THE new season is so close you can almost reach out and touch it.
It's the time of year when you should be dreaming up songs for new signings, dusting off your lucky boxer shorts and picking your fantasy footie team with a big smile on your face.
But if you believe the ex-pros and national newspaper columnists, you needn't bother this year.
Carry on shopping, cutting the grass and painting the fence - because without Xabi Alonso there's no hope of the title coming to Anfield in May.
Now it seems, Liverpool are no longer a two-man team, other Reds players are decent - now they've left, that is.
But if Xabi's suddenly so good he can single-handedly swing a title one way or another - where were the articles hailing him as the world's best?
Where was the praise for Benitez for plucking such a gem from the relative obscurity of Real Sociedad?
Well don't bother exercising your Google searchbar - they're not there.
Not just because it didn't suit certain journos' agendas to write that kind of piece. But also because Alonso had two ordinary seasons before peaking in the last campaign.
With the saga of his sale out the way, a sizeable sum of £30million banked, Rafa Benitez kissing his middle finger in the direction of Madrid and the quickfire signing of Alberto Aquilani, everything should be alright again though, right?
Wrong. He's a crock, we're told. Not in Xabi's class. Too lightweight for the Premier League. And on it goes.
Suddenly, everyone's an expert on Aquilani.
Well I'm not - and I'm not afraid to say it. I've read the background and watched the clips on Youtube. I've heard the Roma players and staff speak favourably about him, not least former Red John Arne Riise.
But I'll judge for myself when Aquilani runs out in red which, unfortunately by the looks of things, won't be until October.
Meanwhile, everyone continues to overstate the influence of Alonso.
How far can it go? It's like when Kevin Keegan left, Kenny Dalglish retired or Ian Rush headed for Italy?
Even better. How about that Liverpool's title challenge is over before a ball is kicked because of the sale of Alonso?
I'm exaggerating though, right? No-one could write off a club that finished four points shy of the title. A side that won home and away against the Champions and Chelsea. And all this despite not having the best striker in the world available for a large chunk of the season.
They could you know.
According to Daily Mail columnist Martin Samuel, by selling a player who was desperate to leave for an inflated fee and immediately replacing him with a highly-rated Italian, the Reds have: "put a stick of dynamite under their title aspirations again".
And once one 'expert' reels out this unsubstantiated drivel, they all follow suit. It's like a huge snowball - only this one is a browner shade of white.
I've been away on holiday for a week. And in the matter of hours since I've been back I've watched Ray Parlour and Andy Townsend write us off because Alonso's left.
Then I read a few season previews - everyone trotting out the same old line that Liverpool have been severely weakened by his departure and can't possibly push for the title.
It seems Rafa Benitez can't do anything right - while Alex Ferguson never does any wrong.
Glen Johnson is the England right back, Portsmouth's player of the year and could have gone back to Chelsea.
But he's too dear.
And there's no point in having a decent right back because there's no decent left wingers in the Premier League (according to Paul Merson).
On the other hand, it's a stroke of genius to sell arguably the world's best player in Cristiano Ronaldo (in his peak) and replace him with Michael Owen (definitely not in his).
Sometimes I despair, I really do.
But then I remember I've got some boxer shorts to dust.
Anyone got any Aqualani songs?!
Read my season preview at LFC Bet