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Liverpool avoid double suspension risk – but 4-game absence still looms

The danger of a one-game suspension has been avoided for Liverpool as the Premier League hit the halfway stage, but one player who was at risk will still miss four games in early 2024.

The Reds travelled to Burnley knowing if either Darwin Nunez or Wataru Endo picked up a yellow card they would be suspended for the visit of Newcastle on New Year’s Day.

The pair were named in the starting lineup and safely navigated the fixture while carrying four yellow cards for the season – Endo ended the match with zero fouls committed and Nunez two.

Paul Tierney didn’t reach for a yellow, thankfully – he was in a mood to go against Liverpool so that was a plus – and now Jurgen Klopp can forget about any suspension risk.

Premier League rules stipulate that a one-match suspension will be accrued if a player picks up five yellow cards in the first 19 games.

BURNLEY, ENGLAND - Tuesday, December 26, 2023: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez applauds the supporters as he is substituted during the FA Premier League match between Burnley FC and Liverpool FC at Turf Moor. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Alexis Mac Allister fell victim to this rule and missed the win over Brentford after reaching the threshold.

As it is now the halfway stage, the danger of looming suspension is gone, but there is still a chance of a two-match suspension later as any player booked 10 times up to and including the 32nd league fixture will be forced to miss two games.

But while Endo has escaped suspension, he is still to miss at least four fixtures at the start of 2024 as he captains Japan in the Asian Cup – with the strong possibility of more.

The midfielder is expected to depart directly after the visit of Newcastle in the Premier League on New Year’s Day, as is Mo Salah as he represents Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 1, 2023: Liverpool's Wataru Endo during the Football League Cup 4th Round match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. Liverpool won 2-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With the competition running from January 12 to February 10, Endo will, at the very least, miss the matches against Arsenal, Bournemouth and both legs of the League Cup semi-final against Fulham.

And he may not play again for the Reds after the visit of Newcastle until February 17, should Japan make a run to the final.

He will be a big miss for Liverpool having started the last seven matches in a row, Klopp named him as his Man of the Match against Burnley, highlighting how much he is now relying on the No. 3.