Coutinho stars, Klavan suffers nightmare – Liverpool FC International Break Roundup

7 September 2016

There was plenty of action for Liverpool FC players on international duty, with success for most but not for Ragnar Klavan, who had a nightmare with Estonia.


Jurgen Klopp saw 12 first-team players leave to join their respective countries, as well as on-loan goalkeeper Danny Ward and a number of young talents.

Providing an unwelcome interval to domestic action, the international break nevertheless served up some tantalising contests.

As World Cup and Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers and various friendlies played out, Klopp’s Liverpool players saw plenty of action over the break.

Here’s how they got on, including a pair of excellent performances from Philippe Coutinho.

 

Lallana Breaks International Duck as England Win Late

Picture by: Tim Goode / PA Wire/Press Association Images England's Adam Lallana during the International Friendly at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland.

  • Lallana scores first international goal in 95th minute.
  • Henderson plays out quiet 64 minutes.
  • Sturridge brought on as late substitute, Clyne left on bench.

England began life under new manager Sam Allardyce with a World Cup qualifying clash away to Slovakia on Sunday evening.

This saw Allardyce make just three changes to the side that suffered defeat to Iceland in the last 16 of Euro 2016, with Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson brought in alongside John Stones.

While similar problems were on show in Trnava, with Wayne Rooney’s positional defiance continuing to hamper the Three Lions’ progress, Lallana’s late strike, powering past Matus Kozacik with one of the final kicks of the game, sealed the three points.

Jordan Henderson and Daniel Sturridge also featured, while Nathaniel Clyne was an unused substitute, and former Reds defender Martin Skrtel was given a red card.

 

Coutinho Produces Two Star Cameos For Brazil

Philippe Coutinho vs. Burnley

  • Coutinho sparks life into Brazil’s win over Ecuador.
  • Playmaker then sets up winner in victory at home to Colombia.

Philippe Coutinho continued his burgeoning international career by being named in Tite’s first Brazil squad—though Roberto Firmino was, again, left on Merseyside.

Coutinho joined a talented attacking group including the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus and Willian, with the competition for places no doubt spurring him on to perform as Brazil took on Ecuador and Colombia as they kicked off their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 24-year-old was forced to make do with a place on the substitutes’ bench for both, however, but when called upon Coutinho proved his influence with two excellent displays.

Against Ecuador, Coutinho unlocked a frustrating defence to help Neymar and Jesus to put the finishing touches to a 3-0 victory, before setting up the former to secure a 2-1 victory over Colombia in Manaus, in what was a scintillating 24-minute showing.

 

Wijnaldum Scores, But Netherlands Woes Continue

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 6, 2016: Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum in action against Barcelona during the International Champions Cup match at Wembley Stadium. (Pic by Xiaoxuan Lin/Propaganda)

  • Wijnaldum nets in Holland’s 2-1 friendly defeat to Greece.
  • Midfielder then starts in 1-1 qualifier draw with Sweden.

Having failed to qualify for Euro 2016, with a golden generation of talent fading away, the Netherlands face a tough task to restore their reputation as one of the great footballing nations.

With Danny Blind the man chosen to spearhead this revival, they are still yet to get going, however, despite the efforts of Liverpool’s Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Netherlands first took on Greece in a friendly clash in Eindhoven on Thursday night, and though Wijnaldum got his side off to a bright start with a close-range finish on 14 minutes, goals from Kostas Mitroglou and Giannis Gianniotas put the Dutch to the sword.

Heaping the misery onto Blind’s new-look squad, Sweden then held the Netherlands to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup qualifier on Tuesday evening, with Wijnaldum playing 66 minutes in a midfield three.

 

Mane and Senegal Round Off Perfect AFCON Warmup

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, August 14, 2016: Liverpool's Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match against Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Mane’s Senegal seal sixth successive AFCON qualifier win over Namibia.
  • Winger taken off with precaution after hour mark, but since declared fit.

Having already secured their place in January’s Africa Cup of Nations tournament, Senegal took on Namibia on Saturday evening looking to polish off a perfect qualifying campaign.

Sadio Mane, the star of Aliou Cisse’s side, took up a focal role in the former Birmingham City midfielder’s starting lineup, though it was his attacking colleagues who shone brightest in Dakar.

Mame Biram Diouf and Balde Keita both scored as Senegal secured a 2-0 victory, their sixth in six qualifying games, with Mane leaving Cisse to sweat after taking a knock in the second half.

But despite fears that the 24-year-old could miss Saturday’s clash with Leicester City through injury, he has since declared himself fit to start at Anfield.

 

Klavan Endures Nightmare Return From Injury

Estonia's Ragnar Klavan (PA Images)

  • Klavan misses Estonia’s 1-1 friendly draw with Malta through injury.
  • Returns to suffer 5-0 defeat to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday night.

Klavan missed Liverpool’s final outing before the international break due to a minor injury, sitting out the Reds’ 1-1 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, but still travelled for duty with Estonia.

This injury saw him miss their first of two games during the interval, however, with Estonia holding Malta to a 1-1 draw on August 31.

However, underlining his status at Estonia’s key player, as well as being their captain, Klavan returned to a starting role for a crucial World Cup qualifier away to Bosnia-Herzegovina on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Estonia fell to a heavy loss in Zenica, with two goals from Emir Spahic and strikes from Edin Dzeko, Haris Medunjanin and Vedad Ibisevic.

 

Origi, Mignolet, Lovren, Can, Ward & Youth

LILLE, FRANCE - Friday, July 1, 2016: Belgium's Divock Origi sits on the substitutes bench ahead of the UEFA Euro 2016 Championship Quarter-Final match against Wales at the Stade Pierre Mauroy. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

  • Divock Origi starts in Belgium’s 2-0 friendly loss to Spain.
  • Simon Mignolet sits out of both of the Red Devils’ clashes.
  • Mignolet joined by Origi on the bench for Tuesday’s win over Cyprus.
  • Dejan Lovren back in the fold for Croatia, but unused in 1-1 draw with Turkey.
  • Emre Can withdrawn from Germany squad with foot injury.
  • Danny Ward unused as Wales beat Moldova 4-0.
  • Marko Grujic plays 90 minutes as Serbia U21s draw 1-1 with Italy.
  • Grujic then then takes key role as U21s defeat Ireland 3-2.
  • Trent Alexander-Arnold features in England U19s penalty win over Netherlands.
  • Midfielder then on as a substitute as U19s lose to Belgium.
  • Harry Wilson‘s Wales U21s lose to Denmark, beat Luxembourg in Euro qualifiers.


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