Liverpool Players on International Duty Wrap
There was yet another busy night of international football played around the world on Tuesday, and as always there were a plethora of Liverpool players representing their various countries around the globe.
And with the Reds set to face Swansea City in the Premier League at the Liberty stadium on Monday evening in yet another crucial top-flight encounter for Brendan Rodgers’ side, the Northern Irishman will have spent a nervous night in front of the TV keeping a close eye on all his stars.
Luckily for Rodgers, it appears as though the Merseyside giants have emerged from all of last night’s World Cup qualifiers with a clean bill of health.
Meanwhile, there was also positive news for the Liverpool boss when it came to some of the eye-catching displays his players turned in for their respective countries on Tuesday evening, and so we take a look at those performances in a little more detail …
Daniel Agger: Armenia vs. Denmark
The silky-smooth Liverpool defender is now captain of Denmark after having now made 58 appearances for his country since making his international debut back in 2005.
And on Tuesday night in Armenia, the 28-year-old truly led from the front in what was an absolutely crucial FIFA World Cup qualifier for the Danes, who knew before kick-off that nothing less than the three points would do if they still wished to stand any chance of playing in next summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
Not only did Agger superbly marshal his back four to keep a vital clean sheet on the road, but he also put himself forward to take the crucial spot kick with just 17 minutes to go with the score still goalless.
And Agger’s winning penalty, his eighth goal for his country, kept Denmark just a point behind Bulgaria in second place in the race to see which of those two teams finishes as runners-up to Group B winners Italy, and with it earn a place in the playoffs in November.
Martin Skrtel: Slovakia vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
The Slovakia international skipper took his usual place at the heart of his country’s back four as they hosted Group G leaders Bosnia and Herzegovina in Zilina on Tuesday evening.
And for much of the qualifier, Skrtel and Co. appeared on course for a much-needed win that would have raised hopes of making it to next year’s World Cup finals in Brazil via the playoffs, that is until the visitors struck twice late on to break Slovak hearts.
However, there was little that the recently recalled Liverpool centre back could do to prevent either of the two Bosnian strikes after half-time, and now it looks as though the 28-year-old will be spending next summer relaxing on a beach somewhere, rather than being in South America.
For Rodgers and the Reds, though, it was good to see Skrtel get another 90 minutes of top-level football under his belt going into the Swansea match, especially given the current injury concerns over Kolo Toure.
Andre Wisdom: Finland Under-21 vs. England Under-21
Not a night to remember for the skipper of the England U21s on Monday at the Tampere Stadium in Finland, with the Liverpool right back shown his marching orders in the second half of the visitors’ 2015 European Championship qualifier.
In the end, Wisdom’s dismissal did not end up costing Gareth Southgate’s men the match, with the qualifier ending in a draw, although the fact that the 20-year-old lost his cool in an altercation with Finland’s Tim Vayrynen will not have gone unnoticed by Liverpool’s manager.
That is especially considering the fact that Wisdom has now been pencilled in by the Northern Irishman to deputize for injury victim Glen Johnson for the next 10 weeks.
Steven Gerrard: Ukraine vs. England
The England skipper turned in his usual accomplished display at the heart of the Three Lions’ midfield in the Olympic stadium in Kiev on Tuesday evening, barely putting a foot wrong all night as his side secured the point that keeps them in control of proceedings in Group H.
But Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers will just have been delighted to see his influential captain last the entire 90 minutes without suffering any injuries, as had been the case on many a previous occasion with England.
In fact, the last time that the Three Lions played Ukraine away from home in a World Cup qualifier in 2009, Gerrard picked up a serious knock that left him sidelined for some time.
Meanwhile, wide man Raheem Sterling was kept as an unused substitute all night long by England manager Roy Hodgson in the Ukrainian capital, which would have pleased his counterpart at Anfield no doubt as he starts to prepare his team selection for Monday’s trip to Swansea.
Luis Suarez: Uruguay vs. Colombia
More good news for Liverpool came as striker Luis Suarez was given another important 90-minute run-out for his country in their vital 2-0 home win over rivals Colombia in their South American World Cup qualifier on Tuesday evening.
Unlike on Friday night, Suarez did not get his name on the scoresheet, but nonetheless the 26-year-old still produced an outstanding display up front for the home side, especially when you consider how little football the forward has had of late.
And for the Reds, it was also a massive plus to see their star man get more miles in his legs as the clock begins to slowly tick down to his long-awaited comeback against Manchester United in the Capital One Cup later this month.