First the bad news:
Fernando Torres is out for at least two weeks with a hamstring tear, the sort of injury that we all know can linger on throughout a season.
Ryan Babel has a left ankle sprtain, which leaves him doubtful for the weekend but shouldn’t keep him sidelined any further than that. We should be thankful it wasn’t anything recurring from his earlier woes this past summer.
Now, I’m thankful that neither is out for any longer than they are, but I have to agree with Rafa’s statements today in that the international game is becoming ridiculous. Liverpool are paying inordinate sums of money for these players, while their countries have no investment and are simply allowed to use and abuse these assets as they please.
I can agree wholeheartedly with players wanting to participate. I also find the international game to be something worthwhile and enjoy the major tournaments quite thoroughly. There is simply no call for these matches as they are currently arranged. Let’s have these nations qualify on their own time or designate stadiums for each group to play one match against each opponent on a neutral pitch.
On the heels of all these meaningless qualifiers, UEFA have now announced an expansion of their championships to 24 sides. 24 teams in the Euros, now I don’t know about you but that absolutely boggles my mind. Where is the pride? Where is the honor of qualifying when everyone does so? This is something I see daily in America with our sports being the money grab that they are. It’s a shame to see such traditional competitions being cheapened to this extent.
This isn’t something that can be fixed today, but it’s something that I’d like to see FIFA and UEFA take a look at for the good for the game as a whole. We hear about these things all the time, but when you see it hit your own club it’s harder.
Speedy recovery to our two injured players. You have all our sympathies.