And people wonder why I hate international breaks. Kuyt out (ankle), Sissoko out (ankle), Agger out (broken hand). Maybe Dirk will play Saturday, it looks more likely today than it did yesterday, but Momo and Agger are assuredly ruled out. And Liverpool was lucky! Gerrard, Carra, Crouch, Bellamy, Alonso, Reina, Garcia, Finnan, Hyypia and Riise came back healthy! Arsenal lost Ljungberg, Eboue, and Baptista for at least a couple of games, which will affect them more than it should the Reds. But now Liverpool will be without three important players for at least Saturday’s game, and it’s vexing to say the least.
Full preview of the Blackburn game tomorrow.
Other news and notes:
• Gerrard, along with Rooney and Lampard, makes the shortlist for FIFA’s World Player of the Year. Chances are it’s not going to be an Englishman though. As it’s a World Cup year, I expect the winner to be Cannavaro, who was clearly the best player throughout the summer (and captain of the winning team), but Henry and Ronaldinho (last year’s winner) are always in contention.
• West Brom looks to have captured Tony Mowbray from Hibernian. I predicted that wrong a week or so back, thinking Mowbray would refuse, or already had refused, the job. Looks like he’ll take the first serious route he can find into a Premier League job, thinking he’ll be able to get West Brom back up this season. They have the players to win the Championship, despite their inconsistent form, and I really do think Mowbray is an excellent manager. Like all who come from Scotland to England, people are going to question whether he’ll make the step up, but I think it’s obvious he knows what he’s doing, having forced Hibernian into the mix in the SPL and helping to break up the Old Firm dynasty.
• Speculation continues to swirl around a takeover at West Ham. As a Liverpool fan, I’m obviously skeptical of any takeover rumors until something’s concrete, but vultures have been circling around West Ham for some time now, the completely dodgy period only started with the arrival of Tevez and Mascherano. I don’t know who, if any, are trustworthy, whether it’s the head of the Icelandic FA (whose proposal has been reported to be heavily reliant on debt) or the Iranian businessman who had his hands in the transfer of the Argentine lads. I’d be more than cynical if I was a Hammer, I don’t like the smell of this at all.