As we approach the peak of the festive season, here are five wishes that we hope can come true for Liverpool’s worldwide community of football fans.
Philippe Coutinho’s stock may have fallen with some of the Anfield club’s fans following his summer standoff over a move to Spanish giants, Barcelona. The transfer talk hasn’t gone away but it hasn’t stopped the little magician from turning in performance after performance, culminating in his first Champions League hat-trick in last week’s final group game against Spartak Moscow. Fans could take a view for or against the transfer. There’s no doubt an influx of Spanish gold would speed up Jurgen Klopp’s squad transformation, but we’re not convinced Coutinho can be replaced, for any sum. So our 1st wish is that Liverpool’s owners stay strong in their resolve to retain the Brazilian, and we’re sure that a decision of that magnitude can pay huge dividends within the next three seasons.
This one won’t come as a surprise. The reds defence leaves a lot to desired, but we’re not convinced that any single player can provide the wished for silver bullet. What the defence needs above all is a leader and a unit around him who will listen. Take that spirit that exists in our attacking pack; the pure joy in seeing each other succeed – and introduce it within our rearguard.
From Hansen to Carragher, great Liverpool teams of the past have had leaders in defence and ultimately that’s what the Anfield club needs right now. On the plus side, the club has a lot of young talent in Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and Robertson; so if we attract the right leader, then results can be achieved quickly. Is Van Dijk the man? While there’s no doubt he’s a fine player, we’re not willing to bet our house on his turning up and being the leader that Liverpool needs. So Reds fans are going to have to cross their fingers and legs and trust that the manager will make the right decision in January, and then see it pay off. And that is very clearly our 2nd wish.
While we’ll miss his crazy little goal dance, our 3rd wish is to see Daniel Sturridge released from his Anfield misery. In truth, it’s hard to see a such a fine contributor to Liverpool’s 2014 Premier League title challenge going through such a difficult time on the pitch. But Liverpool are a different team now, and Daniel is a different player. He has lost confidence, his pace and he doesn’t possess the physical qualities that Klopp needs at the top end of the pitch. For the club and the player, we’d like to see Sturridge find and succeed at a new club.
There was huge excitement last summer when the club secured the services of RB Leipzig’s defensive midfielder, Naby Keita. And for good reason, Keita has been a giant in the Bundesliga club’s engine room over the past season and a half and it is our 4th wish that the little Guinean hits the ground running when he joins the Reds next season. We’ve all seen the impact that N’Gola Kante had on Leicester and Chelsea’s title wins over the past two seasons and Keita promises to bring similar qualities to Liverpool’s midfield. Bring it on Naby. WE. CAN’T. WAIT.
YOU’LL NEVER WALK ALONE
Our 5th wish is for Liverpool’s fans. Whether you live in Liverpool itself, or the west coast of Ireland, or as far away as Los Angeles or Sydney, let’s hope that the world’s most passionate fans can put 28 years of near misses behind them to finally see Liverpool secure the title of Premier League champions. It might not happen this season, but as every long suffering Liverpool fan knows, next season could be the one!