Friday Kickoff: Suarez included on preliminary Uruguay squad; Liverpool unsure of Sturridge fitness; and more

Friday Kickoff: Suarez included on preliminary Uruguay squad; Liverpool unsure of Sturridge fitness; and more

European Soccer

Friday Kickoff: Suarez included on preliminary Uruguay squad; Liverpool unsure of Sturridge fitness; and more

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Luis Suarez of Uruguay

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

 By RYAN TOLMICH

Just two days after making his return to action by scoring a pair of goals in a Barcelona B friendly, Luis Suarez could be looking forward to his national team return.

Suarez is one of 29 players included in Uruguay’s preliminary roster chosen for a pair of friendlies set to take place on Oct. 10 in Saudi Arabia and Oct. 13 in Oman. The Barcelona forward is one of six forwards in the squad, as Suarez will be joined by Cristhian Stuani, Diego Rolan, Jonathan Rodríguez, Edinson Cavani and Abel Hernández.

The October friendlies could represent Suarez’s return for his national team, with the controversial forward’s last appearance coming in the now infamous World Cup clash with Italy that saw Suarez earn a ban for biting defender Giorgio Chiellini. However, Suarez’s ban would not apply to the friendlies, as it only restricts Suarez from participating in official games.

Suarez is set to make his official league return Oct. 25 when Barcelona takes on bitter rivals Real Madrid in El Classico.

Here are some more news and notes to kickoff your Friday morning:

LIVERPOOL’S RODGERS UNSURE IF STURRIDGE WILL PLAY AGAINST EVERTON

After limping through the opening few weeks of the Premier League season, Liverpool enter this weekend’s clash with local rivals Everton in search of a confidence-lifting win. However, like the past few matches before it, it appears Liverpool may have to chase that win without their star striker.

Manager Brendan Rodgers is unsure of Sturridge’s status for Saturday’s Merseyside Derby, as the striker is still struggling with a thigh injury suffered on national team duty earlier this month.

“We’ll assess Daniel and a number of others nearer the time but if he doesn’t make it, he won’t be far off after that,” Rodgers said. “He responds well to treatment and it’s gone well, but there are still a couple of days to go before the game.

“The important thing is he is near to fitness. He certainly won’t be match-fit, he hasn’t played for a few weeks, but it’ll be great to have him back because he is a wonderful player for us and a great reference for our team at the top of the field.”

With or without Sturridge, Rodgers will be looking for Liverpool to return to the fluent and creative style that made them title contenders last season. With the team struggling in recent weeks, Rodgers is hoping that the currently “broken” Liverpool can regain some of the confidence and swagger from last campaign.

“At this moment in time we are refocusing and reintroducing the principles into our game that brought the win ratio we’ve had in the last 18 months,” Rodgers said. “Apart from the Tottenham game we have moved away a bit from that. Our game is based on a fast pressing game and a real high intensity and also the speed of our football.

“We put a lot of hard work in during the first six months to a year that we were here and a lot of those processes became natural and then the consequence of that is winning. When you introduce a raft of new players and lose a core of players that’s obviously a factor and then it becomes a little bit broken. That’s how our game has looked for me for a big part of the season.”

VALENCIA FANS PROTEST IN FAVOR OF LIM TAKEOVER

Despite seeing their side cruise to a 3-0 victory that sees them move top of the La Liga table, Valencia supporters are unhappy.

Hundreds of the club’s supporters protested the current ownership group  before Thursday’s victory over Cordoba by calling on current owners, Bankia, to stop resisting Singapore businessman Peter Lim’s takeover of the club.

Lim, who has publicly offered to bail-out the club from its current debt, has left Bankia concerned over “asset-stripping”, while the current owners believe that Lim will only use the club to shop players that he has ownership stakes in through investment fund Meriton.

One of those players, Andre Gomes, admitted earlier this week that he was concerned over the his future if Lim’s takeover is refused.

“Nobody has told me anything,” Gomes said. “I know I belong to Meriton, but I do not know what is happening between Valencia and Peter. All the people of Valencia want Peter to come.

“I am waiting because I need to know about my own future. My case is the same as Rodrigo’s. If Peter buys Valencia, I will be a Valencia player in every way. When it is all decided we will know if we are just loans or if we belong definitively to Valencia.”

QUICK KICKS

Barcelona defender Thomas Vermaelen has been cleared to play by the club’s medical staff. (REPORT)

Russian side Torpedo Moscow have been ordered to close part of their stadium for the club’s next match due to the racial abuse of Dynamo Moscow defender Christopher Samba. (REPORT)

Former Ghana manager Kwesi Appiah revealed that some Black Star players kept their $100,000 bonus in backpacks in the team’s locker room after a bonus dispute threatened to derail the team’s World Cup.  (REPORT)

Manchester United’s Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao leading the way in Premier League jersey sales. (REPORT)

What do you think about Uruguay calling up Suarez? How do you see the Merseyside Derby playing out? How will Valencia handle their ownership issues?

Share your thoughts below.

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