September 24, 2021

Klopp defends Liverpool’s refusal to release Brazil players for international duty

Read Time:4 Minute, 32 Second

The Reds boss feels the clubs and players have been punished for decisions that were out of their hands

Jurgen Klopp is still unsure if Alisson Becker and Fabinho can play for Liverpool against Leeds on Sunday but has defended the decision not to release the players for international duty with Brazil.

Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, who is out with an injury, are among the eight Brazilian players who are unavailable for the upcoming Premier League fixtures.

FIFA ruled the players ineligible after the Brazilian football association (CBF) asked the governing body to impose the five-day rule in response to clubs refusing to let the players report for the recent World Cup qualifying matches.

What has been said?

Klopp is still in the dark over the availability of his stars ahead of the trip to Elland Road but feels the club and players have been unfairly punished. 

“I can say what I know: I don’t know in the moment. We will see, there are meetings going on,” he told the club’s website.

“The thing I want to say about that is just, let’s look at the full case. So, we all know we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is difficult for all parts of life and for football it was difficult as well.

“We have a few more games to play than we have to play usually internationally. We had a summer break where all of a sudden somebody organised again a Copa America, where they could have played the games, for example, without playing a Copa America, which they had a year before.

“But people decide without us these kind of things. OK, nobody cares, that’s how it is. They play a Copa America, then they still have more games to play. Then a week or 10 days before the international break we get: ‘OK, we play now three games and the last game is on Thursday night.’ So we have nothing to do with that.

“Friday morning, 1.20am, would have been Brazil against Peru. We have nothing to do with that, we cannot decide anything about it, we just read these things.

“Then we have to think: ‘OK, clear, they are invited.’ But when they come back they have to quarantine [for] 10 days. Again, it’s not our decision, we didn’t say they have to quarantine [for] 10 days, we didn’t say you have to go to the national team, we can’t say nothing – we just sit in between and we think: ‘OK, what’s going on?’

“Our players, if they come back then they have to quarantine 10 days in a random hotel, next to the airport probably, which is not good for any people who have to do that but for a professional football player, being 10 days in a hotel – with the food they get from there – you lose everything. You lose muscle, you lose everything. It means 10 days in the hotel, coming back [and] needing pretty much 10 days to get on track again.

“OK, then the decision was made, not by us: if that’s like this then the players cannot go. OK, they go, other players go, some clubs let their Argentina players go. There’s a game in Brazil against Argentina, officials come on to the pitch, nobody wants to see situations like that. Get the game cancelled, stopped in that moment.

“And now, the next thing, we have a football game to play again and they tell us we cannot play our Brazilian players. It’s like: ‘Huh?’ So, we did nothing. We didn’t organise the Copa America, we are not responsible for the games they couldn’t have played. We didn’t invite players, we didn’t say when they come back there’s no exemption. We all didn’t do that.

“But in the end the only [people] who get punished are the players and the clubs – and we have nothing to do with the whole organisation around. It’s like, ‘What is happening?’

“So I don’t know what will happen at the weekend, to be honest. In this moment, we have to see what other people decide and then we will again accept that probably, do what people tell us and try to win a football game.

“But the whole situation is really just like the whole world in the moment in a nutshell – ‘Ah, in football they have these problems as well.’ Yes, we have these problems. And now we will see who finds the solution.”

Who else has been suspended?

Liverpool are not the only team deprived of players as a result of the conflict with the CBF. 

Manchester City duo Gabriel Jesus and Ederson have also been ruled out of their clash with Leicester while Manchester United will be without Fred when they host Newcastle on Saturday.

Chelsea, meanwhile, will miss Thiago Silva for their matches against Aston Villa and Zenit.

Why did clubs refuse to release the players?

Premier League clubs decided to stop players from joining up with their national teams if it meant travel to a red-list country last week. 

The players would have to quarantine for 10 days once back in England as FIFA was unable to convince the UK government to grant exceptions to the Covid-19 precaution.

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