Bellamy, Pennant, Aurelio, Gonzalez and Paletta. Unfancied players but each of them possessing undoubted talent. And for Liverpool and Benitez, they represent a bid for challenging Chelsea’s stronghold in the Premiership and another foray into Europe.
I’m not a Liverpool supporter (maybe because I like to make fun of Peter Crouch) but I admire Benitez for the way he has moulded Liverpool into a tough, fighting team. They lack the attacking flourish of Arsenal, the effectiveness of Chelsea or the magic of Manchester United (cue angry Liverpool supporters who will bash me to death for that last comment – baited indeed), but Benitez has injected a steely resolve into the side that resulted in a phenomenal season last year (Liverpool had the most points in the league in the October 2005 / May 2006 period).
Benitez has added to his squad in an effort to make it balanced and to add more width to the midfield (Gonzalez and Pennant). But back to the initial question – will these new signings deliver?
Bellamy looks the best signing of the lot, mainly because Liverpool lacked a consistent, proven goalscorer and with Liverpool’s midfield backing him he could easily score 20+ next season. How he will combine with Peter Crouch is a different story, but Crouch’s talents as a target man mean that Bellamy should get plenty of opportunity to make his mark at Anfield.
Critics have called Gonzalez, Paletta and Aurelio unproven while Pennant and Bellamy carry the tags of trouble-makers. The criticism is unwarranted as they are all good players and after two years in the Premiership we trust Liverpool’s signings a bit more than we trusted them under Houiller. It would be interesting to see how Benitez will manage Bellamy and Pennant.
Will the new signings (plus the impending deal for another striker – the Kuyt rumours are still flying) help Liverpool beat Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal for the Premiership title?
I don’t think so. Not because Chelsea have a stranglehold on the title (I dont think they can win it, let alone win it with a 9-point lead) or that Liverpool are bad, but because as much as I would like to see both Arsenal and Chelsea dissolve into relegation-fighters, both those teams have too much class and quality to be topped by Liverpool (notice that I’m not talking about United just yet).
Ok, now since this will be read by Liverpool fans almost all feedback I’ll receive will be negative, so to appease you guys here’s a link to very well-written article on the same subject by a Liverpool fan – worth a reading:
Rafa Takes Title Option (TalkLFC Forums)