By Chris Rowland.
Eight Liverpool players have the potential to be involved in Thursday evening’s clash between England and Uruguay. But does the match have wider implications for Liverpool’s prospects next season? We asked our Symposium Panel that very question.
Mark Cohen (Maradoo): I must say, this World Cup has so far been an absolute blast.
Part of the reason for this, I believe, is that, with the rise and rise of domestic football and the sinking of the international variety, everybody from fans to sponsors to players are taking the tournament less seriously save for uberasshole Sep Blatter and his quite disgraceful band of common thugs FIFA. This has several implications, with the most important being the happy truism that when expectations drop so does pressure, leading to an upturn in performances (see the League Cup and its highly entertaining games as an example). With most players in Brazil to do their best and have fun, the games take on a different complexion, and ironically for international football, we are seeing a huge upturn in entertainment because people care less.
Therefore I believe that the match, and the tournament as a whole will have very little bearing on domestic football next season, as the performance conditions are so different. Add to that Suarez’s injury which means the expectations on him to perform have dipped and the fact that England appointed uberwanker Roy Hodgson suggesting they had given up long before the tournament began all makes for a fun evening on Thursday. No more, no less.
For the record, my feelings were always that Uruguay were vastly overrated, whilst England, despite playing with one hand tied behind Roy’s mouth, are underrated. I thus feel, beyond a doubt, that England will smack Uruguay with Liverpool’s lads leading the charge.
Chris Rowland: Life or death. Do or die. Winner takes all. Well actually a draw might do. The media have predictably seized on the shoot-out element of the game, whilst in truth it would only take a very normal set of other results to send England through even if they draw against Uruguay. Say Italy beat Costa Rica – hardly unimaginable – and England do the same, knowing they have to win to stand a good chance of getting through. All England would then need is for an already-qualified Italy not to lose to Uruguay. Again, far from inconceivable.
But as far as Liverpool are concerned, we might be better for England to come home early, thus sparing six Reds further exertion this summer. However that could spell extra exertion for two Uruguayans, and one in particular. And on top of lack of rest comes risk of injury, especially as Suarez is recovering from surgery. The desperation of Uruguay’s position following the surprise loss to Costa Rica intensifies their desire to risk playing Suarez – who was running on empty towards the end of last season anyway. A quiet game or two from him, a quiet exit by Uruguay, and maybe Luis falls below Real’s radar? But do stellar performances by Raheem and Daniel put them on to some major shopping lists around Europe?
Of course the rest of England will not give a toss about the possible damage to Liverpool’s season arising from this match – in fact it would be a positive bonus for them. But for Reds fans it’s very easy to worry about this match, to see it as lose-lose. Perhaps it would be best if Italy and Costa Rica qualify?
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