'COLLATERAL DAMAGE'

Klopp seeks ‘common sense’ over international call-ups

Writing in the Liverpool programme on Wednesday, Klopp said the rules for the last international window made players “collateral damage”.

In Summary

• As a result, Liverpool did not permit Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and their three Brazilian players Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino to join up with their international sides.

• With the next round of internationals looming and the fixture window widened to fit in games cancelled because of the pandemic, Klopp demanded immediate action.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp withdefender Andrew Robertson
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp withdefender Andrew Robertson
Image: AFP

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has called on the football authorities to “find solutions” to call-ups for international matches.

Writing in the Liverpool programme on Wednesday, Klopp said the rules for the last international window made players “collateral damage”.

Liverpool had four players who were not released to play for their nations because of Covid restrictions. The next international window is in October.

In August, Premier League clubs unanimously made the decision not to release players for international games in red-list countries as under current UK government rules, players would be forced to miss several games due to the 10-day isolation period required on return to the UK.

As a result, Liverpool did not permit Mohamed Salah (Egypt) and their three Brazilian players Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino to join up with their international sides.

At the time, Klopp said the prospect of 10 days’ isolation for his players on their return from red-list countries would put their fitness at risk.

Now, he has asked for the countries affected not to hold it against the players involved and called on international organisations to find solutions to the problem.

“I pray that the fans in Brazil and the Egyptian supporters recognise the players are faultless in this,” he wrote. “In fact, they are the ones who suffer the most despite doing nothing wrong. They are punished for factors beyond their control. The players deserve that the people in power find solutions and not make them collateral damage.”

Earlier this month, Brazil and Argentina’s World Cup qualifier was abandoned after five minutes when Brazilian officials objected to the participation of Argentina players who they said broke quarantine rules.

The players concerned were believed to be Emiliano Buendia and Emiliano Martinez of Aston Villa, and Tottenham duo Giovani lo Celso and Cristian Romero, all of whom missed last weekend’s Premier League match because of quarantine regulations.

With the next round of internationals looming and the fixture window widened to fit in games cancelled because of the pandemic, Klopp demanded immediate action.

“Before we know it, we will be discussing the October call-ups and this whole situation will be back,” he added. “Common sense and solution-based thinking must be at the forefront of these discussions.”

After the internationals, Liverpool face a Saturday lunchtime kick-off at Vicarage Road against Watford and Klopp expects to be without a number of players if nothing changes.

“It cannot be right that matches can kick off so late in the second international week and then clubs be expected to play on Saturday,” he said. “The practical impact of this means we will be without these players. It’s not right and it needs to be addressed.”

Last month, Fifa said the two-day extension to the international window still ensured “sufficient rest and preparation time between matches”.

It means matches can now be played on October 14, with players involved being released for 11 days.