Liverpool’s travel problem solved with Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers postponed

Liverpool were prepared to reject call-ups for Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino for Brazil’s World Cup qualifiers this month, which has led to their postponement.

With South America currently on the UK’s ‘red list’, any players travelling to countries on the continent for international fixtures this month would have been required to quarantine for 10 days on their return.

This would have affected Alisson, Fabinho and Firmino, who were all expected to be part of Tite’s squad to take on Colombia and Argentina.

But Jurgen Klopp confirmed the club’s intention to block any request for the release of their players if they would need to quarantine on their arrival back in England, which was echoed by the likes of Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho.

As the majority of countries involved were therefore facing problems with building competitive squads for their World Cup qualifiers, the South American Football Federation (CONMEBOL) have now postponed all fixtures.

CONMEBOL announced their decision on Saturday evening, with no dates set for the qualifiers to be played as of yet.

This spares Liverpool and their fellow Premier League sides any ‘club vs. country’ issues arising, and allows their South American players to rest and train through the international break.

Naby Deco Keita of Guinea during the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations match between Nigeria and Guinea at the Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria on the 26 June 2019 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

As it stands, however, both Diogo Jota and Naby Keita will still be blocked from joining up with Portugal and Guinea respectively.

Portugal is on the red list, while Guinea travel to another red list country, Namibia, for one of their Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, which would therefore see Jota and Keita required to quarantine.

It was also claimed that Sadio Mane would face a similar situation, but this was falsely reported as Senegal will take on Congo, not DR Congo, with only the latter on the red list.

It remains to be seen if CONMEBOL’s decision will set a precedent, though it would certainly be sensible for all internationals to be postponed given the increased risk of spreading COVID-19.