Typically, the international break is cause for concern among football fans; their favourite players — already subjected to huge amounts of game time over the course of a season — are going away to play significant minutes in entirely inconsequential matches. And, as a rule, that concern is often earned, with players missing time due to knocks picked up on international duty more often than not.
This time round, however, Liverpool fans largely welcomed the international break. While the Reds were on a win streak of record-breaking proportions before their players jetted off across the world to play for their country, they were also missing some of their starters, with a threadbare squad ever so slightly beginning to unravel.
The international break, then, gave these players a chance to recover from their injuries, and with the traveling contingent seemingly returning unscathed, there is a real chance Jürgen Klopp will get to field whoever he wants when the Reds take the field against Manchester United on Monday.
Naby Keïta had already featured twice since recovering from a torn groin muscle that was aggravated during a previous international break, and was kept home this time round to continue working on his fitness, and now, word from Melwood is that both Alisson Becker and Joël Matip are back in regular training, with the latter reportedly likely to be ready for next week’s clash. Joe Gomez and Dejan Lovren deputised for the Cameroonian while he was away, and performed admirably, but there is little reason to believe Klopp won’t throw everybody’s favourite inflatable balloon man straight back into the starting line-up if given the chance.
And just like that, Man Utd lost David De Gea to injury. The international break giveth, and the international break taketh away. Mostly the former, these days, in the case of Liverpool.