Eriksson loses over Liverpool postponement

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Sven Goran Eriksson has failed in an attempt to have Liverpool's "problem" match against Bolton postponed. It takes place just five days before England face Germany because of the overloaded fixture schedule.

The Premiership game next Monday night at least offers Robbie Fowler the chance to gain more match fitness, with Eriksson welcoming the news that the striker had apologised for his row with the Anfield coach, Phil Thompson.

However, it also puts up to six of Eriksson's squad – Fowler, Emile Heskey, Michael Owen, Steve Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Nicky Barmby – at risk of injury immediately before a World Cup qualifier that could decide the group.

The England coach spoke to Liverpool and Bolton about the possibility of postponing the game only to discover that the overcrowded fixture programme made that impossible.

The game, which has already been delayed from this weekend because Liverpool take part in the Super Cup on Friday night in Monaco against Bayern Munich, will therefore go ahead as planned.

Eriksson said: "Maybe it could have been better but you can't do anything about it. The rules for releasing players for international duty come into effect five days before a game, including the match day.

"It's a problem but the problem is bigger than that. It is that you have too many games. If you postpone a game like that, I don't think Liverpool could find another date to play it on until after Christmas.

"We talked a lot about it. We talked to Liverpool and Bolton, but finding another date is very difficult. So that's it. Don't worry about problems you can't do anything about."

While Bayern's German cup tie has also been put off until the Monday, they are only facing an amateur side, FC Padeborn, and will not need to field their entire first team.

Eriksson can only hope that a player of the importance of Gerrard, who missed England's home game against Germany last autumn, will not have to pull out of a national squad yet again.

"He's a young player but he's one of the best midfielders in Europe. He can do everything – defend, attack, pass, tackle and shoot.

"He's a complete player so of course he is important," said the England coach.

"He is important for Liverpool and he would be important for any team that he played in. I haven't talked to Liverpool about his fitness yet. I hope he will be fit but I'm not sure.

"If Steven Gerrard is fit and available, he will come with us to Germany. If not, he's not coming but we still have to play against Germany."

Fowler, meanwhile, needs more matches to increase his sharpness and his apology to Thompson ensures that he is now likely to get some before the Germany game.

"Of course all the players need games. But what is happening in the clubs is really not a matter for me to dig into," said Eriksson.

"According to what I have read, everything is solved so hopefully he can play tonight," said Eriksson.

The problem over Liverpool's game against Bolton, meaning that their players can only be put through a light training session with England the next day, could nevertheless resurface if the national side fail to win their qualifying group.

They would then probably be faced with a two-legged play-off in November, with the initial game preceded by Liverpool's Premiership match against Manchester United six days beforehand.

Comments