Football

Klopp & Solskjaer to withdraw stars from internationals

Liverpool's Klopp and Man United's Solskjaer are not in favour of releasing their key men if they need to serve quarantine

Liverpool may not allow their players to travel overseas for international matches later this month if they are required to quarantine for 10 days on their return to England, the English Premier League club's manager Juergen Klopp said yesterday.

Arrivals in Britain from Covid-19 "Red List" countries are subject to 10 days' hotel confinement, which would apply to Brazilian trio Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho, and Portugal forward Diogo Jota.

World governing body Fifa has said clubs can refuse to release players if they are required to quarantine for more than five days on their return.

NOT POSSIBLE

And Klopp fully intends to apply it, saying: "All the clubs agree that, with the same problems, we cannot just let the boys go and then sort the situation when they come back by placing our players in a 10-day quarantine in a hotel, it is just not possible - that's not how we can do it.

"I understand the need of different football associations, but it's a time where you cannot make everybody happy.

"The players are paid by the clubs, so that means we have to be the first priority. You cannot make everyone happy in this period of our lives."

Klopp added the club would wait for any travel-related decisions to be reached before the scheduled international break between March 22 and March 31.

"We're not 100 per cent sure because it's not clear as some countries might change the venues where they play. You always have to wait until the last second pretty much because people need time to make decisions," he said.

The German manager was also concerned about his players leaving the club's bio-secure bubble for international matches.

"All the things that happened from a virus point of view in the last few months were when someone had to leave the bubble," he said.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also said his club will withdraw players if they are forced to quarantine as it "doesn't make sense".

As it stands, this would impact United stars Bruno Fernandes of Portugal, Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani and Brazilian pair of Fred and Alex Telles.

"It doesn't make sense to travel, when we are paying them, if they come back and are away for 10 days," said Solskjaer, after his side's listless 0-0 draw with Crystal Palace yesterday morning (Singapore time).

"That's a chat we'll have with the players."

With other European clubs expected to take a similar stance, the World Cup qualifiers in South America are in serious doubt.

The council of the South American confederation Conmebol will meet today to discuss the situation and is in contact with Fifa as it searches for a solution.

"It is difficult to postpone the Fifa dates, there is no space, you cannot tighten the qualifiers," Ecuador FA president Francisco Egas said.

"There is strong pressure from European clubs not to give up their players for the qualifiers. Fifa must be in the middle to help get an understanding." - REUTERS, AFP

Football