Pretty much everything's underway or will be shortly on the international front, so a reminder that you can find links to streams in the matchday thread, along with news about Liverpool's squad members in action. Should be a relatively interesting day for those involved, or at least as interesting as international break can be, as almost all in Europe have a chance to see their country move on. We'll have a recap of the days events for those involved tomorrow morning, but for now we might as well launch into another day of news and notes.
* In lieu of wasting energy on international duty, Jamie Carragher has opted to waste his energy by talking to anyone with a microphone and keyboard. First he decided to weigh in on the England managerial position, concluding that unless everyone involved is English, they're cheating. Which probably resonates with you conceptually if you're a fourth-grader, but for a man who's been capped 38 times at the senior level, not so sophisticated.
Today, or yesterday, or whenever, he's shifted his focus to how he sees his career wrapping up:
"It will be up to the coaching staff I suppose (who decide). You want to try to get as much out of your career and play as long as possible. The time will come in the next 12, 18 months, maybe two years. That won't be down to myself. It will be down to the people around me, the staff, the manager. They will decide."
I guess there's two ways to read this---the first is that he'll take the opinions of others under advisement, and have an ongoing discussion about where he fits in the side. The other is that once he even gets a sniff he's in the process of being replaced on a more permanent basis he's gone, and that they'll have to wrestle his starting spot from his cold, dead hands. I get the latter sentiment, and I know that many of us wouldn't mind having that process start now, but I hope that whenever it does come to a close it's a gracious one; he's got a great opportunity to help bring along the younger players, and any conflict about being replaced would make things even more uncomfortable than they already are.
* The legend of Steven Gerrard's groin has steadily groin over the past few months and become a topic of great interest for many of us, either for footballing reasons or otherwise. We're at the point now where, especially during an international break, it wouldn't be a normal day if The Groin wasn't involved. Thankfully Steve Clarke has given us our daily dose:
"For Steven it's just a progression. He's coming back from a long-term injury and we'll try to treat him as cautiously and carefully as we can. Obviously there will be a time when he is going to have to push on - and I think this is the time now. We've only got a very small group of players left behind because we've got a lot away on international duty but we managed to get a lot of good work into them yesterday. With Steven it has been well documented that we're looking after him. He's going to have to push himself in the coming weeks - and the more minutes we get into him, the better.''
The good news is that it's mostly been future-tense stuff when it comes to The Groin---talk of injuries and setbacks have been absent, which is a positive thing when we're talking about a player who's had so many struggles over the past few seasons. For most, if not all, he's still a nailed-on starter when he is back fully, and given that his performances thus far have been plenty encouraging, it wouldn't be completely surprising to see him in the eleven when United visit next Saturday.
Which means the only downside is that, almost impossibly, we'll find ourselves not talking about The Groin.
* Finally, there's a bit of international duty already wrapped up for some of Liverpool's younger squad members, with Conor Coady, Jack Robinson, and Adam Morgan featuring in the U19s' draw with France, and Jordan Henderson, Martin Kelly, and Jon Flanagan starting in the the U21s' 3-0 victory over Iceland. Robinson found the net to give the youngsters a 2-0 lead, but they couldn't hold on as they shared the points in their first match of the Limoges tournament.
The U21s were roundly impressive, with Henderson featuring deeper in the midfield and Kelly shifting over to play center-back. It seems like that's on the horizon at some point for Liverpool as well, and if he continues to get exposure with a positive return, it gives the club another quality option for the future. Slight concern about an injury, though, as he returned to Liverpool after complaining of tightness in his groin. So that's pretty terrific. At least there's the news that Glen Johnson hopes to be in the squad to face United, which makes everything better. Or not at all.
That's it for Friday, and a reminder that you can check out the matchday thread earlier to see who's in action where along with ways to see the glory and horror that is international football unfold. Back early tomorrow with the recap, and if you're finding that international break really has you down, just try to keep in mind that at least it's not Heinsbergen's syndrome: