Agger dediactes a goal against Blackburn to the 96

Agger dediactes a goal against Blackburn to the 96

Given Daniel Agger’s track record with injuries, this piece could just as easily be titled ‘The accidental hero’. That would have been harsh, given his talent and loyalty. The ‘YNWA’ tattoo on his knuckles, and steadfast refusal to sign for Liverpool’s rivals, endeared him to the Kop, and ensured him folk hero, if not legendary, status. Liverpool have now confirmed a cut price move to Agger’s boyhood club Bronby.

Agger, signed by Rafa Benitez in 2006 for the relatively modest fee of £6 million, is one of Liverpool’s most experienced players. At 29 he still has lots to offer. However, he is also one of the clubs highest earners, meaning they are unlikely to be too keen on having him warm the bench this season. To be fair, Daniel will justifiably argue that a player of his quality deserves to be playing football on a regular basis.

Alas it is regular football that has proved depressingly illusive for the Dane. Since he joined eight years ago, Agger’s career has been hampered by injury. He has managed 232 appearances for the club, a figure that should be far higher, given his talent.

Agger’s ability to bring the ball out of defence reminded Reds, of  certain vintage, of Alan Hansen. He was also fierce in the tackle, as a certain Fernando Torres found to his cost. He also possessed a fierce shot, and his screamers against West Ham and Blackburn Rovers will live long in the memory. Then there was the pile driver against Chelsea, in the 2007 Champions League, semi-final, second leg, at Anfield. This was a goal that set Liverpool en-route to their second final in three years.

Perhaps, in years to come, he will be viewed as a legend by the majority of fans. He has certainly embraced the spirit, history and ethos of the club. He has scored important goals and made crucial tackles. However, Agger’s quietness and reluctance to step into the limelight, mean he would probably be uncomfortable with such a status. Who can remember the uncomfortable interview he gave to Claire Rourke, on the clubs channel? It was an awkward affair, and it was painfully obvious that the defender would rather be anywhere else, than in front of that camera.

It’s an endearing quality. Football is an industry filled with egos bigger than Steve Bruce’s head. However, I can’t help wondering if this reluctance to be the star is significant. When Jamie Carragher hung up his boots at the end of the 2013-14 season, the club was crying out for a domineering centre back to fill his boots. Carragher was perhaps one of the most vocal defenders in the game. He constantly harangued his team mates and wasn’t afraid to mix it up when necessary. His clash with Alvaro Arbeloa has long since entered Liverpool folk-lore.

Agger, as one of the clubs longest serving defenders, could and should have been the natural successor. He has the footballing brain to organise the back four, he could be fierce in the tackle when needed, and he had he also possessed a goal threat from set pieces and distance. However, I will always wonder whether it was an inability to be the main man at Liverpool, that prevented him from taking that step.

Agger will return to Denmark a true Bronby legend. They are getting a player of the highest calibre, with vast experience at the highest level. I, and all Liverpool fans will be hoping that he achieves the success he deserves. Good luck Daniel. You will never walk alone, but you already knew that.

 

 

Reds line up for Dortmund friendly

Reds line up for Dortmund friendly

This article by me was first published on This is Anfield website

When we I was asked who I’d most like Liverpool to get in the Champions League draw last Thursday, I could have chosen one of the Spanish giants. I could have talked of wanting to see Ronaldo, Messi or even Luis Suarez’ return to Anfield. I could even have made up some stuff about wanting to see Liverpool tested at the highest level of the competition. I could, but I won’t.

Firstly, what a wonderful place to be – choosing your opponent, from a list of Europe’s elite, is a dream come true. Scratch that, we are one of Europe’s elite this season. Take a moment to savour that.

Why Dortmund? It’s not just that they sing You’ll Never Walk Alone. Imagine a night under the floodlights. Just close your eyes and you’ll hear all four corners of the ground belting it out in full cosmopolitan glory. Soak up the German accents, mixed with the Scouse and the Irish, among others. It’s a heady brew and it would make for a magical night. That’s not it though.

Historical Romance

I’m afraid it’s romance for me. It could have been any German team to be honest. You see, when Shanks was making his dream of world domination a reality, I was discovering my first love. I first became properly aware of how special the club were, through their exploits in Europe. I was six when the Reds won their first European trophy.

They beat a team with a weird name (at least it was weird to a six year old Liverpudlian) and lifted the UEFA cup for the first time. It was team that inspired the best banner ever created. It was Borussia Monchengladbach and Joey Jones was munching them.

We met them again in ’77 and I was starting to believe we were the only two clubs in Europe. That was an unbelievable night. I wasn’t one of the supporters on the legendary trains. I watched it on the telly with my whole family, all crammed into a tiny living room.

The next day in school the playground was buzzing. The teachers knew they would get nothing out of us. One of them, in what I now consider a stroke of genius, asked us to write a story. “Imagine you are a player on the team bus coming home from the final”, she said. “Now write about how you feel.” You could hear a pin drop in that classroom, as pencils swept across pages. Unforgettable.

We went on to dominate the continent after that night, but it all got started against a German side. There was a strange feeling of symmetry for me in 2001. We had returned to the big-time after a long absence. We may have face Spanish opposition in that final, but it was in Dortmund. It would have been only be fitting, if German opposition had graced our latest come-back. Oh well we’ll have to make do with Madrid instead.

Ian Ayre

Ian Ayre

This article by me was first published on The Anfield Index website

Ian Ayre sat across from me. A vast expanse of desk separated us. Outside, the Liver Birds eavesdropped on our conversation and inside, a portrait of Shankly lecturing his troops, in a Spartan Anfield dressing room, hung on the wall. Ayre began by outlining details of his, often tortuous, negotiations with Seville for Alberto Moreno, while he nonchalantly carved another notch in the solid oak finish. It was the eighth mark he had gouged this window, but, judging by the look of grim determination in his eyes, it surely wouldn’t be the last.

This was a man on the brink of a remarkable redemption, yet you sensed that fear of failure still haunts him. This is hardly surprising, given the fall out from the summer 2012 transfer window. I hesitated to reminded Ian of our first meeting in the September that year. When I did, I found he was surprisingly philosophical, pointing out that he had used the whole experience to drive him on to bigger and better things. “You learn far more from your failures, than you ever do from your victories,” he said, as he chugged on a ‘Gurkha Black Dragon.’ The aroma filled the room and I stifled the urge to cough.

We chatted for a while about that day, two years ago, when our paths first crossed. I suspect it will live long in both our memories. I’d received a call from my editor the day before. He told me there was an opportunity to interview the then Managing Director of Liverpool Football Club. Ayre had wanted to set the record straight after a disastrous transfer window and my boss wanted his best man on the job. Of course I was flattered, but also a little apprehensive. The last thing I wanted to be was another media mouthpiece for the club. I’d seen what happened to others. We all know who they are.

I have to say the address I was given, a converted maisonette in Deysbrook, West Derby, perplexed me a little at the time. Maybe, I reasoned, he wanted to meet me at some community outreach project. The club had many of them on the go back then. I had no idea it was his home.

Summer was giving way to autumn, but the air was still filled with the buzz of flies. As I got out of my car a group of kids stopped what they were doing and watched me, as I struggled to climb over the urine-soaked couch on the front lawn. They laughed hysterically as I tripped over the rusty Lambretta, strewn across the path. It was a far cry from the Harley Davidson Ayre had once cherished. Eventually, dignity barely intact, I made it to the front door.

I composed myself and rang the bell. I’m not sure what disturbed me most: the Mazerati chime; the egg stains on the Kimono; the look of utter demoralization on his face. He beckoned me in. The Ayre’s may have lost their luxury lifestyle, but they had lost none of their graces. Ian’s wife offered me a slice of arctic roll and a cup of Mellow Birds. I politely accepted. His was truly a tale of woe and, as he relayed his troubles to me, I was aware that something wasn’t quite right. It took me a few moments to realize what it was.

Gone was his thick nasal Scouse brogue, so reminiscent of 60′s Liverpool and specifically the Beatles. It had been replaced by  the sound of plums and public schools. I struggled on, trying to ignore it, as he told me of the kicking he had received from Rodgers, following the collapse of the Dempsey deal, but I just couldn’t. I had to ask, but before I got a word out he interrupted me. “I know what you are going to say old boy,” he said. “It’s the accent isn’t it?”

I had to confess it was somewhat distracting. He explained that when he joined the club in 2007, George Gillett had felt he needed to sound more ‘Liverpoodlian.’ We both laughed as Ayre continued to explain. “George felt, and to be fair Tom agreed, that a Beatlesesque accent would appeal more to the US and Far East markets. I thought it sounded ridiculous, but I figured that if Michael Angelis ever go fed up doing ‘Thomas the Tank Engine,’ it wouldn’t be a bad gig to fall back on, especially if the Liverpool job went tits up. Now I am stuck with it, at least in public.”

This was all in the past though. The man sat before me in Chapel Street was a  far different prospect than the dejected figure I met that day in Deysbrook. This was a man flushed with success and confidence. He had dropped each of Brendan’s first choice targets (except Sanchez) into his lap, carving out multi-million pound deals with the same finesse he used to slice that jammy desert all those months ago. I asked him if all this meant that the wolves had left his door and that’s when his face darkened once again. The ghost of interviews past reared its head and fear returned to his eyes.

“You never think that,” he said. “Never allow complacency to suckle at the teat of hubris.” I wasn’t quite sure where this was going, and to be honest I felt a little bit queasy, but I sipped nervously from the Macallan ’46 he had poured me and pushed aside the mental images. He went on.  ”You’re only as good as your last deal. Yes I’m riding high now, but one bad deal and I’m right back in that rat infested hole.” There was fear in his voice now. He gestures to the corner behind me. “Why do you think I keep that monstrosity over there?”

I turned my head and instantly recognised the smell. It had plagued me since I entered the office and it had only been partially masked by the cigar smoke. Now I realised, it was coming from the couch. Ayre’s voice went up an octave, “do you really believe I would keep that piss soaked sofa, if I really believed I was home and dry.” He explained that he kept the piece of furniture to remind him that, at any moment, all his reclaimed riches could be taken from him just as they were before.

Once more I was filled with an overriding sense of pity. This was no way to live. Yet here he was permanently perched on that transfer tightrope. On one side there was fame and acclaim, on the other an abyss, and all the while in the middle there was fear and loathing. I asked if he ever felt like throwing in the towel. ‘Never,” he said. “I am a fan and this club means just as much to me as it does to any supporter.”

I nodded. “Yes, I see where you are coming from,” I said, before adding “and there’s the seven figure salary too. That must help.” Reluctantly he agreed. My time with Ian was coming to an end and I needed something to finish off the article. Ideally, I was after a transfer scoop, but a pearl of wisdom, or a message to the readers would suffice. Would there be a ninth signing? As expected he trotted out cliché’s about deals being right for the club. I was just about to switch off the recorder and bid him goodbye, when, with tears glossing his eyes, he gave me my final tag-line.

“I will deliver that ninth signing and it will be a marquee. Why? I’ll tell you why. It’s because I’m never going back to that pissy couch, or that rusty Lambretta. That’s why!”

(Disclaimer: This is not actually real. Your sanity is at risk if you believe a single word. The part about his accent is true.)

Mario Balotelli signs for Liverpool

Mario Balotelli signs for Liverpool

 

This article by me was first published on Liverpool Day Trippers Website

The potential signing of Mario Balotelli has divided opinion among Reds fans. Nobody doubts his talent. The fee seems modest by modern standards, and even the reported wage demands, reputedly £92k per week, seem about right for a player of his stature. What worries a lot of supporters is his reputation. After all we’ve just offloaded one bad-boy. The clubs’ PR department must be sweating like the pig who knows he’s dinner.

The Reds have a track record of buying, or even nurturing,  this sort of player. It’s a tradition that goes back further than you may think. Sometimes, it works spectacularly well. Ron Yeats, Ian St John, and of course Tommy Smith, could all mix it up on the field. Shankly famously said, of Smith, that he could start an arguemnent in an empty room. He was also one of Shanks’ favourite ‘sons’.

Throughout the 70′s and 80′s our squad always retained a hard case. Some of them even got up to mischief off the field. Souness, McDermott and Jimmy Case would all be thankful that players weren’t under the same scrutiny as they are today. Underlying this policy, was the idea that to win things, you needed a ruthless, or even nasty, streak. It worked a treat for Shanks and Paisley, but Souness and later Evans found to their cost, that it could be a double edged sword.

The likes of Ruddock illustrates this. Signed by Souness, Razor certainly had the tough guy image. Looking at his autobiography, you could also say, he lacked discipline off the field. It’s apparent that Souness’ successor, Roy Evans, also failed to bring him under control. You couldn’t imagine him getting away with calling Shanks “uncle Bill” on the training ground, yet he referred to Evans as “uncle Roy”.

Throughout the glory days, the hard men of the club always knew who the boss was. For too much of the 90′s it seems this wasn’t the case. Paul Ince called himself the “Guvnor” and seems to have got away with it until Houllier arrived. If the Frenchman is to be believed, on the day he assumed full control, Ince marched into his office and assured him the he had guaranteed that “the boys will do a job for you.” Gerard couldn’t have two bosses at the club, after all he’d just seen one disastrous partnership end, and Ince was gone soon after.

Even Rafa liked a player with a nasty streak. Craig Bellamy did a great job, but was moved on as soon after he started moonlighting as Riise’s caddy. Of course Kenny signed the daddy of all bad-boys. Luis always danced on the trip wire between madness and genius. He was a success at the club precisely because, when it came down to it, he knew who was boss. Under Brendan, Suarez had, arguably, the most productive season of his career. He plundered 30 goals, had numerous assists and his work rate was phenomenal. It is no coincidence that he scooped so many accolades that year. The work put in by Rodgers and Steve Peters went a long way to harnessing that genius, and keeping the mad man from the door.

It’s also worth mentioning that a certain Daniel Sturridge came with his own baggage. Many of us doubted his attitude and temperament. Again, Rodgers and Peters’ skills seem to have turned him into a class act. Liverpool will once again call on those skills, if they are to sign Mario Balotelli. If they are even half as succesful with him, as they were with Suarez and Sturridge, that £16 million will be money well spent.

- See more at: http://www.lfcdaytrippers.com/2014/08/21/why-always-us-because-we-are-liverpool/#sthash.oLS6UNii.dpuf

Michael Owen that mustache is unreal

Michael Owen that mustache is unreal

This article by me was first published on ‘The Liverpool Way’  webiste.

All of us think we’ve cornered the market on reality. Our viewpoint is true, we know what we saw, we are certain about what we heard. Seems logical, right? If you can see it, touch it, hear it, it’s real, except, it’s not really that simple. Anyone, who has gone to the pub after a game, will know that it is perfectly possible for two people to watch the same player in action, but have two different versions of ‘reality’. In one he was a world-beater, in the other abysmal.

It’s a problem that has troubled history’s scientists, philosophers and artists. Einstein said that reality was merely a persistent illusion. Neitzsche doubted the existence of facts, stating there are only interpretations. Psychologists have demonstrated, time and again, that people tend to see what they expect to be there, not necessarily what is actually there. Lennon was a bit more emphatic and came up with the title to this article.

Interestingly, the same issue has been troubling Merseyside’s football journalists. Recently, a fight, or spirited debate, depending on your version of reality, broke out on twitter, over the relative merits of print versus broadcast media. According to LFCTV’s Peter Mcdowall, when it comes to revealing the inner workings of a player’s mind, you cannot beat television interviews.

He was referring to the channels decision to air a programme, which gives Michael Owen the chance, in a one hour long show, to share his version of history, as it relates to his association with our club. Given the lack of esteem the former number ten is held in, it is an interesting programming choice.

In response to a barrage of tweets concerning the show, McDowall chose to get behind the idea with a somewhat provocative tweet. “Loads of tweets re Michael Owen, it’s where newspapers can never compare to TV, looking into someone’s eyes beats print any day of the week”, he said.

The tweet was immediately, and predictably, jumped on by the regions print journalists. Fortunately, peace, or an uneasy truce is now in place. But who is right? James Pearce waded in accusing his colleague of sweeping generalisations, and strange statements, while Dominic King talked of painting pictures with words.

Tony Barratt, who had already taken a swipe at the idea with an earlier tweet: “Liverpool doing a Michael Owen documentary. They should’ve filmed him in a half & half scarf so MUTV could buy the show”, re-entered the fray by pointing out that McDowall had made his career in radio, and was now trumpeting the value of pictures.

It’s easy to have sympathy with McDowall’s argument. After all, if you read an interview in a newspaper, you do so through the writer’s own lens. Regardless of their integrity, every writer (in fact you could say every human being) has biases. They may not even be aware of them. Equally, they may perceive emotions or intentions that simply aren’t there. The very questions they ask may be loaded with their own prejudices, and all of this is before the editor gets their hands on the piece and spins the headline their own way. The reader can’t look into the players’ eyes and tell which bits are true, and which are fabrications.

Surely with television it’s totally different. Or is it? It might be if the interview is live, but even then the interviewee may have been given a heads up regarding the questions. They have time to construct their answers, showing themselves in the best light. Who wouldn’t? The questions themselves set the agenda. They are decided by the producer, director or interviewer, not always by the viewer. Assuming they are all human, they will also have their own biases.

A Nixon tapes-style interview, complete with awkward pauses and stammers would possibly get us closer to the truth. It doesn’t necessarily make the best television though. If the interview is recorded, it will undoubtedly be edited before it is broadcast.  So, we now find ourselves in the same awkward territory as the print trade.

If television does get us closer to objective reality, it’s not by much in my opinion. Both have value. Both can inform and entertain.  I agree with Tony Barrett in this respect.

I haven’t got round to it yet, but I will try to watch the interview with an open mind, but it is inevitable that my own bias’ will get in the way. After all, Michael Owen was always more concerned with, well, Michael Owen than with anything else, wasn’t he? This interview is nothing more than a cynical charm offensive.

He let Rafa down twice. First, he left for Madrid, leaving the club with a pittance. He did it again by snubbing us for Newcastle. Then, he betrayed us all by choosing to join the enemy, instead of joining Stoke City, like a good boy. Sadly, he probably doesn’t stand a chance of changing my view of him.

That’s my reality. What’s yours?

Optimist or Pessimist? You should get your education from the Kop

Optimist or Pessimist? You should get your education from the Kop

As the new season approaches, I, along with many Reds, look for signs or hints as to how the forthcoming season may pan out. Pre-season usually arrives like a junkie’s fix for me. After the cold turkey of late May and June those friendlies are a clear sign that, once again, life has meaning. Football is back. Of course this summer we lost a talisman, so the issue of whether we could crush teams without him was at the forefront of my mind. Earlier games had offered little comfort and the United game in Miami, regardless of the ‘it’s only preseason’ mantra I subscribe to, left me feeling a bit strung out.

Last Sunday though I saw some of the signs I was looking for. Liverpool demolished a, admittedly under-strength, Borussia Dortmund side at Anfield. It was our last pre-season game before the real battle commences and at times the football was sumptuous. In fact, it was so pleasing on the eye that it prompted one fan to tell the excellent ‘Redmen TV’ that “we are going to win the treble.” Unsurprisingly, he got a bit of an online kicking for this.

Football forums and social media are just virtual school playgrounds at times. They are full of point scoring and hilarious banter, mixed with a sprinkling of humiliation and abuse. Step out of line once, or appear different in any way, and you’re done. On Sunday, this lad was a bit like that kid who turned up for P.E. in September wearing Adidas four-stripe. It did not go well.

A lot of the stick that came his way was entirely predictable. He had given the enemy an opportunity to trot out the old “this time it’s going to be their year” line. So what! I expect no less from rival fans.  These are, after all, the same fans who routinely fall back on outdated stereotypes cooked up in the eighties, in order to mock us. They say we live in the past. I couldn’t care less what opposing fans say about us. In fact their abuse only makes our success that bit sweeter when it arrives.

To be honest, I was more disappointed in the reaction to his comments from some of our own. As far as I could tell, people were worried that he had handed ammunition to United, Chelsea, or Arsenal fans. Do people seriously believe that, had he presented a sober assessment of our chances of success, based on a detailed analysis of the relative strength of premier league squads, our enemies would have left us alone? Of course not. In the playground your rivals will always find some weakness to exploit. It’s just a question of when and how often. You’re far better just being yourself and letting the chips or the quips fall where they may.

Don’t get me wrong. I wouldn’t want the manager or the captain to come out with such bold claims on the eve of the premier league campaign. That would place a huge amount of pressure on them and the rest of the team. As Brendan said last year, it’s great for the fans to dream, but we’ll  stay humble. It is different for the supporters. We have a crucial job to perform and that is to make every player in a red shirt feel ten feet tall. When they know we believe in them they don’t hurry their passes or rush their shots. In short, they perform better. You could say it’s our sacred duty to be optimistic. To support and believe, as a famous banner proclaims.

Winning the treble this season may be unlikely, a pipe dream or even delusional, but no matter how improbable, it’s not impossible. This time last year I went into the season firmly believing in the doctrine that you can’t go from 7th to 1st in one season. Well, alright that’s a bad example because we didn’t, but we came damn close. At half time in Istanbul you’d have been placed in a padded room if you dared suggest the miracle that actually happened that night.

For me, this is the one time in a season where I believe blind optimism is essential. I couldn’t bear going into a new campaign without feeling that this is finally going to be our year. I always have. I don’t shout it from the rooftops or post it online (until now), but sod it; my name is Jeff Goulding and I am an optimist. I am a Liverpool fan, brought up on a steady diet of success and trophies. I refuse to surrender to pessimism.

In fact, I have often managed my expectancy in the face of far more inferior squads than the one we have now. Yes, I have had that dewy-eyed idealism beaten out of me on more than one occasion. I remember it disappearing around November quite a few times. You know what, I survived and life went on.

Anyway, this year is different, honest. Look what we achieved last time out with a much smaller group. We have strengthened. The players have new belief. The likes of Sterling, Coutinho, Henderson and Ibe will all grow this season. I’m genuinely excited. You may say I’m a dreamer, but that lad on ‘Redmen TV’ proves that I’m not the only one.

Sit on the Kop on a European night and you’ll see that banner exhorting you to ‘Support and Believe.” Last year there was one that said ‘Make Us Dream’. Brendan, Stevie and the lads have done their bit and, well,  now I’m dreaming. If you’re not, then why not? You may not like it when fans get carried away after a great victory, but, when all is said and done, they get their education from the Kop.

This article by me was also published on http://www.thisisanfield.com

Is Agger set to join Pepe on his way out of the club?

Is Agger set to join Pepe on his way out of the club?

The reds have been prolific in the summer transfer window and the recruitment drive appears set to continue. If reports are correct and a certain South American football expert from the BBC is to be believed, the final pieces of the puzzle could also be in place in the coming weeks. It was always going to be this way. The squad was painfully thin last season. With Champions League football on the horizon, a serious foray into the market was essential.

As firm disciples of FFP, the Reds American owners were always going to try to live within their means. This meant that along with the sunshine there was always going to be a little rain sometime. The loss of Suarez may not have been anticipated by all fans, but it appears the club may have known it was on the cards for quite a while. When you think back to Stevie’s “we should enjoy him while we’ve got him” comments, you do wonder. I am not suggesting that the club wanted to sell him and I am sure they tried hard to persuade him to stay,but, the £75 million received, coupled with record TV receipts, will have eased the pressure to sell players before bring in new ones.

This seems  borne out by the clubs activity to date. Luis remains the only high profile departure since the window opened, while a total of seven players have been photographed leaning against stuff at Melwood. The club have spent £89 million with a string of fringe players released or leaving on loan. The gross spend is set to top £100 million with the anticipated arrival of Moreno. Therefore, if we are going to continue improving the squad with quality, high earning, players we will need to experience a bit more of that rain.

One down more to go?

One down more to go?

The first casualty of this process is Pepe Reina. I share the pain of many fans, who are left with a bad taste in the mouth after the popular keeper left for Germany. It doesn’t matter that he spent last season on loan at Napoli; for me his leaving marks the end of an era. As a mainstay of the Benitez Spanish revolution, Pepe deserved a better ending to his Anfield career. His goodbye note was, at least this time, dripping with class and dignity. Having said all of that, Liverpool simply couldn’t have a player earning £110,000 per week sitting on the bench, or rotting in the reserves.

Sadly, it’s probably not over yet. Reina leaving will seem like a summer shower compared to the downpour that’s likely to greet the departure of Daniel Agger. Dagger was at times brilliant, brutal (just ask Fernando Torres) and ultimately brittle. In my opinion his injury record blighted what could have been an exceptional career at Liverpool. If he goes I will be able to understand the decision. It will be in the best interests of both the club and the player. However, the romantic in me will feel pangs of regret at his leaving, regardless of the fee we receive.

Agger joined that growing band of of foreign nationals who came to Anfield and fell in love with the club, the city and its people. My abiding memory of him will be him scoring a goal against Blackburn in a game played close to a Hillsborough anniversary. I remember him striding towards us in the Kop, fist clenched, his face etched with pride and full of emotion. His other hand was touching his black armband, signalling to each and every one of us that that goal was for the 96.

Daniel Agger is no phony. He is uncomfortable in front of the cameras. You sense he thinks hard before he speaks and when he does he means every word. His YNWA tattoo is not the only thing to bond him to the supporters. All of us will hope that reports of training ground tears are not true. If they are it will only convince us of his passion for the club. If Danny leaves he can hold his head high and he should go with the best wishes of everyone at the club.

While the departures of Reina and Agger are likely to unite reds in sadness, the reaction of supporters to the rumoured departures of Lucas and Borini are likely to generate a mixed response. Lucas has been a loyal servant of the club for many years now. He has come through a lot to ultimately earn the respect of the Kop and those who have managed him. With the addition of Can in the middle and the ability of Gerrard to act as that shield in front of the back four, Lucas seems surplus to requirements. I feel his experience can still serve the club in a fixture laden season, but surely any decent bid for the Brazilian will be accepted. Napoli are reportedly interested and another goodbye looks likely.

On their way out?

On their way out?

Then we come to Borini. He is undoubtedly a talented player. Rodgers knows him well and persuaded John Henry to part with £11 million for his talents. Borini had two big problem at Anfield. They were Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge. This meant that, even if he was able to stay injury free, he was never going to get the run of games he needed. It now seems inevitable that Liverpool will receive an unlikely profit for the player as Sunderland rush to spend their TV millions. For me, Fabio Borini’s Liverpool career is one of unfulfilled promise. There have been glimpses of class and it is to be hoped that he doesn’t come back to haunt us next season.

The clear-out may not end there either. It remains to be seen if Seb Coates has performed a miracle and convinced Brendan to hold on to him. Then there’s the Johnson enigma. There will be few tears shed if Glen leaves. Last season was poor. He was carrying injuries for the most part but, again, any decent offer will surely see him depart. West Ham or QPR could offer him a way out, but his wages are sure to be an issue. My money would be on him seeing out his last 12 months and leaving for free next summer.

There is a real sense of a revolution taking shape this summer. The old guard are being moved out along with those who have failed to fulfill their potential. Decisions over who we sell are as critical as who we buy. The riches on offer for a top four finish this season are staggering. Liverpool cannot afford to be out in the cold. 

This article by me was also published on http://www.live4liverpool.com