A wild deadline day ends and the rest of Liverpool's season begins.
The comings and goings of today certainly weren't a prerequisite for the campaign to finish---if we'd been asked on Wednesday or Thursday how we'd like to see the rest of the season unfold, I don't think I'd be entirely off-base to say that the addition of any combination of a quality front man or winger or full back would have been sufficient, and with rumors of the Suarez deal escalating it seemed like we would have the addition that started to signal Liverpool's return to relevance. Kenny Dalglish had returned, Liverpool were starting to play the football we knew they were capable of, and the club was, for one of the first times all season, on the way up.
Then a whole lot of somethings happened on Friday, and my drunken ramblings on Thursday were rebutted with news of an agreement on the Suarez front, rustlings from every corner of the internet about a Fernando Torres transfer request and people's feelings getting hurt, and finally the confirmation that Liverpool's number nein! really did want to head to London.
From there I think we could describe the mood as "just a shade above Todd":
The weekend clarified nothing, really, and we were left to sit and wait for Monday to roll around with news of Liverpool's fate. Despite the lack of clarification, I think we all had a sense that things would be changing. There was no way to predict what unfolded today, but the general consensus was that plenty was in store. And for me, that's point when it felt like today just needed to pass in order for Liverpool's season to move forward.
And today did pass. That general sense of bracing for impact gave way to much different emotions, however---ones that were, for some, entirely unexpected. Of course, we did get the news we were waiting for, news which on its own would have likely been a bitter pill to swallow. Thankfully that wasn't the case, and regardless of your opinions on the amount of cash splashed around, today turned into a day that was cause for celebration, and an indication that, as Noel reminded us in the above link, Liverpool were indeed moving on.
As I mentioned, the Luis Suarez saga was more or less confirmed, and all we needed today was the official unveiling and announcement. We were greeted by much, much, more though. Charlie Adam was in a cab on his way to Anfield, Ashley Young would be sold at the right price, and Andy Carroll (with two "l"s) was set to become the record-holder for largest transfer in British football history. It all served to distract from the inevitable, but it also served to remind us that Liverpool were capable of having an influence on a stage much grander than their form earlier in the season would indicate.
At the end of the day we saw two players come and two players go (stand up, Paul Konchesky), and the amount of emotion that we've got wrapped up in it all will likely take a few days or weeks to sort through. Lord knows this coming Sunday won't help much, but it's probably not completely ridiculous to suggest that today left many feeling much better than they had expected.
The additions of Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez are ones that almost certainly make Liverpool a more well-rounded collective---even on top form neither are probably better than Fernando Torres, but with both likely working their way almost immediately into the first eleven, I think Liverpool are prepared to move forward a better squad than they were yesterday.
nate over at Oh You Beauty has summed it all up quite nicely overall, especially the finishing bit about this new Liverpool's potential:
Assuming Dalglish continues with the 4-3-3, Liverpool's best XI is probably:
Kelly Carragher Agger Johnson
Gerrard Lucas Meireles
Kuyt Carroll Suarez
That could be a frightening team. Bringing in Adam would have allowed Gerrard to be pushed forward, adding a better passer to the mix, but the above's still a tantalizing prospect. The summer's business will assuredly center on buying a winger.
Not everyone's going to agree, and plenty have suggested that Carroll's not a good fit or that Liverpool could have done better to spend their money elsewhere. Maybe they'll turn out to be right. I think it's undeniable, though, that on top of the changes made in the past month, today has done wonders to create an entirely different climate around the club. Yes, that climate's been created without a player that many of us had dreamed would be with the club for years to come. But it's been created nonetheless, and I'd hope that many of you are able to share in the excitement.
Stoke visit Anfield on Wednesday, and we'll get a chance to see what things are like for this post-apocalyptic Liverpool. Preview coming up soon enough in the day, so in the meantime, feel free to be optimistic and watch this video like it's intended to be a metaphor for Liverpool heading into uncharted territory or conquering new horizons or something: