Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he still has “no idea” if the club’s Brazilian players will be able to face Leeds United on Sunday, live on Sky Sports, with Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola also voicing his frustration.
On Wednesday it was revealed that FIFA had invoked Article 5 to block Premier League clubs from selecting players who they had refused to release for the latest round of international fixtures, following a request from the Brazilian Football Confederation.
It comes after Premier League clubs unanimously agreed last month not to release players for international matches in countries on the UK Government’s red list.
If enforced, Article 5 would prevent players from playing in this weekend’s round of Premier League fixtures and also Tuesday’s Champions League matches.
Liverpool would be one of the clubs hit hardest by the restrictions with Alisson, Fabinho and Robert Firmino, who is currently injured, banned from playing against Leeds.
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“I have no idea when I can expect a solution,” Klopp said.
“We will see. I don’t know at the moment when I will have to make a decision about it. But there will be a moment.
“Today’s training session will obviously be a very important one, it would nice if we could train with the team I want to play on Sunday. We will see.”
Klopp added: “It is a really difficult situation and really tricky for all the clubs, and the players especially.
“We should not forget at this moment that the players wanted to play these games, the clubs wanted to let the players go but it was not possible.”
Klopp believes the issue could also affect the next international break in October, particularly if more countries are added to the UK Government’s red list.
“We still don’t know what we can do right now at the weekend but that’s the smallest problem because next time, we don’t know how the pandemic develops – there could be 10 or 15 other countries on the red list,” Klopp added.
“I hope that it’s not the case but we cannot ignore that this could be possible. If that happens, then it’s the same problem again with all the players.
“If we still think that the clubs and the players should get the punishment for something that we have absolutely no influence over, that for sure is not right.”
Guardiola faces wait over Brazil duo
Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola is also in the dark over whether Brazil duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus will be able to play against Leicester City on Saturday.
City, in common with a number of other English top-flight clubs, did not want the players to travel because of quarantine restrictions on return to the UK.
With Brazil also having quarantine rules, Guardiola admits the whole situation is a confusing one.
“If they had travelled there they wouldn’t be allowed to play for quarantine,” said Guardiola during his Friday press conference.
“If they do it, so they cannot play in Brazil, and after they come back and cannot play here for 10 days.
“If they don’t fly they are suspended for five days because they are here. It makes no sense.”
Guardiola added: “Right now, at 1.35pm, it is unclear. I don’t know, hopefully they can play. We are going to wait to see if they can play or not.”
Tuchel: Switch international games to green-list countries
Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel, who also has Brazilian defender Thiago Silva embroiled in the club vs country row, believes international venues should be changed moving forward.
Like his fellow compatriots, Silva did not travel to South America for Brazil duty in the international break, and could now face a five-day suspension.
The 36-year-old could miss Chelsea’s Premier League clash with Aston Villa on Saturday and Tuesday’s Champions League encounter with Zenit St Petersburg.
Asked if Silva faced a no-win situation, Tuchel said: “Yes, I don’t understand it, it makes no sense from either side.
“Did it make sense from the Brazilian national team? No. Did it make sense for us? No.
“Because now we are in danger that he maybe cannot play the next two matches, because of a ban. If we would have sent him he would be out for 10 days in a hotel room, not able to train.
“Which I can understand because these are the travel restrictions at the moment. And nobody wants that.
“So these solutions where we are right now, these discussions, I don’t know if any fan or anybody involved in the game can understand the positive effect of it. There is simply none.
“The chairman is still in negotiations, and I’m still positive and he is not out yet officially.”
Instead, Tuchel proposed international matches are switched from red-list to green-list countries moving forward, as happened in last season’s Champions League.
“Personally, I think it could be a solution maybe to move games from red listed to green listed countries, like we did with the Champions League.”
Klopp: World Cup plans don’t consider players
Klopp has revealed he recently held talks with FIFA’s chief of global football development Arsene Wenger over the proposal to host the World Cup every two years instead of four.
However, the Liverpool manager has suggested he would be opposed to any plans that could lead to more matches in the football calendar and less time for his players to recover during the summer break.
“There is no other sport in the world with such a relentless calendar,” said Klopp.
“There are more demanding sports like athletics, marathon running – but they don’t run 20 or 30 or 40 a year.
“We all know why it is happening. Whatever people say, that it is giving other countries opportunities – that’s why there are more teams at the World Cup for example.
“But in the end it is all about money. That is how it is.”
Klopp added: “At some point somebody has to understand that without the players, the most important ingredient of this wonderful game, we don’t play.
“So whoever thinks they are more important – FIFA, UEFA, the sporting directors, the managers – nobody is more important than the players.”
This content was originally published here.