The Offside Treble – Liverpool could lose out, the FA’s plans for homegrown talent and World Cup 2026

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Red missed

What a week for Liverpool! It started with a game against Manchester United at Anfield, and culminated in a 2-1 defeat and three-match ban for defender Martin Skrtel. Somewhere in the middle there was a red card and a whopping FIVE “as you say/as I said/like you says” in boss Brendan Rodgers’ post-match interview, only twice having actually said the point he’d referred to. But what will the consequences be? I hear you shriek, full of excitement, as we go into the most interesting part of the season: TOP FOUR/BOTTOM THREE. Sunday’s game may decide the fate of the Premier League’s European offerings next season.

Liverpool will be wondering what a difference the sending off of captain and soon-to-be Major League Soccer defector, Steven Gerrard, 38 seconds after coming on as a sub in the second half will have made. And conspicuous by a lack of vowels and a stamping of legs, Skrtel is now suspended for, er, stamping on United’s David De Gea in an incident that was picked up after the match. I know what you’re thinking: this is the last thing Anfield’s perpetual bridesmaids need so close to the end of the season! And you’re quite right.

Some of our own

Meanwhile, with internationals on the horizon over the next couple of weeks, a lot of people are wanging on about Tottenham’s Harry Kane; the Englishman who debuted for Spurs back in April 2014 and is now the Premier League’s joint top scorer alongside Chelsea’s Diego Costa this season. Kane, 21, has been selected for England’s Euro 2016 qualifiers – which is just as well, because no one else wants to go if you believe Harry Redknapp and Ian Wright to name but two – and becomes our shining beacon of hope in an otherwise desolate place.

And with that beacon, comes plans to improve the calibre of homegrown talent within the Premier League. The FA revealed proposals to limit the number of non-EU players (because there are hardly any non-English European players in the Premier League) via dynamic policies like, increasing the number of homegrown players in first-team squads by four men, phased in over a four-year period.

It’s only a Blatter of time

And in further international news, gluttons for punishment, the FA, have revealed they’re considering bidding for host nation status of the 2026 World Cup. The good news is, there’s an Englishman, ex-Manchester United chief executive David Gill, on Fifa’s executive board now and Greg Dyke reckons he could be useful in the, no doubt, completely above board bidding process.
The bad news is, it all depends on whether Sepp Blatter makes it to his fifth term in office as Fifa president. Dyke says the policy is “straightforward – we don’t bid while Mr Blatter’s there”. How about we don’t play while Mr Blatter’s there?

And that’s it from me for this season, just as it was getting interesting. I’m off on a senselessly over-complicated journey of female empowerment across the US on my bike. Well, if it’s good enough for Stevie G . . .

Read more from Jen Offord here!

Follow @inspireajen

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