Jurgen Klopp has said Liverpool will respect whatever decision is made on the availability of their Brazilian players for the game with Leeds, but hit out at South American football’s summer scheduling.
Liverpool’s Brazilian trio of Alisson Becker, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino did not travel to South America for the latest round of World Cup qualifiers after they were informed of a need to quarantine for 10 days upon their return on account of Covid restrictions - albeit the latter was doubtful with a back problem.
Klopp said such a move was unworkable as he felt 10 days in a hotel would have resulted in a further spell out of the game on top of the quarantine on account of lost fitness.
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A row ensued between clubs and federations, with the upshot being that those who failed to travel would not be allowed to play for their clubs.
Talks are still ongoing regarding availability, and Klopp is unsure when that will be resolved.
He has said Liverpool will deal with whatever comes their way, but questioned the decision to hold a Copa America at short notice - which resulted in extra World Cup qualifiers having to be shoehorned into the schedule.
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“I don’t know in the moment,” Klopp said when asked about the availability of his Brazil players. “We will see, there are meetings going on.
“The thing I want to say about that is just, let’s look at the full case. So, we all know we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is difficult for all parts of life and for football it was difficult as well. We have a few more games to play than we have to play usually internationally. We had a summer break where all of a sudden somebody organised again a Copa America, where they could have played the games, for example, without playing a Copa America, which they had a year before.
But people decide without us these kind of things. OK, nobody cares, that’s how it is. They play a Copa America, then they still have more games to play.
“Then a week or 10 days before the international break we get, ‘OK, we play now three games and the last game is on Thursday night.’ So we have nothing to do with that. Friday morning, by the way. Friday morning, 1.20am, would have been Brazil against Peru. We have nothing to do with that, we cannot decide anything about it, we just read these things.
“We have a football game to play again and they tell us we cannot play our Brazilian players. It’s like, ‘Huh?’ So, we did nothing. We didn’t organise the Copa America, we are not responsible for the games they couldn’t have played. We didn’t invite players, we didn’t say when they come back there’s no exemption. We all didn’t do that.
“But in the end the only [people] who get punished are the players and the clubs – and we have nothing to do with the whole organisation around. It’s like, ‘What is happening?’
“So I don’t know what will happen at the weekend, to be honest. In this moment, we have to see what other people decide and then we will again accept that probably, do what people tell us and try to win a football game.
“But the whole situation is really just like the whole world in the moment in a nutshell – ‘Ah, in football they have these problems as well.’ Yes, we have these problems. And now we will see who finds the solution.”
Liverpool will take on Leeds at Elland Road on Sunday, which is three days before they begin their Champions League quest at home to AC Milan.
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