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Leavin' on a Jet Plane

With the biggest game of the Premier League campaign to date awaiting Liverpool at Goodison Park on Saturday, all the stops are being pulled out to ensure star man, Luis Suarez, is in the best condition possible.

Luis' own attempts to fly were well-intentioned but, frankly, poor.
Luis' own attempts to fly were well-intentioned but, frankly, poor.
Buda Mendes

As Tuesday dawned, your scribbler fought bravely against it, expertly cheating time with the snooze button and ruminating over an unpleasant twinge in my throat. Forcing myself to produce a passable facsimile of functionality, I shuffled to my trusty laptop to begin this daily contribution to the fun at TLO Towers, a shambolic disarray of beard, cardigan and exhaustion.

Bidding my daughter goodbye, I realised that my voice was gone. Being a teacher, this inability to communicate would pose certain problems and I began to wish I could just employ some game, zealous newbie to simply talk for me, as I sat back, in the manner of so many of my old pedagogues, and gestured enigmatically for the day. Alas, I am not possessed of such means and my employer is not given to such munificence. Thankfully for Liverpool fans, John Henry is far more benevolent.

With Luis Suarez currently in Montevideo preparing for the second leg of a World Cup play-off against Jordan, fans of the Redmen have been understandably anxious about the toll the travelling and intensity of the competition would take on the club's finest player. As it turns out, the 5-0 lead achieved in Amman should mean the intensity of the match to come is not a concern, but the travel issues are very real indeed.

The dead rubber tie kicks off at 11 pm GMT on Wednesday and Suarez had been scheduled to arrive in England late on Thursday, leaving precious little recovery time ahead of the derby, which has one of those irksome lunchtime starts on Saturday. At this point in proceedings, enter Liverpool's beneficent owner, John Henry.

It appears that the recently victorious Illinois-born businessman is feeling the love for more than just his World Series champs, the Boston Red Sox. Henry has offered Suarez the use of his private jet in place of the chartered flight arranged by the Uruguayan FA. This would ensure that the dynamic striker could get directly to Liverpool and thereby increase the precious hours of recovery available to him before what will doubtless be a turbulent encounter against Everton.

Henry had already privately organised the forward's late passage to the first leg of the play-off, having convinced the Uruguayan football authorities to waive their entitlement to access five days prior to competitive ties. This ensured that Suarez could stay and help Liverpool to a vital 4-0 win over Fulham, in which he scored a brace. Liverpool fans, unless they are of the most eco-sensitive variety, will revel in this story. It is the kind of thing one wants to see from wealthy owners; the hand-in-the-pocket, go the extra mile (or 7,000) type of attitude one associates with a big club. It's the type of thinking which, quite frankly, has not been part of Liverpool's culture in recent years.

Of course, with Daniel Sturridge starting tonight for England, despite limping out of training and Steven Gerrard reportedly receiving pain-killing injections in order to equal Bobby Moore's cap-haul of 108, Liverpool's first-team injury and fatigue worries may be much closer to home and resting uneasily on the common sense built up by thirty seven famous years of experience, as embodied by that doyen of modern football, Roy Hodgson. Be afraid, dear readers, be very afraid.

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