Mostly news on internationals ahead of a short time away for yours truly.
I'm heading someplace warm. A place where the beer flows like wine. Where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano. I'm talking about a little place called Aspen.
Not quite, but close enough. I've got best man duties to tend to in a wedding, which will include drinking heavily, piecing together an inappropriate speech, delivering said speech awkwardly, and then watching as the collective discomfort and embarrassment in the reception hall skyrockets.
Anyway, this means I'll be mostly out of commission until I return home on Sunday, and given the relative dearth of Liverpool-related news that I've been pouting about in the last couple days, it's coming at a not-terrible time. The one consistent source of news in the next few days will be the full slate of international friendlies, and it's likely that nearly all of Liverpool's internationals, World Cup bound or not, will be in action. Here's the ones to watch:
Wednesday, May 26:
Netherlands v. Mexico
Dirk Kuyt will likely feature, but Ryan Babel's training ground hamstring injury means he'll probably be absent today. It has to damage his hopes for the final 23, and it's got to be especially discouraging given that he missed Euro 2008 through injury as well. Hoping he makes a full recovery and somehow works his way into the finals squad.
Uruguay v. Israel
I haven't heard much about this one, and it's obviously a tune-up for Uruguay ahead of the World Cup, but I'd guess that Yossi Benayoun will have some role to play today. The rumors about his Anfield departure have cooled, which is most excellent, so hopefully it's the start of a nice wind-down for him after another good season in a Liverpool shirt.
Thursday, May 27:
Denmark v. Senegal
Daniel Agger's surely a starter in the Danish back line for the World Cup, and he'll get a run out tomorrow against the side that defeated the Greeks (and one in particular) back in March.
Saturday, May 29:
Slovakia v. Cameroon
No word on whether or not Martin, Martin, Martin Skrtel (SKRTEL POWER!) is fully fit, but if so he'll be in action against fellow World Cup-qualifiers Cameroon. It'd be a great test for Skrtel given the talent that the African squad possesses, obviously led by treble-winner Samuel Eto'o.
Spain v. Saudi Arabia
There won't be any Fernando Torres here, particularly if he's in a race to get fit for Spain's opening match against Switzerland on June 16. We are likely to see Pepe Reina, however, for at least a half (I hope). But fear not, there's manufactured controversy to keep things interesting regardless of how much he plays. Because that's exactly what Liverpool supporters want from their internationals.
Sunday, May 30:
Chile v. Israel
Almost identical to the above fixture listed for Israel---Benayoun likely a participant for a half or so, a World Cup tune-up for the opposition (the nightcap of a double-header, no less), and the last match before a deserved break for Yossi.
Japan v. England
After the midweek 3-1 defeat of Mexico, England's been fighting against the reaction that they're headed for a World Cup disappointment. They weren't great, but given the expectations and tendency for histrionics in the press, a doomsday prophecy was always a likely outcome. For the Liverpool contingent, though, it wasn't bad at all. I'm sure Johnson and Gerrard will start again, and I wouldn't be completely surprised if Carra gets the nod. His 45 against Mexico was largely uneventful, but he's looking more and more a lock for the trip to South Africa.
The only other international news that hasn't been mentioned is the 2-2 draw between Greece and North Korea yesterday, in which Liverpool's finely-coiffed defender managed to earn an assist before being taken off at the half. Still no confirmation about his place in the final 23, but yesterday couldn't have hurt.
All of the other news trickling in has been focused on either the rumors about the comings and goings or the recent statements made by David Moores. Neither is an especially appetizing topic, but the latter at least provides some insight as to the process by which Moores sold to the current owners, a decision which he admits he "hugely regrets." And without calling Tom Hicks a liar directly, he calls Tom Hicks a liar (from the Guardian link above):
"We had looked at George Gillett's affairs in detail and he came up to scratch. To a great extent, we took Tom Hicks on trust, on George's say-so … [our offer] was laid out in unambiguous terms … the document pledged that there would be no debt placed on the club and significant funds would be made available for investment in the squad and the new stadium.
"It has been hard for me, sitting mute on the sidelines as the club I love suffers one blow after another … I call upon them [Hicks and Gillett] to stand back, accept their role in the club's current demise and stand aside with dignity."
Obviously this has been wholly endorsed by the anti-Hicks/Gillett contigent of Liverpool fans (read: all Liverpool fans), but I think it's coming a little late. I understand the shame Moores feels, but at the current time I don't know that anything is going to help Tom Hicks or George Gillett grasp the amount of trouble they've caused. Hopefully at this point the process of standing back is already underway.
The other aforementioned piece of news is focused on Fernando Torres and the black hole of despair he's cast his Liverpool future into today. We heard the same stuff with Steven Gerrard two days ago, and it was as much fear-mongering then as it is today. More than anything, it strikes me as standard responses that are likely mandated by their respective managers, which has already been confirmed by Fabio Capello and the England camp.
So that's that for now, please feel free to comment or spark discussion below. I'm sure there will be something to report in the next few days, and I'll be scrambling to a computer to get something up. But if there is discussion or commenting, please make sure it's halfway decent and intelligible, and regular visitors have been fantastic at doing so. If it somehow delves in to talk about anything unsavory, I'll be forced to provide my wife with moderation privileges, at which point conversation will no doubt turn towards the latest celebrity pregnancy and which Grey's Anatomy character has an STD trifecta. You've been warned.
In the meantime, keep yourselves busy in the comments section or at any of the links below.
Take care all, see you Sunday.