Jürgen Klopp will have been watching the announcements of the international teams this week, but his concerns over two midfielders have not come to pass
There is a group of Liverpool players that will be selected automatically to represent their nation in the Qatar World Cup.
Alisson Becker, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Diogo Jota, and Darwin Nez will all be unable to represent his countries at the competition due to injury.
However, there are a few people whose jobs are up for grabs. One of them is Roberto Firmino, who will need to perform well in Brazil’s next friendlies to persuade Tite that he is deserving of selection after missing the last three because of form or fitness.
Another is Thiago, who hasn’t actually played for Spain since the European Championships due to his own injury issues and won’t finish that wait this month. This is unexpected given his enduring quality.
In November and December, Liverpool would benefit greatly if they could protect Thiago, one of their most crucial but also most vulnerable players. Given his background, he might still be selected if he plays consistently for Liverpool between now and then.
However, the Reds have gained two “quieter” boosts, as two of their midfielders are now almost assured to remain in their current positions. Although Harvey Elliott has reestablished himself in the Liverpool first team, he is still expected to play this month for England’s Under-21 side.
More than that, he has been one of the team’s standout players, even though he still needs to do better when out of possession. He has started five of the Reds’ six Premier League games thus far this season, as well as both of their Champions League group games.
Naturally, this put him on Gareth Southgate’s radar, with Rob Dorsett of Sky Sports News noting that Elliott was “very much in the thoughts of the England manager” ahead to the team announcement.
Elliott ultimately narrowly missed selection because Jude Bellingham, Mason Mount, Kalvin Phillips, Declan Rice, and James Ward-Prowse were preferred by Southgate. Injury will prevent Phillips from playing in the Nations League games, but the Three Lions are unlikely to replace him with Elliott if they want a defensively-minded alternative.
Fábio Carvalho was absent from the Portugal Under-21 team, but this was probably certainly due to the injury he sustained earlier this month against Everton.
Since being ruled unfit to go to Napoli and being benched against Ajax last week, Carvalho hasn’t played a single senior minute.
He made his Portugal U21 debut earlier this year and had an immediate impact, tallying two goals and two assists in three starts. If fully fit, he would have been a lock for the starting lineup.
Carvalho has had a productive first season at one of the top clubs in Europe, making six appearances, starting in the Merseyside Derby, and scoring twice.
Prior to getting hurt, he may have even been making headway toward the senior Portugal lineup thanks to his summer move from Fulham, which considerably increased his reputation.
The pair are among the top U21 players in the Premier League and appear destined to become important players for their nations in the years to come.
But it’s commonly known that if players haven’t previously made the squad or have been left off for a time, it will be challenging for them to force their way into World Cup contention today.
While both had sought for a call-up and may still harbor inclusion aspirations, it appears that they will have to wait for their debut at a major tournament.
However, they’ve demonstrated this season that they can contribute significantly at the club level, so Liverpool will be happy to have them safeguarded and rested going into the second half of the campaign.