Why Liverpool Will Have the Least Number of Players at the World Cup

As talk about the World Cup comes up in two months, it can be easy to forget about Liverpool’s season in comparison. What most people are unaware of is that Liverpool has struggled this season. Moreover, the World Cup will only add to this struggle.

Close rivals Manchester City boast of over 15 players slated to participate in the World Cup for their national teams. What does this mean for Jurgen Klopp? Are we witnessing the end of an era with the 2019 Champions League squad? We dive deeply into Liverpool’s squad with the upcoming World Cup.

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After a scintillating 3-3 draw with Germany in the Nations League, one thing became clear in the mind of Gareth Southgate. He might have nailed his starting lineup ahead of the World Cup. One omission from the squad that caused many raised eyebrows for Liverpool’s fans was Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Given the 26-man squad remains open, it is hard to see whether the right-back will feature. This is especially with other right-backs such as Kyle Walker, Reece James, and Kyrian Trippier ahead of him in the pecking order.

The omission of Trent from the starting lineup spells doom for Liverpool’s squad. This means we might only see seven players make the trip to Qatar.

Which Players are Likely to Go?

The Brazilian trio of Alisson Becker, Roberto Firmino, and Fabinho made Tite’s squad in the ongoing international friendlies with Ghana and Tunisia. Moreover, we fancy the chances of the trio making the trip to Qatar.

However, many eyebrows continue to rise over the inclusion of Firmino at the expense of in-form Gabriel Jesus. However, Brazil has a bolstering attack with Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo, Neymar, Richarlison, and Antony available.

Captain Virgil Van Dijk has had a couple of setbacks with form this season. However, this is nothing that Netherlands Louis Van Gaal won’t fix. Moreover, he scored the winning goal against Belgium last time in the UEFA Nations League. The goal improves the chances of the Netherlands reaching the competition’s finals.

Another big question mark is the inclusion of Jordan Henderson in England’s starting lineup. Gareth Southgate has limited options in the middle of the park, especially with Kalvin Phillip’s surgery.

Will Southgate remain with the tried and trusted captain or opt for a midfield rejuvenation with the addition of Ward-Prowse?

The last two nailed on started poised to make their first appearance in the World Cup remains Portugal’s Diogo Jota and Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez.

Who Misses Out?

One of the most controversial omissions to Qatar will be Alexander Arnold. The out-of-form right back has been found this season, especially in the Champions League loss to Napoli. His lack of defensive awareness saw the squad concede in each of their last eight matches.

One shining light at the end of the tunnel remains whether Southgate opts for a 26-man squad instead of a 23 squad in previous World Cups.

The fate of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez remains sealed, with lack of game time a major issue. Moreover, it had been quite sometime before the duo appeared in the England squad.

Moreover, the World Cup comes way too soon for youngsters Curtis Jones, Fabio Carvalho, and Harvey Elliot.

Ibrahim Kounate started the season with injuries and is yet to feature in the Premier League. Moreover, his place in the France starting lineup remains taken with the likes of William Saliba coming into the fold.

One major shock for most Liverpool fans is the omission of Thiago from Spain’s starting lineup. This is even after recovering from his injury in time for the Nations League. Rumors have it that Luis Enrique remains unconvinced over his recent injuries.

The recent signing of Arthur on deadline day was a shock for many fans. This is especially with the injury galore in midfield. The Brazilian is yet to wear the Reds shirt and feature at Anfield. Tite failed to call the midfielder with other options, such as Lucas Paqueta, Casemiro, Fred, and Bruno Guimares, available.

Who Failed to Qualify?

Unfortunately, a host of nations failed to qualify for a trip to Qatar. Moreover, other players retired from international duty. This list includes the likes of James Milner, Andy Robertson, Kostas Tsimikas, Joel Matip, Caoimhin Kelleher, Naby Keita, Luis Diaz, and Mohamed Salah.

What About their Premier League Rivals?

Liverpool currently sits eight on the Premier League table while nine points from league leaders Arsenal. A mixture of injuries and out-of-form players remains a major cause of the season’s poor start. However, how does Liverpool’s World Cup squad compare to their rivals?

One of their biggest foes in the title race, Manchester City, has close to 16 players ready for the trip to Qatar. Some nailed-on starts for their respective countries include Kevin De Bruyne, Ederson, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden, and Rodri.

A heavy contingent remains available for selection for league leaders Arsenal, including Thomas Partey, Granit Xhaka, Aaron Ramsdale, Bukayo Saka, and William Saliba. Moreover, Tite will make a final decision with the addition of Gabriel Jesus and Gabriel Martinelli open for a call.

For the Blues, up to 15 players are available for selection in the tournament. Some nailed-on starters to the lineup include Raheem Sterling, Eduoard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Thiago Silva, Reece James, Ng’olo Kante, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, and Kovacic.

For Antonio Conte’s side, there could be up to 10 players making their trip to Qatar. Some starters to the side include Richarlison, who already featured in the international friendlies.

Final Takeaway

Even though there is a thin squad to make the World Cup, this might be a positive note for Jurgen Klopp. Liverpool might make the most of this situation and could have a knock-on effect for the rest of the season. Given the heavy schedule of fixtures and expected injuries, Jurgen Klopp might use it to close on their rivals for the title race.

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