KIEV, UKRAINE - JUNE 24: Steven Gerrard of England looks dejected after the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between England and Italy at The Olympic Stadium on June 24, 2012 in Kiev, Ukraine. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
With a break in action at the Euros until later in the week, things have come to a screeching halt. It's been nice having a distraction from how quiet things are for Liverpool right now--after a flurry of new a few weeks back with the appointment of Brendan Rodgers, there's been nothing to report as it pertains to the club or the number of other appointments that had been promised. Those are likely on the horizon, and while there's no much substantive, there's still a few Liverpool-related bits of news to cover.
** England's shortcomings were many yesterday, and among the most damning was their inability to retain possession for any sort of meaningful period of time. It's one thing to rely almost solely on endless hoofs downfield--which they did, with Joe Hart to Andy Carroll the most frequent link-up--but it's quite another to struggle to make at least one or two basic passes in the 12 seconds that you actually have the ball.
I can imagine that Roy Hodgson doesn't necessarily see this as a major problem, as England pretty much stuck to the plan that Hodgson laid out. But thankfully it's not lost on Steven Gerrard that there's an absolute gulf in class between England right now and teams like Italy, who can run and look at teammates and pass ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
"At times the football hasn't been fantastic, we haven't blown people away. The possession stats speak for themselves. Moving forward as a nation we do need to improve with the ball."
As many have pointed out, and as Gerrard alludes to here, they can't really expect to persist with Roy Hodgson at the helm if there's going to be any philosophical change for the national setup. And as for the Liverpool players that'll one day be in contention, the English approach under Hodgson is going to become more and more dissonant with what they're expected to do at the club level, where Brendan Rodgers will expect basically the exact opposite of what England churned out yesterday. I'd doubt there will be many challenges poses by regressing to a less active system, but if the Hodgson Way is the way forward, it could have an influence on how he perceives the players he selects, especially if he views them as incompatible with trying to play football in a stop-motion style.
** Also more along the England side of things but also relevant to Liverpool is Gerrard's assurances that he plans to continue as England captain as long as Hodgson wants him around. The England manager has been effusive in his praise for Gerrard and rightly so, with the captain one of the only squad members--Glen Johnson as one of the few others--to give a roundly positive account of himself for the past few weeks.
So huzzah for national pride and balancing country with club and all that, but also panic button time if we're looking at an aging Steven Gerrard trying to play out the rest of his days as captain of both Liverpool and England, particularly with World Cup Qualifying starting in the fall. He would have likely had that to content with regardless, as the English midfield isn't exactly bursting with experience and quality, but with an all-effort performance across the last four matches as captain leading to a clearly drained display yesterday, it's more than a little worrying.
Liverpool start their 2012-2013 Premier League campaign with difficult stretch, and with Europa League action to contend with as well, we're looking at Gerrard having a fair few matches under his belt even before England have their first qualifier in Moldova in September. The days of Gerrard as a do-everything type of player are long, long gone--he hasn't been capable of any type of max-level effort across a number of matches in a few years--and if that's the expectation as he continues to wear the armband for England, there's a very good chance that we'll unfortunately be in the groin-updating business for awhile.
** Lastly, a very sad note that Miki Roque, who'd been with Liverpool from 2005-2009, died yesterday from complications related to a cancer diagnosis from a year earlier. The cancer was discovered in March of 2011 and forced his retirement, and while there'd been little to report as he fought the illness for the past year, the most recent update is a tragic one, as he passed away at the age of 23.
I can't pretend to know much about Roque beyond the fact that he was with Liverpool for much of his youth, spent most of that time in the reserves, and appeared in one match with the senior squad as a substitute. He had a few loan spells before moving to Betis, where he managed a dozen or so appearances with the senior squad before he was forced into retirement.
But whenever someone as young as Roque passes away it's unsettling, and there's really nothing to say other than passing condolences along to his family and friends during what's sure to be an impossibly difficult time.
That's all for today, but if there's anything else to report, we'll be sure to scramble around and get things sorted. As of right now, we'll plan to be back tomorrow to take a look at where things appear to be for Liverpool in the transfer market. Spoiler: nothing's happened.