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World Cup Quarterfinals, Ownership, and Player Reactions to Hodgson

A little bit of everything this morning as Argentina and Germany square off.

Starting with a brief clarification---yesterday when I mentioned that the sale of Yossi Benayoun amplified the need for a left winger, I completely blew past mentioning Milan Jovanovic. It wasn't because I don't think he'll have a shot in the starting eleven, rather a product of focusing more on what Liverpool have at the current moment. Which, as I did mention yesterday, is not exactly their deepest position.

You have to figure that Jovanovic comes in ahead of both Albert Riera and Ryan Babel on the depth chart---Riera for obvious reasons (including punching Dani Pacheco, as Grubb mentioned yesterday) and Babel for those mentioned yesterday (inconsistency in attitude and performance). But I don't know that he's an absolute lock for the starting eleven, and I still think that Liverpool have to search for another wide creative option before the end of the transfer window. Whether that's strictly a left-sided midfielder or a floater, there's plenty of work to be done.

Anyhow, that's business to be settled later. As for the World Cup, we saw both Uruguay and Holland progress yesterday, both in dramatic fashion. The only Liverpool face in action was Dirk Kuyt, who again put in a full shift and again provided killer service for a Wesley Sneijder goal. It was Kuyt's flicked-on header from a corner in the 68th minute that Sneijder headed home for the winner as the Dutch upset favorites Brazil. I think Kuyt easily has a shout as one of Liverpool's most influential representatives at the World Cup. Of the 12 involved, he will have logged the most minutes, provided at least 2 assists, scored at least one goal, and, depending on what happens today (Argentina down 1-0 at the time of writing), progressed furthest in the competition. I really do marvel at Kuyt, which is a far departure from my feelings about him in seasons past. Simply put, he's been able to get it done regardless of circumstance.

The other piece of news that continues to be reported, as mentioned in the title, is the sale of the club. Martin Broughton and Roy Hodgson have both commented on the sale process in the past few days, with the former stating that he still expects a deal to be done by the end of August and is looking for a first round of bids to start "the middle of July-ish...and we are on course, pretty well, with where we would have expected to be."

And while Hodgson stated that Liverpool fans "want new ownership, maybe in the way Manchester City found new ownership," I don't know that it's what the club needs. In all fairness I think Hodgson was speaking in jest about the current situation, and his later comments about the club "being backed the way we think it should be backed" is much more important. Billions of pounds injected into the club would be great, but stability and competence are critical.

Lastly, the appointment of Roy Hodgson has obviously brought about questions regarding the current squad members' feelings, and we've heard from a few in the past couple of days. As with Hodgson's first interview, it's typically the standard stuff you come to expect---looking forward to getting training started, can't wait to get to know him better, I hope he doesn't grow a goatee, etc. etc.

Jamie Carragher and Dirk Kuyt have both contributed to the cliché rockpile, and the former has also stated that he plans to have both Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres in Standard Chartered shirts (IT'S A NEW ERA PEOPLE) for the 2010-2011 campaign. And the captain has also made comments on Hodgson's arrival, reporting that he felt it was the right move for the club. I'm actually surprised that more hasn't been made of his comments---he never actually spoke of any personal connection with the decision and spoke more about how good it was for Liverpool. So, naturally, he's gone.

That about does it for today, other than the Spain v. Paraguay match later today. Interesting to see how del Bosque handles the starting eleven after his comments yesterday. For what it's worth, I fully expect Fernando Torres to come good and finish a chance sometime soon, so hopefully we see that today.

Take care all, I'm off to spray golf balls around the mountains of central Idaho and get ravaged by mosquitoes the size of birds. Nature!

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