Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hey Look I'm Talking About My Favorite Team! And Using Words Like "Gaffer" and "Pitch"

I spend a lot of time online reading about sports. Actually, I probably spent an unhealthy amount of time on-line. It would be better if I was outside, enjoying the summer weather and exploring a new city. My time would be better spent learning about the world we live in, but you know what? I like sports, and I like reading about sports. So I will.

Even with the vast amount of time I spend reading about sports, especially the teams I follow, I still miss things. For instance, one of my favorite teams acquired a relatively popular figure and I didn’t know about it until I read another article about how a legendary player recommitted to staying with that team.

He might be a little past his prime and injuries have hampered his play in recent years, but it’s still the type of move that makes a fan think of better times. Thoughts move past disappointments of seasons’ past, coaching changes and ownership problems. Instead, the possibility of competing for trophies as soon as next season brings a dreamy smile to my face.

Is Joe Cole the answer to Liverpool’s Premier League questions? Probably not, most of their struggles last season emanated from their inability to keep the ball out of their net in the dying minutes of their matches. Perhaps, Cole’s signing suggests a willingness to outscore their opponents rather than trying to keep a clean sheet.

A team that can now boast Cole, Spanish wizard Fernando Torres, undervalued Dirk Kuyt, and long-time soldier Stephen Gerrard should, on paper, be able to compete with the rest of the big boys on British soil. Of course, the biggest factor will be health of those above mentioned attacking players.

Torres, brilliant when he’s on the pitch, has been nagged by several reoccurring injuries of late. Even in the World Cup, Scousers must have groaned when he pulled up lame towards the end of Spain’s run. He expects to be fit for their opener, but the ruptured thigh muscle on top of a sports hernia and a troublesome hamstring is starting to take their effect on the talented Spaniard.

Even he admits that the Premier League is more physical than expected and he doesn’t see himself lasting much longer. One might wonder if the Cole signing is a preemptive attempt to replace Torres should he move during the transfer period this summer.

New “gaffer” Roy Hodgson has stated that he supports Torres and wants to keep him, but that might be out of his control. With rumors swirling about an eminent signing of Wayne Bridge payroll is going to have be shed. Insua has been sent to Fiorentina and Fabio Aurellio is departing Anfield as well. Jon Cryer-doppelganger Javier Mascherano may not get the chance to don the new Liverpool kit as he may on his way to joining Rafa Benitez at Inter.

One of the added benefits of the Joe Cole signing would be Gerrard reiterating his desire to stay with Merseyside. For those of you that don’t follow the EPL imagine Cal Ripken not playing for the O’s, Martin Brodeur not playing for the Devils, Kobe not a Laker, Diana Taurasi not a member of…ummm…whatever WNBA team she plays for.
He is the centerpiece of their attack, no matter who is coaching them, the key piece in setting up Torres and Kuyt for their finishing strikes. Seeing him galloping, in his knock-kneed fashion, across the green pitch in Chelsea blue would be jarring to see.

Lots of changes for the Reds this offseason following a disappointing 2009-10 campaign that saw them finish 7th in the League. Really? 7th? They barely qualified for the Europa League. I don’t even know if they televise Europa League games in the U.S. The good news is that Hodgson’s squad can only move up this year. So they’ve got that going for them I guess.

It’s going to be an interesting season at least. I’m going to assume that they will abandon the zonal marking system that Benitiz tried to force onto the squad last year. That alone should make free kicks less nerve-wracking for Liverpool fans. If it translates to less goals allowed has yet to be determined.

Hopefully, the results will be there and Liverpool will regain their status amongst the Big Four and battle for glory again. The signing of Joe Cole stemmed a wave of despairing news that seemed to be flowing from Anfield. With just the one signing a season of trepidation suddenly turns into a season of hope.

Oh yeah I like the Simon Gagne trade for the Lightning as well.

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