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Christian Poulsen Signs; Masch Wants England Exit

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Looks like Peter Brukner, for one, is absolutely thrilled.

From the official website:

Liverpool FC are delighted to confirm the signing of Christian Poulsen after the midfielder put pen to paper on a three-year deal.

The 30-year-old, who has been capped 77 times by Denmark, arrives from Italian giants Juventus and will wear the No.28 shirt.

Poulsen has previously worked with Roy Hodgson at FC Copenhagen, where he was given his first big break by the current Reds boss.

A statement from Juventus has the transfer at £4.5 million, with another £1.2 million payable contingent on any special achievements during the spell of his contract. Another piece of pretty shrewd business, although if I'm honest I don't know that this changes anything about the starting eleven I prefer to see. And in that case, £4.5 million for a defensive midfielder that fits around 3rd or 4th on the list of names I'd like to see in central midfield doesn't sound all that great.

But it does give plenty of depth in central midfield, and it assures that when Roy Hodgson wants to lock a match down he'll have the personnel. Of course, it's quite possible that Hodgson wants him to play straightaway---I'd be shocked if immediately displaced any of the midfield regulars, but he's experienced on the continent and has a reputation as a strong, no-holds barred defensive mid, and there's always room for a player who's willing to go all out.

A quick question, then: Does the Poulsen signing change anything about your preferred eleven? Pretty good set of comments on the post the other day, and only a handful had Poulsen in. For those that didn't, does he work his way in now? Still no for me, but we'll see.

Today (or late yesterday) we also heard from the man Poulsen is ostensibly replacing---Javier Mascherano opted for the "it's not you, it's me" explanation for wanting away from Liverpool. In full, via the above link:

"The only thing I want to say is I don't have nothing against the Liverpool supporters, the Liverpool people. My problem is not to play for Liverpool. I'm very proud to play for Liverpool. It's another thing.

"I said to him (new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson) that maybe for my life I prefer to change the country, not to change the club - that is the fact. Sometimes you can see all the things that the papers or the press say, but at the end the only thing I can say is thank you to everyone in Liverpool because they supported me all the time, from the beginning until now.''

Even though I make light of it, it seems like he does have a genuine caring for the club and, as we all know, was rarely short of passion while on the pitch. And by all accounts England is not a place that's easy to adjust to---the rumors last season involved something similar, if I remember. It doesn't change the fact that no deal has been done, but it does confirm that it's highly unlikely we'll see Masch in a Liverpool shirt again. Which we already knew. Now we...know extra.

Anyway, there's also that full set of friendlies to report on, which isn't really something that lights a fire under my ass. Quickly:

--Steven Gerrard had the glamour performance for Liverpool's internationals, netting both of England's goals in the 2-1 win against Hungary. England weren't exactly overwhelming, but a vintage strike from distance and fine bit of footwork and control (better than Messi!) in the box gave England the victory. He played 82 minutes **grumble** and Glen Johnson played a full 90 **GRUMBLE** I guess that's why they have trainers...

---Daniel Agger also played a full 90 for Denmark as they fought their way back to draw with Germany 2-2.

---Masch captained Argentina to a 1-0 win over Ireland, with Angel di Maria netting the only goal of the match.

---Martin Skrtel put in a full shift for Slovakia in their draw with Croatia. Go Slovakia.

---Milan Jovanovic played 65 minutes (finally!) in Serbia's 1-0 loss to Greece. Sotirios Kyrgiakos played the first half for the winners. No news on how many Serbian skulls he cracked, but I think it's safe to assume it's in the neighborhood of four.

So that's that for the day---a new signing, we're extra sure that Masch wants to leave, and all of the internationals come back fully fit. Enjoy your Thursday.