Other than at Boyzone concerts, in training and on the sidelines, we've yet to see much of Andy Carroll or how he'll fit into the side.
Supporters shouldn't worry. From what we've seen from Carroll this season at Newcastle, and what Luis Suarez has already offered for Liverpool, there's no denying that the duo look like a match made in heaven.
See what Liverpool supporters have to say about the recent developments at Anfield and what questions they have about the club going forward.
1. The future of Anfield seems to be biggest question going forward, but as a definitive answer is probably a while off, I will keep my question to the play on the pitch. Liverpool has been linked to a lot of players for the upcoming summer transfer window, but is there any indication of how much money Henry and co. intend to make available and how they intend to use it. E.g., are they going after depth and maybe one big player or is it just a couple big players/young depth for the future?
–Tom Hoppe, Fresno, Ca.
John Henry has been pretty clear in his plan for the club since FSG's purchase: He wants to build with talented young players. His strategy has a time-frame of 3-5 years. He will be fiscally responsible, and — most importantly — he intends to win trophies and build a club that reaches the apex of European football.
In January, FSG spent effectively nothing while improving the squad — it surely has been better without Fernando Torres — and bringing in two young players with great potential. Still, neither of those players, Luis Suarez or Andy Carroll, came cheaply. Accordingly, it's clear that while the transfer strategy will emphasize youth and value, that won't mean that the players being bought won't be world class or among the most sought after in the transfer window. In fact, before the Torres saga, Suarez was perhaps the biggest name floating around on the transfer market, and Liverpool went out and got him.
In the summer, it wouldn't be surprising to see a number of outgoing players, meaning that the club will again have extra money to spend on incoming players. The squad has broad needs — as many as three wide players wouldn't hurt, and neither would a left back, center back and additional striker — so it wouldn't seem sensible to spend a huge sum on one player like the £25 million or more it would likely take to secure Fabio Coentrao or Eden Hazard. Still, I expect Liverpool to bring in exciting, young, world-class talent — certainly names that you're familiar with — and I expect them to invest in the squad, spending more than they sell.
2. There are many questions I would like to ask, but I will restrict it to just the one you'll be glad to hear. As I am sure you are aware our club, Liverpool Football CLub, is one of the most fabled clubs in world football. Its rich heritage and tradition ensure that it rightly, sometimes begrudgingly, commands respect from the entire footballing and sports community. One of the most unique aspects of our great club is the reverence in which the clubs supporters hold their managers. Liverpool, unlike most if not all clubs, chant their managers name from the terraces. They celebrate their managers like they celebrate their centre-forwards. Sir Alex Ferguson, despite his many successes, has yet to hear the Old Trafford faithful conjure up a chant for him yet. As NESV have said they will respect the traditions of this great club do you see the position of the manager being diluted in any way with the addition of a Director Of Football Strategy? At every football club there must be a hierarchy with the manager at the top of that hierarchy. He should be responsible for the delegation of any footballing roles within the club as he sees fit. If, like all Liverpool supporters wish, Kenny Dalglish is appointed on a permanent basis at the en of the season will he be given the freedom to perform the duties of his role as he sees fit without interference from directors who don't work with the players on a daily basis? The great Bill Shankly once spoke of a 'Holy Trinity' at football clubs, consisting of the players, the manager and the fans. Directors are just there to sign the cheques. Will NESV, should they appoint Dalglish permanently, possess the confidence in him, his experience and competence to allow him to work uninhibited?
Liverpool management has been clear that Dalglish has final say in any transfer decision — no players will be brought in without his approval — and that will continue to be the case as long as he is manager, which looks to be a longer tenure than just this season.
In truth, though, decision-making in football is a far greater endeavor now than it has been for the vast majority of Liverpool's history. Not only does it require a huge wealth of financial know-how, as any modern business does, but it also requires so much manpower as to require an entire department beyond the manager. Damien Comolli has flown all over Europe and beyond to engage in negotiations and to scout players, activities that would have taken Dalglish away from his coaching duties.
Having Comolli and his department at Anfield is in no way a declaration of any lack of confidence in Dalglish. It's simply what makes sense in the year 2011.
Stateside, FSG management has done very well with Theo Epstein as the general manager of the Red Sox, and Epstein and Red Sox manager Terry Francona have maintained a great relationship that has resulted in excellent personnel decisions in the process. There's no reason to believe that the same won't be the case at Anfield.
3. As an American Liverpool fan the news of NESV's takeover of my beloved club was fantastic news and I immediately began dreaming of taking a trip up to Boston on a beautiful a summer evening and watching LFC play in amazing Fenway Park. As a college student I don't have the cash for a flight to Liverpool readily available and as stadiums come, nothing gets better than Anfield and Fenway.
So my question to NESV and FSG:
Will Liverpool come to the USA? (PLEASE!!!!)
–Daniel, The Bronx (via Seattle)
There's nothing set in stone yet, but it looks like we're going to be able to hook you up, Daniel. Red Sox CEO Larry Luccino recently said that he'd like to see Liverpool play a friendly at Fenway by "next summer."
Porto and Celtic played at Fenway in 2010, so there's surely precedent for it, and it makes too much sense to not happen eventually. Red Sox fans in Liverpool getting to watch their team live may not be out of the question either.
4. What do you suppose is going to be of Aquilani, will he return or be sold to Juve? Is he a better optn than Adam? Aquilani did have good performances last season and this season in Italy. Waste of money to sell him at a loss don't you think?
The Aquilani situation is an unfortunate one, but it's hard to see him having a future at Anfield. There's no denying that it'd be a waste of money to sell him for significantly less than he was purchased for, but it would also be a waste of money to pay £85,000 a week for a player who doesn't want to be there. We saw that pretty clearly with Torres. The Torres saga also made clear that FSG doesn't want to keep toxic players around, and the sale of Ryan Babel proved that the club was willing to sell players for a loss if it just didn't work out.
Aquilani may not be worth the £20 million spent on him, but his performances for Juventus — and even with Liverpool somewhat last year — have shown that he's at least worth a good portion of that. In fact, if Juve doesn't meet Liverpool's £11 million buyout price, then Aquilani will have done quite a good job of putting himself in the shop window to be sold to another club.
One thing is for certain. He won't be staying in Turin for £5 million.
5. I would like to ask you if you think Carroll and Suarez can play together. Thank you.
Why wouldn't they be able to? It's the perfect big man-little man striking tandem, and each player does a great job of making their teammates better. We've already seen Suarez's incredible work-rate, willingness to play in wide positions and creativity, and having a target like Carroll to get the ball to will only magnify all of those qualities.
To judge what Carroll does for his teammates, you need only to look at what Kevin Nolan did for Newcastle these past two seasons. After failing to be a prolific scorer for his entire career, Nolan notched 17 goals in 2009-10 for Newcastle, as Carroll emerged in the side. This season, Nolan has already scored 10 — eight of which came with Carroll also on the pitch — and Kevin Nolan is no Luis Suarez.
Simply put, there is no quality that you'd look for in a forward that one of the two doesn't possess. The duo will be quite prolific.
6.Hi. Do you think FSG will build new stadium at Stanley park?
–Anuj, Ludiana, India
Many took Henry's recent praise for the unique, beautiful atmosphere at Anfield to be a declaration that ownership would redevelop, rather than build the new ground at Stanley Park, and while that may be jumping to a conclusion hastily, the public momentum does seem to be heading that direction as well.
The biggest obstacles involved in the redevelopment of Anfield seem to be the physical restraints of Anfield Road and houses near the Main Stand, as well as the opposition of the City Council.
"I would discourage them [NESV] from redeveloping Anfield and would encourage them to stick to the commitment that is already in place because I think that is the best solution for everyone – for the club and the city," councillor Joe Anderson told the Guardian this past October, as FSG was completing the purchase of the club.
Still, these obstacles aren't insurmountable. Many of those nearby houses have already been purchased by the club, and the area near Anfield Road has already been made suitable for development as part of the Stanley Park plan, per This is Anfield. Another unconventional expansion possibility would be to build over Anfield Road, much like Atletico Madrid's Vicente Calderon Stadium.
As for the City Council, much of its rationale for favoring the Stanley Park option over the redevelopment option stems from its goal of economically revitalizing the neighborhood and the city as a whole, as well as creating jobs with a plaza at the ground. If FSG could come up with a redevelopment plan that achieved those goals as well as the Stanley Park ground could, then it'd be hard for the Council to justify opposition.
The Stanley Park stadium would likely be bigger than an expanded Anfield, but not drastically so, and there's no reason why a redeveloped Anfield, complete with corporate accommodations, couldn't generate a great amount of revenue while costing much less. The reality has been that building a new stadium has yet to be economically viable for a reason, and though FSG absolutely isn't Hicks and Gillette, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is suddenly a much more profitable endeavor.
Henry's recent remarks, however, do touch on what may be among the most salient arguments in the stadium debate. Why move away from a stadium that has meant so much to the city and the club for so long?
Here's a visualization of a potential redevelopment plan, per Empire of the Kop.