International football is nowhere near as revered as it used to be.
World Cups and European Championships were showcases for the best players in the world and the only time you’d ever really see a collection of superstars coming together.
In this era of football, with the Champions League having taken all of that shine as well and the importance placed on the money surrounding all that, these games have gotten to a point where for some managers it has become an irritation.
This is as important a season for Liverpool Football Club as there has been for quite some time. Three years is a long time in football and with the absence of finishing in the top four in England as well as all that brings getting larger, the hope for another run at Europe’s top table gets further and further away.
For Brendan Rodgers also, this is by far his biggest challenge as a manager and how well he does at Anfield could ultimately decide exactly what part of the history books he is written into. With that in mind, both the club and manager need every bit of luck they can get.
Liverpool don’t often come out of the international break very well.
Having broken his foot while on duty with the Italian Under 21 team last week, Fabio Borini faces a lengthy period on the sideline; horrendous luck for a player who was still finding his feet within the set-up at Anfield. Sport is often about momentum both for players and teams and at the attacking end of the pitch it may be a matter of weeks recuperating but a couple of months before they back into some kind of rhythm and form.
From Michael Owen to Fernando Torres, going off to play for the national team would inevitably end in another injury and complete disruption for both player and club. Both players were integral parts of the respective Liverpool teams they were a part of, which is not something that can be said for Borini yet. Having said that, the Italian leaves a gaping hole at the front of the attack, which doesn’t score enough goals as it is.
This latest injury leaves Liverpool with one fit striker between now and January. Luis Suarez won’t have had the smoothest of preparations for the Premier League match with Reading on Saturday having played on Tuesday night in a stadium some 3,500 metres above sea level and will now have to board a transatlantic flight. Under any other circumstances, despite his importance to the side there’s an argument there for him to be rested but because of the club’s position in the league, Rodgers’ hand may be forced.
There are also other doubts regarding key players, with Martin Skrtel having a pain-killing injection before playing all of Slovakia’s game with Greece and Pepe Reina having rather ludicrously strained a muscle during the half time interval in the 1-1 draw between Spain and France. With Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson still to take part in England’s rearranged game with Poland, Brendan Rodgers may be crossing his fingers and whatever else he can that the two make it back to Liverpool safely.
With results having already gone against them Rodgers will need as much of the talent in the dressing room around him to try and get back up the table as quickly as possible. Having already had to face the initial part of the league campaign without Lucas Leiva and having had to rely far too often on the academy players as it is, the management will now face the task of trying to stretch their resources even further.
The challenge this season facing everyone at Liverpool Football Club just got that little bit harder.
Article courtesy of SWOL – Soccer WithOut Limits and Stuart Quigley