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Jurgen Klopp bans Liverpool players from international duty if they require quarantine

PREMIER LEAGUE By Mirror | March 3rd 2021
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp during the warm up before a match [Pool via REUTERS/Lee Smith]

Jurgen Klopp has become the first Premier League manager to confirm he will block his top stars from travelling with their nations.

The Liverpool boss has declared that any player at risk of being forced into quarantine will NOT be allowed to play in World Cup qualifying games during the international break at the end of March.

And that means he could ban Sadio Mane, Naby Keita, Alisson, Roberto Firmino, Fabinho and Diogo Jota from playing for their countries, with all facing fixtures in red zone areas that would require a 10-day quarantine under the UK travel ban.

“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,” Klopp explained.

“FIFA was kind of clear that we don't have to let the players go this time, and I think all the clubs agree that with the same problems we cannot just let the boys go,” he said.

“We can’t just wait to sort the situation when they come back by placing our players in a 10-day quarantine in a hotel, it is just not possible.”

Klopp is the first of what is likely to be an avalanche of managers banning their players from travelling, with the Premier League facing a nightmare international break after next weekend, when so many of the biggest names are due to go away with their countries.

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp and Liverpool's Sadio Mane before a match [Pool via REUTERS/Laurence Griffiths]

But with the UK placing many nations on the ‘red list’ where a travel ban will be imposed, it has left clubs in the dark about whether their players will be given any exemption. So far, the government has refused to offer one for sports stars, even if they remain in a bubble.

It means Liverpool’s Brazilian and Portuguese contingent will be kept at Anfield, because their nations are on the UK’s red zone list. Both are scheduled to play at home.

Mane’s Senegal play in the Congo while Keita’s Guinea travel to Namibia, with both those nations on the red list.

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But the situation is even more fraught for many of the Premier League’s African players, with so many countries on the list, AND major travel hub South Africa also subject to the travel ban.

The same applies to many South American countries, and that has produced a crisis for the national teams, with many now assessing the situation. Under UK rules, even travelling through a country on the list, would require a quarantine period when returning.

Various football bodies around the world are now looking at the situation. With World Cup qualifying ties set to be decimated in South America, their governing body Conmebol will hold an emergency meeting with FIFA President Gianni Infantino on Thursday.

They will NOT play ties without their European players, and so are considering postponing the round of fixtures due to be held during the break in March.

The situation is even more complicated for Premier League clubs, with Klopp pointing out that many countries across the world have placed travel from the UK on a banned list.

Germany for instance, will not let any of their players coming back from England to return for matches without first quarantining for 10 days.

It has left many clubs with massive headaches, and the Liverpool manager insisted that the solution has to be simple: putting clubs first because they pay the players’ wages.

“I understand the need of the different FAs, but we have to admit the players are paid by the clubs so it means we have to be first priority,” he said.

“This is a time where we cannot make everyone happy. We are not 100 per cent sure as some countries may decide to change the venues they play, and go to non-red zone countries.

“The whole situation is similar to the Champions League in terms of where we play and you have to wait until the last second. We cannot be influential in it. We just deal with what other people decided.”

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