Christmas Day arrives and you’ve clicked here to escape the insanity of the family arguments over who’s been affected by the sprouts worst of all.
Merry Christmas, people.
If you’re expecting something light and jovial this morning, you’ve come to the wrong place. No respite, no let-up; we plough on ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Brighton. If the players can turn up for training today, the last we can do is turn up with the blogging.
Yesterday saw the release of the latest injury updates and it doesn’t make for pretty reading. It’s quite a dry subject so the chance for quips is low although I thought Emile Smith Rowe returned to training before the visit of Burnley.
Not too sure what’s going on with Dino either; he’s fast running out of December in which to return to training. Unless, of course, it’s December 2019 the medical team refer to. Then we can say that he’s well on target for his return.
Hector Bellerin, an ever-present until he suffered a calf strain at Southampton, is now an ever-present in the rehab rooms for the next fortnight where he’ll be joined by Nacho Monreal, whose hamstring is ready to twang.
I know he’s “being assessed ahead of” tomorrow’s game but that’s just code for “out for a fortnight” in the same “three weeks” always meant two months.
Henrikh Mkhitaryan is paying a big price for getting his double pike all wrong in diving training. He’s out for six weeks with a fractured metatarsal in his right foot. Must do better, Henners; must do better.
Sadly, Shkodran Mustafi is likely to be fit for Liverpool. God, I wish it was an acid trip similar to the one Ivan and Arsene were on when they paid thirty-five-million-bloody-quid to Valencia for the German.
It’s Mike Dean, Who Else?
Whilst Mustafi’s return for Liverpool has advantages, the euphoria of that is short-lived. We could have – should have – a full-strength back-three for the match. That is a huge positive; the prospect of Lichtsteiner marking Mane, Firmino or Salah as a centre-back is stress-inducing. Until you remember that as a right wing-back, he will be marking Mane, Firmino or Salah at some point.
Yet in his more ‘natural’ role, I see him being more effective against the league leaders. It’s the kind of comfort signing an experienced international as cover brings.
And, given the propensity Liverpool have for sh*thousery, a timely team selection.
That is getting ahead of myself; tomorrow is far from a ‘gimme’. Brighton were dismal at Bournemouth but the referee fared less well. It was Mike Dean who cocked up with his jovial “off you pop” comment to Lewis Dunk. What a shame the first booking was handed out to Dunk in mistaken identity.
Just to clarify Dean’s mistake, Lewis Dunk is on the left. The real culprit was Yves Bissouma on the right. Even with Dunk playing hide and seek, it’s still tough to give the yellow card to the culprit.
It’s so simple that not even Andre Marriner would get it wrong. Mike Dean, however, did. I’ll just leave that there. Still, at least Lewis got the day off to spend with his family.
And it was a decent present to receive for us as well. In Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Alexandre Lacazette, we possess forwards with the ability to take advantage of any weakness.
On the subject of tomorrow’s game, I did a Q&A with We Are Brighton which can be found here. That ought to keep you away from the family for another few minutes…