Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Post Season Team Review Part II

So, here we are, part deux of the team seasonal review. Note that this isn't a daily thing so no, tomorrow won't be the review for strikers! I need some time to gather thoughts and also busy with school work so do understand! :)

7. Harry Kewell

Missed the whole term through injury, nothing much to comment about except he finally made his appearance in the final two games of the season and made some impact.

Nice to see him back without his ugly ponytail and he looked pretty trim and fit! And if he regains his form back in his Leeds days, he can still be an extremely good player. Here's hoping....

Grade: Ungraded

8. Steven Gerrard

After scoring 20 odd goals last season, he didn't seemed to have the same scoring boots on this season and half of it, which is 11.

But yet, nobody can doubt his ability at the top level and his contributions to the team is more than just goals but also his assist and leadership on the pitch.

He is still capable of match winners and still able to drag Liverpool out if there's a need to. Although Rafa's key here is to make us less reliant on the skipper, he is certainly a special player yet is able to work to Rafa's ideology.

Being stuck out on the right win is something he doesn't like as he's mentioned in his autobiography but he did it for the good cause of the team and he still is formidable whether he's in his favourite central midfield position or even out on the flanks.

Although he didn't perform as well as last term, he still did pretty well and thoroughly deserve the reward of the new contract.

Grade: A- (Nominee for TRC's Player of the Year)

10. Luis Garcia

Only when we lost him to injury then we began to notice how important this little man is to the club.

Always frustrating yet always managed to conjure up magical moments, Little Luis has been missed since his injury, which ruled him out of the second half of the season.

Despite only 11 starts, he managed 3 goals and 4 assists, which are good returns from him. His creativity was sorely missed and his ability to play between the lines means we've lost a very intricate player.

Most notable contributions will have to be the goal he scored at White Hart Lane, which helped us defeated Tottenham while also stringing a few passes and assist for Peter Crouch against West Ham on the Kop End's 100th birthday.

Grade: B-

11. Mark Gonzalez

The winger which went through all sorts of problem before finding himself at the John Lennon airport, he certainly hasn't lit up the Premiership like was expected to.

Due to a major injury and some work permit problems, he was left at the Real Sociedad for the 05/06 season before being declared a Liverpool player.

This term, he has been one of the more disappointing component to our season as he huffed and puffed his way through while clearly intimidated by the physical side of English football.

Known as 'Speedy Gonzalez', he wasn't able to show forth his greatest asset while he wasn't able to use his powerful left foot as well as he did back in Spain. Despite all that, he still managed to score a good freekick against Fulham and also ensured Liverpool's entry into the Champions League after he scored a late winner against Maccabi Haifa after replacing Steven Gerrard.

Still needs to work on the physical side of the game while improve on his movement and technique. Afterall, it's still his first season at the club and let's not jump to conclusion and call him a flop.

Grade: C-

14. Xabi Alonso

The Spanish playmaker has had a pretty average season and might have been affected by the World Cup last summer.

We can speculate all we want but he hasn't been at his best for quite a while and him being a playmaker with only one assists to his name is pretty disappointing. In the 05/06 season, he's had 7 assists.

Despite that, his class was never in doubt and he has adapted to the English game well. In his first season, he was being bullied off the ball at times and looked physically not up to it but we're now seeing the tenacious side of Xabi.

Now, with Mascherano and Lucas challenging his central midfield spot, he has to step up and improve and we all know what he's capable of. His passing might not be at it's best at times this season but I'm sure with a good rest this summer, he'll bounce back next season.

Grade: B-

16. Jermaine Pennant

When we signed him from Birmingham for 6.7million, many doubted that he's the one we should sign and perhaps, not good enough for a club like Liverpool. But with limited resources, we pay for the quality and Rafa certainly thinks he has something to offer.

Maybe he's right after all. This lad has something to offer and has proved some of us wrong in some ways. Although earlier in his Liverpool career, he looked like a fish out of the water and didn't have the best of times but gradually, he stepped up and finished the season with reasonable results.

The goal he scored against Chelsea speaks volume about Pennant's ability and being the most expensive teenager back then when Arsene Wenger signed him from Notts County, he was meant to be special but perhaps his attitude and focus wasn't there and he went astray.

With 6 assists to his name this term, it has to be said he does offer something to the team. He can be as frustrating as Luis Garcia at times in terms of holding possession and his passing but when he has the belief in him, he is capable of great things.

Whether he'll still play an integral part in Liverpool is still unknown at the moment but he has certainly proved his doubters wrong. His first season here might not be spectacular or eye-catching but he does just enough.

Grade: B-

20. Javier Mascherano

Arrived on the very last day of the winter transfer window, the Argentinian proved to be a shrewd signing from Rafa and whether it's a permanent deal or not, nobody really knows.

But I can't imagine what if we failed to sign Javier back then. He has been terrific for us since he joined and played a major role in Liverpool's push for Europe and also did well in the league.

Being wasted at West Ham earlier this season, he somehow lost his way and was left in the cold by the Hammers. Despite not playing for 2 whole months, Rafa decides to go ahead and gamble. It paid off handsomely indeed.

Not really known for his scoring prowess, the tenacity and the maturity of the Argentinian midfielder is things that he offer, and just to name a few only. As a defensive midfielder, he breaks up numerous plays, tackled hard and is able to read the game very well.

He could probably win the best player award if it all started on January but with so many midfielders vying for a place in the squad, he knows he still has a lot to do and continue to improve as a player. (Another task for him would also be to convince Tevez on joining Liverpool!)

Grade: B+

22. Momo Sissoko

It might be a little harsh but the Malian certainly had a torrid time at Liverpool this season. He hasn't been able to stamp a place in the first eleven and his injury didn't help.

With rumours that his eyes are still not 100% recovered from the horrible injury last year, he has been in and out of the team regularly. And also with the arrival of Mascherano and then Lucas Levia this summer, his place in the team looked more threatened than ever.

As a midfield destroyer like Mascherano himself, his ability to harass attackers and making crucial intervention is still an important asset. But technically he still needs to improve a whole lot. When it comes to passing the ball, he still looked unsure and not composed enough. Often a time, he managed to tackle the ball only for him to surrender it back to the opponents.

But nobody should doubt his potential and the possibilities he bring to the team. His performance against Barcelona was probably one to savor while still in search of his first goal for the club.

Grade: C+

32. Bolo Zenden

The Dutchman arrived at Liverpool on a free transfer and was supposed to be just a squad player but as the season wore on and injury was a bit of a problem down the left, he stepped up and did it pretty well.

Honestly, I'm not a keen admirer of him as I thought he's not good enough in many areas such as technical ability or his lack of pace. But he has fit in well and Rafa has mentioned before that what Zenden offer on the pitch is not only the football but also his ability to encourage team mates, leadership and also some experience.

He too, suffered injury setbacks and just when he was supposed to hit form, he was out again and yet, he returned and repaid Rafa his faith in him. His future at Liverpool is still in doubt as Rafa will undoubtedly splash big money this summer but he has been a good team player for us this term.

Grade: C+

Alright, so here ends part 2 of the review. If there are ratings or things you would like to point out, just drop me a mail or even a comment below. Cheers.

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