There was a full moon last night, which might go some way to explaining why every former Liverpool player within shouting distance of two turntables and a microphone decided it was time to talk about their former club. Either that or they turned into to werewolves—I have a hard time keeping stuff like that straight. Whatever the case, there's plenty to get to today, plus hamstrings. Which are near groins. And you all know how we love talking about groins here on the Liverpool Offside…
* Last week, Raul Meireles broke his silence and went to the press to explain how Liverpool didn't want to sell him and he didn't want to go, but hey, shit happens. At least when Chelsea comes calling. Apparently someone decided to clue him in on the fact that his curious line of reasoning didn't do a lot to explain why he wasn't a Judas—something he'd previously claimed he wasn't while saying he'd explain the details later—and so now he's back to try his hand at a second draft:
All I have to say is that I had one promise at Liverpool which wasn't fulfilled. It's not the only thing to blame. But that's why the Liverpool fans are unsure why I left. Liverpool asked me to hand in a transfer request.
I was aware that Liverpool wanted to sell me in the summer, which was a bit surprising to me. There's no point touching this subject any more. I was a bit surprised, but now I'm just concentrating on my present and future, and that's with Chelsea.
It's probably fair to say that that's more along the lines of what people expected to hear the first time around: The club didn't want me, was actively looking to sell me, and broke promises before forcing me to hand in a transfer request, possibly at gunpoint. It doesn't help, though, that it both goes against the story as he initially laid it out as well as against Damien Comolli's recollection of events:
Basically, he came to see me and said 'I want to leave, I want to play for another club'. Our intention was not to sell him but we were put in a corner a little bit when he put in a transfer request and said he wanted to go and that he didn't want to play for Liverpool anymore. I think the owners and Kenny have said it, and we all have the same view. When someone doesn't want to be here it's difficult to say 'you are going to stay'. We've been through that process in January with Fernando Torres and this felt like the same situation.
Well, there you have it: Raul One and Damien Comolli will face off against Raul Two and the Twitmongering Horde on Friday, Smarch 32nd to decide once and for all which version of the truth will be recorded in the history books. Get your tickets now.
* Taking a brief detour from former players who definitely won't play for Liverpool this season to current players who at this rate might not play for Liverpool this season, we move on to Glen Johnson and his uncooperative hamstring. After picking up the initial injury against Valencia in the final match of the pre-season, Johnson was making his first appearance of the 2011-12 campaign with a ten minute cameo against Stoke on Saturday when he re-aggravated the injury. But hey, at least this way he seems likely to miss out on England's trip to Montenegro for the final round of Euros 2012 qualification in October, so that's one player Liverpool fans won't have to worry might pick up a knock while on duty with his national side.
Yeah, that's not much of a silver lining.
* Elsewhere in former Liverpool players, there's been a quite sudden storm (of the proverbial kind that tends to pop up in teacups) around a recent set of Ryan Babel comments, with various outlets selling a story of him slamming, blaming, attacking, or etcetera-ing his former club's training methods as the root of his failures in England. Except that when you read the quotes they don't seem entirely unreasonable:
I think I’ve had really benefited from the move to the Bundesliga. We do more preparation work at Hoffenheim than I ever saw in England and we do longer training sessions. I’ve never felt so fit.
You need competition to get fit. I often sat on the bench and the schedule in England, with a game every three days, meant the training was only there to maintain us.
So the training sessions at Liverpool were set up to cater largely to players participating in three or four games every two weeks, and now that he's at a club where he both gets regular playing time and the training sessions are set up to cater to players only participating in one game most weeks he feels his fitness is better. What an exceptionally shocking revelation. In related news, the sky is blue, water is wet, and the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides of a right-angle triangle.
None of which is to say that increased playing time would have done the woefully inconsistent Babel all that much good at Liverpool, and the style of his new club and league do clearly seem to suit him more than Liverpool and the Premier League did, but as for the comments themselves there really isn't all that much for people to be getting excited about.
We'll be back later on with more borderline coherent rambling to help get you through the day, but in the meantime, while you try to decide which story you're going to go with today…