. There are several incidents of ‘riots’ in Liverpool, Manchester and Birmingham as well.
England’s friendly against Holland was postponed as the police resources are stretched under the prevailing scenario. The friendly is likely to be rearranged in the next year.
The Premier League/Football Association held the meeting with the clubs to discuss the scheduled start of Premier League season under the current circumstances and the game between Tottenham Hotspur and Everton has been postponed. However, they feel that there is no danger to the games being held outside of London. So the Liverpool-Sunderland game is set to go on.
On a lighter note, Sunderland supporters have started their own campaign for the justice to the Hillsborough victims and their families. They have created their own banner, which they will be bringing to Anfield on Saturday.
This is a great gesture from the Black Cats supporters. You can show the creators of the banner your support and respect on their Facebook page: SAFC want justice for the 96.
On the footballing side of things, we have the Copa America winner Luis Suarez back at the club. He was back at Melwood training ahead of the season opener. Kenny Dalglish has left it on Suarez himself to decide if he will be able to play on Saturday.
Lucas Leiva has also returned and also featured against Valencia. He was a key player last season with his tackles and composed passing. He looks set to resume his duty against Sunderland having returning from international duty earlier than Suarez as Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals of Copa America by Paraguay.
Steven Gerrard is out until September after suffering a infection relating to his recurring groin problem [Link]. Martin Skrtel is also out with injury [Link]. Glen Johnson also joined the injury list after picking up a knock against the last pre-season friendly against Valencia.[Link]. Johnson is ruled out for the Sunderland game, and could possible be out of the Arsenal match as well next week.
Some positives are the new signings. Stewart Downing, Charlie Adam, Jordan Henderson were all impressive in the pre-season friendlies. Though the highlight was the returning Alberto Aquilani. After having a successful season-long loan spell at Juventus last season, ‘Il Principino’ was really impressive.
There are doubts been cast on his future. Latest on Aquilani coming from his agent was that there has been no formal contact from AC Milan yet. The agent claims that Milan are interest in signing him but Aquilani is looking for permanent deal only, and not another loan spell.
Aquilani, after scoring the winner for Italy in 2-1 win over World Champions Spain in an international friendly, said that he will “love to make my mark at Liverpool” but is keeping his options open and “will take the offer [if any] of a permanent move into consideration”.
Charlie Adam has looked very lively and he will be a huge hit with his crossing ability, composure, leadership ability and the drive which he brings into the games.
Andy Carroll was a big danger against Valencia, which was hugely contributed by the the new Liverpool signing Stewart Downing. Downing with his crosses and Carroll with his aerial ability can pose danger to any side. Downing has certainly made his filled the the long-awaited need of a winger. Meanwhile, Jordan Henderson could feature against his old side.
Some good news for the Reds ahead of the season are the departure Milan Jovanovic (to Anderlecht), Paul Konchesky (to Leicester City). Meanwhile, Christian Poulsen is determined to stay as he claims that “they want me at the club and I am happy to be there and unless they tell me something different, I am a Liverpool player for the coming season”. Joe Cole’s future is still unclear.
Liverpool also agreed a fee with Newcastle United for the transfer of Jose Enrique to Anfield. The transfer fee is believed to be around £6M. Liverpool are adamant to complete the transfer before the Sunderland game.
This could mean the end of Emiliano Insua’s Anfield career. However, on the brighter side, the link up between Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique on the left side of the field would be the one to watch. They both will give Liverpool a new attacking dimension.
Sunderland, having sold Darren Bent in January aren’t the same side that they were with him. Though they have got Asamoah Gyan, he can’t do all on his own. Steve Bruce, after losing Henderson to Liverpool, got Wes Brown and John O’Shea from Manchester United. The highlight of their transfer window was the snatching of 18-year-old Connor Wickham for £12 Million from Ipswich Town.
Though they lost quite a few players like Nedum Onuoha (returned to Manchester City), John Mensah (returned to Lyon), Boudewjin Zenden and Cristian Riveros (loaned to Kayserispor), arrival of With David Vaughan, Craig Gardner and Sebastian Larsson has reinforced their side.
The good start to the season is very crucial and Sunderland shouldn’t be taken lightly.