Liverpool aces on international duty: Benteke slammed by coach, Coutinho plays in Brazil win

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Nathaniel Clyne and James Milner waltzed through the pointless 6-0 demolition of San Marino on Saturday. The former was pretty impressive, although it’s impossible to really take anything from a match against part-time footballers. Both should start versus Switzerland at Wembley on Tuesday.

Jordon Ibe and Joe Gomez are in contention for a start for the Under-21 outfit versus Norway on Monday night, having both made debuts at USA on Thursday. Gomez in particular was strong.


Christian Benteke started the game against Cyprus but was hauled off after 45 minutes after what his coach Marc Wilmots described as a ‘half performance’. Divock Origi replaced him, and was far more impressive in the 1-0 win.

“The contribution of Origi and Mertens in the second half was important, because I wanted quick combinations. As a result, in the last half hour we were often dangerous,” Wilmots added, via the Echo.

“We have now won two games in a row but this is the worst team performance I have seen and we will try to rectify the issue.”


Despite getting back into Liverpool’s team as a regular, Dejan Lovren has been dropped by his country. He was left out of Thursday’s game against Azerbaijan and didn’t get in the side for the loss to Norway at the weekend either. From the start of this season then, Mamadou Sakho and Lovren have both lost their spots in their international sides – with the Frenchman not even making the squad.


Annoyingly, Coutinho and Roberto Firmino are playing against the USA on Wednesday, meaning the latter will have virtually no preparation time for the clash with Manchester United at the weekend. Coutinho, of course, is suspended, but he did play 25 minutes in a 1-0 win over Costa Rica at the weekend. Both are in contention for a start in two days’ time.


Martin Skrtel was suspended for Slovakia’s 2-0 loss to Spain, but should come straight back into the side for a intriguing qualifier with Ukraine on Tuesday.


Neither Jordan Williams nor Danny Ward were used for Chris Coleman’s side against Cyprus or Israel, as the Welsh close in on Euro 2016 qualification. They only need one point from their final two matches to ensure a spot at the finals, where Joe Allen, who was injured this time around, will likely be a key player.


Emre Can made his international debut in the 3-1 win over Poland, and Joachim Low was delighted with his contribution – despite using him as a right-back.

“I like the way he plays, I was pleased with Emre’s first game [for Germany]. It was not easy for him to withstand the pressure of playing the group leaders Poland, in his first game; he has done well,” said the World Cup winning boss, via the Echo.

“He is not a player who is used to playing in the right side of a back four. It was good to see him do well. He tackled well, showed strength and has a good passing game.

“It was a decent debut performance. Technically he is clever, he plays clean, simple passes and has a good positional sense.”


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