The season's almost here, and it's time for every Liverpool fan to talk of how, if things fall just right, this could be the year. Like Fabio Aurelio's bones and muscles and tendons and ligaments, hoping for everything to turn out perfectly is probably asking just a bit too much. Still, it's a new season, the mood is upbeat, and if there was ever a time to give in and embrace overly ambitious hopes and dreams then this is that time…
* One of the more important takeaways from the match against Valencia on Saturday was that Fabio Aurelio is in fact alive and hadn't fallen down a well, breaking his clavicle in thirty-seven places, tearing both ACLs, and suffering a debilitating tearing of his pinkie nail along the way. He had, however, picked up a calf injury Fowler knows where that had kept him out of preseason training until last week, which yet again speaks to both his fragile nature as well as his ability to perform at a level higher than almost any other left back in the league when he is fit, without any apparent need to work back up to match speed or fitness. And while it might be too much to hope for a season of relative health for the classy Brazilian, Aurelio at least hopes that a reduced schedule with the club out of Europe might allow him to contribute more consistently:
This season we have our games mostly once a week so it could be a good season for me to have a run of games and fill that gap.
I had an injury to my calf at the beginning of pre-season so I've been working in the gym and on the bike. I have been involved with the team in the last week.
I'm very pleased to have time on the pitch, especially because I felt very well. It was a good test after just one week with the team. Physically I didn't feel behind the others.
When he's fit, he's class. And maybe this is finally the year for Liverpool's Mister Glass. But sadly, it almost certainly isn't, no matter if the club manages to acquire a fullback as the transfer window works towards its close. If he does end up injured almost immediately once again, hopefully he won't seek to take out his frustrations on Liverpool's unbreakable Dirk Kuyt.
* Looking a little further ahead, Manchester United's ticket allotment for the match at Anfield on October 15 has been cut from 3,015 to 1,965 in the wake of problems in recent years with their fans persistently standing. This is a decision largely driven by the city council, whose licensing committee is responsible for granting the permits the club requires to operate. It is also worth noting that closing one of the Anfield Road stands to United supporters for the forthcoming match isn't for standing per se. Instead, it's for obstructing the aisles and other non-seating areas while ignoring instructions from stewards to move back into their seats, something that does not happen to anywhere near the same degree with visiting supporters of other clubs or with Liverpool's own supporters in the Kop end even if they too may be persistently standing.
However, even if one accepts that United fans are worse than most in this regard—an argument bolstered by a number of cases where their away allocation has been slashed around the Premier League in recent seasons as they look to take their "We'll do what we want" chant to heart—it's hard to ignore that part of the cause for this problem is with the stadium itself, as the back rows of the lower Anfield Road stand are partially obstructed to begin with. Add in fans standing in the lower rows, and those partially obstructed seats become almost fully obstructed, leading to frustrated supporters moving into the aisles in an attempt to watch the match. As stadium manager Ged Poynton said of the situation, "It may be people do not like their seat but they are told in advance there is an obstructed view. They are happy to buy that ticket and then when they get to the ground they take it into their own hands.”
*For those who somehow missed that the preseason is over and a new campaign upon us, Sunderland blog the Roker Report1 is getting in on the leading up to the first match of the season action right quick, breaking down how they see the game on Saturday setting up from a Sunderland perspective. While a number of their assumptions when it comes to Liverpool don't ring entirely true, particularly in the need to shoehorn every new signing into the starting eleven and go from there, the more interesting angle is of course in how they see Sunderland setting up and which of their own players they think will play key rolls. In short, expect defensive security and counter-attacking football. In long, go read the article.
With the season upon us, we'll be starting to ramp things up to full speed again here at the Liverpool Offside. But in the meantime, it turns out you've been dead all along…
1We are unable to confirm at this time if their blog is named in honour of the all powerful weatherman Al Roker or not.