The international break is set to provide more strife for Premier League clubs this month, after September’s farce involving South American players travelling to red-list countries.
Last month, several clubs opted against allowing their stars to play for the likes of Brazil, who then threatened to invoke the five-day ruling to prevent several of them from playing for their sides the following weekend.
This time around the players are heading off for duty after an agreement was reached to allow them to play upon their return, but Liverpool pair Alisson Becker and Fabinho still look set to miss the Reds’ trip to Watford, after the promoted side opted against granting a kick-off time change request.
Brazil play Uruguay on Friday, 15 October with a kick-off time of 1:30am (BST), with the Reds set to visit Watford for Saturday’s 12:30pm kick-off – fewer than 36 hours later.
It means the duo are unlikely to feature, given the time needed to fly back and prepare adequately for the match.
The Times report that Liverpool did request to delay kick-off until 7:45pm that evening, but the home club suggested a switch at this stage would inconvenience supporters, with the game having been selected for coverage in the current time slot by BT Sport since August.
In turn, Liverpool will therefore have a decision to make not just for that fixture, but the midweek Champions League game against Atletico Madrid, too – the duo could feasibly head straight to Spain rather than back to Merseyside, as quarantine measures once back in the UK make a second overseas trip a dubious possibility.
It could, however, all change again if any further travel guidelines are issued in the next two weeks.
Caoimhin Kelleher would be the natural stand-in for Alisson in goal for Liverpool, while Jordan Henderson is the most likely candidate to step into the deepest midfield role in place of Fabinho. That would be particularly likely if Trent Alexander-Arnold has fully recovered from injury, allowing James Milner to move back into midfield.
The third Brazilian member of Liverpool’s squad, Roberto Firmino, was not called up to the Selecao this time after a lack of action in the early weeks of the season after his own injury.
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