The season is here and after a summer of serious ups (au revoir Stewie D) and real downs (the Gremlin saga in its entirety), we can finally throw ourselves full bore into another Liverpool campaign. Of all the things to love about footy season, perhaps my favorite is the back and forth banter amongst both loyal comrades and eternal enemies -- particularly humiliating wagers. So, with that in mind, we've rounded up the whole crew here at the Anfield Asylum to do a bit of a roundtable preview before the roller coaster flies the dock.
Obviously, a lot can happen between now and the end of the transfer window (a whole damn lot this year), but if the window closed today, how would you rate Liverpool's summer business? Any particular deal stick out for you?
Overall, BR seems to have spent wisely and more encouraging FSG gave him the backing to go out and get new players early and get them training. For me Toure appears to be a key signing. Given Liverpool's excellent defensive record in preseason and his performances he appears to be up for the challenge. (Adam)
I think it's been a qualified success. I like every player we've signed, but considering how much we've brought in on transfer fees and shed in wages, I think some new signings are a requirement. Give me a left back, a center back (if Skrtel goes), and an attacker before September and I'm over the moon (not asking too much is it?). As for one standout, I love the Alberto signing and think he could become a key contributor as early as December. (Matt)
When contrasted with the disaster that was last season's window, this has been a pretty good summer for Rodgers. He has seemed to be more proactive than reactive this time around, being fairly aggressive early in the window and preemptively looking for a Suarez replacement. The Toure transfer was an under the radar move that puts Rodgers in a less desperate (read: ready to overpay) situation when looking for a center back in the upcoming weeks. (loyal2reds)
I've seen a lot of people going on about a lack of a Marquee signing. And yes, I'd like one myself. (Willian would be nice.) Although, I believe BR's dynamic is more about the team aspect than one or two players. Last season we were able to play without Stevie or Gremlin (Comedy genius, whoever came up with that nickname.) and were even able to put in some class performances. So, I'm not too worried.
I've been impressed with our new signings, in all honesty. Especially Iago Aspas (Who has already generated his own Kop song, Rock the Aspas, to the tune of the great The Clash jam.) and Kolo "The Beast" Toure. Whether they can do it in the PL is a different story, but I think we're building a decent side, one that can possibly challenge for the top four, barring any major departures (Gremlin or the Dagger) (JAceKopite16)
Building off of that, how confident are you in Liverpool's re-shaped back five?
The chemistry seems to be there and Mingolet is looking quite good. They will be key to the season. It seems there will be enough scoring, the other part of the goal differential will be key. (Adam)
Adam's spot on, the defense will be the key to the season. I'll miss Pepe Reina, but Mignolet was fantastic last year and has been sharp all pre-season. I'm less sold on Toure as a starter, but he's had a good pre-season as well and deserves the chance to prove his worth. (Matt)
The defense will be good at least to start the season but I worry about what happens after that. Agger and Kelly are injury prone, and Kolo Toure may run out of gas at some point. I'd feel better if we had at least one more body back there. (loyal2reds)
I've been nought but impressed with it. Two goals conceded in Pre-season (Not counting the closed-doors friendly, which we won 3-1 against Newcastle) speaks for itself. I was hoping it'd be a fight early on between Pepe and Simon, but Pepe's gone, and I've sung praises of Mignolet so far. #SimonSaysNo (JAceKopite16)
Who's your bet for Liverpool's player of the season?
I'll go with the obvious Coutinho, he looks like he plays with just so much ease. He has no where to go but up. (Adam)
I'm going to go with Lucas. He wasn't at his best last season, but coming off a serious knee injury and then a hamstring problem was always going to make it difficult. I think he returns to his top form as the EPL's best holding midfielder -- Liverpool's season kind of depends on it. (Matt)
Without hesitation I'll go with Daniel Agger, assuming he stays healthy. Agger pretty much is the defense right now and is also a strong leader and fine representative of the Liverpool badge. (loyal2reds)
3 different answers before me, but I'll have to go with Dan Agger. Recently appointed Vice-Captain, he seems ready to step up even more than he has done in the past 2 seasons or so. He's been our rock since then and is to me the best defender in the world. Time to step into the limelight for real. And I think he can. (JAceKopite16)
Who's the season's underachiever? -- aka: Name That Envelope!
Borini, no explanation needed. Whether injury or his inability to finish, I am sure he'll disappoint. (Adam)
Jose Enrique for me. Just feel like you never quite know what you're getting on a week to week basis. (Matt)
Coates. He is nearing the end of his rope and isn't making any significant strides. (loyal2reds)
I'll go with Raheem Sterling. Something doesn't seem right with the kid. And when your head's not right, strange things happen. (JAceKopite16)
Do you have a favorite fixture you're looking forward to?
Liverpool's trip to the Emirates on November 2nd. This summer's created some real bad blood between the two sides, and it'll be the Reds first chance to get one over on their rivals for the Champions League. (Matt)
September 1st and March 15th against United. No explanation needed. (loyal2reds)
A good few. Obviously Manure and the blue half on both occasions, I've hated Moyes and Martinez even before they'd joined their respective clubs, and Man U look laughable, so there's a chance we can do one over on them at least once this year. Also, I'm quite looking forward to Craig Bellamy's return to Mecca on the 21st of December with Cardiff. I've always respected Bellars and it'll be interesting to see what kind of reception he'll get. (JAceKopite16)
The club not playing in the Europa League is...
Great, but it was nice to get some of the young kids some experience last year. (Adam)
Probably a good thing, but I'll actually miss it -- just less games to watch! And the experience was good for youngsters/fringe guys. I feel like Hendo and Suso really benefitted last year. (Matt)
Meh. Our lack of European football isn't purely good because it is the result of poor results last season. That said, the squad doesn't seem deep enough to withstand a deep Europa run so I appreciate the rest this will give the players. (loyal2reds)
To be fair, I like it. There's less congestion on the fixture list and more time to focus on what really matters. The League. (JAceKopite16)
Come September, Luis Suarez is wearing what uniform?
Well, he'll belong to Liverpool. Whether all is forgiven and he wears the Liverbird upon his chest remains to be seen. (Adam)
He'll be wearing that horrible diamond pattern Warrior cooked up. Selling him to Arsenal now would greatly undermine Rodgers. A sale to Madrid isn't out of the question, but so late in the window it'd be a blow. (Matt)
He'll be wearing Liverpool red if he doesn't get himself suspended again. I'd like him to go to Madrid. (loyal2reds)
To be honest, I'm just done. If he goes, he goes, if he doesn't, well, I'm happy. I'll support him, he's a Liverpool player, but you can forgive, but you can't always forget. (JAceKopite16)
With all the turnover in management across the Premier League, is there a rival club you're scared of facing?
Not particularly. It really will be interesting to see how the teams change under new management, especially Stoke our bogey team. (Adam)
I think Man City are going to be very, very tough this year. They have the best squad on paper and Manuel Pellegrini is one of the best managers around. (Matt)
Jose Mourinho may be the only man who can handle the Chelsea hot seat, so if I had to pick a rival that I don't want to face it would be them. (loyal2reds)
I'm gonna agree with L2R here. Jose, while I love him, I hate him also. He scares the pants off me. Facing him isn't easy. (JAceKopite16)
Equally so, any rival club you can't wait to embarrass?
Man U. Giving Moyes a hiding while at United seemingly would kill two birds with one stone. (Adam)
It's a toss up between United and Everton. United are an RVP injury away from third place (so they're probably 3rd place), and Roberto Martinez is so stylistically different from the man he replaced that I wonder how well he'll do with that squad. (Matt)
Something tells me that Moyes is going to crash United this year. They've quietly had an unsettling window both in the locker room with Rooney and with not being able to bring in new players. I haven't looked too much into the reasons for this, but I find it absolutely shocking that Moyes has been unable to bring in Leighton Baines. (loyal2reds)
Old Moyesy looks out of his depth, like a certain Vulture-looking creature with a pwoper case of mispronouncing names we somehow let guide us. Hopefully that'll be used to our advantage. (JAceKopite16)
After 38 rounds, Liverpool has ___ points and is sitting in ___ position.
70 points, 5th. I'm being cautious. (Adam)
74 points, 4th place. I'm optimistic over Rodgers getting some business done over the next three weeks. (Matt)
83 points, 1st place. THIS IS THE YEAR FOLKS! WOOOOOHOOOOOOO! (loyal2reds)
Someone ^ drank a bit too much of the kool-aid (Adam)
*Points to above comment* This is what I say every year, guys. Other than that, no predictions. Irish superstition gets the best of me. (JAceKopite16)
Here is to a good year, COME ON YOU REDS!!