Ah, the international break. That two week period during which we all hold our collective breaths and hope that none of the Liverpool players get injured. With many teams now playing three matches over the window, it is an even more nerve-wracking time than ever. Let’s take a look around and see how the Liverpool players fared, shall we?
On Saturday, Andrew Robertson started at left wing back for Scotland to earn his 50th international cap as his side won 1-0 over Moldova in World Cup qualifying group stages. Robertson was pulled in the 73rd minute. Steve Clarke stated that the sub was planned.
“Andy Robertson was struggling a little bit on the left so I thought I’d protect him a little bit,” said Clarke. “It’s just a consequence of the fact he has been out injured. He played the full game on Wednesday and the plan was always to get him off tonight at some stage.”
Virgil van Dijk, on the other hand, was given the night off as the Netherlands trounced Moldova 4-0. Former Liverpool player (sob) Gini Wijnaldum found the back of the net. Van Dijk is expected to feature for the Netherlands on Tuesday when his side take on Turkey.
Diogo Jota and Portugal played Qatar in a friendly. Jota started on the bench, but come on in the 50th minute as his side won 3-1.
Caoimhin Kelleher was the last Liverpool player to suit up for his side on Saturday. Kelleher was an unused substitute as Ireland drew with Aserbaijan 1-1.
On Sunday, there were four more Reds involved. Probably the biggest news of the weekend was Trent Alexander-Arnold getting the start in midfield next to his Liverpool captain, Jordan Henderson. Joining them in midfield was (hopefully future Liverpool player) Jude Bellingham. Both Henderson and Alexander-Arnold played the full 90 minutes against Andorra as England won 4-0. Trent moved back to right back in the 62nd minute, and Henderson played as the holding midfielder for the entire game.
Kostas Tsmimikas got the start at left back for Greece as they took on Kosovo. He played 88 minutes, and his side were leading 1-0 at the time. Greece gave up an equalizer in extra time.
Liverpool loanee Ben Woodburn made the bench for Wales. He was an unused substitute as the Welsh won a thrilling 3-2 game over Belarus where Gareth Bale scored a hat trick for his side.
And while Liverpool’s Brazilian contingent were not involved against Argentina, there was plenty of pre-match drama. No Brazilians playing in the Premier League were released by their clubs due to Brazil being red-listed by the UK for covid rates. There were several Premier League based Argentinians who did go back for the World Cup Qualifiers. Just a couple of hours before Argentina played Brazil in São Paulo, Brazilian health authorities announced that those Argentinian players failed to quarantine after entering the country, and would be deported. The South American federation, CONMEBOL, stepped in and and threatened to force Brazil to forfeit if they did not allow the Argentinian players to play. The Brazilian federal government issued an exemption for the players.
Apparently the health authorities did not agree to the exemption, and several minutes after the match kicked off, medical officials came onto the field to stop the match.
Video of World Cup qualifier being stopped in Brazil over English-based Argentina players’ quarantine status with health officials going on the pitch pic.twitter.com/vKFvcdIycG— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) September 5, 2021
The match was eventually abandoned for the day, though the final word on what will happen to the match and the players remains unclear. Check out the twitter thread for a full timeline of the chaos that ensued.
Brazil vs Argentina situation - a timeline— EiF (@EiFSoccer) September 5, 2021
1. Emi Martinez, Cristian Romero, Emi Buendia and Lo Celso lied about having been in England within the last 2 weeks in order to enter Brazil
In scarier news, there was a coup in Guinea on Sunday. Naby Keita and Guinea were supposed to host Morocco on Monday, but the match has been postponed to a later date. Let's hope Naby and all of the players from both teams are safe and will be able to return to their respective clubs in short order.