The preseason kicks into full gear tomorrow, which isn't really all that exciting with how broken up the squad is. And it'll feel that way for a while, with the Euro stars not coming back until next week, and then the Uruguayans and Bellamy not back until after the Olympics. But hey, there will be an actual game, or a reasonable version of one, to watch and talk about tomorrow. And that's never a bad thing. Won't do the normal preview but will have a gamethread up for kickoff in Toronto, and I'll post some conclusions after it. So before we pack off for the weekend, a couple news bits.
-Liverpool's first real match in anger will be in Belarus or Macedonia. Let's not pretend any of us know anything about Renova or Gomel, which I think is some sort of Biblical story anyway. A lot are concerned about the amount of travel right after flying back from Baltimore. It's a span of five days between those games. But the gulf in quality between the teams really should be enough. Liverpool really only need to manage a draw or even a one-goal loss at the worst possible outcome, and will probably roll them over at Anfield after two more weeks of preseason and having everyone to choose from. Just not going to panic about this.
-John Henry came out today to say that they haven't told Brendan Rodgers it's Champions League or bust for him this season. That's sensible, as it would pile on the pressure and Liverpool don't want to be seen as more of a basketcase club than they already are, changing managers every year. But behind closed doors, you better believe everyone wants to compete for the top four if not secure it. Kenny Dalglish wasn't sacked because he didn't achieve top four, he was sacked because it looked like the team was getting farther away from that goal. Henry just wants to see progress toward it if not achieving it. If Liverpool finish fifth after an impressive campaign and just miss out, it'll be disappointing but a show of progress. Again, this is not something to lose one's mud over.
Right, have a good weekend, enjoy the match tomorrow. It's on FSC here in the States, not sure about the Old Empire. If you do, mention in the comments.