Today we learn that Alberto Aquilani's agent probably doesn't have trismus, writing about groins in a semi- serious manner is harder than you'd think, and Dirk Kuyt likes to sit in the lotus position and chant Om Namah Shivaya. All that awesomeness and more in today's news and notes, a Hans Moleman production...
* Over the weekend we learned that Steven Gerrard was set to be out until at least mid-Septempber due to a deep infection in the tissues surrounding the sight of surgery to repair his damaged groin muscles. Given the time that had passed since the initial surgery and the depth of infection at the site, not to mention the fact that he was kept in hospital while doctors attempted to treat the infection, there were legitimate reasons to fear for the long-term fitness of Liverpool's captain. However, baring any further developments, the initial results of treatment are quite positive according to Kenny Dalglish:
Steven won't be too far away. The tests that have come back are far better than what was anticipated, so we are delighted by that. We've had some very positive news and will just wait for the progress to continue.
We've had positive news but the date [of return] the club has stated remains the same.
It's not a surprise the club wants him fully recovered from these latest complications before throwing him into the fray, so that even with the best case scenario coming to pass he'll still miss the first month of the season is hardly unexpected. Still, when you're talking hospitalisation for major infection at the site of a months-old surgery, it's hard to imagine a better outcome than the one passed along by Dalglish, which makes it very good news under the circumstances.
* For those wanting to go deeper into the Alberto Aquilani situation in an attempt to make sense of it all, recent statements may offer some clarity when it comes to figuring out where things currently stand. Kenny Dalglish at least seems as though he would like to have the Italian around, though he doesn't sound bullish on the prospects of keeping him, saying among other things that “Alberto is a very good footballer full stop, irrespective of where he is playing.”
More than anything he seems resigned to the idea that Aquilani won't be playing for Liverpool this season, though recent comments—as well as those made prior to his return praising the Italian—would seem to make it clear that that isn't because the manager doesn't rate the player.
Meanwhile, of course, Aquilani's agent has continued his ongoing dialogue through the press:
I think an agreement could be reached for a figure around 10million euros. Aquilani is still tied to a three-year contract with Liverpool and before his eventual departure we will talk with the leadership of Liverpool. It seems clear to me that the player doesn't fall into the technical plans of the coach, so the suggestion of his departure is concrete.
Given that Dalglish and John Henry have both publicly praised Aquilani, suggesting they value what he brings to the club, the agent's final sentiments come across as disingenuous at best. Aquilani's talent seems clear to everybody watching from afar, and nothing said by the current leadership of Liverpool Football Club suggests those closest to the situation would disagree with that general sentiment. Combined with the recently revealed video of Comolli and Aquilani talking in a hotel lobby that was discussed by Mardia, Jerod, lfc80uk, and others in the comments yesterday—video that, while of low quality, clearly shows an at times heated conversation between the two men and Aquilani suggesting that some club other than Liverpool is where he'd rather be—the situation begins to flesh itself out.
Somewhere between Christian Purslow using him as a convenient scapegoat and shipping him off and his fiance giving birth to his first child in Italy, it appears that Aquilani decided that a future at Liverpool was out of the question, and at the end of the day that appears to be the end of the conversation as far as he or his agent are concerned.
* Shifting back to concerns on the pitch from concerns off it, after the at times shaky showing against the Valerenga reserves on Monday, Dirk Kuyt took to the microphone to do his part perpetuating the calming it's only preseason mantra:
I'm not concerned as it's still pre-season. If we beat [Sunderland] in our first game then it's been a good pre-season for us.
We have to do a little bit more to be ready for the league but we still have time to work on things. We had a good trip to Asia, we've all worked hard and the next step is to put that into the games. We have another practice game on Saturday to put things right.
I'm sure if we do that a little bit better in the next game then we will be ready for Sunderland.
The rest of the Liverpool obsessed world will remain hopeful but skeptical, since while the results of preseaon may matter little, it is nonetheless an exercise in building towards a new season and there have been precious few signs of Liverpool building towards much of anything through five of the six summer friendlies so far.
That wraps things up for today, and Ed will be around tomorrow to help you through the rest of the week as we approach the final preseason match against Valencia on Saturday. In the meantime, while we try to figure out if we want our slogan to be, "Your daily source for updates on Steven Gerrard's groin," or, "Your daily source for updates on Alberto Aquilani's agent"...