For club managers and fans, international breaks have always fallen somewhere between minor annoyance and major headache, and one of the hardest to deal with has always been the early September break that falls a few short weeks into the start of each new season.
Liverpool don’t have it that bad this time around, with 11 players off on duty but most in Europe and many of those only playing once—with the break lining up with the end of the transfer window, the European national teams are only playing one World Cup qualifier.
“I don’t get frustrated by things I cannot change,” was Jürgen Klopp’s reaction when asked about watching his players heading off so soon after the 2016-17 season had started. “Actually, I don’t think any manager in this moment is happy about the international break.”
That, of course, is the great equalizing fact of international breaks. As much of annoyance as they are, and as much as a risk of injury as they can be, they’re a fact of life for every team with aspirations of silverware in a major European league. They effect everyone.
Though it can be a little more difficult for clubs with players based on South America. This time around, it’s only Philippe Coutinho Liverpool have to worry about, but with a game in Manaus on Wednesday, he’s got a long way to go to get back before Saturday’s game.
“For Coutinho, he is coming back Thursday morning at 9am and only because we make a few special arrangements with flights otherwise he would come Thursday,” said Klopp. “But we cannot change so why should I complain? It’s not the best moment.”