Jurgen Klopp keen to keep world stars in Liverpool to swerve quarantine quandary

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on the touchline with Roberto Firmino, Diogo Jota, Fabinho and Andy Robertson, © PA Wire/PA Images
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By Carl Markham, PA

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp will not allow players to travel to international matches later this month if they have to quarantine on their return.

Under current coronavirus guidelines arrivals from red-list travel-ban countries are subject to 10 days’ hotel confinement, which would apply to the likes of Brazilians Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho and Portugal forward Diogo Jota.

Due to the special circumstances, FIFA has given clubs dispensation to prevent players who may be affected by the regulations from joining up with their countries.

Klopp fully intends to apply it, saying: “I think all the clubs agree that with the same problems we cannot just let the boys go and then sort the situation when they come back by placing our players in a 10-day quarantine in a hotel, it is just not possible.

“I understand the needs of the different FAs but this is a time where we cannot make everyone happy and we have to admit the players are paid by the clubs so it means we have to be first priority.

“The whole situation is similar to the Champions League in terms of where we play and you have to wait until the last second pretty much because people need time to make decisions and we don’t think too much about it as we cannot be influential in it.

“We just deal with what other people decided so we got kind of used to it but I think everyone agrees we cannot let the players go and play for their country and come back and quarantine for 10 days in a hotel, that is not how we can do it.”

Alisson is set to return to the side for the visit of Chelsea having missed Sunday’s win at Sheffield United as he was mourning the death of his father in a swimming accident back home in Brazil.

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Fabinho, who has played just one of the last eight because of injury, is also set for his first appearance in the squad while Diogo Jota, whose return at Bramall Lane following nearly three months out was denied by illness, is also back.

Klopp now has better options, with Fabinho, who has played most of the season covering at centre-back, also able to play in midfield, which means the manager could continue with the partnership of Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak, the 14th different starting combination in 26 Premier League matches and their 17th overall this season.

“If we can find a way to bring Fab back in midfield that would be in some games quite helpful,” added the Reds boss.

“The most consistent player probably this season is Gini Wijnaldum: he played the six, all the positions, but Fab in at six in some games would be absolutely helpful.

“In the past we had to bring players in almost immediately because another player left the pitch injured the game before and now we don’t have to do that for the first time.

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“Is Fab ready to start or is he only ready for the bench? Then which position? These decisions are still to make.

“Stability (in defence) would be great but we changed it that often, maybe we made a habit of it.

“I heard there were people were quite critical of both of them (Kabak and Phillips) which is really picky to be honest.”

A first victory in five league matches has boosted Liverpool’s top-four hopes and a win over Chelsea, now coached by Thomas Tuchel – Klopp’s successor at both Mainz and Borussia Dortmund – would further enhance their chances.

 

“I think a week ago we were out, now we are around again so for us the challenge and the job is clear: we have to win games, as many as possible, to make it in the top four,” said the German.

“We’ve known each other for a long time, he worked for Mainz as I did, he worked for Dortmund as I did, so a lot of people we know are the same.

“I think he is an outstanding coach and it will be tricky to play his team, like it always was.”

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