England looked poor for much of their final Euro 2012 warm-up and were for long stretches badly outplayed by a Belgium side that couldn't find any kind of killer instinct in the final third, but Roy Hodgson's Lions still managed to hold on to a 1-0 win and so head into the tournament on a high and with the nation expecting glory. Well, not really. For the most part at least. In any case, we'd better dive right into today's news and notes…
* Not only does it appear that Craig Bellamy and his knees will be involved in Wales' attempts to qualify for the 2014 World Cup despite it being widely believed his captaincy during the spring's Gary Speed memorial match marked the final game of his international career, but earlier rumours that he was in line to be called up to Team GB as one of three overage players for this summer's olympics have turned out to be more than just rumours. While in Singapore for a promotional event, Bellamy let slip that he has indeed been called up by Stuart Pearce and that he's looking forward to the challenge.
Given that his playing time had to be carefully managed last season to account for his long-standing health concerns, that he won't get the entire summer off to rest is obviously bad news for Liverpool. Still, Bellamy seems fired up by the opportunity, and who exactly is going to tell a fired up Craig Bellamy that maybe he should stay home and watch the Olympics from his couch with a couple of ice packs? You? That's what I thought.
Favourites to join Bellamy in the two remaining overage slots include Ryan Giggs, David Beckham, and for some bizarre reason Joe Cole.
* After revealing next season's Warrior home kit last month, when the clocks struck midnight yesterday the club released the away kit. Depending on who you asked, they may also have released an LFC branded wetsuit, or perhaps an antique diving suit with the helmet taken off, or a superhero costume missing its cape, or a nun's habit without the headdress.
It's intended as a historical reinterpretation of 1900-1906's alternate kit, a primarily white affair with red socks and a yoke meant to honour the city's ship building industry, but as with last season's adidas third kit in white and Manchester City blue that was sold as a re-imagining of the club's first ever kit, for many the end result appears to have not come together quite as well as would have been intended.
Some will of course like it straight off—after all, enough people liked last year's blue kit to make it the club's best selling third strip ever—but it isn't unfair to Warrior or the club to say that for the most part reaction has been negative. Luckily for all involved, the shirt appears to look better when it's actually on a player than it does when viewed in isolation, so there's always the chance that once it's been seen a few times in action it will begin to grow on people. And of course if the club wins a trophy or four in it, it could end up the most beloved away kit in recent memory.
Still, for the time being at least, the positivity that surrounded the launch of the home kit last month has largely been replaced by raised eyebrows and mild distaste, with many falling back on it not being anywhere near as bad as Manchester United's new table cloth kit as a selling point.
* Despite revealing on Sunday that he would be heading to Fenerbahce next season, Dirk Kuyt today has talked about Liverpool's next manager and what he thinks Brendan Rodgers will do for the club. He also wanted to assure people that Rodgers' arrival had nothing to do with his departure, something that most have seen coming for months now:
From what I have heard from Michel Vorm, who is with me in the national team, he is a great manager and he told me he will be perfect for Liverpool and he will definitely lift the club up to a higher state. I would also like to say my decision to leave Liverpool was nothing to do with the new manager coming in whatsoever. I just had the feeling that I had to go somewhere else for a new experience after six years.
I made the decision but it's not about the new manager. I have great memories from my experience with the club… From the bottom of my heart I wish them all the best, wish the new manager all the best and I hope they will be very successful.
For Kuyt, that new challenge involves a return to the Champions League for the first time since 2009-10 and a legitimate chance at a league title next season with the Turkish runners-up. As was the case yesterday, it's still hard to see the hardest working player at Liverpool Football Club and deserved cult hero depart, but we wish him nothing but success in this next stage of his career.
We'll be back with any breaking news, but in the meantime, have all of Dirk Kuyt's league goals to help see you through the rest of the day wherever you are…