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Hodgson Announces Euro Squad, and Other Thursday Notes

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This'll mostly be an exercise in going through the motions---as I mentioned earlier, I had a news and notes post half-completed when the news of Kenny Dalglish's dismissal broke, so this is most of that post with a few comments added on the current situation. We'll probably start the conversation soon enough about what happens next at the top, but for now we can at least take a look at the other goings-on from the week.


* Roy Hodgson went and picked Stewart Downing for the 2012 Euros, almost as though he wanted to force everyone into remembering just how incongruent his level of confidence in himself is with his actual coaching ability. Or he's trying to pick a squad that best resembles a mid-table Premier League side, figuring that's where his success has most often been found, in which case Downing's an absolutely terrific pick.

Either way, Downing's in, as are Andy Carroll, Glen Johnson, and Steven Gerrard. Great for Carroll, who pushed his way into the squad with a very strong showing late in the season, and Glen Johnson makes it as the only true right-back, meaning he'll probably be an important part of the setup when many believed Hodgson's appointment spelled the end for him. Hodgson also took the step today to name Gerrard his captain for this summer's competition, which many expected despite a small yet vocal minority that called for Scott Parker. It'll be the second major competition in which Gerrard leads the England squad after he captained them for the duration of their time in South Africa. Worth noting that Jordan Henderson's made the standby list, and with Parker a doubt with an Achilles injury, there's a very real possibility that Henderson could be making the trip.

It's not all about England, of course, even though they seem to make the biggest spectacle possible whenever they've got something borderline interesting to share. Pepe Reina's been named in the provisional squad for Spain as Iker Casillas' backup along with David de Gea, but that doesn't include any players from Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, or Chelsea. Among players in those squads only Victor Valdes could threaten Reina's spot, and after the season the Liverpool goalkeeper had, it wouldn't necessarily be the most surprising thing to see him given the summer off. Daniel Agger's the only other squad member taking part, as he was announced as part of Morten Olsen's 20-man squad today.

* Had Slovakia not finished fourth in their group we'd have had the chance to see Martin Skrtel through the summer, and while it's nice to know he'll be getting rest, there's been a spike in uncertainty about his Liverpool future over the past few days. It's mostly due to G**l.com and their band of goons---in this instance it's Greg Stobart, who ran an "exclusive" revealing that Skrtel would be asking for a transfer in the coming months.

Internet being the internet, everyone forgot that G**l is moderately full of shit on their best day and pressed the panic button. The club's player of the season, in reviewing his campaign with the offal, commented today on speculation about his exit and pretty much eliminated any doubts:

'I am happy here. The only thing I can say is it is not true because I have never said anything like I want to leave the club or handed in a transfer request. I have a contract at Liverpool and I am happy here at the club. I haven't thought about leaving the club. The things that were in the press are rubbish.'

So that leaves nothing else to be all frantic about, right?

* Oh, Kenny Dalglish has been sacked! Er, no, he asked to be released? Wait, "sack me or back me"?

Nice questions, smart ass. Kenny Dalglish is out, and so far that's the only confirmed exit. There's apparently some questions about Steve Clarke's status after widespread reports that he left the club out of loyalty to Dalglish---most recent comments from Ian Ayre indicate that Clarke will be staying on as first-team coach. I can't find a source as yet beyond Twitter, but if that's the case, Liverpool are still left without a manager and Director of Football as the summer gets nearer.

It's cause enough for some concern about what the summer months will look like in terms of activity in the transfer market, given that both vacant positions carry the primary load of responsibility for who's coming and going. But I don't think the panic about any lack of planning about how or whom to hire is completely justified; FSG have taken a lot of flack in the past few days and weeks, but to imply---or straight-out accuse---that they aren't mindful of needing to fill these posts sooner rather than later is, in my opinion, undue panic.

If there's still no appointment in a few weeks' time, it'll be a much different tune. I'd be shocked, however, if there haven't been any sort of significant changes, or at least more concrete news to report as June approaches.

That's about it for a brief and half-hearted news rundown. In the the meantime you can rock out to a Martin Skrtel compilation and picture him and Daniel Agger resuming their dominance next season.