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Liverpool Internationals In Action: Weekend Edition

We take a look at some key Liverpool players in action for their national squads this weekend, including Emre Can for Germany, Martin Škrtel for Slovakia and Philippe Coutinho for Brazil.

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

With the Copa América Centenario already underway and the Euro 2016 tournament less than a week away, there were/are a number of Liverpool regulars in action for their national squads this weekend. And we're not even counting the sizeable Liverpool contingent in the England squad that labored to a dreary 1-0 win over Portugal under Roy Hodgson's "coaching" just over 48 hours ago.

We start with Emre Can, who featured in Germany's 2-0 victory over Hungary at Schalke's Veltins-Arena.  The match was notable also for the presence of two possibly-maybe-soon-to-be-former Liverpool transfer targets in the forms of Jonas Hector and Mario Götze, both of whom were involved in the buildup leading to Germany's opening goal.

Can started on the bench but made an appearance in the second half, coming on for Hector in the left back position.  To Can's credit, he did not look terribly out of place, and managed to avoid evoking memories of some of his shakier performances as a fullback under Brendan Rodgers.  No doubt channeling his Liverpool colleague Alberto Moreno, Can was eager and aggressive in attacking play, while also making a couple of less-than-helpful clearances from defensive positions.

Elsewhere, Slovakia captain Martin Škrtel was unable to rouse his compatriots past a resolute Northern Ireland side as they played out a 0-0 draw in Trnava.  Despite not being able to score here, Slovakia, who humbled Germany last weekend, looked dangerous in protracted spells, and it will be interesting to see how they fare against England at Saint-Étienne on June 20.

Škrtel's performance would not have been unfamiliar to Liverpool supporters: pragmatic and decidedly less than elegant, with a couple of crunching, perhaps ill-advised, tackles. There was even time for Škrtel to almost turn a cross into his own keeper's net.  The defender looks certain to leave Liverpool this summer, and while both the player and the Anfield faithful will take away a few fond memories from his time with the club, the own goals will not be one of them.

Philippe Coutinho had a rare opportunity to make an impression on a primetime North American television audience when he took the field for Brazil against Ecuador in the Copa América Centenario.  Unsurprisingly, this was a match that saw a good amount of possession from Brazil, with Ecuador content to press and counter (which they did rather well).  Coutinho, deployed on the left and drifting inside, was a bright spot for his national side in the first half, but Brazil struggled to break down a rugged Ecuadorian rearguard.

Coutinho received an increasing amount of attention from defenders in the second half, and in the absence of forwards making effective runs ahead of him, the incisiveness that is characteristic of his better Liverpool performances was not brought to bear.  The two sides finished the evening with a 0-0 draw, and Brazil were lucky that a clumsy spill by their goalkeeper into his own net was waved off by the officials.

There may be more opportunities for Liverpool's internationals on Sunday.  A minor knee issue is expected to rule Joe Allen out of Wales' friendly against Sweden, but the Belgian contingent of Simon Mignolet, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi are all at least theoretically available for their friendly against Norway in Brussels.  Assuming nobody gets a Fellaini elbow to the head during warmups.