September 10, 2021 9:26:41 pm
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he was unsure if his Brazilian players could play against Leeds United in the Premier League on Sunday after they were ruled ineligible because the Merseyside club did not release them for World Cup qualifiers.
The Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) triggered an “automatic restriction period” of five days which stops clubs from picking players who have not been released, asking FIFA to enforce their rules.
Liverpool refused to release the players as they would have had to quarantine for 10 days at a hotel on their return to England.
Klopp said they would have needed a further 10 days to get back on track if they went into hotel quarantine.
“It’s a really difficult situation and it’s really tricky for all the clubs and players… We should not forget that the players wanted to play these games. The clubs wanted to let players go but it was just not possible,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“It looks like the real punishment is for the players because they can’t play. That’s what they do, that’s what they love to do. That’s really not ok. The world is still in a pandemic.
“The football players so far get exemptions which haven’t led to any spread in cities because of all the things we do during the week. It’s completely different to society out there. We get tested three times a week.”
Forward Roberto Firmino is unavailable for Liverpool’s trip to Leeds but goalkeeper Alisson Becker and midfielder Fabinho are ineligible.
Brazil were unable to finish their game against Argentina when health authorities invaded the pitch to stop the match after accusing four of Argentina’s Premier League players of violating the country’s COVID-19 quarantine rules.
“Nobody wants to see situations like that. Get the game cancelled, stopped in that moment,” Klopp told the club’s website, adding that they could have played their qualifiers during the off-season instead of a second Copa America in two years.
“And now, the next thing, we have a football game to play again and they tell us we cannot play our Brazilian players. It’s like, ‘Huh?’ We did nothing.
“We didn’t organise the Copa America, we are not responsible for the games they couldn’t have played. We didn’t invite players, we didn’t say when they come back there’s no exemption. We all didn’t do that.”
Guardiola in dark over availability of Brazilian players
Manchester City is still waiting for a decision from FIFA and the Premier League on whether it can play Brazil internationals Ederson and Gabriel Jesus in Saturday’s game against Leicester City, manager Pep Guardiola said.
“Hopefully (Ederson and Jesus) can play, we’ll wait and see if there is good news, the club didn’t inform me anything. The problem is I don’t understand the situation for the fact that I don’t know what we have to do,” Guardiola told reporters.
“Argentina players can travel and they can’t play the game. Brazil asked to ban players who can not travel. They can not play there and they can not play here. It’s crazy.
“Right now I think they are going to play because I don’t have other instructions… We will wait for FIFA and the Premier League and after tomorrow we are going to decide.”
Guardiola cannot pick second-choice goalkeeper Zack Steffen either after the US international tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to isolate in the United States, with Scott Carson in line for a start.
When asked whether all English clubs would go ahead and play their Brazil internationals without clarity from FIFA, Guardiola was unsure if they would take a stand together.
“This kind of situation, I am not a big fan of that, everyone thinks for themselves. From my experience… people go for what is the best for themselves,” he added.
City is among the English clubs who did not release Brazilian players for the international break as they would have had to quarantine for 10 days on their return.