So it’s off to the Stadium of Light for the first game of the season. I can’t remember when we actually opened the season with a home game. It seems like ages ago.
Unlike last season we appear to be getting into the thick of things much faster. By the end of October we will have played Everton, The Mancs and Chelsea. The ink on Ronaldo’s Real Madrid contract will barely be dry (we hope) when we line up at home against the Mancs on 13th September.
If we end up signing Gareth Barry he’ll have quick return to the Villa on 30th August where no doubt he will receive a heroic reception! At the other end of the scale our last game of the season is against Spurs, again! How many times has this happened? We always seem to play them last or in the last month! Not that it really matters.
Perhaps this is just a coincidence or may be Rafa’s moaning about away games after Champions League fixtures is beginning is pay dividends The Echo points out that that only two of the six group matches (assuming we qualify of course) are away and one of those is only down the road at Man City. Contrast this to “poor old” Ferige who has a Champions League game sandwiched between league matches against us and Chelsea. However, all should be beware as no doubt the listings will be changed once Sky and “Sultana” finalise their programming schedules for 2008-09!
Meanwhile Fernando Torres confirmed what we didn’t really believe in the first place that he is not moving.
“I want to say very clearly that I’m not on the market and that it’s my desire to continue at Liverpool I’m very happy there and I want to carry on. “I came to the club to win trophies. I have many years left on my contract and I expect to win some silverware there. I have gone through things I have never experienced before, like playing in a Champions League semi-final. And now that I have come within touching distance of glory I want it all.”
Enough said, until the next story?
On the international front Lucas better watch out as it seems that if you announce you want to play football in the Olympics you get injured. Following on from Ryan Babel’s injured ligaments, Mascherano limped off in Argentina’s World Cup qualifier against Ecuador. Does this man ever stop playing football? However he should be fit for the next game, a small of matter a little neighbourly spat with Brazil.
Elsewhere while the Gareth Barry transfer stubbornly refuses to come to a conclusion it seems that Peter Crouch’s period of limbo might show signs of coming to a close with a rumoured £10m bid from Portsmouth. It looks as if John Arne Riise will be off to Roma for around £4m. However, no doubt there will many twists and turns in this area before the summer is out?
Back to Euro 2008 and the Germans lumbered through in not altogether convincing fashion against a hapless Austria. Croatia, ominously managed to overcome Poland with a second string side. Philipp Degen never got to see the light of day for Switzerland even being left on the bench for the meaningless match against Portugal. I guess Dirk Kuyt could be rested for Holland’s match against Romania tonight as they are already through? However, no doubt all eyes will be on the other match in that group as the World Cup winners, Italy, and runners up, France, show down for a place in the next round, that’s assuming Romania play ball and roll over against the Dutch!