Only one full international involving Liverpool players tonight, and in the end Steve Finnan was an unused substitute in the Republic of Ireland’s 1-0 friendly win over China.
With the current injury crisis at Anfield, Rafa Benitez will have been heartened to see an excellent John Welsh play 90 minutes for the England under-21 team. Welsh had an outstanding game in the heart of the England Under-21 midfield in a 2-0 win over Azerbaijan. Welsh opened the scoring with a very well-taken goal on 27 minutes – his first for England at this level. Welsh had won the ball at the start of the move and showed great composure in chesting the ball down before hitting the ball into the roof of the net. Also in the England team from the Reds was Scott Carson, who was largely untested throughout, but will be glad to take a clean sheet from the game after a great deal of criticism from his one error in the game on Good Friday.
Tomorrow night is the main night for international football, with more qualifiers being played. Reds players likely to be involved for their countries are Dudek, Gerrard, Carragher, Baros, Diarra (currently on loan), Riise and Luis Garcia.
Rafael Benitez will then have a couple of days to decide how he is going to combat the lack of any frontmen. If – as he hinted in the press earlier this week – he decides to try Steven Gerrard up front, he’ll be able to rely on John Welsh to fill Gerrard’s place in midfield after tonight’s performance.