Two days away from the Anfield opener...I'm still very composed.
Apologies for the post later in the day, I'm out of town this weekend and have been shuttling between cousins-in-law's homes. Apparently they're not as into Liverpool as I am.
But we're just a day away from the official first day of the Premier League season and two days away from the Liverpool-Arsenal clash. And while I might be more excited for Liverpool to get underway, there's a good part of me that's just as excited for the rest of the league to get going. Something about waking up on Saturdays and Sundays, having a cup of coffee, and flipping through three different TV stations and an endless number of internet streams that just feels right.
As it pertains to the rest of the league, there's going to be a post coming up soon on the Premier League Offside main site that has season predictions from quite a few of the bloggers from the different teams. The effort was spearheaded by Jack from the Chelsea Offside and compiled by Rob at the Premier League site---it's a pretty impressive piece of work, and thanks first goes out to Jack for putting everything together and Rob for getting it posted. Like I said, up soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
Onto Liverpool, then. Somewhat surprisingly, there's little news ahead for a Friday before the league opener. First, there's this from the club regarding ownership:
Liverpool FC statement regarding the proposed sale of the club.
The Liverpool FC Board has reviewed a number of proposed bids for the club at a meeting held today.
The Board will continue to act in the best interests of Liverpool Football Club and its supporters, doing all that it can to ensure that the Club is ultimately sold to a buyer who has the resources and real commitment to give it a long-term, stable and secure funding position for its plans.
The sale process is continuing. However, its timing and outcome remain uncertain. In the meantime, we will not comment on rumour and speculation.
Oh, so that tells us nothing. I love that they won't comment on rumour and speculation, but they'll sure as shit publicize it in the f***ing Media Watch section on the website. Business FC, get on board!
Otherwise, the most popular news today isn't really even news---it's just the thoughts of Roy Hodgson on the ongoing Javier Mascherano transfer...thing. Not really a saga, since nobody is making that big of a deal out of it, but it is something.
Anyhow, Hodgson shared his thoughts on Masch's situation earlier today. Here's what he had to say, via the Daily Express:
"I don't want to let Javier Mascherano go. At the moment Javier has shown no signs of going. I work with him whenever I can. He came back fairly late from the World Cup and has been away on international duty but I suppose I've had seven or eight training sessions with him now.
"We talk about football and he has made no indication [about wanting a move] since our very early meeting when he made it clear where, if possible, he would prefer to leave. Since then he has been getting on with his work, training properly, and as far as I am concerned he is a Liverpool player and will be until the day someone signs him - and that day does not seem to be imminent.
"It is not a question of Christian replacing Javier, I believe Javier is going to play for us. We didn't take Christian to replace anyone, we took him in because we wanted to improve the size and quality of our squad. I am happy to have both players; we are going to have a lot of games to play this year, hopefully, and we are going to need a lot of players."
All things considered, a pretty comprehensive overview of the situation by Hodgson. It might not give any many specifics about the rumors we heard yesterday (£12 million + Alexander Hleb), but it does clarify that Hodgson is well aware that depth in central midfield could be an issue. I still don't expect Masch to be with the squad for an entire season, but given that he was registered for the Europa League squad, it seems Hodgson and the club are moving forward with Masch in the squad. Given the Balotelli sale to City, though, Inter may re-enter the picture and present a little better package.
Will we see him Sunday? I still don't think so---at this point you'd say it's not entirely due to the likelihood of a move away from the club, maybe more so due to lack of fitness after returning to training late. But I'm not thrilled about a player not wanting to be with Liverpool playing for Liverpool---yes, yes, he's a professional and all that, it's not Liverpool---it's England, but I'm just not a big advocate of relying on someone's "professionalism" when so much attention is on the club.
As I said, that really does it for Liverpool-related news on the day. To be honest, I prefer it this way. When I think back to the hoopla of last season and the circus that surrounded nearly every matchday, a quiet lead-in is just what the doctor ordered. Or maybe it just seems quiet in contrast, and the room around me is actually on fire. Like that sweet Eminem video.
I'll be putting up a match preview tomorrow, so in the meantime I want to get your take on three questions. I know we sort of covered the first a few days back, but I don't think tomorrow shakes out as a "best eleven" situation for any number of reasons. For all, answer at your own peril.
1. Who will start for Liverpool?
2. What's the most important factor for the Reds?
3. Who's going to win and what's going to be the scoreline?
Take care everyone, back tomorrow. Or you can follow Twitter, when you can see my self-loathing unfold in a more consistent manner.