It looks like everyone has come through unscathed from the international week partly because most of our players seemed to be at home watching the games on TV resting their injuries!
Martin Skrtel got on the score sheet for Slovakia against Northern Ireland as did Yossi Benayoun for Israel against Switzerland. However, none of our players represented England in their “overwhelming” victory over Andorra. Bring on Croatia eh! On the strength on Saturday’s snooze fest England must be so confident of ending the Croats long, unbeaten run in their own backyard!!!!!
Back home The Sunday Times carried a lengthy interview with Steven Gerrard
Much of it was stuff that’s been discussed before, the impact of the poorest billionaires in football, Gerrard’s desire to complete his set of medals with a title win, Liverpool’s overall prospects for this season and beyond. The issue of his playing position, and his talks with Rafa over this, is also mentioned and in more detail than before.
The Mancs game next Saturday has been targeted as the match for Gerrard’s return, however, he feels it may be one game too soon.
“That’s a bit soon, I’ve a decent chance for the Champions League game in Marseilles (September 16). I’ve spoken to the manager and told him I’d like to do a certain amount of training before I come back. I don’t want to go into a big game only having had one session with the boys”
A pity because Gerrard also pointed out a need for us to show more “bottle” or “bollocks” against the top two clubs.
More successful results against the Mancs and Chelsea last season would have given our challenge more strength and would have certainly prolonged it. As it stands we are not best placed to break this bad run and face the prospect lining up on Saturday without Gerrard and Torres. Hardly the right circumstances, at first glance, to show more “bottle” or perhaps an ideal opportunity to do just that and confound the naysayers who say we are overly reliant on these two?
Finally one has to have some sympathy for Sami Hyypia who has been left out the Champions League squad due to the daft UEFA rule which means eight of the squad must be home grown. Sami didn’t come across as especially ecstatic about the situation.
“the club had a ‘perfect’ timing for this: they didn’t want me to move elsewhere, so that’s why I was told the news of having been left out, just after the transfer window had closed.. I don’t know if I would have wanted to move on, had I heard news about the squad when the window was still open”
Interesting stuff but surely, with a testimonial imminent, Sami would want to stay and had he decided to go, would it be to a club involved in European competition? Besides who would bet on him not being in the squad for the knock out stages should be qualify?