Well the first weekend of premier league football in 2013 and has it started as we mean to go on? In general I was going to say no. I was going to, right up until Chelsea managed to lose to QPR. Before this it seemed like a rather standard and dull premier weekend without any shocks or the 4-3s that seemed to characterise 2012. But the QPR result blew that out of the water. Would never have seen that even with Rafa in charge at Chelsea, and as a Liverpool fan I can understand. But Benitez’s insistence in rotation and leaving out Mata, Hazard and Ramires was a shocking decision, and even Ba won’t help if he makes decisions like this. As for Liverpool, absolutely how you want to go on. Another good win, yes I know Sunderland, Fulham and QPR are all poor teams, but the fact that we scored 10 goals in these games really does seem like a great improvement.
I think with Rodgers leading us into 2013 we look in very good shape. I think the job he’s done since coming in is brilliant, and his handling of a club in transition has been nothing short of genius. The way he’s nurtured the talented youngsters that have come in (Sterling, Suso, Wisdom ect) has been brilliant so as to not overwhelm them and they’ve rewarded his faith. I also think the touch of leaving Jones in the team for a couple of games after Raina was fit again was brilliant to stop him being complacent and forcing him to find his best form again. Furthermore he’s figured out what to do with an ageing Gerrard, something that I think both Hodgson and Dalglish suffered for failing to do. The Stewart Downing situation has been the icing on the cake. He’s taken a player with plenty of ability, but no confidence and given him all the confidence in the world. I mean it was only about a month ago that Downing seemed scared to take on a player, now he looks like the winger that justifies the £19 million price tag.
I think that in Shelvey and Henderson we have two enormously talented prospects, and we need to support them. They’ve been getting a lot of stick in the press and from some fans, but we do have to remember that they’re only young (20 and 22 respectively). I mean remember Lucas, he was ridiculed and abused, but now he’s one of the first names on the team sheet. Furthermore lets not forget that Gareth Bale, another Comolli find, was a joke at first. Spurs lost over 20 with him in the team and he looked out of his depth, and now he’s considered one of the best players in the world. So I think we need to give the lads time.
The signing of Daniel Sturridge seems to have completely divided people, some saying he could be a great prospect, and some saying he’s a waste of space who won’t fit in at Anfield whose too greedy. I’m in the first group as I’ve always been a fan and thought he looked good even from his time at City. I think being ‘greedy’ shows that he’s clearly a confident player and will mean he won’t be overawed by playing for Liverpool and could make an immediate impact. I also think that he’s a more versatile player than Ba, who many are saying we should’ve bought instead, as both play well through the middle, but Sturridge has also shown the ablility to play on the right of a three, something that Rodgers will like very much.
All in all a very promising first weekend of Premier league football. And as long as the shocks keep coming, although surely none will be as big as Chelsea losing to QPR, then 2013 will be a year of football just as good as 2012.