1) No More International Breaks
Patriotism is awesome, but sweet merciful Fowler, two week breaks from club football are most definitely not. Aside from Nate popping his head up to involve us in the March Madness bracket he created, there's been slim pickings--the usual matchday and recaps have taken place for the Liverpool internationals, but however much we try to convince ourselves that watching a Stuart Pearce-led side is enjoyable, it's just not the same as watching Liverpool. There's no more extended layoffs, thankfully, with no more than eight days in a row to keep Liverpool matches apart. And for that they can only thank themselves, with exits in the Europa League and FA Cup leaving the club in "contention" in only one competition. Right, what were we looking forward to again?
2) The Fixture List
Everyone's been telling us how easy Liverpool's run-in is, and that's true enough, but there's also a neat little stretch from late April to the first week of May that'll also give us a chance to watch matches that almost might mean something. The meaning will likely only be sentimental of course, but the home date with Chelsea will be one of the more bizarre encounters on the Premier League calendar, away to Newcastle will provide a bigger test than it looked to be a few months ago, and the Merseyside Derby on May 4th at Anfield will be the usual fiery affair. The bookends could very well prove more challenging than they look on the surface, but even if they don't, those three matches will give us something to feel excitedly nauseous about.
Daniel Sturridge's arrival and subsequent success has been terrific, and there's plenty of promise for a long (and hopefully) Liverpool career. He's been upstaged by the arrival of Philippe Coutinho, though, with the young Brazilian providing the flair and final product that's largely evaded Sturridge since he suffered an injury against Manchester City. I know, I know, this can't last and he's too frail and the legal adoption by Lucas will likely be overturned, but it's just been fun to watch Philippe Coutinho since he arrived, and that'll hopefully continue over the season's final few weeks.
4) More Time for Jordan Henderson
Please? This one's probably a bridge too far, but the run-in should provide more minutes for Jordan Henderson before he heads to West Brom this summer. We will never, ever celebrate any player's injury, and the news that Joe Allen's been struggling for so long is more frustrating than it is welcomed. But the Welshman's absence should pave the way for increased minutes for a player's who's been less favored but in better form. I'm hopeful that an extended cameo as the season comes to a close could convince Brendan Rodgers to keep Henderson around, and there's nothing to suggest that if he's given the minutes he'll disappoint.
5) Jamie Carragher's Farewell Tour
Oof. What started as a run of games that appeared to be only sentimental has turned into one of the defender's better stretches in the past few seasons, and now we're left lamenting the impending closure of Jamie Carragher's Liverpool career. He may yet end up with the club in the future in a coaching capacity, but it'll be goodbye for now on May19th, so we've got to soak up whatever we can from a man who's been unmatched for the last sixteen-plus years in his commitment and drive to see Liverpool succeed.
Bonus: Game of Thrones Starts Tomorrow