By Tariq Saleh
With the season now over, I wanted to hand out my own end of season awards to the Liverpool team. So here they are:
Player of the season:
Lucas Leiva – After being criticised so much in his first few years at Anfield, Lucas finally won over the Liverpool fans with a string of consistent performances this season. Lucas has been a mainstay in the team this season and has been one of a handful of players who have performed on a consistent level. Despite not offering many goals his enthusiasm, passing and ball winning ability has shown that he can match up to the best of midfielders in the Premier League. With the departures of Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano and an injury hit season for Steven Gerrard, it was up to Lucas to finally prove his worth and he stepped up and made the central midfield position his own.
Young player of the season:
Jay Spearing – Ever since Kenny Dalglish took the job, one of the first things he looked to do was to involve Spearing in the first team a lot more. He showed his confidence in him by starting him against Everton in the merseyside derby at Anfield. Spearing has taken that confidence given to him by Dalglish and became a regular in the team for the remaining few months of the season, putting in a string of hard working displays. Spearing didn’t manage to score or create many chances but his energy and work rate made him a hit with the Liverpool fans. His performances also earned him a call up to the England Under-21 squad for this summer’s European championships.
Signing of the season:
Luis Suarez – Despite only arriving in January, Suarez is definitely Liverpool’s signing of the season. The decision to sell Fernando Torres turned out to be a work of genius as Suarez more than filled the gap left by the Spaniard. He scored 4 goals and put in a number of fantastic performances, most notably against Manchester United at Anfield. His energy and skill really endeared him to the reds’ fans and they will be looking for him to get the club back into the Champions League next season and challenge for honours.
Flop of the season:
Paul Konchesky – The full back, signed from Fulham in the summer by Roy Hodgson, turned out to be one of the worst signings Liverpool have made in recent seasons. He never established himself at Liverpool and his confidence always took a beating as he endured negative comments from Liverpool fans, which led to his mum lashing out at them via Twitter. Konchesky spent the latter half of the season on loan at Championship side Nottingham Forest and it seems as though his time at Liverpool is at an end.
Most Improved player:
Dirk Kuyt – Kuyt has always been a key figure in the Liverpool side, but with the arrival of Suarez he managed to add several goals to his name. Kuyt was always praised for his work rate but was often criticised for not scoring enough goals, despite being a striker by trade. Kuyt was deployed as a right winger by both Rafa Benitez and Roy Hodgson but Kenny Dalglish managed to bring Kuyt back to his natural position, largely thanks to the unselfish work of Luis Suarez who loves working the flanks, allowing Kuyt to come inside. Kuyt ended the season with 15 goals; his highest ever tally for Liverpool in a single season.
Goal of the season:
Raul Meireles – There was no other real contender. Meireles’ wonder strike against Wolves at Molineux in January was the pick of the bunch.
One to watch:
Raheem Sterling – 16 year old Raheem Sterling is a huge prospect at Liverpool and the club have high hopes for him. Signed from QPR at the age of 15, he has been making a name for himself in the Liverpool youth team. In a FA Youth Cup match in February, he scored 5 goals and displayed an electrifying turn of pace and good finishing ability. After this performance he was named in the Liverpool squad that travelled to Sparta Prague in the Europa League. H e has been likened to Theo Walcott because of his pace and he is a player to watch out in a few years, he may even break into the senior Liverpool side next season.