The 20 players traveling to the Alps are named...
And as expected, it's missing all the big names from the World Cup.
But it does have a few players that participated in South Africa---Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Milan Jovanovic are in---and it's also got plenty of recognizable names from the first team last season. The squad in full:
Diego Cavalieri, Alberto Aquilani, Albert Riera, Lucas Leiva, Emiliano Insua, David Ngog, Jay Spearing, Philipp Degen, Stephen Darby, Martin Kelly, Peter Gulacsi, Steven Irwin, Nathan Eccleston, Daniel Ayala, Martin Hansen, David Amoo, Lauri Dalla Valle, Thomas Ince, Jonjo Shelvey, Victor Palsson, Sotirios Kyrgiakos, Milan Jovanovic
There's two new names to watch for---Jonjo Shelvey, the 18 year-old from Charlton, and the previously mentioned Jovanovic. We've also got plenty of young talent to watch---anyone who's followed the youth academy and reserves with any sort of regularity will recognize names like Jay Spearing, Nathan Eccleston, Stevie Irwin, David Amoo, Lauri Dalla Valle, and Thomas Ince. It's also missing two of the more prominent younger names, however: Dani Pacheco, who's currently with the Spanish U-19's in Vienna, and Krisztian Nemeth, who's been rumored to be on his way out.
The recognizable first team names aren't completely shocking, but there's a handful of players in the squad that have been linked elsewhere at one time or another. We've seen Emiliano Insua, Lucas, David Ngog, and Albert Riera mentioned in the "on their way out" discussion, with Insua in the papers today for a move to Fiorentina. I know, it's the Mail, but it's been rumored for awhile and, unfortunately, being named in the squad for training doesn't necessarily mean that he'll be around for the start of the Premier League season. That goes for many of the names in and out the squad, I suppose---outside of those just arriving at the club, there's no guarantees that we'll see the above names at the club's various levels.
The one major moderating factor regarding training, at least for me, is the presence of Roy Hodgson. That sounds stupidly obvious, and it is, but I'm anxious to see how he approaches the training and preparation for the squad. You can't make too many conclusions from such matches, particularly when there's no less than 10 regular first-teamers missing. Plus, Andriy Voronin was a preseason legend.
But I think this also gives Hodgson a chance to start to impart some sort of style on the squad. Fitness is the primary goal here, and we all know that Liverpool doesn't need any additional injury concerns prior to the season, but I'm guessing we'll have a few flashes of a definitive style of play. I'm also hopeful that there's holdover with some of the younger faces---we regularly saw the young talent in the preseason in seasons past, but once the actual season came around they were ghosts. Likely a product of lack of readiness, but a few of the names (Dalla Valle and Amoo in particular) have been around long enough to be in the running for a first team spot relatively soon.
With news on training set, the other piece of business is the injury Fernando Torres suffered during the closing minutes of Sunday's final against Holland. It looked plenty bad when he hit the turf, and for Liverpool supporters it was a sight all to familiar. But he was able to join the celebrations and seemed to be enjoying himself, so there was at least a glimmer of hope for his fitness.
And the glimmer seemed to have brightened a bit earlier in the day, with the injury being classified as a "grade one tear of the left thigh." My first reaction when reading the word "tear" was not a good one, but after the screaming and crying subsided, I did a little casual research (read: finished the article). Grade one is certainly not the worst thing in the world, mostly consisting of minor tears in the muscle.
While writing, however, the official site released a statement from the medical team that included the following:
"He had an MRI scan yesterday which confirmed a small tear. He should be able to resume training within two to three weeks and be able to play again within three to four weeks."
It's titled "Torres Injury Boost," and it's not entirely separate from the news earlier in the day. But it does cast a shadow over the possibility that he'll be available for the Premier League opener against Arsenal on August 15th. And it definitely rules him out of the Europa League qualifier, which will take place in a few short weeks, with the club learning their opponent after the draw this Friday.
After a summer filled with exit rumors, the news on Torres' injury isn't great. But we were never going to learn his fate immediately after the World Cup and the injury news isn't completely terrible. And with meaningful matches on the horizon, we'll actually have Liverpool football to focus on soon.