So the international break is over and all the World Cup places have been decided. Clearly Ireland can consider themselves unlucky to be “fisted” by the “Hand of Henry”. Robbie Keane’s pained expression (no connection) at missing a few chances in Paris also bought back sad memories of his frustrating time at Anfield.
I’m glad that Slovenia qualified as it was one in the eye for FIFA who shamefully tried to rig the play off draw by seeding it so the stronger, “sexier” teams would have a better chance of getting through. However, one shouldn’t interpret this comment as a slight against Russia, the side Slovenia beat, particularly in view of Andrey Arshavin’s comments about the Russian fans
“Our fans need to learn from the English football supporters, and in particular from Liverpool fans.”
Thanks “comrade” I bet that’s caused a bit of puzzlement at the Emirates!
Back at Liverpool and, dare I say it, there may be a bit of sunshine after the rain thanks to one or two good bits of news emanating from the treatment table.
Perhaps the most curious development concerns Yossi Benayoun and Albert Reira. After the Birmingham game we were lead to believe that that both would be sidelined for a month or so however, after a quick visit to the ”Placenta Centre” (Belgrade Branch) they are now in with a outside chance of playing on Saturday. The placenta in question is from a horse (any horse or a specific one?) and is applied by a physiotherapist called Mariana Kovacevic. What on earth is this magic placenta stuff and why haven’t we heard of it before? Do you inject it or rub it on the injured area? Maybe you take it orally or even snort it? Either way Benayoun seemed upbeat about the treatment.
“I have been in Belgrade to see her and I am feeling better already. My hope now is that I will be fit in one week, two at the most. I have a good feeling about it.”
We shall see but I’m not holding my breath. Next week Torres recovers by applying “wasp perspiration” to his groin?
More convincing is the news surrounding our captain. I was wondering if Gerrard, when he played against Birmingham, had been bought back too soon however, it seems all is well.
“I felt very tired after the (Birmingham) game as I wasn’t really ready to return. I’d done very little training in the three weeks beforehand. It took me two or three days to recover from that game but I have spent the past week doing strengthening work. I’m feeling a lot better. I’m looking forward to the weekend.”
Another one who we might see for longer is Aquilani. However Rafa, after months of getting the Italian right, remains cautious.
“Alberto wants to play for us and he is so desperate to be involved as quickly as he can but he understands the reasons he cannot start yet,”
Yes Rafa because you won’t let him! Seriously it is testament to Rafa’s single mindedness and patience. How many other mangers after everything that’s gone on, how much we paid for Aquilani and how long he’s been out, would be tempted to rush him back?
“He is very positive and wants to help the team now but you must remember that we have a responsibility to him and we will not take any risks at this stage. We have got to keep analysing the situation and watching him in every training session but we know that the right time is nearly here. He has a very good mentality.”
Finally it appears David Ngog has broken his nose playing for France under 21s. I can almost hear the cheers emanating from Birmingham as I write! Not too serious but if it was he would have ample time to consider Cameroon’s offer to play for them? In the words of Harry Hill, “so which it is to be David, France or Cameroon there’s only one way to settle this……?”
In fairness Ngog is half Cameroon so could play for them and one wonders if France will “fast track” his senior international debut to prevent it? It’s a weird rule, perhaps Ireland could recruit Kaka as I understand he once had a pint of Guinness?
Finally for those of you who are into that sort of thing, this blog now feeds into Twitter (or whatever the correct phrase is) see the link on the right hand side of this page about half way down.