Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Examing the Alonso Sale

With the season just four days away fans should be excited for what is coming up, not looking back and questioning the manager. It seems as if the sale of Alonso has polarized the fan base more than it already is. This blogger sees both side of the argument, and that is what I am trying to lay out in this post.

Xabi's qualities are unmatched in the Premiership, and in many a pundits opinion, Europe. It is no wonder Real Madrid tested Rafa's resolve all summer and finally broke down and paid up. They see Xabi in the same light that many of us see him. He was the calming influence that our midfield often needed last season. He has this uncanny ability to switch the field with a cheeky ball that many try to pull off and ultimately fail.

So what now?

I think it would be prudent to examine both sides of the argument currently being written about on the many LFC forums and even in the papers. Lets start with the negatives.

First off, I don't think we have an adequate replacement for Alonso currently in the side. It remains to be seen what the new boy Aquiliani brings to the side, but an Alonso he is not. Alonso didn't score as much as I liked, but his bag of tricks played a large part in us scoring the most goals in the league last year.

Alonso was also the perfect foil to Mascherano. While Mascherano's industry broke up opposing attacks, Alonso's passing ability spurned our attack on. Being able to put his foot on the ball and calm play down, is something I think Liverpool may miss this season. His overall distribution will be hard to replicate and it remains to be seen how our midfield will work without him.

Why so negative Jeff? How about some positives!!

In all honesty, I had to think long and hard before coming to my overall opinion. I have debated this with many friends and each has provided some great insight. I will miss Xabi and his cool demeaner and vast array of passes, but it is time to move on. It is clear he wanted to move on, and I don't want a player in the team if he doesn't want to play for the shirt.

Looking at the team, there is a good chance that we could be even better without him. Ian made a point that his long balls and daft passes are no good against teams who will play 10 men behind the ball and ultimately pack defense. This, in my opinion, is too true. If Aquiliani is the player he seems to be, it will bring another dynamic to our attack that Alonso could never bring. His quick one-two short and midrange type passes will hopefully provide the missing link against a vast majority of the Premier League.

If there is one thing that I am hoping to see from this move is more goals from our midfield. The problem is, I am not sure we have signed the player to do this. His injury record seems more distinguished than his goal scoring record, and he's never scored more than 5 goals in a season. I must say, I don't expect him to come in and score 15-20 goals a season because he doesn't have to. We have Gerrard, Torres and Kuyt to do that.

So what is my final opinion?

I trust Rafa and his judgement. Alonso wanted to go, and Rafa made the best of the situation. We got top dollar for Xabi and brought in a replacement that has the chance to make a big difference. It is just a chance though, there is no guarantee that Aquiliani can come off his ankle surgery and make a difference.


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