Even in the best of times, international breaks are a source of anxiety for managers and fans alike. Potential for injuries, players being overplayed and mismanaged by international managers needing results, and travel fatigue are just a few of the potential problems a club manager has to face when their players head out for international duty. Now, managers have to worry about their players contracting COVID-19 while playing for their countries as well.
Players on who have been called up will travelling and playing in areas where mitigation protocols and exposure risks may be much different than what they’re used to in England. With many of his first team players leaving to join their national teams after Sunday’s match at Aston Villa, Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, has expressed his worries about the potential for players picking up COVID-19.
“I don’t want to sound disrespectful about how other countries are doing it,” said Klopp. “But this is the place that we know and we know how we are dealing with it.”
It can be challenging to keep in contact with the all of the national Football Associations for updates and to make sure players are being kept safe while travelling, which increases the risk of contracting COVID-19. This is especially true for a team like Liverpool, who will have many players from many countries departing to play for their national teams.
“So I am slightly concerned because it is difficult to be in contact with all FAs (football associations) all over the world,” continued Klopp. “I understand it, I really understand how difficult the situation is, but it’s not exactly perfect, the information we get from certain FAs.”
Liverpool will face Everton in their first match following the international break on October 17, and Klopp also expressed some concerns about the difficulty of playing a game so soon after travelling back from international duty.
“We send the players away and then we have another challenge because we have to play a Premier League game on a Saturday after they have travelled from, maybe Peru, on the Thursday or Friday,” the manager added.
“You have to make sure you bring the players home in the quickest and safest way, and then we have to see how they are before we try to get a result on the Saturday.”
All that we can do is cross our fingers and hope Liverpool will be able to emerge from the break injury and COVID free, and pick up a win in the Merseyside Derby.