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Carragher on Istanbul, Itandje Gone, and Other Wednesday Notes

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With that regrettable Boston Globe article out of the way and news just getting out that disgraced goalkeeper Charles Itandje has finally left the club, let's move on to some other newsworthy tidbits floating around the 'tubes in the wake of the Villa match:

* Let's get the not quite as good as the Itandje news but still good news news out of the way first, as Lucas grabbed's fan vote to take Man of the Match honours for his job bossing the midfield with Raul Meireles on the weekend. It's a little hard to believe it's his first such honour of the season after a number of exemplary performances in recent weeks, perhaps highlighted by his starring turn against Chelsea, but with a sprinkle of mainstream outlets giving the Brazilian favourable reviews over the past month or so it's nice to see the tide turning. I'm not sure exactly what I'll think if the likes of Andy Gray ever start to jump on board this rapidly forming bandwagon, though a part of me is certain that's not an eventuality I'm ever likely to have to come to grips with.

*Ed touched on a few aspects of Gerard Houllier's return to Anfield in the lead-in to the match, but there are always unexamined angles left lying around, with one in particular seeming worthy of further note. Take it away, Jamie Carragher:

“The treble is actually a better achievement than Istanbul. Istanbul as a one off will never be beaten by anyone but someone wins the Champions League every year.

“To win three cup competitions in one season – that’s not something that happens very often, not just at Liverpool but anywhere.”

It feels wrong to say anything that might even seem to denigrate genuine achievement--and the three trophies won that year were a genuine achievement and did a lot to put Liverpool back on the map after a time in the wilderness--but at the same time it's hard to stay quiet when faced with the hyperbole of seeing those triumphs talked up as a grand treble that handily trumps the Champions League because "Somebody wins it every year." Liverpool nabbing both domestic cups as well as Europe's second-tier club competition in a single season is noteworthy, but the class of competition in all of those competitions is nowhere near the Champions League or the week to week slog of league play, the most important components of any traditional treble in the major European leagues. After talking down Istanbul as not being nearly as important to Liverpool as everybody seems to think it is, Carragher then trots out the "Houlier deserves some credit for Istanbul" narrative and just makes things worse. Houllier does deserve plaudits for his work at Liverpool, and for the trophies, and perhaps Carragher means nothing but to praise him, but the way he does so at the expense of Houllier's successor reeks of the same agenda that has segments of the media still talking of Hodgson being left with a threadbare squad, and it just leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

It's depressing to witness the deconstruction of a legend, but when Fanning talked of the "painful decline of Jamie Carragher" he was talking about more than just a decline on the pitch, and with all the whispers and oddly timed contract renewals and agenda-driven comments to the press it's sad to look at Jamie Carragher and see a legacy that bears almost no resemblance to what existed only two short years ago. And the hoofing doesn't help.

* Back in happier territory, the club has decided to give out free tickets to kids for the Europa match against Utrecht next week. All things considered, this match was always likely to have a rather low gate, so giving away tickets that were never going to sell the old fashioned way might just be good business, but it's still a nice gesture so maybe I should shut up and stop being so cynical. I may also have to figure out if I can still pass for eight years old if I can rummage up a convincing fake ID.

Well then, there you have it. For the time being at least. Wonder where we'll see Gerrard and Meireles line up against Newcastle on Saturday...