Friday’s Papers: Look ahead to Fulham

Football is back after another complete waste of time round of international matches, and Spanish striker Fernando Torres looks set to make his first start for Liverpool in two months after recovering from a niggling hamstring injury.

The Reds take on an in-form Fulham at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, looking to maintain their unbeaten home record this season and continue to lead the Premier League table.

Reports the Daily Mail:

The last Anfield game he started was against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League on November 1 before he was hit by a hamstring problem on international duty.

It is clear that sharp words from boss Rafael Benitez had some effect on the Spain management team this week, with Torres used only for the final 31 minutes of the 3-0 win over Chile.

Gavin McCafferty of The Times writes on how midfielder Javier Mascherano wore the captain’s armband for Argentina with pride when new national coach Diego Maradona handed him the honour in their 0-1 victory over Scotland in midweek.

It was an emotional occasion for Mascherano, who wore the armband for the first time since Maradona visited him at Liverpool’s training ground to offer him the role. The 24-year-old took over from veteran Javier Zanetti, who also played at Hampden.

‘œI couldn’t believe it was true,’ Mascherano said of Maradona’s offer. ‘œI’m very happy with my first game. It was a new experience and I’m really happy with the win. It was an amazing experience. I’m not just thinking about being captain, I’m thinking about the team.’

And there is possibly the most ridiculous article ever written in today’s Guardian about bringing the Reds closer to their Merseyside rivals Everton in the midst of the worldwide credit crunch and economic problems. It’s worth reading Harry Pearson’s absolute rubbish, just for the laugh.

Now, I am not talking about merging the two clubs – though as someone who grew up reading Tiger and Scorcher there is clearly some appeal in the thought of watching a side called Everpool or Liverton, especially if they were captained by Jamileon Carrascot and forced to play all their Champions’ League ties against crack Eastern European outfit Dynamo Bulgonia. No, I mean that the same players should play for both clubs. By adopting this simple measure Liverpool and Everton would instantly up their profits by a minimum of 35%, allowing them to spend more money on buying really top-quality players at half of what Manchester United or Chelsea would pay.

Read Pearson’s full article here, or go find something else equally time-wasting to do.

Liverpool vs Fulham kicks off at Anfield tomorrow at 3pm. Stay tuned to This Is Anfield for more team news and previews.