Some actual footballing news today. Boring, I know.
Quick note first off---as most of you know, I'm all for debate and expressing opinions and anything short of virtually setting the blog on fire, so long as it's done respectfully and has some sort of foundation. The vast majority of commenters that visit regularly get this, and as such a pretty healthy community has developed. Not always in agreement about things, but a place that's decently safe enough to post an opinion.
Crazy time for the club and everything around it, and in some cases emotions are justifiably running high. But petty name-calling and dismissal of the opinions of others doesn't make this any fun for us as the ones putting up the posts or for those of you who decide to share your thoughts in the comments section. I believe it's quite possible to love Liverpool, have a distinct opinion about the issues at the club, and still communicate that in a way that's respectful of others and furthers discussion. So let's try to keep that going.
Anyways, onto what I know everyone's looking forward to---the usual run-down of the players we'll see on international duty over the next few days. Prayer beads/voodoo dolls/Robbie Fowler action figure at the ready:
The South Americans breezed past Iran in Abu Dhabi 3-0 on the strength of goals from Nilmar, Dani Alves, and Alexandre Pato; on-the-outs midfielder Lucas played 81 minutes before being subbed off for Wesley. We've seen Lucas feature regularly for the senior squad since the World Cup, and with another friendly on Monday against the Ukraine we could see him again.
Not a good sign when your international team's manager has to do a pick-me-up speech immediately after your arrival, but apparently that was the case for Christian Poulsen. Suffice to say it hasn't been the best of starts at Anfield for Poulsen, but hopefully some time away will see his performances start to improve. Daniel Agger is apparently still back in Liverpool, which isn't good news for Morten Olsen. His back line is reliant on the services of Agger and Simon Kjaer, both of whom have recent injury concerns. The Danes face Portugal (and Raul Meireles) today and Cyprus on Tuesday.
Ready for some stern opposition? Tough, because Montenegro manager Zlatko Kranjcar has his white hanky at the ready. Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, and Joe Cole were all called into action for Fabio Capello, and I'd be surprised if we didn't see all three at some point. It's a return for Cole after a lengthy spell out of the squad, but likely the status quo for Gerrard and Johnson. By all accounts not the toughest of fixtures for England, but one worth watching---if they start with three victories on the trot, they're surely winning Euro 2012.
Still no Ryan Babel for Bert van Marwijk, which means that Dirk Kuyt's the lone Liverpool player in the Dutch squad to face Moldova and Sweden. Interesting to see how van Marwijk handles Kuyt in these couple of matches---despite just returning to Liverpool from a decently long injury spell (long for him, at least), there's plenty of fitness concerns for other across the front, and Kuyt's been consistently solid for the Dutch.
It's crisis to crisis for Raul Meireles---the Portuguese national setup has had a hell of a time in recent weeks, and, hopefully for them, it ended with the dismissal of Carlos Queiroz. Paulo Bento's got a tall task ahead of him. Meireles was a regular figure under Queiroz, and I'm guessing he continues in a central midfield role against Denmark and Iceland. Central midfield...hmmm.
Milan Jovanovic needs something good to happen. Already fighting off rumors that he's unhappy at Liverpool, hitting a rough patch of form (who isn't?)...wouldn't be the worst thing to see him run all over the place and notch a couple against Estonia later today. The Serbians have their toughest test of the group on Tuesday, as they travel to face group leaders Italy.
The eastern European side has continued their good showing from this summer's World Cup into qualifying, where they're even on points with Ireland. Martin Skrtel continues to be a stabilizing presence in central defense for the Slovaks, and they'll face Armenia today before hosting Ireland in what could be a match between two squads with 100% records.
All you need to know about Spain---Fernando Torres was left out due to injury and Iker Casillas was not. Pepe Reina, bench. Bench, Pepe Reina.
If you're lucky enough to have ESPN3, you can pretty much watch any match you please---they've got coverage today and Tuesday. If your cable/internet provider is a complete bastard, you can float over to MyP2P.eu to pick one out.
That does it on our end---read something about a Premier League statement on the sale of Liverpool due soon, so I might have an update here or on Twitter.
Have a nice Friday, everyone.