Welcome to Empirical Purple

A blog by Simon Brady to cover a surprisingly wide range of geekiness, in a combination that no-one else does quite the same way. Probably. Either that, or it'll just be Simon talking about the likes of Football (usually the Soccer variety), PC & Tabletop Gaming, WWE, Movies, Music and occasionally even my actual job of Graphic Design, depending on what I'm up to in the world.



Monday, March 21, 2011

Saviours?

A new number 7, an old number 7, and a new number 9 - these are the new men (along with a number 4 who's now playing in the right position) who are revitalising Liverpool's attempts to claw their way back into the European spots after an awful, awful start to the season.

They are, of course, Luis Suarez, Kenny Dalglish and Andy Carroll (and Raul Meireles, who definitely deserves a mention). Between them, Liverpool are starting to play better, to look like an attacking force and generally have started winning games they once would have lost.

Title ambitions, drawn from the amazing run at the end of the 08/09 season, are still not on the cards and surely won't be for a good long while. The big spending Man City, resurgent Chelsea, youth assembly line Arsenal, juggernaut Man United and 'arry's bankrolled Spurs provide more than enough competition to nudge Liverpool out of any race for the 'Top Four' - who, thanks to Liverpool being awful, are no longer the 'Big Four', at least we're still in a 'Big Six'.

Kenny was the first piece of the puzzle, getting the fans (and to a large extent, the media) onside after Roy Hodgson's fairly pointless reign where he was, unfortunately, out of his depth. Then Meireles, who is always pointed out as a Hodgson signing as we're supposed to forget Konchesky and Poulsen, found his position as an unlikely attacking midfielder, weighing in with more goals this season than he's ever scored in his life.

Finally, the last two pieces have been added in the form of decent strikers. Torres, during his time, was always Liverpool's only striker, backed up by Gerrard. Without Torres, we had to rely on the likes of Ngog or Babel, who simply aren't the right style to be a lone striker. There seemed to be no Plan B for when Torres was injured or out of form - not even Dirk Kuyt was tried at his natural position of striker and goal-poacher. Enter Suarez and Carroll, the two players who decided Torres' fee to Chelsea. You can have our talismanic-yet-uncomfortable striker, as long as we get enough to afford two strikers to replace him.

I'd say Liverpool got by far the better end of that deal - even based purely on the Sunderland match, Suarez and Carroll are far more effective than a subdued Torres and Babel. Suarez showed his quality in the World Cup, and I thought he was Uruguay's best player, bar Forlan. Carroll's goal tally in the Premiership at the beginning of this season was formidable, and his £35m price tag reflected the last-minute, panic buy, OMG we need an English striker from a club who doesn't want to sell him NOW situation at the time.

Together, starting as a partnership for the first time, they brought a glimpse of a burgeoning partnership, the classic little & large combination. Kuyt's stint as the striker produced him three goals against Manchester United, but he's now relegated back to being the hard-working wide man for these two, which in some ways is a great pity. At least we have proof that Kenny knows how to use Kuyt up front, if ever the need arises.

With Lucas maturing as a defensive midfielder with every match, Gerrard and his undeniable quality, an improving defence and generally excellent goalkeeper, the future is certainly a lot brighter than it was at the beginning of the season (which I'm not un-ignoring quite yet, but am close to it).

Now we just need a decent winger or two who can get the crosses in. Are there any promising David Beckham's from the mid to late 90s available? Didn't think so. Nevermind, eh?

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