With the World Cup on the horizon toward the end of the year, it may seem strange to many for UEFA to be holding another international tournament in the summer.
For many a manager and player, of course, the multiplicity of competitions and the rising number of fixtures to compete within continues to raise serious concerns around the wellbeing of those participating in the sport.
Last year, Real Madrid No.1 echoed Jurgen Klopp’s thoughts on the matter of a hefty fixture schedule following Belgium’s 2-1 defeat to Italy in the Nations League third-place playoff.
“We are not robots. It’s just more and more games and less rest for us and nobody cares about us,” the goalkeeper was quoted as saying by the Guardian. “When will we get a rest? Never.”
Liverpool themselves have as many as 15 internationals who could be set to link up with their respective national outfits for the trip to Qatar, though the club could be set to benefit from the unlikelihood of some stars earning call-ups.
With plenty of football set to take place in the summer break and beyond, Profit Squad can help fans keep track of the best online bookmakers in the UK and beyond.
Who is likely to be called up for the World Cup in Qatar?
Group A – Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane
It’s fair to say that both Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane will be bolt-ons for their nations’ respective starting-XIs, barring any unfortunate injury developments beyond the end of the domestic campaign.
Group B – Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson, Neco Williams
Given Gareth Southgate’s preference for the more defensively-minded Kyle Walker, it would be far from surprising to see Trent Alexander-Arnold limited to a few minutes here and there, though we’d still expect the Scouser and Liverpool skipper Jordan Henderson to get call-ups to the England squad.
Scotland’s future in the competition is still yet to be decided, with Andy Robertson’s men set to face Neco Williams’ Wales, should they manage to surpass Ukraine in a qualifier.
Group D – Ibrahima Konate
The Champions League finalist has yet to receive a call-up from Didier Deschamps, though his positive performances this term should at least earn some consideration.
The Liverpool defender will have heavy competition within the French squad, however, including Presnel Kimpembe, Raphael Varane and former RB Leipzig teammate, Dayot Upamecano.
Group E – Taki Minamino, Thiago Alcantara
The Reds’ cup specialist in Taki Minamino is another bolt-on for his respective nation’s squad and starting-XI, with the Japanese international set to face-off against Thiago Alcantara’s Spain in Group E.
Having been called up to Luis Enrique’s squad for the upcoming Nations League, some strong performances in the summer could very well see the former Bayern Munich man hold on to a place in time for the World Cup in November.
Group G – Fabinho and Alisson Becker
Bobby Firmino’s place in Tite’s squad remains somewhat uncertain, though his fellow Brazilians in the Liverpool squad in Fabinho and Alisson Becker have been regulars with the Selecao.
Group F – Diogo Jota
Portugal are set to clash with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea in Group F and we’d expect Diogo Jota to be featuring prominently once more for Fernando Santos’ men.