Ever want something to happen just so you can see the world burn? When it comes to Liverpool FC, many people line up to see the once formidable club falter and stumble. Signing Andy Carroll for a price hard to repeat was a huge error and quickly derided by the average EPL fan. Suarez’ bite and nibble was (justifiably) attacked, mocked, and derided as normal scouse behavior — but things have changed for the better recently.
Two years ago, the board saw fit to appoint Brendan Rogers as head coach and he began the slow process of re-establishing LFC as a top flight team, turning Anfield into a fortress once again. After pulling a seventh place finish year one, Rogers shocked the EPL universe with a second place finish in year two, a qualification for Champion’s League competition, and a vastly expanded budget to add much needed depth to the team in the off season.
This 2014 summer transfer window has been nothing but rapid fire rumor coupled with tangible activity. It included multiple high profile signings, and most importantly, the sale of Luis Suarez to Barca. Few could argue the talent brought aboard, the standard quibble being the price paid for Lovren, Lallana, and Moreno. But the biggest stir was left for very late in the transfer window as Liverpool signed Mario Balotelli — and the football universe shook with trepidation and awe.
Mario Balotelli has a long history of problems, anger, and disrespect. To claim he is a wild card just doesn’t get it done. However, mixed with those volatile characteristics is some incredible talent. Watch any YouTube compilation video on Balotelli and you’ll see a deft touch, creative genius, and knack for finding the back of the net with grace. When he signed with Liverpool for a cut-rate price, everyone (and I mean everyone) took notice. But what will that mean to the Liverpool faithful?
Without such a unique signing, the club would probably have struggled to nail a top-4 position, and claiming any meaningful silverware would be unlikely but *with* Balotelli, the expectations changed quickly. Should Mario Balotelli settle into the club, find his form, and remain determined to impact games, he could be the missing ingredient that propels LFC from a maybe result to something more significant. Opposing teams are forced to pay attention to the big man, must respect his speed, and cannot ignore his presence on the pitch. When you weave his skill set into the existing tapestry of LFC, the club’s potential becomes scary good.
And for those people lurking in the shadows, trolling, and claiming Mario is going to explode just like before, Liverpool is different for a couple of reasons. First, Brendan Rogers not only brings a formidable tactical presence to the sideline but also seems to have gift to motivate and focus players. He has a way of demanding the best from his team, keeping the direction cohesive, and developing even troubled players rapidly.
Irrespective of how this season turns out, the signing of Mario Balotelli is nothing short of genius. I wish nothing but the best for the 24-year old and remember Mario, you’re part of the family now — and You’ll Never Walk Alone.