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Monchengladbach 1, Liverpool 0: Betrayed by the Internet

Technically a neighbor's internet, but it's still an injustice.

Obviously this means that I missed out on the squad's last friendly, but from the sound of things, it was another forgettable performance that thankfully has no bearing on the club's season.

So I'm going to skip out on any sort of match reflection because: a) I'm a frontrunner and b) the only match-related media I've seen is Karim Matmour's 8th minute strike off a Diego Cavalieri/Dani Ayala calamity. And a picture of Joe Cole in a Liverpool shirt for the first time, which is pretty much just a short guy in a red shirt. Heart, be still.

But it seems like there were a few notes worth mentioning to come out of the kickabout today to go along with yesterday's surprise return of Fabio Aurelio. Briefly, then:

---Liverpool's starting eleven was: Cavalieri; Johnson, Carragher, Ayala, Insua; Ince, Gerrard, Shelvey, Eccleston; Cole Dalla Valle. Which is notable because it marks: the return of Liverpool's English internationals (picking up right where they left off---ZING!); the first starts for 18 year-old Jonjo Shelvey and Thomas Ince; the first start for new signing Joe Cole; a start for Emiliano Insua, who's all but left the club twice now. No word if Insua was wearing a Fiorentina shirt under his tracksuit after coming off. Seriously though, what the f*ck.

---The substitutions were also plenty interesting: Danny Wilson came on at the half to mark his Liverpool debut; Aurelio replaced Insua in some sort of metaphorical mind-melding substitution move from Roy Hodgson; and 15 year-old Raheem Sterling and Suso made their senior debuts late in the match. Not more than 10 minutes between the two youngsters, but it's a fine nod to the work being done in the academy and surely served as a reward for their success at the youth level.

---With no actual frame of reference I can't much comment on the match itself other than the 30-second clip of Monchengladbach's winner. I can safely say that it was a trampoline touch from Ayala and poor decision-making from Cavalieri. Ayala was facing goal, waiting to receive the pass, and thus had no idea Matmour was lying in wait. The young defender still could have taken a more careful touch, but the blood's just as much on Cavalieri's hands as it is on Ayala's.

---This thankfully ends the preseason run for Liverpool, and I couldn't be happier. Necessary for fitness and getting acquainted? Yes. Mind-numbing to both watch and write about? Most certainly. It's even driven me to ask questions that I plan on answering myself, which is both a literary and conversational device that I swore I would never use. Do I despise friendlies that much? ...........

As for the other news:

---As mentioned above, Fabio Aurelio marked his return with a substitute appearance in the 60th minute. Yesterday I wrote how happy I was about this signing, and I'm still elated. I think it's a shrewd bit of business and a fantastic piece of news ahead of the season---who knows what Insua's future is (today certainly didn't help clear things up), but Aurelio gives Liverpool a reliable option to start the season. By his own account he's been keeping fit, so we can hope that he's ready to go in two weeks' time. The fitness is really the only concern with Aurelio---he's not the fleetest of foot, but his technical ability and patience will be more than welcome, particularly on a left flank that will feature any number of wingers that look to get forward at every opportunity.

---Lastly, the fifth Backstreet Boy has graced us with his opinion on the Fernando Torres transfer saga, stating that he's "a little surprised" Torres didn't move to Chelsea. We've been dealing with this forever, but for some reason this makes me irrationally angry---even with a good chance that Villa might have been misquoted, it's likely based on conversations with Torres etc. etc. It's not even anger directed at Torres---most of it is probably Villa's facial hair and that fact that he's the guy from Man v. Food minus 150 lbs. We all know Adam Richman is much much cooler. Anyway, Villa can keep his opinions to himself, even if they are based on facts.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone---I'm going to put up an open thread late tonight that'll be filler for Monday and Tuesday. I'm driving back across the country starting tomorrow at 4:30am, so internet access will be scarce. I'll post in the comments section of that post as well as the Liverpool Offside Twitter page, so feel free to join in.

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