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KOPBLOG: Changing Times At Anfield

Changing Times At Anfield

Our slow start to the transfer window has certainly proved to be the calm before the storm, as the activity at the club over the past week or so has been virtually non-stop. It seems like everyday has brought something new and I find myself waking up each morning looking forward to finding out the latest twist in proceedings. These are changing times at Anfield, but changing for the better.

In term’s of our outgoing players, the departures of Craig Bellamy and Djibril Cisse were confirmed by the club yesterday (click here) and I don’t think there were too many tears shed by Reds fans at the news. There is a certain similarity between both these players. Both are blessed with great ability and great pace, but unfortunately neither of them seems to have been blessed with enough brain cells to go with it.

In the case of Cisse, I’m just glad to see that we have managed to recoup at least half the money we paid for him, instead of allowing his contract to run down on loan deals. I see Marseille have also signed up Bolo Zenden on a free transfer (click here) , poor bastards! As for Bellamy, given our financial circumstances last year, I think his £6million transfer was well worth a gamble but it hasn’t worked out. The guy certainly has talent but his attitude sucks and I think he just couldn’t handle being rotated in and out of the side. I’m tempted to say more, but he did score that goal at the Nou Camp for us, so let’s leave it at that and good luck to him at Wet Spam.

As for our incoming players, our record breaking signing of Fernando Torres has certainly made an impact and I think acts as a sign of intent from the club. However, isn’t it amazing how certain sections of the manc-obsessed/London-obsessed press have tried to use this signing as a means to turn up the pressure on Rafa.

The mancs spend £50million on two talented but untested kids and by all accounts could be about to spend another £30million on Tevez, and its heralded as great news. CSKA London have spent £500 million on players over the last three years and this has also been painted as great news for the Premiership. But Rafa Benitez signs a World Class striker for £21 million and suddenly he’s under pressure, gimme a break!

Our forward line will also have the addition of Andriy Voronin next season who completed his free transfer to us from Bayer Leverkusen on Friday (click here) . The Ukrainian strikers arrival may have been totally overshadowed by the arrival of Torres, but I think it would be wise to keep an eye on this guy. When it was confirmed back in January that he would be joining us at the end of the season, I watched him a couple of times and in playing terms he seems to be a cross Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy.

He’s very strong, has great pace, dribbling skills and works hard. However, he’s not one of those head-down forwards and has a good awareness of what’s around him, this is backed up by his stats which show he has as many assists as he does goals. Don’t let the lack of a price tag fool you, this guy is a very good player. His game seems to be tailor made for the Premiership and while some of our other signings may need some time to adapt, he could be the man to get the early headlines.

While these players have come in to bolster our first team options, Rafa has also been building for the future and has been quietly bringing in some of the brightest young talent from around Europe. There have been so many talented youngsters brought into the Academy over the summer, that it seems we are running our very own version of Kop Idol. Some of these were on display in our first pre-season game yesterday at Wrexham (click here) .

The 19yr old Austrian striker Besian Adrizaj got all the headlines for his well taken hat-trick in the first 26 minutes of our 3-2 win but everybody equitted themselves well and Pennant was particular impressive setting up all three of our goals. Of course most of these young players probably won’t make the breakthrough to the first team but if we can get ourselves into a situation where we have 1 or 2 of these players coming through to the first team squad per season, it will make the whole exercise very worthwhile, and save us a bloody fortune.

Another thing that’s changing for the better at the club and gives me great confidence for our success in the future is the stability Rafa has brought to the club. It seems that while there is a long queue of top class players desperate to join us, the players we already have are also desperate to stay .

Three years ago when the boss took over, Michael Owen went running off to Real Madrid as soon as they fluttered their eyelashes in his direction, and the future of several other members of our first team was also in doubt, but look at us now.

Things have totally changed in this area. The spine of our first team have all too willingly recently committed themselves to new long term contracts at the club, and this shouldn’t be taken lightly when you consider the problems certain other teams are having in this regard. But I think we should also take great heart from the fact that not only did Xabi Alonso sign his contract and reject the chance to move to Barca but Momo Sissoko has now also said he rejected the overtures of both Juve and Barca in order to remain at Anfield (click here) .

So although certain sections of the media may try to cast doubts about Rafa, his methods and the prospects of our success, it seems that our players have no doubts that Liverpool is the place to be for them to achieve their ambitions. The players will obviously know more about what’s going on inside the club then the press or anybody else does and if they have confidence that the club is moving in the right direction, then so should we.


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