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Gerrard's Cousin Set For Cardiff Start, and Other Tuesday Notes

craig bellamy cardiff liverpool

Today we've got news on Toni Silva's Northampton Town loan being extended and Craig Bellamy's words being sensationalised in a weighty Wednesday notes to help carry you through the mid-week doldrums. But first things first, if this is the first you're hearing there's likely to be two Gerrards playing at Wembley on Sunday, well, by the time BBC and Sky are done with you on the weekend it certainly won't be the last…

* With Sunday's League Cup final still half a week away, it's hard to say with any certainty who will start for either side. However, with Cardiff skipper and starting centre back Mark Hudson currently injured, all signs point to there being a Gerrard in both starting elevens as Steven Gerrard's cousin Anthony is expected to get the nod for the Welsh side. The 26-year-old defender grew up playing football alongside his more famous cousin in Liverpool, with the pair at times competing for the right to be 1994 World Cup star Hristo Stoichkov. And now, for the first time in their professional careers, they're likely to face each other on the pitch.

In a slightly different world, however, Anthony might have played against Steven and Liverpool long ago, after he was snapped up by Everton to play for their academy soon after his older cousin joined the Reds:

I thought I did really well at Everton during that first year and had been captain of the reserves, plus a travelling first-team sub to places like White Hart Lane and Stamford Bridge. My head was right on it and I thought things were going the right way. Then at the end of the season we all had our meetings with the [David Moyes].

We were sitting in the canteen waiting to hear what he had to say. I sat with Tony Hibbert and there was confidence among us that we’d be okay. We were even talking about going out to celebrate new contracts. The manager left me until last though and told me he was letting me go. My whole world felt like it had fallen apart. I was dumbstruck and the lads I was with in the canteen couldn’t believe it either.

It hasn't been the expected route to facing his cousin in a professional match for Anthony Gerrard, but on Sunday the one time Blue and Steven's garden nemesis will finally get the chance—and with it the chance to write his name into the history books at Cardiff should he manage to anchor their backline to an unlikely upset.

* "Craig Bellamy doesn't care if Liverpool win on Sunday!" scream the headlines from Sky, TalkSport, and the Daily Mail. Which is sort of true and a fair reflection of what Bellamy said in a recent interview except for the part where he was actually talking more generally about how he approaches the game of football as his career winds down and the way in which that has allowed him to look back at said career without regret despite that he doesn't have a trophy case overflowing with winners' medals:

Honestly, if I win I win; if I don't, I don't. I won't lose one second of sleep over it. I've had a great career and enjoyed it but is it defined by trophies? No—and it never will be. I don't even know where my Scottish Cup medal is.

I try to win every game I can and I've achieved more than I could have ever set out to. I will carry on that same approach and if I win great, but if I don't I can walk away knowing I've enjoyed it, working as hard as I can and giving my all for the team.

So he's sort of saying he doesn't care if Liverpool win except he's mostly saying he'll be able to walk away satisfied if he plays and does the only thing he really has any control over on the day: Playing well. Which means that if Cardiff pull an upset, it's probably Craig Bellamy's fault.

It is true, though, that no matter the outcome there's a fair chance Bellamy will experience at least a few conflicted emotions. After all, Cardiff is his hometown club, and Bellamy's father passed his loyalties on to his son when he was growing up. Bellamy also had the chance to play for Cardiff last season on loan from Manchester City, with his 35 appearances and eleven goals not enough to lift the Bluebirds into the Premier League after a series of disappointing results to end the season saw them first drop out of the automatic promotion slots before failing to advance from the playoffs.

And to complicate the Cardiff was my boyhood club and I don't really care who wins but it'd be nice if I played well narrative further, the Welsh attacker also recently talked about how at the end of the day the real focus for the club this season is a top four finish. Even if the cups are nice and stuff:

Would we chose Champions League qualification over winning the Carling Cup? I think we would. Would Cardiff chose getting in the Premier League over winning the Carling Cup? I think they would as well. The top four is our main focus this season and the cup competitions are a bonus.

So. Everything clear? If you said no, Sky's HR department stand ready to receive your resume.

* He's only been out on loan for a week after Liverpool gave him the Valentine's Day gift of an all-expenses paid trip to Northampton, but after a promising start it has been confirmed that Toni Silva's 28-day loan to Northampton Town of League Two has been extended to run through to the end of the season. On one hand the current loan will see the Portuguese winger miss out on the upcoming NextGen Series semi-final against Ajax, but hopefully regular starts for the Cobblers as they fight to stay in the Football League will provide a far more valuable experience in the long run than the reserve action that would be his fate for most of the remainder of the season had he stayed at Liverpool. As for whether he'll see all that much action for a side fighting to stave off relegation, the early signs are promising: He created a goal minutes after coming on as a late substitute hours after his loan had been completed, beating three defenders and seeing his parried effort hammered home on the rebound to give Northampton a 1-0 victory while his new manager sang his praises.

We'll be back later in the day as we creep ever closer to Liverpool's first chance at silverware in six years, but in the meantime, while you try to not completely let go of your childhood hopes, dreams, and loyalties…

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