WE’RE coming towards the end of the international break, and the return of Premier League action is in sight, after what feels like an eternity.

Nobody actually likes international breaks, yet they seem to keep popping up and causing problems for everybody — not least because nobody is arsed about friendlies or qualifiers when the season has just got back underway.

Reds On Tour

Since it’s happened we should probably talk about it. Divock Origi started for Belgium as they lost 2-0 to Spain — and were booed by their fans, which Roberto Martinez is probably used to by now. Sadio Mane came off as a substitute, when Senegal met Namibia, sending social media into meltdown — but he’s not injured, so that’s sound. Georginio Wijnaldum played 72 minutes and got on the scoresheet for Holland.

Adam Lallana, Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge all featured for England, as the former’s first international goal bailed Big Sam out.

Philippe Coutinho came on for the last half an hour in Brazil’s 3-0 win over Ecuador, while Emre Can and Ragnar Klavan both missed their country’s games through injury — and Simon Mignolet was an unused sub. That all covered, then?


Owen Wanted Return

Quotes from Si Hughes’s new book Ring Of Fire are doing the rounds today, this time from the Michael Owen chapter. He claims that he was desperate to return to Anfield, after leaving the club to go looking for a new challenge — which went well for him, didn’t it?

He said: “At every stage — every summer — I was on the phone to Carra [Jamie Carragher] telling him to find a way to get me back. ‘Does Rafa [Benitez] want me?’ I’d say. ‘Does Kenny [Dalglish] want me? Does Brendan [Rodgers] want me?’ It was circumstance that stopped it happening.”

The striker also insists that Rafa didn’t want him, despite his best attempts to push through a move, before he chose to sign for Manchester United — and then clutched his badge and blew kisses to the United fans after his first goal for the club against Wigan. With that in mind, excuse me for not forgiving him just because he wanted to come back.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 25, 2009: Liverpool's players celebrate as Manchester United's former Red, Michael Owen, looks utterly dejceted following Liverpool's 2-0 victory in the Premiership match at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mane Causing Meltdown

After his rumoured injury, and then it being revealed that he’s actually fine, it has been confirmed that Mane’s home nation Senegal will be competing in this year’s Africa Cup of Nations — so he will eventually miss some games. The horror!

Assuming that Senegal go all the way — who really knows? — Mane could miss the third round of the FA Cup, a trip to Old Trafford, home games against Swansea and Chelsea, a trip to Hull and both legs of the EFL Cup semi final — assuming that we get that far, if we’re being optimistic.

Mad that he’s causing this much drama after a few games. He is boss, though:


We’re All Laughing At The Ev

Deadline day wasn’t particularly eventful for Liverpool, but at least they did manage to get something out of it — if not only seeing the back of Mario Balotelli. Everton had quite the day, with rumours that target Moussa Sissoko turned his phone off, after being sent a private jet and having a room set up for a medical at the club. He then moved to Spurs for £30million.

They probably dodged a bullet, but it was funny to watch it all unfold. And it’s still funny now:

Recent Pieces

Plugging some more of our work, hope you don’t mind. Robbo and Gibbo went to Burscough this weekend, on account of it being non-league day, and the former wrote a piece about the day, which you can read here. It is boss non-league footie, you should try it.

Ben Johnson talked about the mad house that is Sky Sports HQ on deadline day, and whether Liverpool were expected to have bought just for the sake of it, which you can read here.

Finally, Paul Cantwell wrote a piece about FSG, and whether we should be starting to ask questions about their ambition, after the Reds finished the summer in the black. Read that here.

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