As we approach an actual meaningful game on Thursday and with the American Tour behind us, I think we can go back through and see if we've learned anything. I didn't do a full wrap of the Spurs match in Baltimore, because really who wants to relive it if we don't have to? A game at 1pm in Baltimore in July was always a genius idea, and everyone pretty much got what they deserved.
Here we go:-The biggest thing to come out of the three game tour, or most easily noticeable (and it might not be all that important in the long run) is that Jonjo Shelvey will have a part to play this season and looks mighty comfortable in what it is Rodgers is trying to install. He was noticeable in all three matches, and looks full of confidence. He's still going to have to battle a lot of people for minutes, but if Liverpool successfully qualify for Europa League there should be opportunities. But he displayed touch and feet and a willing to go at defenders we haven't seen before. Now, that's easy to do in a friendly when losing the ball isn't really going to cost you anything, another thing to do when there's something on the line. But Jonjo has always been billed as a real presence in the future, and that future appears to be arriving pretty quickly.
-In the first two friendlies, Alberto Aquilani was a cut above. He didn't play in the third, either because he's leaving (if you read the Offside) or because he's being saved for the qualifier on Thursday (if you read Soccernet). I have no idea which it is at this point, and there are enough reports going either way to back up your argument. But he definitely fits in with what Liverpool want to be, and he can play two of the three central midfield spots. That's flexibility. But he might be going for Joe Allen to be brought it. Or he might not be. Personally, I hope he stays and we can save Allen for another day. But that's me.
-Joe Cole has remained terrible.
-So has Charlie Adam, who is now also dangerous. He's been labeled a "coward" by Gareth Bale. That's unfair, it's more that he just sucks. He doesn't know how to tackle, so his tackles become dangerous. But his positional sense on the tour was woeful, his passing not much better, and his set piece delivery worse than both. Rodgers has no allegiance to him by not having bought him or sharing the same birth country (something that may have played a part in Dalglish's overvaluation of him), so expect him to fall down the pecking order.
-Dani Pacheco probably turned some heads with his feet and creativity, and might just be starting on Thursday as well.
-So did Raheem Sterling, but he still looks awfully raw and a loan spell is probably in order.
-Jose Enrique apparently died somewhere around February of last season, and yet no one's told him.
-Adam Morgan and Nathan Eccleston or nowhere near Premier League strikers. In fact, Adam Morgan is just another term for Neil Mellor, a player not ready but who might get looks just because of lack of numbers.
-Watching Craig Bellamy with Team GB, I find it hard to believe that there are people who might think he can't contribute to Liverpool this season.
-Jay Spearing still doesn't know how to be a holding midfielder, rushing out rashly at times. But he still can be useful.
-Lucas is recovered, and that's the best news of all.