Liverpool to block Alisson Becker, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino and Diogo Jota from reporting for international duty in March
Countries in South America and Africa, as well as Portugal, are on the UK Government’s ‘red list’. Players travelling to these countries will need to isolate in a hotel for 10 days upon their return. Having to make do without four key players especially when we have our central defenders injured will prove catastrophic.
Liverpool’s decision will not find any opposition from FIFA. The governing have already announced that clubs can now stop players from travelling to their national sides if it requires them to quarantine upon return.
This could give rise to yet another club vesus country argument. More so in the case of South American sides who could have to do without their top stars for World Cup qualifiers.
Alisson is the first choice goalkeeper for Brazil while Fabinho and Firmino do get enough game time for the South American giants. It can be argued that their absence will be felt. Jota too has emerged as a key player for Portugal, who too will face off against Azerbaijan and Serbia in World Cup qualifiers next month.
If players do travel to South America, they risk missing two Premier League matches as well as the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final on April 6-7. They would also be in doubt for the return leg on April 13-14. Given that our season currently hinges on both of these competitions, the club’s stance is perfectly understandable.
The two games our players could potentially miss is the trip to Arsenal and Aston Villa at home.
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Liverpool and any other club are well within their rights to refuse any international call-up. While life must go on, the veracity of conducting international matches especially at a time where Europe is reeling from a new outbreak is preposterous.
Hopefully, better sense will prevail and FIFA will do more than just let clubs and nations sort issues out for themselves.