Before I get to the spattering of news and notes that took place over the weekend, I’d like to invite any and all of you to participate in the Fantasy Football league I’ve recently set up. I know a lot of people use Yahoo’s version, but for the past four or so years, I’ve used the Premier League’s, so that’s what I’m going with.
The address, if you're too lazy to click the link, is http://fantasy.premierleague.com. Once you get to the mainpage, you have to register with the site and create a team, at which point you can choose to join a private league.
The league name is “Oh You Beauty” and the passcode is 70973-17577
I hope to get a few people in this, and I anticipate the lot of you beating my brains in throughout the course of the season.
- Steve Finnan, the lone holdout amongst those who had been discussing contract renewals, has finally joined Gerrard, Carragher, Reina, Alonso, and Sissoko in signing a new deal. To my surprise (and delight), Finnan’s new deal runs for the next 3 seasons, instead of the 2-year deal I thought he’d get. Yes, he’s 31, and yes, he doesn’t get credit for the job he does, especially on the attacking side of the field, but I will continue to reiterate my belief that Finn is the best right back in the league. You hear an awful lot about his “consistency,” and rightfully so, but that doesn’t nearly come close enough to describing what he does for the team. The most common complaint is that Finnan doesn’t get forward enough, but he’s always combined well with Gerrard on the right, and improves his partnership with Pennant every time out. He’s also one of the best crossers of the ball on the team period. Long may it continue.
- Meanwhile, Robbie Fowler’s signed a two-year deal with Cardiff City. Even though it somewhat hurts to say, this is probably one of the best situations Robbie could have found itself in. It is very strange referring to Fowler as a Championship-level player, but unfortunately, that’s what we’ve come to. I still maintain that he’s too good of a player for the Australian A-League or MLS at this stage of his career, and that MLS would probably have been bad for Robbie’s career, while Cardiff was near the top of the Championship for the first half of last season before finishing in 13th, has improved every year under Dave Jones, and is looking to replace their main striker (Michael Chopra, who’s off to Sunderland). Yes, I realize it’s a Welsh team, in the Championship, but they’re a good team with promise and potential. It really is a good situation for Fowler, and I’m excited to see what he can do there. All the best, Robbie.
- Last night, Emiliano Insua was part of the Argentinean team that won Under-20 World Cup, beating the Czech Republic 2-1 in the final. Insua played another full 90 minutes, and while Argentina was expected to win, having won five of the last seven Under-20 World Cups, the experience he’s gotten coupled with the confidence of winning the title can only be a good thing for Insua and Liverpool.
- Liverpool’s pursuit of Gabriel Heinze is in the news again. The BBC is reporting that Liverpool’s lawyers are attempting to work out a deal with United despite their extreme reluctance to sell a player, any player (no matter the fact he’s not in their plans and was told he could leave), to Liverpool. It comes down to the fact United supposedly sent a letter to Heinze’s agent that set out the conditions under which Heinze could leave, with no mention of any restriction on where he could go, including to Liverpool. Liverpool supposedly have met those conditions.
Admittedly, I have little desire to see a Manc play for Liverpool. I’m well aware that only one player has transferred between clubs in the modern era (Phil Chisnall, 1964). I’m worried that Heinze hasn’t recovered from the knee injury that kept him out for nearly a full season, as he did not play well last season at either left back or center back (he was worse at CB). And £7m seems like a good deal too much. But I also think that he could return to form, or at least improve, under Benitez. It sure doesn’t hurt that he’s Argentinean, with Rafa’s apparent fondness for players from that country. With the players Liverpool already has, what they need is a squad player who can fill in at LB or CB, which is supposedly what Heinze offers. He shouldn’t be completely past it being only 29. And honestly, the fact that Ferguson is so dead-set against the move makes me want him more.
- Finally, a reminder that Liverpool plays South China in Hong Kong tomorrow in the Asia Trophy, live on Setanta at 8:15am. The 3rd place game is Friday at 5:30, with the title game at 8:15. Portsmouth and Fulham are the two other teams involved. Thanks to work, I’ll be unable to see tomorrow’s match, but I’ll try to record it (no promises; thanks ITVN). A match report, if possible, will be late though.