Why Alisson and Fabinho are likely to miss Watford AND Atletico Madrid

Alisson and Fabinho are both exempt from the UK’s usual protocol for re-entry from red-listed countries, but they are still set to miss the next two games for Liverpool.

Among the 14 first-team players on international duty this month, Alisson and Fabinho will join the Brazil squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Venezuela, Colombia and Uruguay.

After the farce of the September break, which saw the Brazilian FA attempt to invoke a five-day ban for players who were blocked call-ups, provisions have been made by the UK government.

But despite exemption rules coming into place for footballers returning from countries on the red list for travel, Alisson and Fabinho are still due to miss at least one game for Liverpool.

So why could the Reds be without their No. 1 and No. 3 against both Watford and Atletico Madrid?


What has changed since last month?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 21, 2021: Liverpool's goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Put simply, the UK government have allowed exemptions for footballers returning from red-listed countries, which allows them to leave their mandatory 10-day isolation once a day to train or play.

Under previous rules, players would have been required to isolate for 10 days in a designated hotel, unable to train and without the nutrition they require as elite athletes.

So in theory, those returning from duty will be able to play as normal while in quarantine.


Why would they miss the Watford game if they are exempt?

Brazil vs. Uruguay takes place in Manaus on Friday, October 15, kicking off at 1.30am UK time.

With Liverpool travelling to Vicarage Road for a 12.30pm kickoff the following day, there are less than 36 hours between the two games, meaning the turnaround is almost certainly too tight.


So what about the Atletico Madrid game?

Within the rules of exemption, Alisson and Fabinho would be back and able to play by October 19, when Liverpool take on Atletico Madrid.

However, with the Champions League clash an away game, it is highly unlikely they would be permitted to leave quarantine to travel and play in Madrid.


Is there another solution?

East Rutherford, NJ - Friday September 07, 2018: The men's national teams of the United States (USA) and Brazil (BRA) played an international friendly at MetLife Stadium. .

There are a number of possibilities, though not all of them are likely:

1. Brazil could agree to release Alisson and Fabinho before the Uruguay game

    This solves the issue, but would set a dangerous precedent with 16 European clubs affected by the late kickoff.

2. Alisson and Fabinho could fly directly to Spain from Brazil

    This would allow them to play Atletico, before then beginning quarantine on their return to the UK.

3. They could fly straight to Watford after full-time against Uruguay

    The least likely solution, with Jurgen Klopp reluctant to select players on such a tight turnaround.


Who can replace them for Liverpool?

Caoimhin Kelleher is a capable stand-in for Alisson, and has already kept clean sheets in both the Premier League and Champions League.

Replacing Fabinho may be more difficult.

Klopp will be hoping Trent Alexander-Arnold and Thiago will both be back fit after the break, with James Milner then providing another midfield option.


When will they be back?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 22, 2020: Liverpool’s goalkeeper Alisson Becker (L) and Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

As it stands, Alisson and Fabinho will be back in contention for the trip to Man United on October 24.

However, this would still come in less-than-ideal circumstances, as they would be in quarantine until the following day.


Will this happen again next month?

RIO DE JANEIRO, RJ - 07.07.2019: BRAZIL VS. PERU - Firmino and Alisson celebrate title after the match between Brazil and Peru, valid for the Copa America 2019 final, held this Sunday (07) at the Maracan„ Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, RJ. (Photo by Nayra Halm/Fotoarena/Sipa USA)

Apparently, no.

Reports claim that the government plans to remove Brazil and a number of other countries from the red list in time for the October half-term break, which falls near the end of the month.

If that is the case, Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino would be free to represent their country during the November international break without the need for quarantine upon their return.

Brazil are scheduled to play Colombia (November 11) and Argentina (November 16) in two World Cup qualifiers next month.