The long, tragic, barren gap between the last day of the season and the opening of the summer transfer window is 43 days long. Or 1032 hours. Or 61,920 minutes. Or 3,715,200 seconds. No matter how you calculate it, it feels like a looooooooooooooooooong time to go without top-flight football. Instead, we turn to the next best options, namely the U21 Euro Championship from June 5-18 and the Confederations Cup from June 15-30.
England U21 manager Stuart Pearce released his 23-man squad list for his team's jaunt to Israel, with Jordan Henderson, Andre Wisdom, and Jonjo Shelvey making the cut. Despite rumours earlier this year that Raheem Sterling might be eligible to take part, his ongoing recovery from a thigh injury ruled him out of contention, which may or may not be a blessing in disguise for Liverpool, if not England.
Those who are keeping a close eye on Callum McManaman during the transfer window might also want to check out the tournament, as the Wigan winger has received his first call up to the U21 squad after a positive run of form that came to a head during last weekend's FA Cup final.
England play Italy on June 5, Norway on June 8, and Israel on June 11, with all matches being broadcast on Sky Sports.
Team sheets are slowly rolling in for countries participating in the Confederations Cup in Brazil, and with Brazil, Uruguay, and Spain all taking part, the odds are pretty good that at least one or two senior Liverpool players will be making a trip to South America in June.
Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari named his tournament squad today and while he caused a few waves by omitting both Ronaldinho and Kaka from his list, Liverpool's own Brazilian pair were also omitted from the squad. Lucas is still finding his way back to pre-injury form, having last featured for his country twelve times in 2011, so it's unsurprising that he's not yet fit to play in an international tournament.
Golden boy Philipe Coutinho only has one senior cap to his name, coming in a friendly against Iran in 2010, but also did not make the cut despite the delightful and blistering form he's been in since transferring to Merseyside in January. At Coutinho's age and with so little senior team experience it would have been a bit of a leap to jump right into the Seleção, but it's always nice for a young player to get the nod if only for the opportunity to experience an international tournament at this level from the bench.
Spain announce their squad on May 27 and Uruguay are still yet to be confirmed, but barring complications I am too unimaginative and too scared to consider, both Pepe Reina and Luis Suarez should be named to their nations' respective squads.