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Liverpool: Watching the Reds on International Duty

Karl MatchettFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2012

Liverpool: Watching the Reds on International Duty

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    After a maddeningly short run of domestic and European fixtures, fans of club football face another two-week break while the international football scene takes over again for the FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifiers and other fixtures.

    Liverpool's players will, as usual, be jetting off to all corners of the globe to represent their countries, and manager Brendan Rodgers will want just one thing from most of them—return to Anfield next week without having picked up any injuries.

    Lucas Leiva (Brazil) and Martin Kelly (England Under-21s) are missing out on any action this time around through injury, but the Reds still have no less than 21 players on duty with their respective nations.

    Here's a rundown on what they'll all be looking to do over the next few days.

England: Captain Steven Gerrard, Glen Johnson and Jonjo Shelvey

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    We'll start with England, where Liverpool have three players in the current squad.

    Captain Steven Gerrard, full-back Glen Johnson and midfielder Jonjo Shelvey are all in the squad for the games against San Marino and Poland.

    Gerrard is on 98 caps for the national side but will not quite manage to reach the century mark this time around, being suspended for the first game against San Marino.

    He should return in Poland for the second game.

    Glen Johnson is available for both matches and will be expected to be one of the first names on the teamsheet under Roy Hodgson.

    Jonjo Shelvey is in the squad to "further his education" and is unlikely to play any part at all, and indeed could return to the under-21 squad for their own second match.

England Under 21s: The Usual Gang of Redmen

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    Jordan Henderson, Andre Wisdom and Raheem Sterling were all called up by England for their two-legged 2013 Under-21 European Championships play-off final against Serbia.

    Jack Robinson has since been added to the squad—and at present it is not sure if Wisdom will be able to remain with the team, having suffered a knock and struggling to be fit.

    England's youngsters will need to be successful over the two legs to progress to the U-21 European Championships to be played next year, where the Reds will be well-represented by the looks of things.

The Best of British: Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland Representatives

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    Despite the departure of Charlie Adam, Liverpool still have a healthy British contingent who will be on show this week.

    Joe Allen is the most senior representative and will be playing for Wales in their fixtures against Scotland and Croatia.

    Wales currently sit bottom of their group and have lost all four matches played under new manager Chris Coleman.

    The Reds' under-21 right-back Ryan McLaughlin will be with the Northern Ireland under-19s team as they face three upcoming matches.

    Finally, it's all gone a bit pear-shaped for central defender Danny Wilson who, after winning five caps for the full Scotland international side, has now dropped back to being only a stand-by for the under-21s.

Denmark vs Italy: Borini and Agger Could Face Up

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    Two Reds teammates might be facing up to each other this week as Italy and Denmark play each other in a World Cup qualifier.

    Daniel Agger, as captain of the Danish side, is a certain starter, but Fabio Borini might have to make do with watching from the sidelines again.

    The young forward might indeed return to Italy's under-21 squad for their own Euro 2013 play-off final, with the Italians set to face Sweden.

    Denmark also face Bulgaria, while Italy's other qualifier is against Armenia.

Five Seniors in Action: Brad Jones, Pepe Reina, Skrtel, Assaidi and Sahin

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    The rest of Liverpool's senior players who are in action are Martin Skrtel (Slovakia), Brad Jones (Australia), Pepe Reina (Spain), Nuri Sahin (Turkey) and Oussama Assaidi (Morocco).

    Reina will of course be the understudy to first-choice Spanish keeper Iker Casillas and is unlikely to add to his caps in the two forthcoming games.

    Fellow goalkeeper Brad Jones will also be there as a backup for his nation, with Mark Schwarzer the established first choice.

    Nuri Sahin is battling to win himself back a regular place in his nation's line-up after missing plenty of football last season and will hope to play against Romania and Hungary, as Turkey hope to add to their three points in Group D of the UEFA qualifying section.

    Martin Skrtel faces two big games against Latvia and Greece, as Slovakia bid to continue their unbeaten start to qualifying.

    Assaidi will be playing for Morocco, not in World Cup qualifiers, but in African Cup of Nations qualifiers, with his country facing Mozambique.

South American Duo Face Double-Header

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    Over to South America now, a once-burgeoning-with-Liverpool-talent continent which now houses but two regulars in international teams.

    Uruguay duo Sebastian Coates and Luis Suarez will look to help get the nation's qualifying campaign back on track as they face Bolivia and Argentina, both of which will be played away.

    Suarez and Co. took just one point from their last two qualifiers and sit in fourth place, the last automatic qualifying spot, with almost half the campaign gone.

    Previously, Liverpool would have sent several more players the way of South America, but in recent seasons, the likes of Emiliano Insua, Maxi Rodriguez, Javier Mascherano, Gabriel Paletta and Diego Cavalieri have all left Anfield, leaving only Lucas Leiva—not recently in Brazil's squad—as the only other representative from the continent.

Under 19s and 21s: Samed Yesil Is In, but Stand-by List for Peter Gulacsi

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    Finally, Liverpool have two more players who could be playing this week.

    Newly-signed forward Samed Yesil will likely play for Germany's under-19 side as they face three fixtures against Macedonia, Ireland and Luxembourg.

    The striker impressed last month with an excellent performance against his English counterparts shortly before making his full Reds debut in the League Cup victory over West Bromwich Albion.

    For goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi, though, it is just stand-by duty as he has puzzlingly been left out of Hungary's under-21 squad, despite having featured over 20 times for them and been part of the full national set-up as well, as recently as June.


    Reds fans, as well as the coaching staff, will be hoping all the Liverpool players come back fit and confident after their international endeavours.


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