As much fun as the United match was, it's almost time to start looking ahead to the Europa league clash against Braga on Thursday. On that front, Ed will be along later today with the match preview, but in the meantime there's plenty of stuff being talked about around the internet that would be of interest from a Liverpool point of view, starting with some potentially major developments on the Hillsborough front...
* By far the biggest news this week is that the Hillsborough Independent Panel that was convened last year by the government to study all evidence of the disaster has declared they will examine documents from after the previous 3:15PM cut off on the afternoon it took place.
This marks the first time ever that an official investigative body will consider evidence after that point, which includes an extended period where 44 ambulances were prevented by police from entering the stadium to assist victims. During the initial inquiry in 1991, Sheffield coroner Dr. Stefan Popper set 3:15 as the time of the final death at the stadium, a cut off point that has stood to this day and a decision that absolves the police of any responsibility should their subsequent decision to hold back the ambulances have resulted in preventable deaths. This has always been a major point of contention for those fighting for justice--not to mention the cornerstone for accusations of a government cover-up--as there are numerous reports of victims surviving until at least 4PM, a full forty-five minutes after paramedics were first kept away by police.
Any findings from the panel aren't expected until 2012, so this is hardly an issue likely to be wrapped up any time soon, but it's exceptionally encouraging that for the first time ever an official investigation of the disaster has suggested they are willing to look beyond what has always seemed a disgustingly self-serving and arbitrary mark in time.
* Elsewhere, in news that's surprising only in that it's surprisingly unsurprising, Fabio Aurelio will miss at least a month with a hamstring tear. Previously he had been dealing with an adductor problem, and while I don't know what the hell an adductor is, I'm fairly certain it isn't a hamstring. Which just goes to show that Aurelio really is Liverpool's Mister Glass, a man so fragile he must make geriatrics with calcium deficiencies thank their lucky stars they don't have his constitution. It also goes to show that I'm probably not a doctor, but that's another story entirely.
One could almost understand if it was a case of him re-aggravating the previous injury, as players coming back too soon from one knock or another is hardly unusual in sport, but this is a case of him playing for all of fifteen minutes before picking up an entirely unrelated rupture of something or other when nobody had so much as breathed on him. As always with Aurelio, the constant refrain is that it's such a shame he could never stay fit, as on his day he always seemed to have the talent and poise to be one of the best left backs in the world.
* And over on Anfield Road, there's a bit of time taken to reflect on the way Roy Hodgson managed to pave the way for Kenny Dalglish and something resembling unity amongst the fans, a situation that might not have been able to take place without him. I suppose that's a textbook definition of damning with faint praise if I've ever seen it. Still, that doesn't make it any less true, as a borderline competent hire by Purslow &co. likely would have been around until at least the summer, almost certainly ruling out a return for Dalglish. There's also room for a couple of shots at the London media types that the Hodgson hire was pandering to, and anybody who's been reading this blog for a while knows I'm a fan of that sort of thing.
I would, however, have to quibble with the suggestion that Manuel Pellegrini would have only been a competent hire. I wouldn't trade Dalglish for him as things stand now, but I suspect I will always remain convinced that he could have been the right man for the job.
Or: You can take your unity and shove it. Love, The People's Republic of Pellegrini.
In the meantime, while you wonder if constantly dealing with doctors might be the most profitable course of action for a constantly injured fullback, since at some point it almost seems more likely that an Amish school official must be slipping something into his water...