Coach Jürgen Klopp raised the possibility of Liverpool withdrawing players from the World Cup qualifiers later this month, saying it is “simply not possible” for team members to spend 10 days isolated in a hotel after returning. from UK COVID-19 Red List countries.
Direct travel to and from Red List countries is banned in the UK, and all of South America and Portugal are still under those strict measures. Liverpool have three Brazilian internationals, Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, and Portuguese forward Diogo Jota, who will likely be called up by their countries later this month.
Anyone returning from Red List countries must be quarantined in an airport hotel for 10 days, with no exemptions for elite athletes, and Liverpool manager Klopp admitted his concerns about the potential impact of flying players. around the world for the World Cup qualifiers.
“Having more information would be great, but we don’t get it,” Klopp said at a news conference Wednesday. “I think FIFA was pretty clear, they said we don’t have to let the players go this time and I think all the clubs agree that we can’t let the boys go and resolve the situation when they come back, with our players in a 10-day quarantine in a hotel or whatever.
“That is not possible. I understand the need of the different federations, but this is a time when we cannot make everyone happy. So we have to admit that the clubs pay the players, which means we have to be the one. priority.
“It means that we all understand different needs, with the competitions coming up in the summer, I get it. But you can’t make everyone happy at the same time in this period of our lives.
“People need time to make decisions and we don’t think about it too much because we are not influential in it, but we just take care of the things that other people decided.”
“But I think everyone agrees: we can’t let players go and play for their country and then quarantine them for 10 days in a hotel. This is not how we can do it.”
The South American qualifiers in the CONMEBOL region are at the highest risk of disruption, and Brazil’s matches against Colombia and Argentina are likely to involve multiple Premier League players.
But with FIFA giving clubs permission to retain players for this round of qualifiers in the event of COVID-19 issues, Klopp has said that the interest of the clubs must come first.
The COVID-19 infection rate in the UK has declined in recent weeks as the government has now laid out a roadmap towards relaxing social distancing measures, with all the restrictions that need to be lifted sooner. June 21.
But despite progress in the UK, Klopp said clubs are concerned about the possibility of players abandoning their safe COVID-19 bubbles to join their international teams.
“First of all, we are concerned, yes, by all the things that happened from the point of view of the virus in the last few months, when someone had to get out of the bubble,” he added. “Inside the bubble, we were not without cases, but we have been without cases for a long time and it never spread.
“There were two periods: in the last international break, when more cases emerged than before, and the Christmas period, which was a challenge for all of society.
“And now in England, everything is going in the right direction and it looks positive and promising, but yes, we are concerned about things.”
CONMEBOL will meet internally on Wednesday and will have a virtual meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino scheduled for Thursday to discuss the issue.
Sources have told ESPN that CONMEBOL leaders are not considering playing in a bubble and will not play the playoffs without their European players.