Liverpool’s selection snafu reveals a big Premier League issue.
The Premier League does not always endeavor to safeguard its own brand, despite the importance it places on being the best in the world.
Consider the scenario that Liverpool and a number of other top-flight clubs are in this weekend, when the international calendar caused a new round of problems.
Many clubs’ ability to choose full-strength teams for their next fixtures has been hampered by the decision to play World Cup qualifiers in South America late on Thursday night and early on Friday am UK time.
For Liverpool, this means Alisson Becker and Fabinho could miss Saturday’s match against Watford, which takes place less than 36 hours after the Selecao’s match against Uruguay.
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It’s the same in all of Europe’s top leagues, which are all subject to quarantine regulations.
Indeed, Atletico Madrid may have been forced to play without up to four South American players who were called up for national team duty this week.
So, what went wrong? The Spanish government decided to postpone their trip to Granada this weekend, as well as Real Madrid’s match against Athletic Bilbao.
It has allowed Atletico more time to prepare for Liverpool’s Champions League visit on Tuesday, as well as barring them from fielding a significantly weakened team in La Liga.
The Reds, or any of England’s European adversaries, did not have the same luck.
Liverpool had requested that kick-off at Vicarage Road be pushed back from 12.30pm to 7.45pm on Saturday, but their opponents refused.
Don’t hold it against Watford. It’s not their fault if the Reds are missing some players, and supporters’ travel plans will have already been set with the early start in mind.
In addition, keeping the scheduled kick-off time gives the Hornets a better opportunity of getting off to a winning start under new manager Claudio Ranieri if Jurgen Klopp is without two key players.
The Premier League has the responsibility of enforcing a change. Instead, they remained silent.
This is, of course, nothing new in terms of people in command of the game in England.
Liverpool were compelled to pitch an academy team in their match against Manchester City in December 2019. “The summary has come to an end.”