One of the peculiarities of football compared to most sports are the constant international breaks, and none seem more oddly timed or disruptive to European clubs than the one that falls in September shortly after the start of the new season.
Teams prepare in pre-season, play two or three games depending on the particulars of that year’s calendar, and then it all gets put on pause and the top players head off to represent their countries. For Liverpool this month, that means 14 departures.
Amongst players representing their country at the senior level, Dutch duo Virgil van Dijk and Cody Gakpo are with Netherlands for must-win games against Greece and Ireland in Euro 2024 qualification—with the Dutch fourth of five in their group.
Kostas Tsimikas will be with Greece for their game against the Dutch and the follow-up against Gibraltar, while Caoimhin Kelleher has been called up for Ireland, who face France first before playing their second game this month against the Dutch.
Dominik Szoboszlai and Hungary will face Serbia and Czechia, Andy Robertson and Scotland play Cyprus and England—the latter without the injured Trent Alexander-Arnold—and Diogo Jota and Portugal will take on Slovakia and Luxembourg.
Outside of UEFA, Mohamed Salah and Egypt have an AFCoN qualifier against Ethiopia and a friendly against Tunisia scheduled for the September break, while Wataru Endo and Japan have a pair of friendlies to play against Germany and Turkey.
In South America, CONMEBOL qualifiers beckon for Alisson and Brazil (vs. Bolivia and Peru), Luis Diaz and Colombia (Venezuela and Chile), Darwin Nuñez and Uruguay (Chile and Ecuador), and Alexis Mac Allister and Argentina (Ecuador and Bolivia).
Harvey Elliot, Ben Doak, and Stefan Bajcetic have been called up by the U21 teams of England, Scotland, and Spain respectively, while new signing Ryan Gravenberch has somewhat controversially withdrawn from the Dutch U21 side.