After a few quiet days on the news front, we've got a veritable logjam of information to pass along today with confirmation that Liverpool will face Everton in the FA Cup, Jose Enrique's attempts to shoulder some of the blame, and bad news for Charlie Adam on the injury front…
* With the quarter-finals now out of the way, a pair of Wembley derbies have been set for the FA Cup semi-finals on April 14th and 15th. After getting past Bolton in a replay after the original match was called off when Fabrice Muamba collapsed before the end of the first half, Tottenham will face secondary London rivals Chelsea. Meanwhile Liverpool is set to face Everton after the blue half of Merseyside made it past Sunderland in last night's more traditional replay at the Stadium of Light.
Most Liverpool fans will consider this the day's good news, with a widespread belief that this season's squad will be better able to fire themselves up to face their local rivals than a Sunderland side they only managed to take one point from in the league. With both Everton and Sunderland moving to within two points of Liverpool while averaging more than twice as many points per game over the past two months in league play, however, it was hardly going to be an easy match-up no matter which way the semi-final went.
That it's rivals Everton may help focus Liverpool's performance on the day, and that it's the final stages of a cup competition may do so further, but based on league standing and form Liverpool will need one of their best performances of the year if they're to make it to the finals.
* No matter how you feel about the qualities he brings to the side, Liverpool also know today that they will face Newcastle this weekend and then Everton in two and a half weeks without midfielder Charlie Adam. When he collided with QPR's Armand Traore last Wednesday, there were immediate concerns he may have suffered serious ligament damage in an injury similar to Lucas' against Chelsea in the autumn.
With the swelling going down enough in recent days to make a proper diagnosis, it appears that any ligament damage at the least isn't quite as bad as that suffered by the Brazilian. Still, Adam isn't expected back for the remainder of the season even in the best case scenario, and there is a chance that when doctors re-examine the knee in two weeks they will decide surgery is required. If that turns out to be the case, Adam would likely find himself out of action well into the fall.
We may not be the world's biggest fans of the player or his approach to the game, but needless to say a serious injury such as this is that last thing anybody will have wanted to see happen to Charlie Adam. Hopefully in two weeks it's determined that he in fact doesn't need surgery, and with that and a little luck he might even be ready to start training with the team by the time pre-season rolls around in the summer.
* One player likely to face both Everton and Newcastle is former Toon left back Jose Enrique, who earlier today gave his assessment of Liverpool's recent stumbles:
We have played good football in many games but against Wigan we didn't deserve to win. This team is [growing]. The owners have signed young players. I think we have a really good squad already but of course we have to improve—everyone.
The manager takes pressure for us and of course that is good. But the truth is, when we make mistakes or have a bad game, we know where the mistakes come from. Who plays the games? The players. Who has to win them? The players too.
The players are frustrated just the same [as the fans].
We're on record as thinking Enrique has been overplayed, something that in the end is the manager's responsibility and which has put him in a less than ideal situation to go out and win those games as tiredness and a long season increasingly take their toll. Still, it's a commendable sentiment from Liverpool's best summer sining. It's also nice to see one of the players looking to take some of the pressure off Kenny Dalglish after Dalglish has gone out of his way to take pressure off the players after recent poor results.
And no matter how you come at it, it's a welcome change from the sorts of empty puff pieces the official site likes to bombard fans with whenever the going gets tough.
We'll be back with any breaking news, but in the meantime, while you try to figure out who to blame for Adam's knee, Liverpool's recent struggles, and for the club having to travel all the way to London just to face off against some club from across Stanley Park…