It's Wednesday, do you know when the international competition you're vaguely interested in because of club connections kicks off...?
* Earlier in the week I said that England's u17s, with Raheem Sterling starring, kicked off their second group match against Canada on Thursday at midnight in England. I may have lied. Or at least I believed LFCtv when they said it was on Thursday at midnight GMT and didn't give it any further thought. Because normally when the club's official website tells you the day and time of a match you just smile and nod. Or something.
Well, it's actually today at midnight in England that it kicks off—12:00 PM, 2400 hours, the last second of Wednesday night, or whatever you want to call it. Or maybe that actually is tomorrow and 11:59:59 is the last second of the day. It's a little confusing, though I suspect most would intuitively think of midnight later tonight as being part of tonight and not tomorrow. Or something. In any case, for those on the east coast of North America that means seven in the evening today, and for the east coast of Australia it'll be nine in the morning on Thursday. Everybody got that straight? Not really? Good, that's what we strive for.
Presumably the person who listed the game on the official site pulled their info from FIFA's official site, which lists European time. Where the game does indeed start at one in the morning of what is unquestionably Thursday. If you don't have access to it on your television box, MyP2P, StopStream, and ATDHE all have what you need to get your fix. And if you're looking to make a day of it, the u21 European Championships semi-finals also run today, with Spain v. Belarus kicking off at 5PM GMT/12 noon EST and Switzerland v. Czech Republic starting at 8PM GMT/3PM EST. So, yeah, you've got some football to get to today if you've been missing it.
* And speaking of the under 17s, A Liverpool Thing does some actual digging when he talks of the need for keeping expectations in check. He brings up past u17 World Cup stars from recent years, names like Giovanni dos Santos and former Liverpool prospect Sinama Pongolle, players who dominated in their age group yet failed to develop into senior stars due to physical disadvantages or a lack of playing time in their developmental years. Regular readers will know the issue of putting too much pressure and too big a workload on talented kids too early is one that comes up around here every now and then, from earlier in the week to earlier in the year, but there's of course more to taking the next step as a talented starlet than not being overexposed before you're ready, and it's good to get somebody talking about why everybody needs to hold back from getting too excited by anything Sterling or any other Liverpool player does at the tournament from a slightly different angle.
* Meanwhile, Steven Gerrard has gotten a little more bullish over the past few weeks since he last talked of tempering expectations and hoping for a top four finish. Liverpool's captain recently talked about the potential for summer signings and the signal sent by FSG with their determination to get Jordan Henderson even if the cost was high, seeing it as a sign that they're willing to do what it takes to get Liverpool back on a level playing field with United and their over rivals—and quickly. Queue "Gerrard expects more big signings" talk any minute now, but in the meantime, he also gets into his fitness issues and hopes for the future personally:
My injury's coming on well and I can't wait for the season to start. There's still a lot of time for me to achieve bigger and better things. I'd like to finish my career with a few more trophies.
I always look at the 35 marker. If I get there and I'm still involved with Liverpool I'll be delighted but at the moment I'm feeling as good as ever.
I've had time to get my body right, get my body strong. I'm still four or five weeks away from playing a game but I believe I'll come back in better physical condition than I've ever been.
As much as at times we do mention his occasional lapses in discipline and a need to attempt the spectacular when the merely pedestrian might be the smart choice, it's hard to argue that Gerrard isn't Liverpool's best player of the Premier League era, and if he is indeed fit and ready to go it will be a huge boost to the club after he spent much of last year on the sidelines. It's also worth considering that some of his struggles in recent years with form and fitness could be improved, despite that he's getting older as a player, by this extended absence he's been forced to take. With summer tournaments and international commitments and football nearly year round for most professionals, that's a lot of wear and tear for somebody who plays the way Gerrard does. Here's hoping that his enforced holiday will do him, and the club, a world of good.
Well, that about does it for today. We'll be camped out on the Liverpool Offside's Twitter watching some of that footbally stuff mentioned earlier, so feel free to let us know what you think of the action—or let us know we're idiots, as the case may be. And in case you don't read the comments—and you really should, since they're half the fun of this place—as LucasLeiva211 pointed out yesterday, we've got the Copa America coming up on July 1st to help get us through the summer along with the current underage competitions, and the forthcoming South American international cup has a Youtube channel where they will be streaming the games live to much of the world. So that's something to keep in mind while you wait for Gerrard to fully recover from surgery and club football to return. But in the meantime...
1May not in fact be the real Lucas Leiva.