International breaks are usually a very dull, spirit-crushing time for supporters, but this one has brought some very exciting, breakthrough moments for Liverpool players.
England continued their strong qualifying campaign with 4-0 and 2-1 wins over Malta and Slovakia. Jordan Henderson captained the side for both outings and assisted Marcus Rashford’s winner. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain also played the majority of the second game in a very underwhelming performance (but who cares? It’s just England!). Daniel Sturridge had to watch both games from the substitutes bench (much to Liverpool fans delight).
Andy Robertson had a brilliant time with Scotland. He scored his first goal for his country with a fantastic curler from the edge of the box in a 3-0 win in Lithuania and put in a Man of the Match performance against Malta in a 2-0 victory. He should be brimming with confidence.
Another player who had a fantastic time with his country was Ben Woodburn. The 17 year old scored the decider from long range against Austria on his debut and provided an assist in the 2-0 win over Moldova. A very impressive start to his international career that will leave Reds salivating for his future appearances.
England Under-21s had a swarm of Liverpool players in their squad but only Joe Gomez (as captain) played in their 1-1 draw against Netherlands. Trent Alexander-Arnold and on-loan Sheyi Ojo all started along with Gomez in the 3-0 win over Latvia. Solanke later made a substitute appearance, while Ojo was withdrawn as a precaution.
The rest of our European representatives had very little to shout about. Mignolet was unused in both of Belgium’s wins, while Divock Origi wasn’t even included in the squad. Giorginio Wijnaldum played 180 minutes for the Netherlands in their heavy loss to France and redemptive win over Bulgaria. Dejan Lovren also played every minute of Croatia’s 1-0 win over Kosovo and 0-1 loss to Turkey. Ragnar Klavan played the full game for Estonia in their draw against Greece but was suspended for their tie against Cyprus. Germany gave Emre Can a brief appearance against the Czech Republic but left him on the bench during their huge 6-0 over Norway.
Phillipe Coutinho had a bit more of an impact with Brazil, scoring the second as a substitute in a 2-0 win over Ecuador which secured them the top spot in the qualifying group.
Roberto Firmino started the game against Colombia, while Coutinho also made another appearance from the bench, but neither had any influence on the game. Mohammed Salah also found the net for Egypt against Uganda and Sadio Mane racked up a goal and an assist against Burkina Faso.
No reports of any injuries? There must be some sort of mistake! Is that even possible? As the players return for the juicy tie with Manchester City on Saturday, Liverpool are close to full strength following an international break for the first time since before records began. Hopefully, they can take their excellent form to the Etihad and extend their unbeaten run.