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Saturday Grab Bag: News, Notes, and Open Thread

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Not quite the grab bag I had in mind.

With Liverpool not in action until Monday, this has all the makings of a slower than usual weekend, even though there's a full slate of matches kicking off shortly. But if we're wearing the rose-tinted European qualification glasses, there's a good possibility bad things could happen to people that we don't like. Spurs are playing Stoke City after a tough loss midweek at Madrid, where Harry Redknapp's side were left with only Ray Wilkins' brilliantly generic jingoism to console them. And if I know Tony Pulis like I think I don't, there's a good chance he'll be wearing a tracksuit and an ill-fitting cap, and his side will come to White Hart Lane expecting to get something out of the match.

Of course, there's also the likelihood that much like recent news of Liverpool's fitness, you'll be left massively disappointed and unsure that life as you know it can carry on. The upside is that, in a season like this one, your ways of coping are already finely tuned. Your liver maybe not so much.

Anyhow, as usual, a couple bits of news floating around as the day kicks off from a Liverpool perspective:

* After Noel's piece about Kenny Dalglish yesterday afternoon, which included the usual quality both from Noel and the folks that joined the discussion, come this bit from Rory Smith at the Telegraph (who really is very good when he's not sending our readers into near catatonic states about the possibility of missing Liverpool's 19th league title) regarding the transition of Dalglish's role as caretaker to permanent manager:

It had been feared FSG — who had been expected to confirm Dalglish’s ascension after promoting Damien Comolli to director of football and Ian Ayre to managing director last month — were wavering over whether to hand Dalglish the post, but Sam Kennedy, the group’s president, insists nothing could be further from the truth.

“The conversations are happening now with the appropriate people,” he said. “Ian Ayre, Damien Comolli and the ownership. But I do think [Dalglish] has provided a great lift. He is a wonderful man, passionate about the club.”

News that, while still somewhat far from being final, was more or less on the horizon. Even if there's been times at which it seemed like FSG were dragging their heels, I don't know that I've ever sat back and thought that they'd consider any other candidate after the way the last few months have gone. Yes, there's rightly questions to be asked, as there should be of any manager at any club, but in many regards Dalglish's presence has been immeasurably important in a season that was destined to go down as one of the more troubling and chaotic in the club's recent history.

* There's some thoughts from Dirk Kuyt about Andy Carroll that are a few days old but relevant nonetheless as Monday creeps nearer, and they're focused on the need for the front man to receive fairer treatment:

"I thought the referee was right with the two penalty decisions but it appears that referees have problems with things our strikers are doing – it was the same with Fernando [Torres]. Every time they go up in the air, they seem to have free-kicks given against them and I don't think the way Andy was treated was very fair.

"It is very frustrating as you see strikers on other teams doing exactly the same thing yet they don't get punished. It's difficult to understand sometimes and referees need to look at the situation. That's why Andy was so frustrated during the game. He felt he should have got a couple of free-kicks. We spoke to him just to try and help him calm down."

There's little to argue over in what Kuyt's saying, particularly that bit about Martin Atkinson being a wormy-looking little twat and a horrible referee. Or maybe that's a bit of a stretch. Point being, Andy Carroll did get the shit kicked out of him on Saturday, and he'll continue to be on the receiving end so long as: a) he reacts angrily to it, and b) there's a lack of consistency in the manner in which fouls are called in aerial challenges.

The first point is obviously the one that Liverpool and Andy Caroll are more in control of, and it's the one that was fairly concerning last Saturday. Prior to disappearing (with an assist from Atkinson), it looked as though he'd have a second yellow, his walking papers, and a good chunk of Jonas Olsson's flesh before the 35 minute mark. It's nothing to panic over just yet, but certainly an area of growth for a young player with an established reputation as a bit of a hothead that also happens to be carrying a decently healthy weight of expectation.

So that's that, and please feel free to use the rest of the day to knock around in the comments section if you're so inclined, and if you find yourself without TV on the day and still want to watch any of the day's matches, pay a visit to MyP2P, Atdhenet, or FromSport. If anything else on the Liverpool front rears its head later in the day I'll stop back by, but otherwise I'll be back for the preview tomorrow morning.

Until then, I'll be riding in my Fiat, you really have to see it:

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