While Liverpool FC is all too familiar with disastrous international breaks, the one that just ended reached previously unheard-of levels of absurdity. In addition to the familiar injury concerns, there was plenty of drama surrounding the Premier League’s advising clubs to refuse to release players who would have to quarantine upon returning to England and a military coup that caused the cancellation of a World Cup qualifying match in Guinea.
While the situation with the Brazilian players that were not allowed to join their national teams is an unresolved mess, the injuries to Takumi Minamino, Harvey Elliott, and Virgil van Dijk all appear to be fairly minor.
As for the coup in Guinea, it created a scary scenario for Liverpool’s Guinean midfielder Naby Keïta. All air and land borders were shut down and it was unknown how or when Guinea’s players would be able to leave. Fortunately, Keïta and the European-based players were eventually allowed to return to their clubs, and Jürgen Klopp confirmed as much in his press conference today.
“Naby is here, Naby is well but of course it is not good (in Guinea),” said Klopp.
“We are not influential there but we did what we could do to get the players out, together with other clubs, and in the end, the European players could leave the country.”
While Keïta may be safely back in England now, there is another international break approaching and the current political state of affairs in Guinea is cause for concern.
“But in three weeks’ time there is another international break and no-one knows how it will be there,” admitted Klopp.
It’s a worrying situation to be sure, and with the likelihood that there will be more issues with Covid-19 quarantine requirements during the upcoming break, it seems safe to assume that the next one will be just as chaotic as the last one.