Despite everything that has been happening, I refuse to give up and cry into my Liverpool scarf. It’s not as if the Apocalypse is going to happen anytime soon (knock on wood), and I firmly believe that the Reds will be able to rise from the ashes and recover from this…cruel case of footballing stupor they’ve been suffering from.
Meanwhile, as a wounded, bleeding fan, I am allowing myself the proverbial 15 minutes of wallowing in pain and self-pity–so I hereby present my list of players for whom I would give up my personal fortune to somehow magically join the 2010-2011 Liverpool squad:
1. Xabi Alonso (ex-Liverpool player, now plays for Real Madrid)
In all honesty, Liverpool have never, and for the near future, will not get over the departure of this Midfield Maestro. Every time I look at the evidence of how depleted and weak our current midfield is, I just want to laugh a hollow sort of laugh because crying has never been my cup of tea. In times of trouble and uncertainty, Xabi can whip up passes and create space for our attacking players with unbelievable competence. His presence of mind and on-pitch awareness is more than enough to stabilize the team when we are struggling. Next to Steven Gerrard, he is the most complete footballer Liverpool has had during this generation, and no matter what Milan Jovanovic will do, he will sadly never ever live up to his predecessor’s legacy. Come back, Xabi, I am ready to beg and grovel on behalf of all the LFC supporters.
2. Michael Owen (ex-Liverpool player, now plays for Manchester United)
Spare me the hating, the myopia and the criticism–this man is, and will always be a Liverpool legend for me. Yes, I was hurt when he left for Real Madrid, and yes, I was stunned when he signed for Manchester United, but we have to remember that in between those two deals were repeated, albeit botched negotiations to come back to Liverpool. The prospect of him linking up with Fernando Torres is an interesting one, not to mention that in reuniting with Steven Gerrard, he’ll be with one of the midfielders who can read, find and play him the ball within a 5-mile radius. Let’s face it, we badly need a Fox in the Box, and wee Mickey will play that role extremely well. Although it is highly unlikely that Man United will sell him to the Reds, it is not impossible, and agreeing to move to his boyhood club to fight for Premiership survival will be the ultimate acid test for him, so I’m keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed.
- 3. Danny Murphy (ex-Liverpool player, now plays for Fulham)
Do you see a pattern emerging here? Yes, I am extremely fond of the members of the so-called Scouse Mafia, even after their cruel and untimely demise at the hands of Rafa Benitez during 2004. My memory of Danny as a Red is that he’s always been tireless and hardworking, and of course, who can forget the screamers and match-winners he has scored throughout the years, especially against the Mancs? Heaven knows we can use someone who can blast the ball with a fury of a scorned woman nowadays.
4. Dietmar Hamann (ex-Liverpool player, now plays for Milton Keynes Dons)
Liverpool’s original Eminence Grise before the arrival of Xabi Alonso, the one fans fondly called The Kaiser. His unique mixture of German efficiency, nerves of steel and humility will remain unparalleled for a long time. Oh, and I will always bow to his foot with the broken toe that converted the first penalty kick in the 2005 Champions League Final penalty shootout. Speaking of penalties, he is your man if you want them converted without breaking a sweat.
5. John Arne Riise (ex-Liverpool player, now plays for A.S. Roma)
The left-back with the golden strike. I’ve lost count of the number of important long-range goals and screamers he has scored for LFC during his stay. Equal parts famous and infamous for his “We never give up. Cowards give up.” quote during the 2006 season–we can badly use someone with that kind of attitude right about now.
6. Sami Hyypia (ex-Liverpool player, now plays for Bayer 04 Leverkusen)
THE Rock that helped establish Liverpool FC as a Defensive Powerhouse in the mid-2000s. I can still vividly remember the seasons when we were called “The Best Defensive Club in the Premier League”. Nowadays, Sami would most probably be slapping his forehead in frustration with the quality, or complete lack, of defense in the team. Very few defenders nowadays can measure up to the dedication and work ethic of his. A true Red since childhood, he’s truly one of the wisest signings the club has made.
7. Scott Parker (ex-Newcastle United player, now plays for West ham United)
The Wildcard in my list. No, I am not on a wind-up. I’ve followed him from Charlton to Chelsea to Newcastle United and I truly believe this man is one of the most talented Midfielders in England. He is horribly underrated both by Premier League clubs and the FA. His passing and tackling skills are both on point, and when he decides to push forward, he becomes a potent goalscoring threat. Having had experienced trying times such as injuries, management changes, even relegation battles, and still managing to maintain consistency and diligence makes him a good fit for an obviously struggling Liverpool side.
I hardly think this will ever reach the attention of Roy Hodgson, let alone the new owners, but during testing times like this, it’s a refreshing change to do away with extreme negativity and meta-analyses and simply just…dream. After all, if above us there is only sky, then maybe the supporters’ dreams and wishes can make it up there for the consideration of a Higher Being.
Meanwhile, excuse me while I brush up on my prayers and novenas–Liverpool FC is going to need nothing less than divine intervention now, and you know what, sometimes that isn’t such a bad thing.