Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp explains surprise message during Arsene Wenger conversation

Liverpool youngster Elliott 'highly rated' by England U21 boss

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Jurgen Klopp spoke to the press ahead of Liverpool’s crunch clash against Leeds on Sunday, with the German boss opening up about conversations with Arsene Wenger over the proposed changes to the FIFA World Cup layout.

Wenger, who is FIFA’s Chief of Global Football Development, has proposed that the world’s most famous competition changes from every four years to just two in news that has divided the footballing world.

And Klopp has reiterated the Frenchman’s statement, saying: “When I was speaking to Arsene Wenger and a FIFA guy before international break about the World Cup plans, I got notification there’d be no exemption for the players. And us three in the room agreed the players could not go (on national team duty).”

Klopp has previously let his thoughts on player injuries and tight schedules be known to the public in the past, with the ex-Borussia Dortmund man arguing that players have less time than ever to recouperate before matches.

Liverpool had an injury crisis last season which meant that many of their players missed out on the majority of season – regardless of injuries picked up in the international break.

One player that won’t feature in the Leeds game, however, is Roberto Firmino. Missing out through injury, Firmino picked up a hamstring problem against Chelsea before the international break.

He was likely to be on the plane to play in his homeland, although he likely wouldn’t have been able to play anyway after the majority of the Brazilian team who ply their trade in England were forced to isolate due to COVID-19 laws.

This therefore affects Alisson Becker and Fabinho Tavares as the duo will not also not be permitted to play – unless laws change that announce they can in the next 24 hours.

And Klopp was not pleased with the decision, calling it ‘a punishment for the players’.

“Bobby will not be available because of injury,” Klopp said.

“It’s a really tricky situation. We shouldn’t forget the players wanted to play these games (for Brazil) and clubs wanted to let them go but it just was not possible.

“The real punishment is for the players. They can’t play which is what they love to do. But the clubs too. That’s really not okay.

Another player who was uncertain to be playing was Naby Keita.

The Guinean midfielder was caught in the midst of a miltary coup following his nations’ game against Morocco last week.

After much confusion and speculation, Keita arrived back in England on Tuesday, with Klopp hinting he would be available for the game on Sunday.

“Naby is here and well and all fine, but it’s not good as well. We tried what we could do with other clubs to get him home safe. All other players are okay from international break.”

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