Full slate today with one already in the books. Whoopee.
Briefly, because nothing brings me more joy than shipping the first-team regulars all over creation four days before the start of league and Arsenal's visit. There's little to write about regarding Liverpool anyhow, but I might even take some transfer rumors to avoid these pillow fights. International friendlies, catch the fever!
Brazil 2, USA 0
Lucas put in a full shift(!) for Brazil as they breezed past the US with relative ease. I caught bits and pieces of the match, but didn't see enough of Lucas to make any sort of conclusion about how he played. Had to be seen as a big boost for him, though, after missing out on the World Cup squad. It'll be interesting to see how he fits into the national side's plans if he has a good season for Liverpool. There's no shortage of talent for Mano Menezes to select, but if Lucas strings together a solid year I'd guess he has a shot to becoming a regular selection.
Ukraine v. Netherlands
Both Dirk Kuyt and Ryan Babel were left out of the squad to face the Ukraine, and only backup goalkeeper Michel Vorm was retained from the World Cup runners-up. This is a strategy I can get behind. Well done, Bert van Marwijk, even if it has little to do with the Premier League season.
England v. Hungary
Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson are both in the squad today to face Hungary---the former has been in the news plenty the past few days, most notably for proclaiming that England deserve to be booed. Not that anyone was waiting for his go-ahead, but refreshing to hear that he's still got at least one foot on solid ground after announcing that Joe Cole > Lionel Messi. The short Jesus, incidentally, was left out of Fabio Capello's squad, which includes a bevy of younger talent.
Ireland v. Argentina
Javier Mascherano will lead Sergio Batista's first squad into the new Aviva Stadium in Dublin to face Ireland, and midfielder/winger Maxi Rodriguez will also be in the mix. Hopefully the Mascherano thing takes off in some direction after the friendlies wrap up---it's almost a nuisance at this point to write about him. No news on Maxi after some earlier rumors about his departure, and after featuring in the match against Rabotnicki I'm hoping he's sticking around.
Slovakia v. Croatia
Ninja Skrtel is in the squad to face Slaven Bilic's Croatia, and I'd expect to see him put in at least a half today. So...yeah. Go Slovakia.
Serbia v. Greece
Both Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Milan Jovanovic were named in their respective sides, and it's the only friendly on the docket that could see Liverpool players face off against each other. Both featured heavily in their teams' World Cup matches, so I expect to see both for a spell today as well. Hopefully Jovanovic wears a helmet if he and Kyrgiakos are on the pitch at the same time.
Denmark v. Germany
The big news here is that Christian Poulsen has apparently withdrawn from the squad in order to push the Liverpool deal through. It's not done as of writing, but as with the other transfer rumors, I'd expect things to pick up in the next couple of days. Daniel Agger is back in manager Morten Olsen's squad, and they'll have their work cut out for them against a young German side.
Spain v. Mexico
Really no option for Fernando Torres to be included---he's still a major doubt for the weekend, and I couldn't have seen any circumstances that would have led the Walrus to call him up. News that Pepe Reina is also injured has emerged, but it's hard to say if it's a real injury or just a conveniently-timed training ground knock. I'm sure he'll be ready to go come Sunday.
That's it (I think) for the Liverpool players we may or may not see in action today. As usual, coming through fully fit is the order of the day---no need for anyone to break into a sprint, challenge for a 50-50 ball, or do anything that requires more than a 60% effort.
Hopefully back with more Liverpool-focused news later in the day or tomorrow morning---all we have right now is Jamie Carragher talking about his hope to finish his career at the club and West Brom's continued pursuit of David Ngog. Not much to say about either---the first piece was never really a doubt, and I can't see the second panning out considering there's a paucity of options behind Fernando Torres.
Anyhow, try to enjoy the matches today, even if you spend it cursing FIFA, like me.