Which Premier League players could be missing this weekend due to South American internationals issue?
Up to 16 Premier League players from South America could be missing this weekend due to the scheduling of CONMEBOL’s World Cup Qualifying.
Some players will even be kicking off for their countries just 35 hours before their club games are due to kick off as the Premier League returns from the international fortnight.
Though the UK government’s quarantine rules have recently been relaxed to allow players to play on their return from ‘red list’ countries, several South American sides play their qualifiers too soon before the return of the Premier League on Saturday.
And after Brazil and Argentina stated they will not allow their Premier League players to return early, up to nine Premier League clubs could be impacted.
Liverpool have two players in the Brazil squad for their clash against Uruguay at 1.30am on Friday morning UK time – Fabinho and Alisson – kicking off just 35 hours before they are due to play at Watford on Saturday at 12.30pm.
Watford reportedly snubbed a Liverpool request to move their meeting to an evening kick-off.
Fabinho revealed that he and fellow Brazilian Alisson might struggle to make it to Watford in time for lunchtime this Saturday, and that the club are already considering flying the pair directly out to Spain ahead of their Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid next week.
“I believe that this first match against Watford it will be very hard for us,” he said. “I don’t think we’ll play. Neither Alisson or myself. The match against Uruguay will be Friday overnight there (in the United Kingdom) and the match against Watford is at 12:30pm.
“With all of what is involved with travel, I don’t know how much time we’ll have between one game and the other. I believe that we won’t be playing. We will also need to quarantine, but the club is still studying whether it is better to go straight to Spain to play against Atletico and quarantine there, without staying in a hotel in England.”
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp said last month: “Obviously nobody thought about that [the scheduling] yet and it’s a Liverpool problem, not a problem for anybody else. Good for Watford. I just don’t know how you can do these things and nobody reacts on the schedule.”
Manchester City also have two players in the Brazil squad – Gabriel Jesus and Ederson – and play at home to Burnley 37.5 hours after their national team kick off in Manaus.
Tottenham, who go to Newcastle on Super Sunday at 4.30pm, live on Sky Sports, have Emerson Royal in the Brazil squad, both Cristian Romero and Giovani Lo Celso in the Argentina squad to face Peru at 12.30am on Friday morning UK time, and Davison Sanchez in the Colombia squad against Ecuador, though that kicks off at 10pm on Thursday UK time.
Man Utd’s Fred (Brazil) and Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) both have just 37.5 hours between their games and the Premier League clash at Leicester at 3pm on Saturday, Aston Villa have Douglas Luiz (Brazil) and Emi Martinez (Argentina) featuring for their countries ahead of the 3pm kick-off against Wolves on Saturday, while Everton’s Yerry Mina (Colombia), Newcastle’s Miguel Almiron (Paraguay), Chelsea’s Thiago Silva (Brazil) and Leeds’ Raphinha (Brazil) may also be impacted.
Any gap under 40 hours will surely be too small for those teams playing on Saturday, but Tottenham, Newcastle and Everton could make their players available for their Sunday fixtures