AS we all celebrate Liverpool’s 6-1 win over Watford, the realisation is starting to creep in that we won’t be seeing the Reds play until just under two weeks’ time.
Twelve of the current crop will be joining up with their respective national teams as they prepare for a selection of qualifiers and friendlies (that it’s absolutely essential are played right in the middle of the season, of course).
But since it is happening, and there’s nothing we can do, we might as well find out when our lads are playing and where — partly so we can work out how we get them back safe, sound and on time for Southampton on Saturday November 19.
Firstly, the England lads. Gareth Southgate — of EURO 96′ heartbreak fame — has decided to call up Nathaniel Clyne, Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Daniel Sturridge to his latest England squad to face Scotland (Friday November 11) and Spain (Tuesday November 15). Both games are set to be played at Wembley, which means the lads should be back in no time — fingers crossed.
Our shiny-toothed star men, Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho, are both away with Brazil for fixtures against Argentina and Peru, home and away respectively. The latter fixture will be played at 2:15am GMT on Wednesday November 16 before they make a 6,000-plus mile trip back to these shores. Definitely a worry with the Southampton game kicking off at 3pm on the Saturday.
Last time, special arrangements were made to ensure both were back in time to train ahead of the Manchester United game, though it would have helped that it was played on a Monday. Perhaps more worrying is that Coutinho started on the bench during the clash against Leicester at Anfield, though he had played in Manaus — at ridiculously high humidity in the middle of the rainforest — which could have been an aggravating factor in his absence.
Simon Mignolet played the full 90 minutes against the Netherlands last night, while Divock Origi was an unused substitute. Their next and final game is on Sunday November 13, against Estonia.
Georginio Wijnaldum played 89 minutes in the aforementioned clash with Belgium and his next game comes on Sunday evening with a visit to Luxembourg to conclude his time away, while Ragnar Klavan only has the one fixture to look forward to — against former Everton manager Roberto Martinez’s side.
Sadio Mane and Marko Grujic round off the remaining group of internationals. Mane is away with Senegal for a trip to South Africa on Saturday afternoon and Grujic is with Serbia’s under-21 side for consecutive fixtures against Norway under-21s – concluding as soon as Tuesday night.
For what it’s worth, youngsters Kamil Grabara (Poland under-18s), Ovie Ejaria (England under-20s), Trent Alexander-Arnold (England under-19s) and Ben Woodburn (Wales under-19s) are also set to play a part for their country’s youth sides.
GOAL 1-0 England! Ovie Ejaria scores pic.twitter.com/2OjcDczeqr
— EnglandYouthFootball (@youth_england) November 10, 2016
So let’s hope Bobby and Phil are back in time to be ready to go again against Claude Puel’s Southampton. Bring them home, lads.