Bloggers of the Round Table - Liverpool Discussion Part 4

I don't know about you, the readers, but I've really been enjoying the discussion thus far.  Different views and some interesting options.  They continue now with some thoughts from Mike "The Fantasist" from Yahoo! UK.  If you're just catching on that this conversation is clearly the most in-depth discussion you'll find on the Interwebs about the Premier League this summer, here are the first three parts to convince you...Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3...

Now, on to Mike's thoughts...

Hi guys, sorry for the delay in replying.  It's clear that Liverpool need to spend this summer, but therein lie two major problems - cash, or lack of it, and the manager. With doubts remaining over both, it's not yet clear how best Liverpool can address their problems on the pitch this summer. But what is absolutely clear is that it is imperative both issues are sorted out before Liverpool can dip their toes into the transfer market. There's no real debate on whether the current ownership works for the club - it doesn't, financially or in terms of personality, and change is needed if Liverpool are to shake off their current malaise.

Rafa Benitez is another problem entirely and whether he stays or goes will shape how the club approaches their summer transfer activity.  If he stays, with the backing of any new owners, Benitez will have a great deal of work to do if he is to make up for what can only be described as some atrocious wheeling and dealing to date.  His preference will no doubt be to maintain the Spanish flavour which he has so far brought with him to Merseyside, meaning likely raids on his homeland.  But the question has to be: can Liverpool attract the likes of David Villa or David Silva? Without the draw of Champions League football, the answer has to be no. In which case, they will have to rely on Liverpool's great tradition as a European footballing giant and the promise that things can be turned around. But even with a rich Arab at the helm - and the sky high wages that go with that - prospective targets will take some convincing to move to Merseyside this summer. It's just not the same draw as it was five years ago.

At least Fernando Torres will stick around for another season if Benitez stays. And Steven Gerrard cannot leave the club, whether Benitez leaves or not, having so emphatically pledged his future to them a couple of summer's ago. Or is  it naive to hope that a footballer is capable of keeping to his word? [Neal's note, really? Do you even have to ask this question? Football players aren't to be trusted under any circumstances]

As for a technical director coming in to aid Benitez, it's certainly an interesting proposition. Clearly, Benitez needs some guidance on how best to spend the money available to him - the disastrous acquisition of Alberto Aquilani proved that - but many managers struggle to cope with an 'overseer' present and construe their involvement as meddling.  If such a role were to be created, Benitez would have to have a big say in who is brought in. A friend would be an ally, but an outsider could be perceived as a threat.

So what if Benitez leaves? It would certainly mark the end of an era, and his departure would likely herald a mass clear-out. Torres, Jose Reina, Javier Mascherano et al might well fancy their chances elsewhere if the Spanish-speaking community was broken up.  That would give carte blanche to whoever came in to immediately stamp his authority on the club, bring in whoever he likes and prove he is a wiser owl than Benitez in the transfer market. 

His first task would be to address the striking situation. Quite simply there is no strength in depth at the moment and, without Torres, no strength at all. The likes of Ryan Babel and David Ngog are not players who can turn games -the kind of players Liverpool need to turn things around.  It seems like whatever happens this summer, Liverpool cannot realistically expect to regain their membership of the top four, and next season promises to be one of consolidation rather than real progress.

And Jeremy gets the last word in…