The international break always throws up a curve ball or two, and with the first Merseyside Derby of the campaign looming large over the horizon, the Liverpool faithful will be keeping at least one lazy eye on proceedings as candles are burned, prayers are recited and deal are made with various deities to ensure the safe return of the Reds scattered throughout the world ahead of this all important fixture.
Luis Suarez — who at the time of writing is in Montevideo, Uruguay ahead of the second leg of La Celeste’s World Cup Qualifying Play-Off match with Jordan – is a major concern given the amount of frequent flyer miles the striker has racked up just getting to and from the match. In a bid to save him a bit of time on the return leg of his journey, primary Liverpool owner John W. Henry has once again arranged for his private jet to shuttle the 26-year old around.
The Boston based businessman did the same after Suarez was granted special clearance from the Uruguayan FA to meet up with the international side late and in turn participate in Liverpool’s dismantling of Fulham – a match he scored a brace in. A private flight instead of a commercial one means that the striker will arrive back on Merseyside on Thursday rather than Friday and give him a tiny bit more recovery time than originally thought.
The Uruguayan is sure to be a peripheral figure in the fixture regardless of the level of jet-lag he may be experiencing and that’s good news considering both Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard are going to be suiting up for England with knocks. Sturridge, who left training early yesterday, missed out on the Three Lion’s loss to Chile on Friday and despite national side boss Roy Hodgson declaring him fit to play, lingering doubts remain whether the striker will be up to snuff today against Germany. He’s played through most of the season for Liverpool carrying a variety of knocks, but the Reds fitness team has been able to manage his various ailments well enough to keep him on the pitch and scoring goals – something the England set-up may not be able to manage.
If Sturridge does come back to Merseyside more crocked than when he left, maybe club captain Steven Gerrard will hook him up with some of that good stuff he’s been on. The 33-year old revealed that a series of special back injections has got him back up and running as the Liverpool man targets another two seasons at the top level. The midfield man credits the injections, which he said he’s received “every couple years”, with his improved stamina – Gerrard missed only two Premier League matches last season on the back of participating in all of England’s matches at Euro 2012. If those shots are going to help him be in tip-top shape for the trip to Goodison this weekend, might as well give him another one just to be sure…