Football FanCast columnist Tom Jones wonders whether Aquilani can provide the spark that Liverpool have been missing this season.
Despite a 2-1 defeat against Arsenal in the Carling Cup at The Emirates Stadium last night, Liverpool far from disgraced themselves and the fans got a look at new signing Alberto Aquilani. The Italian made his first senior appearance as he came on for fifteen minutes and provided a much needed positive for the Anfield club. After beating Manchester United in the Premier League at the weekend and now Aquilani getting some first-team action, are things starting to look up for Liverpool?
Alberto Aquilani, the £20 million summer signing from Roma, made his return after an ankle injury on Wednesday and provided a further boost for Liverpool supporters. In a high-quality match full of young talent, Aquilani impressed in his short spell on the pitch and probably should even have been awarded a penalty after his overhead kick was blocked by Philippe Senderos’ arm. His passing ability in particular caught my eye, with one diagonal ball not dissimilar to the sort of passes that Xabi Alonso used to spray about for Liverpool. But can Aquilani help Liverpool to build on their victory against United and help them to recover from a sluggish start to the season?
Liverpool fans must be licking their lips at the potential combination of Aquilani and Torres. The movement of Torres must be a dream for a creative midfielder like Aquilani, and when you add Gerrard into the mix, Liverpool start to look like an exciting attacking prospect. The ‘Little Prince’ showed plenty of promise on his debut and Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez was pleased with his contribution. Benitez said in The Times “there were a lot of positives in defeat and Alberto was one of them. We need quality and he could be very important for us.” The flamboyant midfielder is unlikely to start at Craven Cottage against Fulham at the weekend, but every week Aquilani is getting closer to a first start for the club.
Liverpool fans obviously have high expectations for the Italian, and their anticipation was evident when Aquilani was given a standing ovation when he was brought on by the five thousand Liverpool supporters who made the trip to North London. He has much to prove and we will have to wait and see whether he has the playmaking abilities that Alonso offered Liverpool. But there is no doubt that Aquilani can provide a spark for Liverpool and their fans will be hoping that he can settle into English football as quickly as possible.
Alberto Aquilani may just turn out to be the tonic that Liverpool needed and his first start can’t come too soon for the club. After a long spell on the sidelines it will take the Italian time to get up to speed in the Premier League and he will soon realise that he will be given much less time on the ball than he did in Serie A. But will Aquilani be worth the wait for Liverpool fans, and from what you have seen so far, can he help propel Liverpool up the league in the coming weeks?