It has been an exciting roller coaster year for the kops. Even though the league performance did not do us justice but overall there have been improvements.
There were 4 new major signings at the beginning of the season. Jordan Henderson, Charlie Adam, Stewart Downing and Jose Enrique. To be honest, I was not quite sure about Henderson but the rest were to me, a good buy. Winning the championship might have been a long shot but it is all about building a new team with perpetual success for the future.
We got off on the wrong foot in the league during the first third of the season collecting only 23 from a maximum of 39 points. Drawing at home to Sunderland, Norwich and Swansea, the latter being newly promoted clubs was a bit unfortunate. Except for the game against Swansea, Liverpool did quite well and the goal post was the opponents 12th man in most of the matches played while the kops up and coming star, Luis Suarez scored 7 goals in all competition so far.
In the second third of the season, Suarez had to sit out for 8 matches due to a decision by the FA punishing him over allegations of racial abuse. Also, Lucas Leiva got injured and was ruled out till the rest of the season. A major disaster. Astonishingly, Liverpool played well during their absence. They managed to beat Manchester City in the Carling Cup semifinals and arch rivals Manchester United in the FA Cup fourth round. In the league, the goal post was still the opponents 12th man and more draws at home against lower clubs was crucifying. By the end of February 2012, Luis Suarez only added 3 more goals, totalling 10 in all competitions.
It was during this period of the season when the racial abuse accusations on Suarez were at its peak, fans of every team playing against Liverpool started to jeer and shout racist chants against Suarez and the whole team. What ever their reason was, I personally think that it was just to intimidate Liverpool and make them play bad. This constant jeering might fall on deaf ears amongst the Liverpool players on the pitch but not to the sponsors and the club owners. It was a public relations disaster.
I agree to a certain extent that a company such as Standard Chartered might get affected by the negative racist claims towards a club they sponsor especially in market segments that are predominantly blacks. As any normal and sane owner would do, John Henry came over to Wembley for the Carling Cup finals and told the media that while enjoying the finals he also plans to sort out all these mess once and for all.
Two third of the season ended with a cup in the cabinet and Liverpool lying 7th in the league with a club image almost tarnished by the Evra incident.
It may not be obvious to haters and to Liverpool fans alike but I find it odd that the losing streak started immediately after John Henry's announcement that he will take care of the bad public relation mess going on before. True enough, after the win over Cardiff, Liverpool lost 8 out of the remaining 14 premier league games except for the FA Cup ties where they went all the way to the finals. I expressed my view in the kop blog section stating that the losing streak was a Liverpool diversion to steer away this bad racist connotations and most of the response were "are you mad? its just not the Liverpool way". I guess everyone is entitled to an opinion.
The last third of the season saw Liverpool throwing away more points playing at home, basically washing away the chance of a top four finish. On the cup front, Liverpool managed to reach the FA Cup finals for the first time in 6 years. Their opponent, Chelsea. The team they have beaten twice in two of the previous encounter this season, both away. A sluggish FA Cup final display during the first 60 minutes saw Liverpool defeated 1-2.
The league campaign ended with an inspiring performance by Andy Carroll and the team, disappointingly 8th in the league. Luis Suarez on the other hand was the clubs top scorer at a mere 11 goals. The top management also had a major shake up when Damien Comolli, Liverpool's Director of Football and Ian Cotton, the teams Director of Communications left the club in April and May respectively. As of today, they are also speculating on Kenny Dalglish's future as the Manager.
In a nutshell, it has been a mix season for Liverpool. For some club, winning any cup in a season is already a great achievement regardless of their league standing. But that is not the case here in Anfield. Nevertheless, I believe in the direction the club is heading and that is definitely forward.
Congratulations Manchester City for winning the EPL. Well wishes to QPR and Wigan for surviving. All the best to the three relegated clubs. It is not the end of the world. Before I forget, good luck to Chelsea in their upcoming UCL finals. It is about time you put a star on your club crest.
With or without Kenny Dalglish, next season will be the beginning of something exciting for Liverpool FC. Expectation of a better performance from players, more goals, more wins rather than draws and the deal with Warrior Sports. I sincerely hope they do well in their first ever soccer apparel venture. One thing I am pretty sure Warrior Sports understood even before they decided to sign up with the kop; when you stick with Liverpool, you'll never walk alone.