England were today celebrating after results elsewhere meant they had qualified for the World Cup. Celebrations were lessened somewhat for Steven Gerrard however, as Liverpool’s inspirational captain suffered an injury on duty for his country.
Gerrard has returned to Melwood early, and not only will he miss England’s game on Wednesday, he’s also out of Liverpool’s games for the next two to three weeks.
Gerrard has a scan which has shown a strain in the muscle attached to the shin in his left leg.
The FA continue to benefit from Liverpool resources with little or no thanks in return. Gerrard has now been out of action for injury twice this season already, and the last time he was injured his first game back was for England – despite a request from Anfield to allow him more recovery time.
Liverpool’s season started on July 13th this season, and for Gerrard and other Reds internationals the season could last a whole year. The World Cup final takes place on July 9th. The FA are responsible for Liverpool’s extended season. Everton were given the ability to take part in the Champions League qualifiers against the wishes of UEFA when the English FA refused to nominate Liverpool – as holders – for the fourth English place. UEFA had expected the English FA to follow the Spanish FA’s lead from a few years previously, when they didn’t they decided to change the rules to prevent any future FA from being so arrogant. They also tried to punish the FA by making Liverpool play from the outset in the first round, and removing the country protection. Everton were knocked out of the Champions League in their first tie, and then out of the UEFA Cup in their first tie in that competition. Liverpool had an extended season for nothing in the end. England’s recent performances suggest that it’s unlikely for the England contingent to be involved any longer than the group stages. Everton’s poor showing will hit England’s co-efficiency rating for future Champions League places and could backfire even more on the FA if English representation drops to three.
The FA also run the Premiership. Liverpool’s fixture pile-up has already begun with extra games due to involvement in the Super Cup and the six Champions League games that they shouldn’t have been made to play. In December they were due to play Sunderland but this game needs to be cancelled to allow the Reds to represent Europe in the World Club Championship. Sunderland are now claiming they want compensation – around a quarter of a million pounds – because the game would have been shown on pay-per-view television. The fact that the fixture dates for the tournament in Japan were already known before the FA decided the Premiership fixtures should have been enough to prevent the fixture even being arranged. To even then allow it to be pencilled in for TV coverage was more of an example of how the FA work in a world that seems to be removed from reality.
Manchester United took part in a previous incarnation of this tournament in 2000. Back then they complained about the fixture pile-up, even though they hadn’t been forced to play six qualifying games for the Champions League. The FA responded by coming up with the plan to allow them to drop out of the FA Cup that season (United had been demanding a bye). No question of United paying compensation.
There’s many more examples of how the FA have mistreated Liverpool, and it’s time now that the FA started to pay for the trouble they keep causing the Reds. Starting with paying Sunderland compensation for their lack of foresight over the World Club challenge in December, compensation to Liverpool for the extended season that was completely unneccessary, and compensation for players missing due to injury on England duty. For this to happen the former Premiership boss Rick Parry, now Anfield’s Chief Executive, needs to stand up to the FA.