Glen Johnson is now in his fifth season at Anfield and has hailed this current squad as the strongest he has played with
Liverpool right-back has said that this current Liverpool squad is the best he has been part of.
Johnson joined Liverpool in summer of 2009 and has played under four managers in Rafa Benitez, Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and with current boss Brendan Rodgers.
He told liverpoolfc.com: ‘We’ve had some fantastic players in the past that have obviously moved on. But in terms of squad and starting XI, I think it’s the best since I’ve been around.’
Unfortunately for Johnson, his time at Liverpool hasn’t yielded any impressive league finishes having finished 6th in his second season Kenny Dalglish replaced Roy Hodgson halfway through the 2010/11 season – Liverpool’s highest finish since they finished 2nd in 2009.
Over those years Liverpool never really had two had top strikers at the peak of their powers like they do in Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez, nor did they have so many options in the back line.
Dirk Kuyt was often used as a more versatile player for the Reds rather than an out and out striker and when Craig Bellamy returned to the club under Kenny Dalglish he wasn’t really capable of fulfilling back-to-back games without the physical effects being markedly visible.
Defensively there is no Jamie Carragher, but Martin Skrtel’s form has improved a great deal whilst younger players coming through have either provided very good cover for the defence, with even some being afforded a move on loan. Carragher’s replacement in Kolo Toure is one that has a good deal of pedigree. Left-back has been a problem area for the past few years but there are two players who naturally look comfortable in the position and can do a solid job at the very least.
The one aspect that might be up for debate during Johnson’s time at the club is the midfield area. Javier Mascherano was part of the Liverpool side, with the Reds probably lacking that bit of bite it used to possess in that area. It certainly has a different dynamic to it than it once had but that is probably one player who has been a big loss to the squad since Johnson arrived at Anfield. There is a degree more depth to the squad as well. Liverpool have always had an XI capable of taking on the best sides, but if one or two players were injured it was concerning. Now the concern is perhaps not as great, especially if more quality players capable of improving the starting XI come into the squad in the January window.
Johnson is right, the squad does look a lot stronger than it has done, but to realise the ambitions the club has in the near future, it will need to get even stronger.
But what has the strengthening been down to? The change of ownership has helped and there seems to be a will to buy good players. But Liverpool’s right-back will be hoping the squad improves further.
image: © kong niffe