Euro 2024 – A blessing or a curse for Arne Slot’s Liverpool?

There will, inevitably, be a large section of Liverpool fans who celebrate the omissions of Jarell Quansah and Curtis Jones from England’s squad for the upcoming Euros.

And, in fairness, the logic behind a widespread desire to see the pair left out is entirely sound.

A lengthy rest after a tough season and the elimination of the risk of injury over the summer can only be a good thing.

That is also true of the fact that both players will now be available to report for pre-season when it gets underway at the start of July.

If the aim for Quansah and Jones is to be in the best shape possible for the new campaign and ensure Arne Slot knows exactly what they can do, then an early start is clearly best.

NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND - Thursday, October 12, 2023: England's Jarell Quansah during the pre-match warm-up before the 2025 UEFA European Under-21 Championship Qualifying Group F game between England and Serbia at the City Ground. England won 9-1. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

However, to cheer the fact that both have been left out is to ignore the players’ disappointment over missing a rare chance to be involved in a major tournament.

This perhaps selfish view of international football also ignores other, more difficult-to-measure benefits of inclusion, which will still be available to the countless Liverpool players set to represent their countries this summer.

There is no better evidence of the possible upside of international football than Sadio Mane, whose 2021-22 season was in part defined by his exploits at the Africa Cup of Nations.

The forward departed for Algeria in January, having scored at a rate of 0.38 goals per game up to that point in the campaign, and with just one goal to show for his last 10 appearances.

But his three goals and a winning penalty in the final shootout ensured Senegal lifted the trophy for the first time, and provided a significant confidence boost to the player that had huge ramifications for Liverpool.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Saturday, May 14, 2022: Liverpool's Sadio Mané (L) celebrates with Roberto Firmino (R) after the FA Cup Final between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Wembley Stadium. The game ended in a goal-less draw, Liverpool won 6-5 on penalties. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Mane subsequently returned to Anfield to score at an improved rate of 0.52 goals per game over the remainder of the season, finishing off with a ridiculous run of nine in 14 games that saw the Reds go close to a quadruple.

A similar effect was experienced by current Liverpool favourite Alexis Mac Allister, who hit another level after helping Lionel Messi and Argentina win the World Cup two years ago.

His contributions in Qatar and form in the months after paved the way for a move to Liverpool and a fine debut season, that saw him pick up a first major trophy of his career in Europe.

Speaking about the importance of that experience with his nation, he later said: “The World Cup helped me to realise that I really want to win more trophies. It gives you of course a lot of confidence and it definitely helps when you have experience.”

New Liverpool signing Alexis Mac Allister is keen to add more trophies to the World Cup he won with Argentina last winter (Mike Egerton/PA)

Liverpool will hope that some of their players can enjoy similar benefits following this summer, given that so many of their players have been called up by their countries.

For example, Darwin Nunez can surely only be boosted by the fact he scored a hat-trick for Uruguay against Mexico on Wednesday, and a positive Copa America would do him the world of good.

Similarly, Andy Robertson, Virgil van Dijk and Dominik Szoboszlai cannot fail to take something from the honour of captaining their nations at a major tournament this summer.

So, while the absences of Quansah and Jones from the England setup may ultimately prove to be a blessing, it does not mean that every Liverpool involvement in international football this summer need be considered a curse.