The extraordinary international efforts of Luis Suarez, Daniel Sturridge and Steven Gerrard are raising question marks around Liverpool ahead of this weekend’s rivalry match with Everton.
The match, set to kick-off on Saturday at 7:45am ET on NBCSN and NBC Live Extra, will be the 221st meeting between the two clubs and is one that Liverpool has dominated in the modern era.
Since the formation of the Premier League in 1992, Liverpool has won 18 of the 42 league encounters, drawn 15 and lost only nine. Perhaps more poignant, Everton has only taken three points off their neighbors once in the last 13 league meetings (a 2-0 victory on October 17, 2010).
And while the majority of both sides remain away on international duty, the commitments and decisions of Suarez, Sturridge and Gerrard are creating an uneasy feeling among Kopites.
Suarez, who is on duty with Uruguay, plays at home to Jordan on Wednesday evening, one day later than most international sides. The tight schedule means the striker will hop a plane on Thursday and make the trip from Montevideo to London, a flight that takes over 13 hours. At the earliest that means Suarez will be back in Liverpool by late Thursday night, giving him 24 hours to get acclimated and have a quick training session ahead of Saturday’s kick-off.
It’s a turn-around that Brendan Rodgers won’t be happy with but fortunately, Uruguay won the first leg of the two legged clash with Jordan 5-0, meaning it’s unlikely the striker will need to go the full 90.
While Suarez’ situation is a minor concern that of Sturridge and Gerrard deserves greater weight.
Both players were unable to go in England’s 0-2 loss to Chile last Friday, Sturridge due to a thigh injury and Gerrard due to an ongoing hip issue. But both have pushed to get themselves healthy – with Gerrard going so far as to receive pain killing injections – and are currently set to start against Germany.
It’s a decision that boggles the mind. Granted, Germany is a long-time rival of England so both Sturridge and Gerrard will naturally be motivated to play but it’s just a friendly. The match means nothing. Perhaps if either player was not guaranteed a spot on the England squad going to Brazil you could understand the urgency. But that’s clearly not the case.
Making matters even more odd is the fact that Germany coach Joachim Low has already noted his intent to play fringe players as he seeks to solidify his squad for World Cup 2014. Notably, Lowe has already sent home Manuel Neuer, Phillip Lahm and Mesut Ozil not because they are injured but merely because they needed rest.
So what’s the point in risking the health of Sturridge and Gerrard in this game?
It’s a question many a Liverpool supporter may be asking himself ahead of Saturday’s matchup.