OSLO, NORWAY - MAY 26: Martin Kelly of England looks on during the international friendly match between Norway and England at the Ullevaal Stadion on May 26, 2012 in Oslo, Norway. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Liverpool once again had a fairly substantial number of young internationals in action, with three starting for the U21s in their final qualifying match against Norway and Samed Yesil joining the German U19s in Kiel for their friendly against Wales. Hopes of coming away from the break unscathed were dashed, unfortunately, so now we're left with tomorrow providing a bit of damage control as the return of Premier League play--and a very busy stretch for Liverpool--creeps closer.
England 1, Norway 0: With the win, Stuart Pearce's U21s secure a playoff place for the European Championships, capping off a very successful qualifying campaign that saw them go 7-0-1 with a +21 goal difference. Connor Wickham scored the winner just before the half, and England saw off the visitors en route to the 1-0 win. Most worrying from a Liverpool perspective was the half-time substitution of Martin Kelly, who was replaced by Nathaniel Clyne and was rumored to have picked up some sort of leg injury. Jordan Henderson and Jonjo Shelvey each played a full ninety again, with Henderson the captain.
Kelly's injury history leaves us guessing as to the extent of the recovery period--he's not managed a full season since being promoted to the senior squad, and unless it was very, very precautionary, we can likely expect that Liverpool will be without their third-choice fullback when they travel to Sunderland this weekend.
Germany 3, Wales 1: Samed Yesil made it three in two matches with the opener for the Germans, who defeated Wales 3-1 in the final friendly of the break. Little to go off of other than a strangely worded recap from the Welsh FA, but I'd guess there'll be a highlight or two later on this evening. If that's the case I'll edit this post to include whatever's available. Whether or not there's highlights, though, I'm curious to see Yesil get going with Liverpool, especially with a full month of training between now and the U19s' Euro qualifying on October 9th. Again, expecting first-team action right now is too much, but with so much congestion in the coming months--and the player listed in the Europa League squad and with a number confirmed in the first team--a minute or two here and there isn't out of the question.
**Edit: The offal's gone and outdone us by including Danny Wilson and Peter Gulacsi in their recap. I call foul because: a) Danny Wilson has to be older than 21 at this point, so there's no way this is that Danny Wilson, and b) I always--ALWAYS--type "Paul Gulacsi" instead of "Peter Gulacsi", so this feels like a trap. But yeah, they played too and etc.**