Well, we're out of the preseason and into the build-up for the first league game. Whatever Brendan Rodgers's term at Liverpool is going to be, it starts in earnest on Saturday. At least we'll start to get some answers after months of just asking questions, though they won't come quickly. So let's clean some stuff up before we get to a week of previews for the new season.-There was a friendly yesterday, which they didn't stop because I fucked up the timing of the gamethread. Assholes. Anyway, there was some initial shock when Gerrard, Lucas, and Suarez were all in the starting lineup just three days after the exertions against Gomel. But they were alleviated when they were all withdrawn at halftime. Just one last run out to build on the momentum and understanding of Thursday, which probably didn't really happen. But no one got hurt, and someone made a splash...
-I've thought all along that Raheem Sterling would get a loan spell to get first team action this season. But with the departure of three players who played wide and none brought in yet, you begin to suspect that the role of impact sub is the one Sterling is going to occupy this season. There appears little option after Downing in those positions anyway. Unless Joe Cole does anything for you, which he only does if you have really good drugs. Sterling is still very raw, but you saw what he's capable of on Sunday. Pace, creativity, and most of all fearlessness. Sterling does not look like a Theo Walcott Redux, where his only move is to either knock the ball past a defender and out sprint him or just charge forward for through-balls. Sterling isn't afraid of cutting in, or of taking a man on. That pace and stones will scare fullbacks at the tail end of matches this season, if that's indeed what Rodgers is thinking.
-Other than that, the match wasn't all that remarkable other than a rare Lucas goal. The pace and motivation would never match Thursday, as this was just a friendly in front of a half-full Anfield. Even the Kop had empty seats to welcome back club legend Sami Hyypia. But hey, it happens. No one was especially bad, no one impressive outside of Sterling, and we all move on.
-Andy Carroll took his goal well, though with some luck, but I'm sure Rodgers will notice the lazy concession of possession leading to Leverkusen's goal more. There were others as well. This story is only going to get worse when Carroll doesn't start the first few matches. Which is going to happen.
-Charlie Adam was slightly improved, but he didn't have anywhere to go. He appears to be lowest on the midfield depth chart, as both Shelvey and Henderson have gotten starts in the two European matches, and we know Allen is going to be first choice or close to it. The complaints line about Adam low on the totem pole will be a short one indeed, though.
-Finally, a word on Rodgers saying to the press that he has some convincing to do with the fans. It is refreshing to see a manager who gets his position, who knows he doesn't quite have the CV yet that demands unquestioned respect, and is wiling to work for it. That's in stark contrast to Roy Hodgson, who showed up and started bitching about the fans the minute he lost his first game. I have no doubts that whenever Rodgers leaves Liverpool, however things went, it won't be for lack of trying.