Stay Fit, Keep Xabi, Masch: Liverpool Can Win… part 1

Gutted: n. 1) A feeling of intense desolation, akin to the feeling of having one’s insides ripped out. 2) A sweet colloquialism that should be adopted into American parlance along with the words “wanker”, “bullocksand “knackered”. Example: Ethan Armstrong will be gutted if Liverpool FC sell Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid.

Here it is: if Liverpool stay fit and don’t lose Xabi Alonso, they’ve already got the winning formula.

The recent £17m move might be the key to solving their big problem: Glen Johnson will be instrumental in helping the Reds dissect the ten-man defenses of Stoke, West Ham, Fulham, (and I presume…) Wolves, Birmingham, Burnley, etc. If Liverpool could have figured out how to get through such throngs of penalty area loiterers last season, they would have won the title with room to spare.

Also, from what I’ve seen of summertime Riera, it looks like he’ll come back with the bristling promise he displayed last fall. He looks good. He stalled last winter. But he’s allowed one first season rut. Now it’s time to get to work turning defenders and launching in balls. Get to it, Albert. I know you have it in you.

So, between Johnson and Riera (with help from Insua/Aurelio) Liverpool will have a solid wide game on both sides. Something Zenden and Pennant didn’t bring. Kuyt does a fine job turning people, but doesn’t have the speed of a winger. Sometimes he has a cross. But now, I see the Dirk making sweet interchanges with Johnson who will be charging in from backfield like Napoleon storming across a continent. I’m seriously getting excited about this. Especially Johnson.

Liverpool should go in for one more quality signing (more on this in part 2). But the most important thing is they don’t sell Xabi Alonso. Mascherano either.

At this point, I don’t think either of them will go, but I can’t muster the confidence to believe Florentino Pérez isn’t in his office, right now, watching highlights from May’s 2-6 spanking: when Barça obliterated Real at Real. He hurls the remote through the television. He stands on his desk and, à la Gary Oldman in The Professional, he screams: “Bring me everyone!!!!”

Boom. £100m. Xabi and Javier move to Madrid. (Hey… that’d be a good name for a Spanish-language bromantic comedy…)

Seriously though: please stay, amigos.

These two are the core of this team. With them controlling midfield, Steven Gerrard knows he can burst forth and tear apart defenses. The back four know they’ve got a first wave of defense (largely in Mascherano) to break up attacks before they need to worry. Stick Lucas in for either Alonso or Mascherano, and the captain won’t soar with the same confidence, the centre-backs won’t feel as covered. Mascherano’s a brick wall. Alonso’s a seer. Strength and vision. These two are the Liverpool midfield. Irreplaceable. Unless, of course, Real wants to do a straight swap, one of them for Kaká… What say you, Señor Pérez? No? It was worth a try.

Now, (assuming there’s no coup on Xabi and Javier), if every Liverpool starter can agree not to get injured all season, the Reds can absolutely win the title as they are. But who can depend on that? What happens if Stevie or Torres get laid up for a long stretch? I said if Liverpool stay fit. We can’t bet on that. The Reds need an insurance policy…

Tomorrow: Part 2…

Warning: Harry Kewell will come up in the discussion. No, it’s not what you think. But I’m giving you some advanced notice so we can all stay friends.

19 thoughts on “Stay Fit, Keep Xabi, Masch: Liverpool Can Win… part 1”

  1. At last, a well written amusing article that actually has some well thought out points. Well done sir!

  2. Completely agree with you.I don’t see any of the two leaving despite the noise.Barcelona doesn’t have the money Real have too many midfielders..
    Witty write up !Keep it coming

  3. I think this article assumes that the competition for Liverpool were at their best the previous season.

    Manchester United had a terrible start to the season and I won’t even begin to mention Chelsea.

    If Manchester United dropped that many points at the beginning of last season but Liverpool didnt drop their points towards the middle of the season then Liverpool would have probably eeked out enough points overall to pip United to the post but lets assume Manchester United didnt have such a bad first half of the seaosn. Where would Liverpools title hopes be?

    Plus not to mention its wishful thinking Mascherano and Alonso won’t leave.

    I mean Alonso is really keen on leaving Liverpool and so is Mascherano whoose wife also wants a move. Neither of them are likely to be there next season if what Mascheranos agent and Alonso are saying stay the same. Considering they would end up playing at Barcelona and Real Madrid with higher wages and a better climate it’s kind of hard to say they will magically change their minds.

    This is all pretty much wishful thinking unless Manchester United and Chelsea screw up again this year.

  4. Well it’s a mediocre article, you didn’t show how Liverpool will play and win.

    ” Glen Johnson will be instrumental in helping the Reds dissect the ten-man defenses of Stoke, West Ham, Fulham, (and I presume…) ”

    u didn’t explain how will he be instrumental.

  5. why are scousers so delusional? must be something in the trash. anyway, any benefit johnson brings against stoke, et al, will quickly be forgotten as he tends to single-handedly gift opposition goals (e.g. uzbekistan) every other game or so. most people who actually know something about football would agree that there is a better than average chance citeh will finish higher up the table, Luckily Wenger is still in charge of arsenal so ‘pool has a decent chance of making the CL.

  6. While I am taking a wait-and-see on Johnson, I totally agree that without Alonso and Masch, L’pool will be lucky to finish in the top 4. Don’t even bring up Lucas…Rafa might love him, but I haven’t seen anything out of Lucas to make me think he can step into a regular valuable role in our midfield anytime soon.

    If we keep Xabi and Masch, L’pool should be in good shape barring any major injuries…and that final qualification is huge, because we clearly aren’t deep. When Rafa fiddles around and puts out a “B” squad and we tend to lose, and often against substandard teams. We simply don’t have the depth that teams like MU or Chelski have, and have to keep our best on the pitch all season.

    My biggest concern now and going forward is the huge debt load the Reds have right now, and how much pressure the front office has got to be under to sell off some talent.

  7. Very true.

    I assume this is tomorrow, but what say you for wingers?

    Also assuming you mean a 4-4-1-1 with more of a diamond in the middle? With Masch as DM and Xabi at the top covering Stevie and Nando with beautiful passes and the occasional 35-yard goal?

  8. i agree with all your points….but i really do believe

    A)Xabi will leave for real madrid
    B)though he has looked fantastic,Riera will be second in line for LW after we sign Silva.

  9. Very good article and i can see that liverpool hae the bckbone to win it but they neeed the depth up front to accomadate for when torres is injures or just a forward o back up torres

  10. Alonso must be kept if we are to have a good shot at the title.

    Mascherano is a great player, but when a player is rated at 40 million you expect very little shortcomings, you expect a complete midfielder. In a defensive sense he is one of the best, but in terms of attack i would say he is below average.

    If the 40 million offer is true it needs to be considered, it is likely we can get a replacement that can offer 90% of what macherano does for less then 20 million.

    In the modern game every position other then center-halves needs to chip in some offence. Last season Masch had 2 assists and 0 goals in 51 games. To put that in perspective Momo Sissoko got 2 goals and 1 assist in 28 games in the same season.

  11. Interesting that you mention Kewell. 12 goals from 34 games this year is a pretty reasonable return. He was also the starting centre half in one game. If Liverpool had kept Kewell, with him share the left wing with Riera, maybe they would have won the title.

    1. I did mean Bollocks. Thank you. Funnily enough, after I was away from the computer yesterday I started trying to remember if “knackered” was spelled with a “k” or not, worried I’d be called out on that one. This is why Americans need to get these words going in the vocab. So I’ll start spelling them consistently right.

      Thanks for reading, all.

      Second half of the article should be up within the hour.

  12. Great article Ethan but just fyi it’s not “bullocks”, it is in fact “bollocks”, as in testicles.

  13. Just saw Fred the Red’s comment and your reply so sorry and ignore my ealier comment. It was utter bollocks anyway.

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