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Top 5 preseason players

5. Xabi Alonso - seemed to already be in mid-season form, making fantastic passes and being an all-round menace on the pitch.

4. Dirk Kuyt - I have made no secret that I love seeing Kuyt as our striker-in-the-hole and thought he was brilliant when he got to play that role. Honestly, it looked to me as if he sort of took it easy this preseason except for maybe the last two matches. I expect great things from him this season.

3. Steven Gerrard - showed his class, especially in the last two matches. The Shanghai goal was simply brilliant.

2. Andriy Voronin - literally carried the squad in our earlier ties. Showed his toughness and unrelenting desire to make things happen on the pitch. I still don't see him starting over Kuyt nor Torres, but he'll definitely get a lot of minutes.

1. Momo Sissoko - I was completely blown away by Momo's overall performance this preseason. He showed a lot of class and leadership as well as the ability to adapt to different roles for the team. Would have loved to see him shoot more, but you can't ask for much more from him.

Honorable mentions -
Sebastian Leto - the kid is going to be a force in a couple of years. A player with his size, speed, and skill at his age is just ridiculous.

Harry Kewell - looked to return to the form of two seasons ago and showed a lot toughness

Yossi Benayoun - could have easily been fourth or fifth on the list above, his energy and determination to push the ball forward is simply dynamic

Ryan Babel - though initially disappointed in his earlier play, especially when Rafa put him on the right, by the Feyenoord match glimpses of his class surfaced

Danny Agger - What can you say about Agger? Probably our most consistent player in the preseason and by this time next year, I hope to be using his name and world-class in the same sentence. He definitely proved his versatility and ability to bring the ball up.

John Arne Riise - the two free kick goals were simply class

Emiliano Insua - like Leto, we only got to see him for a match, but he showed that he was learning and maturing fast since the EPL matches he started late last season. Was a brick wall against Shanghai and made some impressive stops.

The jury is still out -
Fernando Torres - definitely showed his physicality and I have no doubts he's tough enough to make it in the EPL. He's going to have to improve his execution under pressure though, if he's going to 'make it'.

Lucas - This is a little unfair since he only played in two matches and I'm also not sure what his role was in those matches. He made a few mistakes, but overall, looked Premiership ready

Not so great -
Jermaine Pennant - was quite good in a few matches and quite useless in others. Maybe it was because it's the preseason, but I hope he's more consistent once the season starts. In some of the matches his crosses and corners were complete rubbish.

Peter Crouch - blah, blah, blah, same old crap. Will he ever learn from his mistakes?

I didn't mean to leave anyone out as most everyone played well or well enough. Certainly Gabriel Paletta (still), Stephen Darby, and Robbie Threlfall aren't ready just yet and Carra, Hyypia, and Finnan played adequately if not just going through the motions. We did go undefeated, which was quite nice, and probably would have won the Feyenoord match had the ref not been a local. Overall, this was much more pleasant than last year's preseason when we lost our last five matches (I believe) and couldn't shoot the ball in the ocean.

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