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Liverpool have four players set to give Jurgen Klopp problem he cannot avoid



Liverpool have four players set to give Jurgen Klopp problem he cannot avoid

Liverpool’s South American contingent face another race against time to be back on Merseyside after the international break for an early Premier League kick-off

South America has always been one of the great hotbeds of football talent, an area from which an increasing number of Liverpool talents have originated.

As the Premier League has become more cosmopolitan, so the Reds have leaned more heavily on players from the region, from the very first in Mauricio Pellegrino, the early trail-blazers Fabio Aurelio and Lucas Leiva, the impact of Luis Suarez, the influence of Roberto Firmino and Fabinho, right through to the current squad members.

Success with Liverpool has often sparked, or at the very least maintained, international recognition for such players. And it’s here that the Reds, like every other European club, acknowledge the pay off for snapping up some of the cream of that continent.

Alisson Becker, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Alexis Mac Allister have all jetted off to the other side of the world to take part in World Cup qualifying double-headers for their respective countries, the second of which will take place in the early hours of Wednesday morning UK time.

And with Liverpool once again featuring in the 12.30pm kick-off following an international break – the Anfield derby against Everton is the 13th time they been involved in such a match since Jurgen Klopp took charge in October 2015, more than double the amount of the next club – those late finishes could prove an issue.

They certainly did when the Reds were the early kick-off after last month’s international pause. While Alisson started in goal at Wolves, both Diaz and Nunez were benched – coming on in the second half to great effect as Liverpool came from behind to win 3-1 – and Mac Allister’s dire first-half showing before being replaced was largely down to fatigue having only arrived back in England barely 48 hours before.

The midfielder will be the last Liverpool player in action in the early hours of next Wednesday, Argentina’s game in Peru not even starting until 3am UK time. Alisson’s Brazil and Nunez’s Uruguay will meet in Montevideo at 1am, while Diaz is expected to feature for Colombia in Ecuador at 12.30am.

Mac Allister is again likely to be the main concern, particularly with Curtis Jones still suspended and both Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic out injured. Wataru Endo, the other main defensive midfield option, has further to travel with Japan entertaining Canada and Tunisia in friendlies, but the latter kicks off at 11.10am on Tuesday morning in the UK, giving him significantly more time to recover after his return to Merseyside.

While Liverpool have a total of 16 senior players on international duty at present, it’s the South American quartet who will most likely once again hand Klopp his biggest selection headache.

But whatever the situation on Saturday week, it’s unlikely to surpass the problems Liverpool faced two years ago when they headed to Watford having to contend with both the post-international break issue and the added complication of coronavirus travel restrictions.

Alisson and Fabinho instead jetted straight from South America to Madrid, where the Reds were due to take on Atletico in the Champions League a few days later. But in their absence, Liverpool romped to a 5-0 win at Vicarage Road. How Klopp would like a repeat of that when the neighbours come calling…

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