A long break from club duty for most of our players with the emergence of that all important and most welcome international friendly week.
The England game was, well, a friendly one, moderately interesting but at the end of the day irrelevant. OK, I guess there was more a stake as there are only two more matches until the beginning of the World Cup so players were probably trying extra hard to impress Fabio? It’s ironic that, given our recent lack of punch in front of goal that ex red Peter Crouch scored twice and also, given our growing injury problems at the back, that ex red Stephen Warnock is being touted as a possible addition to the squad!
No doubt most managers will say that they need international games, such as the ones that were peppered all over Europe this week, like the proverbial hole in the head however, I was idly speculating yesterday that perhaps, for Liverpool, at least this time, these games might not be such a bad thing?
Take Fernando Torres for example. Clearly he is short of match fitness after his injury and would have had to wait until Monday, when we play Wigan, before pulling on a red shirt again. Spain’s game in Paris must have given him a good run out, increased his fitness after a long lay off and his appetite for getting back into the thick of things? Equally after all the trials and tribulations of his, less than stable manager and his countries’ qualifying campaign, Xavier Mascherano must be on a high after Argentina’s 1-0 win over Germany? He, and Rafa, must also be relieved that the lack of air miles, the game was held in Munich and not Buenos Aires, was made up for by the lack of jet lag?
It’s also been suggested that players might not give their all for their club as they have half an eye on South Africa? However, equally as we approach the last dozen or so league games, those who are not automatically guaranteed a place in their respective countrie’s World Cup squad might put in that extra bit of effort, step forward the likes of Insua, Lucas and Babel?
Of course all this will mean nothing if any of our players return home injured and, as a result, are unavailable to play. We already seem to have mounting injury list in defence as it is. Martin Skrtel’s injury, or rather the way it occurred still makes me wince. It was the equivalent of footballing jousting! It was a 50;50 ball and I suppose Skrtel could have pulled out which might have been the wisest thing to do but not necessarily the honourable thing? Whatever the case he faced up to it and paid the price sometimes a “man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do?”
Said Sammy Lee of Skrtel’s injury…
“It’s a massive disappointment because Martin’s been instrumental in us gaining some momentum. We’ve kept a lot of clean sheets, which is very important. It is a blow to the club because it limits our options. But we don’t bemoan that – we accept it because it’s part and parcel of the game.”
Another one to “bemoan” is Fabio Aurelio who went off in the game against Blackburn very early with a thigh injury. Aurelio isn’t going through one of his luckiest periods at present. Every time he returns he seems to get injured again. Also against Blackburn Daniel Agger picked up a knee injury and is touch and go for Monday. So that is two injuries sustained against Blackburn! However, of course no one should read anything into this, and start making conclusions about any of Big Sam’s teams approach to games!
Enjoy your Friday.