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Liverpool's Internationals: Preview and Schedule

Previewing the March internationals from a Liverpool point of view, with England's U21s, a rare spot of action for Pepe Reina, and Uruguay's attempts to avoid embarrassment.

Alex Livesey

Unlike February's international break, which was solely dedicated to meaningless friendlies, this time around the games actually matter. Mostly. Not that that'll make it any easier for Liverpool fans to take if half the first team comes back injured.

Still, it's football. And this time it counts. Or at least it's for the chance for it to count at World Cup 2014 in Brazil. And with that in mind, it's time to take a look at the first round of matches coming up on Thursday and Friday. From a Liverpool point of view, of course…

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England U21 v. Romania U21
Thursday, March 21st

This time around it counts for Liverpool's players. Mostly. Because for England's U21s, with qualification for the summer's U21 European Championships from Israel already locked up, their two matches over the international break don't.

It will be a chance, though, to see the highest number of Liverpool players involved for any of the national teams over the next few days with Jordan Henderson captaining a side that will include Jonjo Shelvey, Raheem Sterling, Andre Wisdom, and Jack Robinson.

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Slovakia v. Lithuania
Friday, March 22nd
7:10PM GMT/3:10PM EST

Despite his poor form of late at Liverpool, Martin Skrtel will captain Slovakia as they take on Lithuania in Group G action that will see both countries reach the half way point in qualification as they fight to join Greece and unfavoured Bosnia-Herzegovina at the top of the group.

Czech Republic v. Denmark
Friday, March 22nd
7:30PM GMT/3:30PM EST

Things aren't looking great for Denmark in Group B, where Daniel Agger's countrymen sit on only three points after three games. Fortunately, with seven still to go for the Danes there's still time to turn things around, and a win on Friday would see them leapfrog past the Czechs, currently in third on five points.

Spain v. Finland
Friday, March 22nd
7:45PM GMT/3:45PM EST

Finland, stuck in last place in Group I on a single point, should post little threat to group leaders Spain on Friday. And for the first time in years, Liverpool's involvement in the match should go beyond "Pepe Reina is sat on the bench," because this time around, Pepe Reina is expected to start thanks to Iker Casillas' current injury woes.

Spain are currently sat top of Group I with, level with France on points but holding an edge in goal differential—and with a tasty showdown between the two countries set for Tuesday.

San Marino v. England
Friday, March 22nd
8:00PM GMT/4:00PM EST

Three Liverpool players have been called up to the England squad as they head off to kick San Marino around for 90 minutes and fire dreams of World Cup glory in the media. Steven Gerrard and Glen Johnson are likely to start, with Daniel Sturridge earning a return to national consideration and a spot on the bench.

With San Marino on Friday and Montenegro on Tuesday, fans and pundits won't be happy with anything less than six points and England sitting comfortably top of Group H when the March international break wraps up.

Uruguay v. Paraguay
Friday, March 22nd

Luis Suarez will almost certainly go the entire ninety as he usually does for a Uruguayan side that struggled to find its best form throughout 2012 and will need to improve to avoid embarrassment as qualification in South America enters its final stretch.

With nine qualifying matches down and seven to go in CONMEBOL's round-robin, Uruguay sit fifth with twelve points and only ahead of sixth-placed Chile on goal differential. The top four sides automatically qualify; the fifth must face the third-placed side from the Asian Football Confederation; the sixth goes straight home.

Fortunately for Uruguay, Paraguay is currently dead last in South America. Tuesday, though, could get interesting when Uruguay travel to face Chile.

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Stay with us over the next few days on the Liverpool Offside for continuing coverage of Liverpool's players off on international duty, starting tomorrow when we'll be keeping an eye on the Liverpool-heavy England U21s and on through Friday and Uruguay's attempts to start putting a terrible 2012 behind them.

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