Overall, it was a disappointing year. Barely third and basically not in contention for the Premiership, embarrassing home losses in the Carling Cup and the FA Cup to Arsenal, and an anticlimactic end to the season that has just about every club talking shit about Rafa. I won't waste my time with that last part, but it's basically rubbish, our goals after defeating Chelsea in the CL semifinal was to finish third and stay healthy. Mission accomplished. All those relegation crybabies can go screw themselves, it's not our fault they went down, and honestly, where were the cries about the Fulham goal being offside? That's what I thought.
I'll get to my personal player awards in a post CL Final post, but as for now, I'll go ahead and rate how I think the boys did.
Pepe Reina A-
You can't ask much more from a keeper. He lead the league in clean sheets and was incredible against Chelsea in the CL semifinal. He made a few bad decisions throughout the year, most notably at Newcastle, but other than that he had another phenomenal season. I don't see how he wasn't keeper of the year on everyone's list, but hey, I know there are biases and ignorance out there.
Jerzy Dudek C-
I still cannot believe how unbelievably horrible he was against Arsenal in the two cup matches, but my heart goes out to him. He played really well in the match against Sheffield United, but then most likely ended his career at Liverpool with another lackluster performance at Portsmouth. Good luck to him wherever he ends up.
Daniele Padelli N/A
Poor kid, in his only start for the first team he had a team in front of him that really weren't too into the match and just went through the motions. He made a couple of nice saves and not too many mistakes for a 21-year-old making his Premiership debut. I'll layoff grading him, given the circumstances.
Daniel Agger B
Not a bad first full year for the 22-year-old. A stunning goal against West Ham and so far the most important goal of the year against Chelsea, not to mention his solid defensive efforts culminating in containing Drogba in the two most important matches of the season. When it's all said and done he's going to be one of the greatest.
Alvaro Arbeloa C
He started out with a bang, containing Messi in the Barca ties and scoring a striker-esque goal at Reading, but ever since then, especially the Man City match, he's looked completely lost out there. Some people blame him for the Cole goal at Chelsea, but I think that's a little harsh. If he doesn't return to form next year, will his £2.6m look like wasted money? Hopefully the 24-year-old will be a quick learner as his size and pace are perfect for the Premiership, though sometimes his tackling is questionable.
Fabio Aurelio C+
Talk about your bad luck, Aurelio was just coming around as a dangerous, pacey, and versatile left-footed wingback when he suffered a ruptured achilles tendon. He vastly improved throughout the season, settling around our mid-season unbeaten runs. I remember reading on a certain site about how he was an overrated transfer. Yeah, that's not garbage considering he cost us a whole £0. I hope he comes back in the same form that he left.
Jamie Carragher B+
What can you say about Carra? Another solid, consistent season, where he'll probably finally get some recognition amidst the shadow of Stevie G and bag a few club Player of the Year awards. And if his encore is anything like 2005...
Steve Finnan B+
Speaking of players who finally will receive some recognition, Finney had a great year on both sides of the field. He was arguably the best right wingback in the Premiership this year, making great crosses and playing intelligent defense.
Sami Hyypia C+
Talk about your tale of two halves of the same season, Hyypia was utterly horrid to start the season, playing forgettable defense up until the Arsenal League Cup blowout. Since then though, he's been one of the better players on the pitch for us, enough to probably garner him another year in a Liverpool kit.
John Arne Riise B-
John Arne Riise, oh, ah, I wannna knooowww oh oh, how you scored the goal. I think Riise has improved his defense through out the season, which is pretty admirable for a player who's 26-years-old and played 300 matches for his club. He also scored one of our biggest goals at Camp Nou, thanks to his best mate, Craig Bellamy. I sort of like Riise at left midfield though, but with lack of left backs due to injury, we don't have much choice.
Gabriel Paletta D+
I don't have too much to say about Paletta except he's got a lot of work to do if he wants to stay with the club. I have seen little that makes him worthy of wearing red and to make matters worse, we paid £2m for him.
Emiliano Insua N/A
One may question why I'm giving a ranking to Paletta and not Insua, well it's because Paletta is 21-years-old and played in 8 matches for the first team while Insua is 18 and played in only two matches. Plus Insua is here on loan. Insua seems to have the pace to play with the big boys, but his decision making is still awfully raw.
I'll do midfielders and forwards tomorrow. Thanks for the read.