City review, a new start and remembering Gary?

I wondered why no one had read my report on the Newcastle game and then realised that, after writing it up, I’d scheduled it to be published on 31st December 2012! A schoolboy error probably bought on by too much celebratory drink! It’s water under the bridge now but if you want to read it here’s the link.

I wonder where the club will be in a year’s time? I guess at this time you tend to look back and then forward to the future. However, no end of year review here apart from a wish for a few more goals that might make all the difference. There have been numerous missed opportunities this season because we’ve failed to make it count, mainly at home however, this weekend saw us making some ground with others around us slipping up. We are still in contention if not for the title but for a Champions League place and I still think there is more to come from us.

The Luis Suarez issue may have put a damper on things off the pitch but on it there are still grounds to be optimistic. Many will see the return of Steven Gerrard and us finally getting some goals as no coincidence however, we’ve been creating chance after chance without him it’s just that on Friday they went in! Despite this there is no doubt that Gerrard, directly or indirectly, should increase our potency however I wonder if the really measure of his return will be seen in the form of Andy Carroll from now until the end of the season? Now is the time for big man to take his chance?

Carroll scored two in the three 3-0 win against Manchester City last season and a win, at their pace this time, would be a grand start to the New Year. Hopefully we won’t feel the back lash of their last minute defeat to Sunderland on New Years Day. Perhaps we are more likely to see an out of sorts City bought on by having to play two games in forty eight hours? City boss Roberto Mancini has been pretty vocal about this steep schedule and has found an unlikely ally in Kenny

“There has to be a bit of common sense, and a game on the first and third [of January] is a bit unreasonable really….There has to be a reasonable amount of time for players to recover.”

Team wise Luis Suarez is ft to return and one wonders, given the enormity of the game, if Gerrard will start? One also wonders if Andy Carroll will continue especially given Kenny’s penchant for resting Craig Bellamy every other game, other wise I guess it will be “as you were”?

Prediction? After Friday and City’s defeat at the Stadium of Light perhaps the tide is turning or am I being overly optimistic? Nonetheless I believe we are good enough to get something from this and we are certainly a massive improvement on the team that lost at the Etihad (or whatever it was called then) early last season. I’ll take us to snatch a point.

Finally a word about Gary Ablett who died after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I remember seeing Gary play for Liverpool back in the late eighties and early nineties, Kenny gave him his debut. He was young and was in and out of the side due to form or other more experienced defenders being signed however he remained determined and wouldn’t go away! He just kept coming back and eventually took up a more regular role. One forgets that he is the only person to win the FA Cup with Liverpool (I can still picture him at the end of the 1989 final getting his medal in a ridiculous yellow LFC bobby hat!) and Everton. He came back to Anfield to coach the reserves to the title. It is particularly sad that someone can be taken so young, he was 46, and my deepest sympathy goes to his family.

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