Thursday, February 5, 2009

Gerrard might be dead! Title race over!!!

With Benitez unwilling to be taken in by the Robbie Keane questions after the Everton match Wednesday, Gerrard's hamstring injury has provided the latest "doomed Liverpool" storylines. A sampling of the overreaction:

"Liverpool reel as Gerrard is ruled out for up to three weeks"
– Guardian

"Liverpool fear long-term loss of Gerrard"
– Times

"Gerrard to miss Bernabeu battle as injury rules Liverpool skipper out for three weeks"
– Daily Mail

"Labor MP in sizzling sex romp with cheeky chav"
– News of the World

However, credit to The Independent for the following restrained headline: "Gerrard to miss three weeks"

And that's all it is. Let's look at what Stevie G. will be on the sidelines for during the next three weeks:

• Saturday, away to Portsmouth: Liverpool sometimes struggles at Pompey, and I don't think it'll be easy this time without Gerrard. However, Liverpool have dodged a bullet as I feared Pompey would dump Tony Adams this week. The Reds saw what effect a new manager has earlier this season when Harry Redknapp came in at Spurs and produced Liverpool's only defeat this year. With Adams still there, though, it's just a weary Portsmouth stripped of its strikers and unable to do much lately. Althought that Southampton 0 – Pompey Ladies 4 result from Wednesday might add some zing into the club. All in all, for having to play an away match with Gerrard out injured, Liverpool could have fared much worse.

• Wednesday, England away to Spain: Here's the silver lining in the injury. Keep him out of this hooey-phooey international break friendly garbage that pollutes the fixture list. Yeah, sorry Capello. Gerrard can't make it. I know you need full access to these players so you can mold a cohesive England that loses in dramatic, heartbreaking fashion to Argentina in the quarterfinals of South Africa 2010. I know, it sucks, dogg.

• Feb. 22, Manchester City at Anfield: If they don't clean up this clown act at Anfield without Gerrard, Liverpool shouldn't pretend to be in any title race worth running. City lost away to 10-man Stoke, who played shorthanded for about an hour. This match does not concern me in the least, no matter where Gerrard is on this day.

• Feb. 25, away to Real Madrid, Champions League: OK, this one is less than thrilling to face without Gerrard, but if there's anything Liverpool under Rafa Benitez can do it's play for a draw away in Europe. Of course I feel worse off as a supporter going into this one without Gerrard. But really, it's not all that bad. You might have heard of how Liverpool plays away in Europe against a talented opponent and lacking Gerrard. See the file labeled: "Alonso, The Director at work, Turin, 2005." As long as they lose by no more than one goal, I'm not concerned. If they lose 1-2 or 2-3, all the better.

So there it is, Gerrard is missing that lineup. There's two League matches Liverpool sure as hell should be able to handle, a needless international friendly with Spain that has me nervous about Torres' hamstrings, and then the trip to Madrid, which looks more spicy on paper than what it will prove to be once played out.

So, you know, not the end of the world. Bring on Pompey.

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