Sunderland stuff and time for a Euro rest?

It seems ages since we last played in the league, our last result was two weeks ago against you know who.

However, I guess we might have to start getting used to just thinking about the domestic front after Thursday’s Europa League exit. Our prospects of getting into Europe next season look slimmer as the matches go by. To secure qualification by winning the Europa League Cup was never a realistic option. In the league normally sixth place would secure us a place in next year’s competition however with Birmingham winning the Carling Cup (thanks Arsenal) and another place to go to Bolton or Stoke for reaching the FA Cup final (one assumes that the two Mancs Clubs will make the Champions League). We have to think about fifth place as a way of getting to Europe, currently we are seven points off that behind Spurs.

Perhaps Spurs’ Champions League involvement might prove to be a distraction and it could also be in our favour as we have nothing else to concentrate on other than the league. Jose Reina seems to think so

“Hopefully we’ll win enough games to get fifth, but of course everyone knows it’s difficult. We have to bounce back now. It’s not about how you get knocked out, it’s about how you react. We’re Liverpool and we have to react.”

Whether Reina will be with us, in or out of Europe, is another thing. His utterances have been committed but have reserved the option to leave, we shall see. However, with Champions League football even more improbably I wouldn’t complain too much if we were excused Thursday night chores and put the passports away for a year. I’d rather have a European sabbatical next season in the hope that the side can recharge its batteries, strengthen up and concentrate on making inroads domestically? In might not be a bad thing to stay at home for a year and get our house in order before visiting others abroad?

So to today’s game against Sunderland and a quick the chance to make up for Thursday’s insipid effort. Although the game wasn’t our greatest I thought Andy Carroll’s performance received a rather rough assessment from the press. Hopefully another game will help him build on his first full game for us? As an ex Newcastle player presumably to won’t need any motivation today?

Carroll is clearly not fully fit and still trying to find his way however it still seems that he could be a contender for England’s next match, against Wales in the Euro qualifiers, to the extent that Kenny has seen fit to comment

“It is great to have the big fella back but he also needs games and I don’t know what kind of state he will be in after the Braga game, when he stayed on longer than we hoped he would have to. A lot of things he did in that game were encouraging and he still has a good bit of fitness to come but England have to be responsible with him… We fully understand somebody wanting to pick his best players for England but they also have to understand the fact that (Carroll) is not really there yet for fitness”

Surely Fabio Capello will realise that Carroll is not there yet and. if he does name him in the squad that will be the sole extent of his involvement?

Prediction for today? The return of Luis Suarez will give us more up front and I wonder just how Titus Bramble will cope with him! However Sunderland will present a tough test, who doesn’t these days? We need to bounce back from Thursday. Being knocked out is one thing but in manner of the exit needs to be put right. Sadly I think it will be difficult to shake it off straight away, 1-1, but prove me wrong please!.

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