First, SUCCESS! I don't want to say that we were completely responsible, but I think we were completely responsible. Liverpool v. Aston Villa, coming to Australia in all its HD glory. Brought to you by the Liverpool Offside. Surely that's worth some sort of sponsorship deal?
And very quickly, if Noel's earlier introduction was unecessary, this reminder's overkill, so apologies up front. But it's last call for participation in the end of season polling that Noel coordinated across Oh You Beauty, Paisley Gates, and Anfield Asylum. Starting next week we get the results and editors' choices with some roundtable discussion thrown in for good measure, which will be a pleasure to take part in and should (hopefully) be plenty worth your time to check out. Check out the earlier post for links to all the polls that have run throughout the week
Now that you've been sufficiently smothered with our polling obsession, a couple of Friday notes:
* The twists and turns of the Alberto Aquilani saga have already been outlined in sufficient detail around here, and there's a good reason that Noel termed it an "eternal soap opera." Today we got another sprinkle of fresh doubt about the already cloudy situation, which, at some point, has to end. Dalglish's thoughts:
"There's a distinct possibility he could be back here. He's a quality player. He got off to a bad start here with his injuries and never really got going after missing pre-season. He went out on loan and has done very well over there. If he was to come back here, for me that would be like a new face coming in. I don't know of any deadline, I wasn't privy to the conversations that were had."
So maybe he comes back, maybe he doesn't, maybe he wants to be here, maybe he wants to stay in Italy. At least Dalglish does mention later in the presser that there's been some sort of ongoing discussion about the Italian's status, and like I mentioned, it has to end sometime. It has to, right?
* Going from the current manager to one who's been heavily linked with a future managerial role, Jamie Carragher leaves little doubt as to whether or not he has any self-awareness whatsoever and assures us that, if and when he does end up on the touchline, he'll be the most zen son of a bitch to ever wear a suit and tie:
"I probably wouldn't be able to lose my temper as much as I do on the pitch. Managers these days don't really lose their temper too much, it's the way the modern manager is. I'd imagine if Kenny wasn't happy about something he just wouldn't pick you, I suppose that's the best way because sometimes it doesn't matter how much you shout. He is very easy going, which is maybe different to other managers I've worked under. They had their own styles, which again I've learned from in different ways.
"Every manager does it his own way and Kenny is an individual - he has a sense of humour and he wants that to rub off on his players. What it boils down to is success. If you win, it's the right way and if you don't it's looked at as being the wrong way. There is no set pattern to being a manager and any player will tell you that they take little things from every manager or coach you play for.
I guess there's always the possibility that people can change and turn over a new leaf and all that, but I have a hard time believing that Carra will do anything resembling "mellowing" when he transitions into the manager's seat. Even setting aside his little to-do with Alvaro Arbeloa a few seasons back, it's nearly impossible to imagine a more meditative, reflective Carragher standing solemnly as the match action passes by. His shouts are a mainstay during broadcasts---rarely does a match go by that you don't hear him screeching directions at someone. I think he'll be very successful, but I'm not ruling out the possibility that he loses his mind from time to time.
* In news that's unsurprising and slightly enraging, Arsene Wenger has weighed in where he doesn't really have a place to, other than to whine about the potential of Jack Wilshere having to play this summer and Andy Carroll not, and it's always everyone else's fault, and this time he really means it:
"I don't think he will do it because that is opening the door for any other complaints. Players react like that, 'If he doesn't go, why do I go?' That could be a dangerous game to leave Carroll behind.
"It could create many other problems. I would not be the first on the phone but there would be no logic in the attitude of selection. I could understand if Carroll doesn't go for injury problems but for fatigue problems it would be more difficult to convince people in England he is more tired than Jack Wilshere."
So yeah, can't really put it any better than matt did yesterday in the comments: "is arsene wenger fucking serious? saying carroll should be forced to play cause wilshere will be. i want to crush his tiny little head into a ball and punt it to the highest row of the emirates"
That's it for closing out the work week, and I'll be back tomorrow morning with the preview for Sunday's finale. Which of course still has implications for European qualification, but will hopefully also serve as table-setting of sorts for an important summer and a launch into the next campaign with the club in a much different place.
For now, enjoy your Friday, and to celebrate Australia's victory, get in touch with your mid-90s self and Silverchair. Come on, you know you loved it.