It's Monday. It's September. The summer is over, with little but short days and dreary weeknights at Stoke to look forward to in the fall. Unless you're one of our five Australian readers, of course. But then you've got the local wildlife being in a 97% more killy mood to look forward to, so it's not all good. At least the new football season has well and truly gotten underway, and no matter where you are, we can all agree that that's a good thing…
* Since the arrival of Kenny Dalglish, it's once again become fun to follow what the club's manager is saying to the press and about the club and squad. It hasn't only been Dalglish doing the talking, though, as Steve Clarke has been a presence in a way that Sammy Lee before him never was when it comes to talking about the club and players, and once again the Scot is on message, discussing being "reasonably satisfied" with the club having had one of its best starts of the Premier League era:
We're all reasonably satisfied with the start. Obviously we're two points missing from the perfect start, but if you analyse the performances and how we've done, everybody should be quite happy.
Each game individually has had pleasing aspects. It was important to go into the international break on the back of a good performance and win. We got that against Bolton, so that's probably been the most satisfying game so far.
Not even a bit of excitement, then. Which is probably as it should be. He does, however, find the time to drop a little teasing hint (or just a teasing tease) on the fans in his typically understated way:
You can always pick up a game that's interesting, whether it's by television coverage or getting down to watch it. I'm actually penciled in to go and watch Lucas play against Ghana
There's always something you can do and always a game you can watch—and who knows? You might identify a talent for the future.
I can already hear the Babelcopter revving back up to bring Neymar to Melwood in January.
* Steven Gerrard and his groin have returned to training after the latest setback from the latest surgery for the latest injury, and if everything goes according to plan this time around, he expects to make his return to action on September 19th against Tottenham. Which will be fantastic news if it actually comes to pass, except that the constant complications since he last played against Manchester United in March of last season and frequent new, negative developments over the months when it comes to Gerrard and his groin will likely have most waiting for him to step on the pitch against Tottenham before believing. Even if it does all work out and he trots on after seventy minutes with the match in hand to get a little run around, many will likely take at least a few months of having a healthy Gerrard around before any kind of expectation that he might be a regular contributor to the squad returns.
And whenever he does return, for both the the sake of his continuing recovery and because he hasn't kicked a ball competitively in six months it will be important to ease him back into things slowly.
* In other player news, England will take on Israel on Tuesday night in U21 action, but new captain Jordan Henderson won't be in the side after being sent home by Stuart Pearce. Henderson doesn't have any injury concerns, but after the England manager admitted the player was exhausted at the Summer's U21 European Championships qualifiers that England failed to advance from, there is a renewed focus on managing the fitness of those who are heavily involved at their clubs. And that's something that Liverpool fans can certainly get behind, even if most would probably prefer it if Henderson retired from international competition tomorrow.
That about does it for a slow Monday while we wait for Lucas and Brazil to kick off against Ghana at Craven Cottage, but in the meantime, while you wait for that and Raul Meireles to explain why he isn't a Judas…