- Alisson, Fabinho and Firmino among those possibly affected
- South American federation may ask to postpone qualifiers
Jürgen Klopp has said Liverpool will not release players for international duty this month if they are required to quarantine for 10 days on their return.
Under UK government restrictions Liverpool would lose several influential players for 10 days after the upcoming international break. The Brazilians Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino and the fit-again Portugal international Diogo Jota are due to play World Cup qualifiers in countries on the UK’s travel red list – Brazil, Colombia and Portugal – and would have to quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days on their return. Sadio Mané and Naby Keïta could also be affected with Senegal and Guinea respectively due to face Eswatini and Namibia, two more countries on the red list.
Several Premier League managers have called for an exemption to the quarantine rules but, unless the travel ban changes, Klopp insists Liverpool’s international contingent will remain in England and have Fifa’s backing to do so. The growing threat of Europe-based players not being released has prompted Conmebol, the South American football confederation, to consider postponing this round of qualifiers. Conmebol leaders are due to hold a virtual meeting on Thursday to discuss the issue with Fifa’s president, Gianni Infantino.
Klopp said: “I think Fifa was kind of clear that we don’t have to let the players go this time, and I think all the clubs agree that with the same problems we cannot just let the boys go and then sort the situation when they come back by placing our players in a 10-day quarantine in a hotel. It is just not possible.
“I understand the need of the different FAs but this is a time where we cannot make everyone happy and we have to admit the players are paid by the clubs, so that means we have to be first priority. That is with all understanding for the different needs and competitions coming in the summer, but you cannot make everyone happy at the same time in this period in our lives.
“We are not 100% sure of the situation as it is not clear in some countries, who may decide to change the venues they play and go to non-red zone countries. The whole situation is similar to the Champions League in terms of where we play and you have to wait until the last second pretty much because people need time to make decisions.”
Liverpool’s Jürgen Klopp: ‘I understand the needs of the different FAs but this is a time where we cannot make everybody happy and we have to admit the players are paid by the clubs, so it means we have to be first priority’ pic.twitter.com/kK6MQR70ex
— Guardian sport (@guardian_sport) March 3, 2021
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Klopp, who expects to have Alisson and Fabinho available for their Premier League game against Chelsea on Thursday, fears an outbreak of Covid-19 inside Liverpool’s bubble should players disperse on international duty. His players would miss any Champions League quarter-final first leg if they have to quarantine after internationals and the team have overcome Leipzig. Liverpool hold a 2-0 lead from the first leg in Budapest, where the second leg may also be staged next week. Klopp is awaiting confirmation of the venue.
“First and foremost, we are concerned about all the things from a virus point of view,” Klopp said. “In the last few months when someone had to leave the bubble we were not without cases but it never spread. But there were two periods, the last international break when more cases than before came up and the Christmas period, in which we were all involved and it was a challenge for all society.
“England is going in the right direction and it looks promising but we are concerned about these kind of things. What is a red list country? England is doing really well at the moment and I think we are on the red list for some other countries. It is not easy for us to travel from England. Having more information would be great.”
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