December 5th: Our latest TBT Advent Calendar piece sees Dan Shepherd attempt to answer the question; Where will Liverpool Football Club be in five years time?

Where will Liverpool Football Club be in five years time? In an age of digging up people’s old tweets to prove they’re wrong and knee-jerk reactions to everything being perfect or an utter disaster on a weekly basis, it’s an extremely daring question to attempt to answer.

So, without making any bold predictions about player A, B, C, which will easily come back to bite me on the arse in less than a few months time (never mind five years!), I’ll keep it vague and I’ll gamble on a couple of things.

In football, five years is practically a lifetime. If you remove the reigns of Alex Ferguson, David Moyes and Arsene Wenger, I’m sure the average length of a manager’s tenure at a club is less than two years in charge in the Premier League (Note to statto’s: This is a lazy guestimation, there is no evidence to support this, it’s Christmas alright?). So in theory, Liverpool may well have two and half managers in this time. At something like roughly ten players in and ten players out a year, we could have recycled near on 100 players in five years. How this affects the team is anyone’s guess. Do I feel like we’re heading in the right direction at the moment? Probably…

Presuming FSG will stick around I think we’ll see similar investment year on year, with some more if the Champions League spot is achieved, which I honestly do think will happen within a five period. On a consistent basis? I don’t think so – I believe those top spots will be more unpredictable and more contestable than ever before over the next five years and long gone are the days of the solidified “big four” concept.

In a depressing aspect, I can’t see us realistically winning in the league in the next five years, yet on the other hand I believe we can win every single game we play on an individual basis. It’s a manager’s cliche, but I far prefer to just take each game as it comes and it seems much more mentally manageable than to believe in bold long-term predictions. We may see yet another Chelsea/Man City-like investment into a team making the top four even more difficult and affecting the established “big teams” even further. I believe that while we’ll get into the Champions League, we probably won’t make much of a dent on the latter stages of the knock-out phase. However, most people believed that in 2005 as well.

The youth setup has recently seen a big shake up and as I speak it’s still not clear what direction that will go in. It’s in every major team’s interest, including those with oil rich owners, to generate fantastic youth prospects and I would imagine every team believes they could do better in this area. Again, I can’t see a revolution. I see a continuation in buying in very young, half-finished prospects and finishing them off in the academy ready for the first team.

It’s likely we’ll see some greats come and go, Steven Gerrard will have retired, Luis Suarez won’t be at LFC anymore, these things are pretty much guarantees. Success is not, but I feel the future is bright, positive and most importantly entertaining. If ultimately we don’t watch football to be entertained, what do we watch it for?

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