Adam's the apple of Anfield... at last!
Liverpool fans and Steven Gerrard’s groins breathed a collective sigh of relief yesterday, as it was finally announced that King Kenny has landed Blackpool’s elusive midfield maestro, Charlie Adam.
Currently being reeled in for a medical, the news marks the end of persistent media speculation linking Adam to the Merseyside outfit, speculation which began as far back as November.
Said to be worth around £7m, plus the loaned services of two academy hot shots, the deal will see Adam squeeze his way into an already overcrowded Liverpool midfield.
It is therefore likely that the Scot’s arrival will prompt a number of changes to personnel, with the likes of Joe Cole, Alberto Aquilani (who?), and even the talented duo of Maxi and Meireles, all being linked with moves away from the club. Let’s hope this acquisition also draws a line under the spectacular Anfield career of Christian Poulsen (cheers, Roy).
So when the dust settles, how will Charlie Adam fit into Liverpool’s midfield, and what returns can FPL managers expect from a player who almost single-handedly kept Blackpool in the top flight last season?
The first thing to say is that surely Adam did enough at Blackpool to warrant regular inclusion in the starting eleven – although, if Liverpool play with two upfront, Adam could still face competition for a starting role in a four man midfield from the likes of Jordan Henderson and Lucas. All will depend on how attacking Dalglish wants Liverpool to be next season, but Gerrard and Adam in the centre with two wingers (Downing on the left and Kuyt or another new signing on the right) looks a very exciting prospect, on paper.
However, thinking logically, which is always a dangerous thing to attempt when discussing fantasy football, we have to realize that Mr Adam is no longer a big fish in a small pond, and that if Koi Carps of the Kop like Steven Gerrard say that they’re taking all the free kicks, then that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
But it could also be that Gerrard is prepared to relieve some of the pressure that’s been steadily increasing on him since the departure of Xabi Alonso, by sharing set piece duty with another star turn.
It is very likely, therefore, that Dalglish will want to tap some of the dead ball magic that helped Adam to a stunning total of 192 points in his debut season, the second highest haul of any player in last year’s game, although obviously Adam won’t be on pens.
We can expect to see Adam on corners, though, especially those taken on the right, where he can whip in the sorts of dangerous crosses we were used to seeing at Blackpool, with that gifted left peg of his.
These crosses should be bread and butter for a certain Andrew Carroll, who must have thought it was Christmas when he heard the news that Liverpool had got their man, and we can expect that Adam’s assist tally for next season will increase as he takes to the pitch with team mates of a generally much higher calibre.
However, one very obvious down side for pre season Adam fanciers is that there is no way on God’s green earth that he’ll be getting 45 bonus points next season, as he competes with the likes of Suarez, Gerrard and Kuyt for the bonus judges’ favour.
As for goals, a lot will depend on where Adam is deployed on the pitch, and for how long, as he is unlikely to rack up over 3000mins for the Reds next season.
For Blackpool, Adam was given the freedom to roam, much like Tevez did for City, and he would often pop up in advanced positions, feeding off rebounds and unlocking defences with laser-guided passing.
For Liverpool, it’s likely that Adam will have to be a little more disciplined, and Dalglish will have to decide where Adam will play in relation to Gerrard- if that does turn out to be the central midfield pairing.
But as Gerrard begins his umpteenth premier league campaign it’s clear that Adam will need to be the fresher pair of legs in that partnership, and I expect him to be something of a box-to-box midfielder, with an eye for a pass and the back of the net.
So what do we think his price will be in FPL 2011/2012? I reckon he’ll come in at around £8m, quite a hike on last season, but perhaps still worth a punt considering the step up in class he’s made by joining Liverpool (that comment is especially for you, Mr Clements).
Whatever happens, it’s great to have a player of Charlie Adam’s quality in the Premier League for another season, and for those of you not familiar with his excellent left foot, there’s a short video below. Enjoy.