Various Liverpool players were on international duty last night, but at least one will return to Melwood carrying an injury, and it could hardly be anyone worse.
Top scorer Fernando Torres went off after 23 minutes of Spain’s home friendly with Spain. Some reports claim it was a hamstring injury but that’s still to be confirmed. He’ll be checked out today by the club’s medical staff but there are clear worries about his availability for the visit to Stamford Bridge on Sunday and beyond.
Xabi Alonso was a second-half sub as Spain went on to beat the French 1-0 with a late goal, Pepe Reina an unused sub for the Spanish.
Meanwhile in Wales John Arne Riise was on the losing side as Norway went down 3-0 in Cardiff. A name from Liverpool’s past also made an appearance for Norway – Frode Kippe coming on after an hour.
3-0 was the scoreline for another Red on duty last night – but in Ryan Babel’s case it was the right way round. Holland were 2-0 up when Babel was substituted ten minutes into the second half.
Former Red Jari Litmanen scored for Sami Hyypia’s Finland, but Greece went on to win the game 2-1.
New boy Martin Skrtel was on the field for ninety minutes as his Slovakia side drew 1-1 with Hungary in Cyprus, in a game that was watched by a crowd of just 100 people! Yossi Benayoun captained Israel to a 1-0 win over Romania.
At Wembley Steven Gerrard was captain, getting the assist for the second goal, as England began their Capello era. The final score was 2-1, and Peter Crouch came on in the second half.
Gerrard coming through unscathed was a bonus, but the Torres injury is potentially devastating for the side. Andriy Voronin is out injured and Dirk Kuyt is woefully out of form – he was dropped from the Dutch squad for last night’s game. But it looks like being Kuyt and Crouch upfront now for Liverpool for the time being, unless Rafa decides to take a chance on Babel in that position again.
If nothing else, it underlines why Rafa has always been reluctant to blow his full transfer budget on one player. Obviously one player of the standard of Torres is better than two of Dirk Kuyt’s standard – until the former gets injured. It also underlines why Liverpool were expecting additional squad investment from the new owners, something they reneged on after persuading shareholder to sell.