England have named their squad for their upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Malta and Slovenia, and only Daniel Sturridge and Jordan Henderson are set to be involved as temporary manager Gareth Southgate attempts to earn six points build on their standing as Group F favourites.
That means that Adam Lallana, to nobody’s surprise, has been ruled out following a groin injury in the first half of Saturday’s Liverpool game against Swansea. The hope in the Liverpool camp is that it will only sideline the midfielder for a week to ten days, but that is enough to rule him out of England duty.
More surprising, though, is news that Nathaniel Clyne has been left out of the squad after revealing that he had been playing through a knee injury in recent weeks. With Kyle Walker handed the starting job for England and following a consultation with Liverpool’s medical team, Clyne was left out.
"We've tried to keep continuity from last month because a lot of things have been going right,” said Southgate of his selection. "We've had a few people unavailable through injury, and we've lost a couple over the weekend in Danny Drinkwater, Adam Lallana, and Nathaniel Clyne. That's had a bearing on the squad."
Clyne will now be given the international break off with the goal of having the right back fully fit again when Liverpool face Manchester United on October 17th. That Clyne, Liverpool’s ironman of last season, has been playing with an injury will be a major concern for many Liverpool fans, though.
If Clyne were to go down, the club’s options would be to bring the young Trent Alexander-Arnold—an 18-year-old prospect who moved to fullback from midfield a year ago—into the first team or to switch James Milner to the right. Milner has gone on record as being more comfortable on the left despite his footedness.
Of Liverpool’s two players who have been called up this month, only Jordan Henderson is expected to be in contention to start when England take on Malta at Wembley on the 8th before travelling to Ljubljana to take on Slovenia on the 11th.