There’s an undeniable, some might say, palpable level of excitement evident amongst Liverpool fans as they await the imminent return of their captain Steven Gerrard as a regular starter for the team. Gerrard’s frequent and untimely headaches with a recurring groin injury has frustratingly meant the best part of six months out of the game.
His return to match fitness this time, however, will be not only be to a different looking squad but also to a fundamentally different Liverpool Football Club. He may have played for Dalglish alongside Suárez already this year but they’re just two of the many visible changes LFC has made recently.
The management at Liverpool have been resplendently flying the colour red across not just the UK but also across Europe and Asia over recent weeks. Their aim it seems is to catch up with the two Spanish super teams by gleaning extra revenue from overseas television rights. From England’s Premier League, behind the other big red Manchester United, Liverpool’s reds come second in global following in terms of the size of audience from international appeal.
What comes from this unquestionably bold stalking horse manoeuvre, splitting up the established television rights package, of course remains to be seen. Speculation is rife as you can imagine. The potentially monstrously lucrative move, which could forge a path others have only dared to consider, might change the goal posts permanently in the footballing world. Make no mistake, it’s no understatement. The foray by the new owners of attempting to tap into, most specifically it seems the huge LFC fan base in Asia, could have massive income implications. Alongside Liverpool Football Club, with the boost from this significant addition to their funding, a few clubs could be rocketed to the top echelon of European football; whether that means playing some Premier League games abroad or not also remains to be seen. It’s easy to see why it’s being attempted by the new LFC owners, the brave move could return Liverpool to European Cup glory once more and, on the surface, without a lengthy wait.
If that didn’t turn your head quickly enough the introduction of the new players from the generous, some say unwise, summer shopping spree has given the whole LFC squad a face lift. It’s plain for all to see. The wrinkles are no longer visible after the last of the hangers-on were shipped off to other clubs at the end of the last transfer window. There’s a distinct lack of under-performers on show this season with even those, such as Jordan Henderson who are still to achieve at their expected level, tirelessly trying to impress Dalglish and their peers. It can only be good for the club. With this extra sheen evident, and the likes of Charlie Adam and Stewart Downing now filling the gaping cracks so competently in the midfield of recent seasons, it’s hard to imagine a better time for Gerrard to return.
But the most encouraging sign of confidence coming out of Anfield, albeit galling for many fans, must be from a tranche of the fans and media discussing if there’s even room in the midfield for Gerrard any more. I personally dismiss this conjecture as utterly ridiculous. Amongst his other attributes it’s been said that at full fitness, seemingly effortlessly during every match in which he plays, the man Gerrard works both ends of the field, box to box. Let’s also not forget that the Gerrard goal scoring machine still produces the goods, which some incorrectly insist is the best measurement of success. The club will massively benefit from Gerrard’s return, and the main reason that he’s a shoe-in for a place in midfield, is the undoubted respect that he’s earned from fellow team mates affording him the ability to exercise his well-needed leadership qualities from half-way-up the pitch and not from defence or the goal.
My perspective on the new façade that’s confidently on display at Liverpool Football Club is that, from a club that could apparently have gone bust in 2010, its strength is returning in man-size steps. With Ferguson retiring from Manchester United surely in the not-too-distant future there may be a closer-matched battle of the reds to look forward to in the next two or three seasons which, with more evenly matched coffers to spend on players, I think the world of football will wholeheartedly relish.