Liverpool fans may have been fearing the worst upon noticing that Kostas Tsimikas wasn’t in the Greece line-up for their Euro 2024 qualifying win over Gibraltar on Sunday.
The default reaction would naturally have been to worry that he may have picked up an injury, but the reason for his omisson has since emerged, and it’s one which’ll leave the Reds relieved and amused in equal measure.
As per Hellas Football (via talkSPORT), officials from the Greek federation advised head coach Gus Poyet that the 27-year-old was among four players suspended for the fixture due to suspension, having picked up two yellow cards during the qualifying campaign so far.
However, UEFA rules stipulate that a one-match ban only comes into effect if a player is booked three times in the qualifiers, so Tsimikas was actually eligible to face Gibraltar. The second booking came in the preceding defeat to Netherlands five days ago (Transfermarkt).
The more cynical of observers may suspect that Poyet wasn’t misinformed accidentally, as with Greece firmly in the qualifying mix and facing crunch games against Republic of Ireland and Netherlands next month, they mightn’t have wanted the left-back to play against weaker opposition in Gibraltar.
They still won 5-0 without him, and Greek officials would’ve dreaded the scenario of him picking up a silly booking in that game which would’ve ruled him out for the trip to Dublin in October.
Whether it was a genuine error or a ‘deliberate accident’ is open to question, but what’s beyond doubt is that Liverpool fans will have been quite happy to see Tsimikas sit out the match on Sunday.
Given the paucity of the opposition, Jurgen Klopp would’ve been fuming if the defender picked up an injury which would’ve ruled him out for a prolonged period of time.
It’s certainly one of the more bizarre reasons for a player not being involved in a match, but however it might have come about, thankfully it appears to have worked to the Reds’ benefit.