Following the most demoralising season in my lifetime as a Liverpool supporter, there is a strong sense of optimism currently surrounding Anfield ahead of the new season. Roy Hodgson may not have been every Liverpool fans first choice as manager, but he has started his tenureship in impressive style. The impression is that Hodgson is a 'hands on' manager and one whom players enjoy working with. And unlike Rafael Benitez he is open, honest, and on good terms with the media. He conducts himself with dignity and maturity, preferring not to answer questions in riddles or 'double speak'.
There is of course much work to be done to restore the club's pride after an embarrassing 2009-2010 season. Hodgson has moved quickly to shift much of the dead wood at the club including Degen, Aurelio, Itandje and Insua. One would hope the likes of Reira, Ngog, El Zhar, Plessis and Kyrgiakos will follow suit. Encouragingly, Hodgson has made it clear that he intends to inject a more British feel to the squad, remembering the new Premier League rules on home grown players. The recent signings of Jonjo Shelvy, Milan Jovanovic, Joe Cole and Danny Wilson together with Steven Gerrard's commitment to the club represents shrewd business and have given the fans reasons to look forward to the new season.
This was always going to be a crucial summer for Liverpool in terms of appointing the right manager, making the right changes to the playing staff and successfully selling the club to a suitable owner. The ownership issue in particular is an absolute priority and it is clear that the club can only really move forward once Hicks and Gillett have departed Merseyside. I have long since learned to avoid the wild optimism that used to dominate Liverpool's pre-season, but I can genuinely say that that I am already looking forward to our first game against Arsenal on 15th August.