Lost in the buttery goodness of the news that Joe Cole is working his way back to
full fitness hahaha just kidding something resembling multi-directional mobility at no more than three miles per hour, and that he'll have his hands placed firmly on the backsides of his hips at an English football stadium near you very very soon for a period of no longer than seven minutes at a time, was an update on Oussama Assaidi, who many--present company included--didn't even know was injured until Brendan Rodgers mentioned it this morning.
You'd be forgiven for skimming over that part due to fits of hysterical laugh-sobbing at the Cole news, and Noel did a bit to update us on his status during the international primer earlier in the day--essentially the Moroccan winger was kept out of a reserve fixture because of some tightness in parts unknown that he experienced in training. Rodgers mentions that he should be back in training soon enough and that they expect him to "re-join the group" in a couple of days, which doesn't leave a whole lot of clarity as to whether or not he'll be taking part with the national team as they take on Mozambique in African Cup of Nations qualifying.
What's become very clear, however, is that a player Rodgers initially spoke of as being young and in need of time to develop is now one upon which both manager and squad will have to rely. Opinions might be split about the amount of time that's on Raheem Sterling's horizon (and for the record, there's no split between Noel and I on it--I'm terrified), but there really can't be any sort of disagreement that a 17 year-old is probably not cut out for three competitions and 40-odd matches in his first full season. The youth or reserve players are typically there to spell the senior squad, but when the player in the senior squad was both youth and reserve a matter of weeks ago, that makes things tricky.
So that Oussama Assaidi will have to contribute is a given, and that he'll make those contributions from the wide areas--left or right--seems likely. But beyond that not many of us know what to expect, at least not any more than we can surmise from Youtube clips set to techno we've all seen. Once again, we're at the point of having an unknown placed in the role of important squad member without the luxury of the settling in period that was afforded to Liverpool's underperformers last season.
This isn't entirely a rehash of the lack of depth that we've been so worried about or the failings of the club to bolster in a number of needed areas, because we're trying to be positive here goddamn you. So I'm genuinely curious as to what people's expectations are for the player, and how they see him fitting in when he's finally ready.
I'm hopeful that ready comes on the heels of the international break, and that (assuming full fitness) he's handed a substitute appearance away to Sunderland and a start in Switzerland as Liverpool get the underway in the Europa League group stages. From there he'll likely be cycled in and out, so long as he acclimates to a different style of play, I'm looking forward to him having a fairly significant impact over the course of the season—whether by choice or out of necessity.
That's not to overstate his potential importance, but he's ideally a player that will inspire some excitement in the squad and amongst supporters, and that's something that based on early evidence Liverpool could use more of.