By Avenell Dave
The news that Samir Nasri is out for a month couldn’t come at a worse time.
The French international, still reeling from being left out of his country’s World Cup squad, spoke in pre-season of his ‘starvation’ at months without football and how much he wanted to make the next step up this season.
He’s been a solid player for us, scoring twice, memorably, against M*nure but also flitting out of games perhaps a little too often.
With youth on his side and having had a wake-up call, his performances in pre-season have been impressive, hinting at a player who, rather than believing the hype, was suddenly starting to live up to it.
Just as last season he suffered early on when he fractured his leg, Nasri must wonder why he’s having his early-season momentum stifled by these inujry setbacks.
There has been a lot of speculation that Cesc Fabregas will slip in, providing a greater level of creativity and most likely receiving a warm welcome from the fans he almost turned his back on during the summer.
One concern last week at Anfield was that despite all our possession, even with Nasri pulling the strings, we rarely looked like breaking Liverpool down until Pepe Reina atoned for his summer Barca shirt antics.
Some Addicts have suggested to me that Cesc hardly played in the World Cup and that RvP had a 5 month rest in the middle of the season, so why can’t both be involved at the start of this campaign?
That misses the point of a pre-season, where, despite Nasri’s injury which was sustained in a tackle and wholly unavoidable, players build up their muscles, tendons and ligaments as well as their endurance, giving them greater protection and ability to sustain the rigours of professional football.
There is inevitably some pure fitness loss when a player takes a break, even though resting and giving the body the chance to recover cannot be a bad thing.
I’m sure that had he not been sick, Cesc would have come on at Liverpool.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he features against Blackpool either.
But to suggest that he is certain to start following Nasri’s injury, as many seem to think, may well be wide of the mark.
We have a long season ahead of us and Cesc will be vital to our progress in the big games.
Tomas Rosicky may or may not be a first-choice player these days, but, particularly against a side such as Blackpool, he has the talent to carve them open, as he showed when he came on at Anfield.
While Rosicky tends not to maintain his fitness regardless of how many games he plays, I suspect Cesc will be eased in slowly to ensure he doesn’t get an early injury that may niggle him for the entire season.
We don’t meet any of the top six challengers for a while and while games such as Blackburn away are never great fun, why risk Cesc from the start when Rosicky can slip straight in?
That said, if anyone thinks Abou Diaby can take over the playmaker’s role, please go and sit down, have a glass of water and take a deep breath.