14.8.03

Let the games begin !

Finally, after three months of watching absolutely, it’s time to get back for some real ACTION as the premiership season kicks off this weekend. Loads of action, everyone’s already talking about who is going to be lifting that trophy high come May 15th 2004.

I always look at the fixtures on the last day to determine any potential championship deciding matches on that day. Will the champion be crowned at Anfield, where Liverpool will be taking on Newcastle? Or will Man. Utd. lift the trophy again (GOD FORBID) at Villa Park? Will Arsenal be declared Champions at Highbury after their match with Leicester? We can only wait and see…………..

If spending was a barometer for success, then Chelsea would have won the title by now. The Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich has made the headlines and has fans in West London rubbing their hands in anticipation of a great season ahead. 7 new signings and I have to admit, 7 proven, top quality players, and he says he’s not finished yet with press reports this morning claiming they’re chasing after Real Madrid’s Makelele. According to the Premiership spending table, Chelsea comes first after squandering ₤74.4 million, Manchester United a very distant second after running through about ₤24.04 million, then Tottenham with ₤11.25 million and then Liverpool with ₤8.25 million. Notably, Newcastle hasn’t spent a dime, with the only signing being Lee Bowyer and he came for free!! Bookies have however installed Ranieri of Chelsea as favorite in race to be the first manager to lose his job alongside Hoodle of Tottenham. Why? Because with huge investment comes HUGE pressure, just ask anyone who’s handled Real Madrid or Barcelona. Check all the latest transfer news here.

Anyway, I’m a Liverpool supporter, and I hope we get things right this time around. The signings of Steve Finnan and Harry Kewell may have made all the headlines, but any keen Liverpool fan would know that two other signings are silently making their mark. French teenagers Anthony Le Tallec and Florent-Sinama Pongolle have just joined the club, but had signed for Liverpool an entire season ago. They have both been outstanding in pre-season, especially Le Tallec. Gerard Houllier previously told them that he expected them to spend at least a season playing in the reserves to enable them to get to grips with English football, but with their pre-season form, he has since backpedaled on that statement, saying he might play Le Tallec in the first team sooner than anticipated. The loan of Neil Mellor, another excellent striking prospect to West Ham confirms that the Frenchman is thinking in this direction. This gives Liverpool a wealth of talent in front of goal, Owen, Heskey, Baros, Diouf, Le Tallec, Kewell and Pongolle could all play in front and do well. Kewell however looks to be played in midfield in order to create more chances for the front men, as the wide player Liverpool fans have been crying out for. With Stevie Gerrard, Dietmar Hamman, Danny Murphy and the rejuvenated Vladimir Smicer, we have a midfield capable of outplaying most teams. The rock-solid defensive pairing of 'Captain Fantastic' Sami Hyypia and Stephan ‘handball’ Henchoz is ideal, but Djimi Traore has shown that he has some class when playing in the centre-back position. Jamie Carragher has to slug it out with Steve Finnan now to get some playing time, and I love John Arne-Riise when he plays on the left, at just 22 years old, he can only get better. COME ON LIVERPOOL, YOU CAN ACTUALLY WIN THIS!!!!!! We’ve got the class, the youth, the experience, all rolled up into one. And if we fail once more, our squad is still very young, and they are learning everyday.

I had been anticipating the first match of the season since the fixtures were announced, hoping we could revenge our defeat at the hands of Chelsea on the last day of last season. However, recent weeks have seen Abramovich take over, and Chelsea spending millions. But I think we’ll still beat them, their team has to ‘gel’ and after watching their Champions League qualifier last night, I can confidently conclude that they haven’t done that yet. Even then, I don’t see them as being too much of a threat to our title challenge, they will almost definitely qualify for Europe, but I hope to be looking down at them in the league table come the end of the season!!!!!!!!!!

Other youngsters who seem set to shine this season are listed here.

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