Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana aren’t fit enough to play for England. Raheem Sterling is fit enough for Friday’s Euro qualifier but will be sent home afterwards and not take part in next week’s friendly. Dejan Lovren is out of contention for Croatia. Simon Mignolet is a doubt for Belgium but, even if he’s fit, isn’t likely to be in line to start.
It adds up to a quieter international break that usual for Liverpool fans looking to keep an eye on the club’s players who are off on international duty, though there are still a handful of interesting matches over the next few days.
France v. Brazil
Thursday, March 26th
8:00PM GMT/4:00PM EST
It’s not often a friendly is much watch, but France hosting Brazil on Thursday evening would be a game to set your schedule around even without the Liverpool involvement. Add in the Liverpool involvement and it’s as close to unmissable as international friendlies get.
Mamadou Sakho will start for a France side that, as hosts, aren’t taking part in Euro 2016 qualifying. They’ve certainly been in top form of late, though, defeating Spain, Portugal, and Sweden in their various autumn friendlies. In fact, they haven’t lost a match since last summer’s World Cup, where their impressive run was ended by Germany in a 1-0 quarter-final defeat.
Meanwhile, Brazil continue to rebuild under Dunga following their rather more crushing defeat to Germany at the World Cup. The signs, though, are positive—they’ve since beaten Colombia, Argentina, Japan, and Turkey. And thanks to his superb form of late, Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho is in contention to start.
England v. Lithuania
Friday, March 27th
7:45PM GMT/3:45PM EST
The absence of Daniel Sturridge and Adam Lallana—plus the fact that Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson, and Rickie Lambert are no longer in contention for England duty—means there’s far less of a connection to the England team for those who make Liverpool their top footballing priority. Still, Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling are almost certain to start, so there’s good reason to tune in.
England may not be anybody’s pick to win the next Euros, but they’re cruising in Group E qualification with 12 points from four games, and they should add to their perfect record on Friday against Lithuania. Lithuania aren’t terrible and could make the race for third in the group and a playoff place interesting, but it would be a massive shock to see the underdogs get any kind of a result at Wembley.
After seeing some success playing the diamond in the autumn, it will be interesting to see if Roy Hodgson persists with the formation despite some changes to his squad this time around. If he does, Liverpool fans can expect to see Henderson in one of the shuttling roles while Sterling plays up top with Rooney or in the hold just behind him.
Elsewhere, Martin Skrtel will captain Slovakia when the Group C leaders host Luxembourg at 7:45PM GMT/3:45PM EST on Friday. The Slovaks have been a revelation, staking a claim to top spot in the group ahead of Spain and Ukraine, and trailers Luxembourg—bottom of the group with a single point after four games—shouldn’t be a problem.