We've got a few things to get to as the Euros approach, but unfortunately there's only one story anyone seems to be talking about right now, so we'd best get it out of the way right off the top…
* Earlier today, Dani Pacheco Tweeted a message of luck to Glen Johnson, one of his closest friends at the club, ahead of the Euros. In it he used the same Spanish term that he has previously employed when speaking with another friend at the club, Fernando Suso. When used while speaking to a friend, it is a term of endearment, but when used in a heated manner it can be considered an insult. It's also a term the English media has over the past eight months or so decided is the root cause of racism around the globe and that moreover it probably killed their favourite dog. You know, Ruffles the rescued cocker spaniel? It was that term driving the SUV that ran him down like, well, like damn a dog. All while doing its best to further raise global average temperatures and with a "Fuck the Whales!" bumper sticker stuck on for good measure.
Where was I again? Oh, right, Dani Pacheco used that term. You know the one. And then the Mirror noticed and ran a story strongly implying that this was a serious issue, that it would be Brendan Rodgers' first serious test as Liverpool manager, and that something must seriously be done about such a serious issue. Seriously. Because racism is bad and calling a friend who speaks Spanish a name you've called him in the past which is meant in an entirely positive way that he's well aware of and which he appears to have no issue with is bad.
Then every other member of England's sewage outlet press picked up on it, asking if this was a new race row for the club and using it as a convenient excuse to recount the history of that term over the past eight or so months. And now we're talking about it because, really, there's no way we can avoid at the very least acknowledging its existence. Pacheco, even if he's been in Spain all year and so may be largely unaware of the English media's bloodlust when it comes to Liverpool and that term, probably shouldn't have said it. But that's a "probably shouldn't have said it" that's down to the English media's inevitable shift into concern trolling mode when they saw it rather than for any actually good reasons involving the duty of humanity to aid the arc of the moral universe in its slow bend towards justice. Or something.
So. Nothing to see here. Well, aside from large portions of the media being the flaming asshats they usually are and who, in a just world, will find themselves on the dole when their papers shut down in a few years.
* Moving away from the Mirror's battle for a better world, the Euros are almost here. Which means that pretty soon the Mirror will need a scapegoat or two for England's inevitable failure at the Euros. And as Nate at Oh You Beauty diagrams with one of his typically brilliant infographics, this year they'll have a slew of Liverpool players to pick from when it comes time to pin the blame.
Nate's piece, though, isn't interested in blame. Instead it's a look back at England's history in both the European Championships and World Cup, tracking in visual form both how far the nation has progressed in each tournament and also how heavily Liverpool players have been involved in each effort. Most worthy of note is that the only other time Liverpool sent six players—the club's record—was in 1980, when England failed to advance past the group stages of the Euros. As he points out, though, on that occasion Liverpool had just won the league, while on this occasion Liverpool has just finished eighth. Perhaps not the greatest omen, then, for those hoping to see England succeed this summer in Poland and Ukraine.
* And if you just can't wait for the Euros to start, then instead of twiddling your thumbs and staring at the clock wishing it was Friday already you could head over to ESPN's Euro Manager fantasy game, join the Liverpool Offside group, and waste a bit of time agonising over who to choose as your fourth defender for the first round of games. Or you could just laugh at us for picking Wojciech Szczesny as our goalkeeper, because really, who in their right mind picks an Arsenal keeper for anything?
Unlike in many fantasy games, you get to pick a new set of players after each round of games—meaning that your picks get locked when Friday's first match kicks off but then you're free to select a new team when the final whistle goes on Monday's second game. Rather than going with the best players on the teams you think will advance to the finals, then, you can look at things round by round and attempt to pick players you think face favourable match-ups in the next game.
Is the striker you think will lead the tournament coming up against an especially tough defensive unit? Then you can sit him for a round and come back to him later. Conversely, if you think a certain game is likely to see one of the sides unable to score, you could gamble on a shutout and go all in on the other country's goalkeeper and defence. Then again, it's just as likely that somebody who simply sticks with what they consider the best eleven through at least the group stage could come out ahead.
Prizes are only bragging rights and a smug sense of superiority, but at the very least it'll help pass a bit of time until the Euros actually do kick off in a few days. Plus you'll probably get to laugh at us. Though that might just be part of the smug sense of superiority thing.
We'll be back with any breaking news, but in the meantime, while you wait for the English press to solve racism...