Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is uncertain whether the club’s Brazilian trio Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino will be able to face Leeds on Sunday.
Klopp was heavily critical of the South American football authorities over their handling of the situation, with other Premier League clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea also set to be affected.
Liverpool refused to allow Alisson, Fabinho and Firmino to travel to red-list countries, but the Brazilian FA are set to respond by imposing a five-day restriction on the players they called up for the games against Chole, Argentina and Peru, even though they didn’t play.
Jurgen Klopp still doesn’t know if Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino can face Leeds
Liverpool refused to release goalkeeper Alisson for Brazil’s international fixtures this month
Klopp feels that the situation could have been handled better.
Asked about the availability of the trio, Klopp told the club’s official website: ‘I can say what I know: I don’t know in the moment. We will see, there are meetings going on.
‘The thing I want to say about that is just, let’s look at the full case. So, we all know we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is difficult for all parts of life and for football it was difficult as well. We have a few more games to play than we have to play usually internationally. We had a summer break where all of a sudden somebody organised again a Copa America, where they could have played the games, for example, without playing a Copa America, which they had a year before.’
Fabinho (left) and Roberto Firmino (right) also didn’t travel but may now face restrictions
Klopp stressed that Liverpool weren’t consulted over the scheduling for the South American fixtures, with Brazil playing qualifiers less than two months after their involvement at the Copa America.
He said: ‘But people decide without us these kind of things. OK, nobody cares, that’s how it is. They play a Copa America, then they still have more games to play. Then a week or 10 days before the international break we get, ‘OK, we play now three games and the last game is on Thursday night.’ So we have nothing to do with that. Friday morning, by the way. Friday morning, 1.20am, would have been Brazil against Peru. We have nothing to do with that, we cannot decide anything about it, we just read these things.
‘Then we have to think, ‘OK, clear, they are invited.’ But when they come back they have to quarantine [for] 10 days. Again, it’s not our decision, we didn’t say they have to quarantine [for] 10 days, we didn’t say you have to go to the national team, we can’t say nothing – we just sit in between and we think, ‘OK, what’s going on?’
‘Our players, if they come back then they have to quarantine 10 days in a random hotel, next to the airport probably, which is not good for any people who have to do that but for a professional football player, being 10 days in a hotel – with the food they get from there – you lose everything. You lose muscle, you lose everything. It means 10 days in the hotel, coming back [and] needing pretty much 10 days to get on track again.’
Klopp also criticised the situation that occurred during the game between Brazil and Argentina, which was abandoned when Covid officials entered the pitch with England-based players Emiliano Martinez, Emiliano Buendia, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero having all travelled despite having not been permitted to do so.
Klopp continued: ‘OK, then the decision was made, not by us: if that’s like this then the players cannot go. OK, they go, other players go, some clubs let their Argentina players go. There’s a game in Brazil against Argentina, officials come on to the pitch, nobody wants to see situations like that. Get the game cancelled, stopped in that moment.
‘And now, the next thing, we have a football game to play again and they tell us we cannot play our Brazilian players. It’s like, ‘Huh?’ So, we did nothing. We didn’t organise the Copa America, we are not responsible for the games they couldn’t have played. We didn’t invite players, we didn’t say when they come back there’s no exemption. We all didn’t do that.
‘But in the end the only [people] who get punished are the players and the clubs – and we have nothing to do with the whole organisation around. It’s like, ‘What is happening?’
‘So I don’t know what will happen at the weekend, to be honest. In this moment, we have to see what other people decide and then we will again accept that probably, do what people tell us and try to win a football game.
‘But the whole situation is really just like the whole world in the moment in a nutshell – ‘Ah, in football they have these problems as well.’ Yes, we have these problems. And now we will see who finds the solution.’
If players had travelled to red-list countries then they would have missed several games for their clubs when they returned because of quarantine rules.
Chelsea centre-back Thiago Silva and Manchester United midfielder Fred could also be unavailable for selection this weekend and in the Champions League next week.