The international break is over and the domestic season again assumes centre stage.
As always, several Liverpool players were involved in action for their countries over the last week and, as the Reds prepare to host Tottenham Hotspur in a huge Premier League clash on Sunday, we look back at how they fared on international duty.
Liverpool’s first-choice stopper featured for Brazil during the selecao’s 3-1 friendly win over Czech Republic after Manchester City’s Ederson was given the nod for the draw against Panama.
The 26-year-old now faces one of the biggest tests of his debut season in England; stopping an in-form Harry Kane.
Lovren played all 90 minutes as World Cup runners-up Croatia suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to Hungary.
The totemic Cameroonian had a week of rest. Although Clarence Seedorf’s Cameroon were in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying action, Matip has not featured for them since 2015 and rejected the call-up for the last Cup of Nations, in 2017. Seedorf recently said the door is open if Matip decides to end his international exile but the 27-year-old is yet to indicate a change of heart.
Virgil van Dijk
The PFA Player of the Year frontrunner endured mixed fortunes for the Netherlands. After scoring in a routine 4-0 win over Belarus, Van Dijk was unable to stop a vibrant Germany as Joachim Low’s side ran out 3-2 winners in Amsterdam. Van Dijk played every minute for Ronald Koeman’s Oranje but came through unscathed and is expected to feature from the start against Spurs.
The Scotland captain missed his country’s defeat in Kazakhstan due to an abscess in his mouth but returned to play 90 minutes in the 2-0 win over San Marino.
The in-form right-back is a doubt for Tottenham after pulling out of England’s qualifier double-header against Czech Republic and Montenegro with a back injury.
Speaking to Liverpool’s official website, Jurgen Klopp admitted he was uncertain over the 20-year-old’s involvement on Sunday. “Trent still feels his back,” the German said. “We are not 100 per cent sure, so we have to watch him. Trent wants to [be] 100 per cent, but we have to see.
“It is a strange one, it’s not an obvious injury that you can say something is broke or whatever, it’s just a bit annoying actually that he cannot feel really free.”
Like Van Dijk, it was mixed fortunes for Gini on duty with Holland. The midfielder scored in the win over Belarus and teed up Memphis Depay to score against Germany, but still ended up on the losing side.
The Reds skipper had a productive week with England, playing 90 minutes in the 5-0 demolition of the Czechs before notching an assist for Raheem Sterling to mark his 50th cap in style.
Like Alexander-Arnold, Shaqiri spent the week stepping up his rehabilitation at Melwood as he tries to shake off a groin injury.
The Swiss playmaker is hoping to make an impact in the final weeks of the season following a difficult spell in which he has been an unused substitute in the Reds’ last five games.
The 25-year-old has a lot of minutes under his belt in 2019 so Klopp was perhaps relieved to see the midfielder only play three minutes for Brazil. Left on the bench against Panama, Fabinho replaced fellow Pool star Roberto Firmino in the 87th minute in the defeat of Czech Republic.
The 18-year-old was named Player of the Tournament as the England U18s finished second in the UAE Sports Chain Cup this week, with Jones netting the winner in Sunday evening’s 3-2 win over Mexico.
Firmino started both games for Brazil. Although ineffective against Panama, the 27-year-old was on target for Tite’s men against the Czech Republic.
The 26-year-old was given the week off with Egypt boss Javier Aguirre explaining that he wanted to watch ‘new discoveries’ as the Super Eagles prepare to host the Africa Cup of Nations in June.
Mane continued his fine goalscoring form as he came off the bench to help Senegal beat Mali 2-1 in Tuesday’s friendly. The 26-year-old now has six goals in his last four outings for club and country. He’ll be key to opening up Tottenham’s defence on Sunday.
In the Belgium squad, Origi spent both of the Red Devils’ games on the bench with Michy Batshuayi getting the nod in Romelu Lukaku’s absence.
* odds subject to change
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by Tom Bodell