Rafa has little choice but to omit these two.
Much has been made of how injury prone Philipp Degen is costing us x amount per game played but that is probably more than a little misleading as by that rationale Alberto Aquilani is probably costing us a small fortune but you can little about whether a player just happens to be perennially sidelined but one does wonder if the Swiss full back will ever play another game for the club and his omission from the Champions League squad must not have come as a surprise to anyone.
Clearly the homegrown player ratio is probably the main reason Spaniard Daniel Ayala wasn’t selected either but it will come as a bitter blow to the youngster who looked impressive against Stoke City. So could anything have been done to squeeze the teenager into the 28 man squad.
Given the eight ‘homegrown’ players needed in the squad of 28 it seems very hard to remove any of the other 20 that made the side. Sure you could drop a player like Andrea Dossena, but then we would have been stuck with praying that Fabio Aurelio would be fit throughout the group stage otherwise Insua would have no cover. It’s tough to consider taking a player from the other positions as they too are pretty thin on the ground so in many ways Rafa had no choice with regards to Daniel and he is forced to miss out in much the same way as Sami Hyypia was.
I have to say that whilst I do not agree wholeheartedly with the ruling that insists on a certain ratio of youngsters from the youth programme it is clear something had to be done to try to redress the balance and if it means that some of our kids get a good shot at some playing time in the Champions League, perhaps when we have already qualified (fingers crossed) then I am all for it. Hopefully this season will see the likes of Spearing, Darby and Kelly push on with their Anfield careers.