Pre-season is nearing its anticipated climax and with only one game remaining, it has been an interesting period and one which has bettered our knowledge of the squad as a whole. All of our friendly games so far have reminded Liverpool FC fans of the strengths and weaknesses of the current crop of players and what is potentially needed to rectify this before the window slams shut at the end of the month.
First and foremost, the one aspect that has been the most alarming factor of pre-season; the sloppiness and vulnerability of our defence. It is no secret that Liverpool have somehow managed to concede three goals in each and every one of their five friendlies so far. Conceding three goals has been no co-incidence either as it has been worryingly evident that some of our defenders just aren’t up to scratch and reinforcements are sorely needed.
Jamie Carragher and Soto Kyrgiakos, regardless of their individual abilities at the heart of the defence, are not getting any younger. Hopefully, Daniel Agger is getting fitter and gaining more endurance but there are no guarantees that Kenny Dalglish will get a full season out of the Dane. For me, Martin Skrtel has too many mistakes in his locker so a centre-back has definitely got to be brought in. I am not going to name any particular names as there has been too many linked with Liverpool already but we are in desperate need of a dominant figure to slot in at central defence, whether it be permanently or in a rotation policy.
During pre-season our midfield has looked impressive. All three new signings of Charlie Adam , Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing have stood out and all look like the type of player any supporter would like to see in their team. Downing provides Liverpool with the direct width we have been crying out for over the past decade and both Adam and Henderson look to be able to provide the creativity any team thrives on. Even some of the fringe players such as Alberto Aquilani and Joe Cole have excelled although I expect to see the midfield trimmed down before the transfer window shuts with the likes of Christian Poulsen , Aquilani and possibly Cole following Milan Jovanovic out the doors of Anfield to clear up some much needed funds. I fully expect Kenny to concentrate on defensive recruitment and feel as though all the midfield signings have been done for this particular window.
As for our forwards, during pre-season, we have only seen Carroll, gog and Kuyt used. In my honest opinion, Kuyt has been disappointing. The Dutchman has been his usual enterprising self but hasn’t offered a lot up front. If he is to be used as a third-choice striker then great, he will provide us with important goals but as a winger he is ineffective. Carroll has looked fitter with each game and we all know how much of a threat the England striker can be. Carroll also managed to grab a goal against Valerenga which will do wonders for his confidence. I still believe, if there is money available once a centre back and left back have been signed, that we need to bring in another striker, preferably to replace the frustrating David Ngog . The Frenchman scores the odd goal but is wasteful in possession and offers very little as an attacking force.
Finally, one last note regarding new goalkeeper Alexander Doni and his performances in pre-season; the Brazilian has not shown anything particularly outstanding and it looks as though Liverpool FC’s annual search for a back-up ‘keeper willing to sit on the bench and watch Pepe Reina will continue at the end of next season too.
Let’s hope the squad continues to gel and the new signings continue to impress as we finish our pre-season preparations against Valencia at Anfield on Saturday and then it’s the big kick-off. We await the arrival of Sunderland and are all looking for King Kenny and his men to start the season on a high with three points against the Black Cats.
Read more of Elliot Tunstall’s articles at Live4Liverpool