All the latest Twitter-leaky goodness about the sudden rehabilitation of Luis Suarez's attitude stinks to high heaven. I can't even begin to process my irritation with the situation. Most of us had slowly adjusted to the fact that he wanted away, the club were being firm and he would likely go for a respectable fee in January. We were in a comfortably numb groove, calm in our feelings of indignation and rejection. Then, as Elizabeth outlined earlier, stuff happened.
You'll forgive me, but I prefer to focus on certainties -- the players that are staying and do want to be at Liverpool Football Club, the manager and staff that are, for good or bad, utterly committed to their roles. You can come at me with some eminently pragmatic talk about how the club has fallen from grace, how players have short careers and need to look after themselves and how my ideas of 'loyalty' are obsolete. You can do that, but you'd be wasting your time. I don't buy it.
This is still Liverpool Football Club. It means something to follow and play for this club; and the moment they started paying footballers multiples of my annual salary in a week, was the moment that the argument about players needing to 'look after themselves' died an agonising death. People seriously pitying players like Luis Suarez in these scenarios need to have a word with themselves. In the past if a club wanted rid, the player was finished. Now the balance of power is ludicrously weighted in the opposite direction.
No, for many jaded and ever so slightly jaundiced souls like myself, the season to come is about Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Iago Aspas. It's about Lucas Leiva, Steven Gerrard and Daniel Agger. But it's mostly about Kolo Touré -- this guy is going to be box-office, for better or for worse. I get that wonderful unhinged feel from Touré. He's clearly a player of ability, seems to still have some recovery speed and best of all, he really wants to play for Liverpool, realising it's his last throw of the dice in an important role at a big club. Still however, you can't be sure about him, but in that fun way!
New signings remain gravely significant to any genuinely hopeful tilt at Champions League qualification. Most of us like the idea of a Kyriakos Papadopoulos or a Guilherme Siqueira to bolster the defence, and earlier Conor filled us in on our audacious alleged bid for a founding member of The Black Eyed Peas, but until such wondrous possibilities become reality, I prefer to focus on what is tangible, and the blood-twisting trickery of Coutinho allied to the deft directness of Sturridge are very tangible assets indeed.
With emergent talents of real substance like Jordon Ibe, Raheem Sterling and Andre Wisdom looking like they might genuinely challenge for first-team berths, the only real area of concern is squad depth -- Rodgers must not be left reliant on players so young. In an ideal world, such talent is bled slowly into the group, not given a pivotal role. It seems likely that some variety of attacker will replace Stewart Downing before the damned window closes but Liverpool would be wise to be more active than that.
Having moved-on Jonjo Shelvey and Jay Spearing permanently, Brendan Rodgers seems convinced that the quintet of Gerrard, Lucas, Joe Allen, Luis Alberto and Jordan Henderson can adequately cover the midfield duties. This notion makes me nervous and a tad bilious. We all hope dearly that Allen plays to his potential, Alberto comes of age in red, Gerrard and Henderson continue to be consistent and Lucas recovers his once-imperious form, but for this scribbler, that is a little too much hope and not enough security. I believe the squad would be greatly enhanced by the presence of a dedicated central defensive midfielder with the mobility to cover our often errant full-backs.
José Enrique and Glen Johnson can be a delight to behold when they are on-form. The latter, having proved himself to be amongst the most consistent and talented players in the first team, began a slide in form last season that was alarming in the extreme. He must return to a high level of performance, with a newly rehabilitated Martin Kelly and Wisdom both clamouring for first-team opportunities.
Enrique has no such worries. Johnson is his only competition and this must be addressed before the start of September. Many have little faith in the Spaniard, although some are overly harsh. Capable of tremendous, patented outside-in tackles and marvellous assists one minute, the amply-biceped defender can simply 'go missing' at any moment, looking on, jaw agape, as his quarry drifts past him. Suffice it to say that Liverpool would be well advised to have an alternative to the likeable Spaniard.
With no move materialising as yet for Martin Skrtel or Sebastian Coates, Touré elevated to starter, Wisdom ready to step in and Daniel Agger reportedly rebuffing an offer from Barcelona, Rodgers may well be adequately staffed in central defence but the current fragility of that scenario has led to understandable angst amongst supporters who will lack the iconic dependability of Jamie Carragher, now that he's become Gary Neville's Sky buddy. This is why so many have gone weak-kneed at the prospect of a mad Greek hulking about in our back line, silencing all comers with his savage-toddler stare.
The new season is upon us friends. Let us embrace it with the unfettered passion of a long-awaited lover's tryst. There is so much to be joyous about, so many sources of hope, so few reasons to fixate on the uglier side of things. If you cannot be imbued with optimistic fervour at this time of the year, I pity your poor misanthropic soul. Let the hope in. It may not last long.