08 July 2007

Welcome back

So I picked a good week to go on vacation. Where to start…

- Right, I should start with that lovely gentleman, Liverpool’s new #9, even though it seemed fairly certain he’d sign before I left. And as I wrote earlier, I’m thrilled about this. Thrilled. Torres is strong enough, quick enough, and skilled enough to make a huge impact in the Premiership. He is still only 23, after being the captain of his club since he was 19. I believe he can play with either Kuyt or Crouch or as a lone striker, giving Rafa the ‘possibilities’ he so desires. Obviously, it’s never a given that a player will settle, especially when they’ve played abroad for their entire career, but I truly feel very good about El Nino. You wanted a world class signing? This is a world class signing.

Seriously, the only striker rumored I’d rather have seen come to Liverpool would be Eto’o, as I hinted at before, and was almost certainly a pipe dream. And yes, that includes Tevez. The news about him possibly joining Manchester United (ugh – where are they getting all this money from?) proves what I had thought. Whereas Torres says things like "The Liverpool offer arrived and I told the club to listen to that offer as that is the team I wanted to play for," Tevez seems likely to prove what I feared all along: he’s a complete mercenary. Have fun with the Mancs, and I’m curious to see how he, Rooney, and the two new boys (Anderson and Nani) actually play together.

To sum up, I fully endorse this article with quotes from former Atletico manager Raddy Antic. It’s music to my ears.

- Going in the opposite direction are Bellamy, Cisse, and Zenden, all of which always seemed likely to happen. Cisse to Marseille isn’t a surprise in the slightest, while Zenden will join Djibril in southern France, where he should do well. Bellamy going to West Ham isn’t a shock either. Once Darren Bent said no to West Ham, Bellamy was the best British striker with Premiership experience in the Hammers’ price range. When signed last summer, I had hoped Craig would prove to be a missing piece for Liverpool, and I love narky players to boot (I actually was more worried about Pennant than Bellamy, which again shows what little I know), but it was fairly obvious he didn’t work out. And Liverpool was able to sell him at a better price than was paid, which is always a plus. No matter what happened this past season, I wish him well, as long as it doesn’t come back to bite Liverpool in the rear.

- Liverpool played their first friendly of the season yesterday, with Besian Idrizaj scoring a first half hat trick and Jermaine Pennant giving the best performance of the few senior players (Finnan, Arbeloa, and Sissoko were involved as well). Obviously, it’s only a friendly, against Wrexham and in the first week of July, but I was thrilled to see Rafa’s comments challenging Bes to earn a first team spot this season. That shows how highly Benitez rates the lad, and that’s nothing but good news. Plus, now I’ve got the first taste of the 2007-08 season, and I can’t wait for the real thing. August can’t come soon enough.

There’s probably a lot more I’m missing, and I could expound on each of these topics for their own posts, but I still have far too much catching up to do. We should be back in the full groove very soon, hopefully tomorrow. Promise.

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