Liverpool's Brazilian duo Fabinho and Alisson are travelling directly to Madrid from international duty, skipping the Premier League match against Watford, manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed.
Both players were part of the Brazil squad that beat Uruguay 4-1 in a World Cup qualifier Thursday night, Fabinho playing 71 minutes with Alisson on the bench as an unused substitute. Liverpool's return to Premier League action, an early kick off against Watford on Saturday, is around 36 hours after Tite's side kicked off in Manaus leaving the players with what Klopp views as insufficient time to recover.
Instead, both will travel directly to Spain, where Liverpool are facing Atletico Madrid on Tuesday in what could be the toughest match of their Champions League group stage campaign. Had Fabinho and Alisson returned to the UK they would also have had to quarantine due to having travelled to Colombia for an earlier qualifier. They will remain in Madrid until Thursday, joining up with Klopp's squad in time for that weekend's clash with Manchester United.
"I am not frustrated about it," he said, "we have no chance, obviously [of involving them]. Somebody decided to give Brazil the opportunity to play last night, so a few hours ago, then somebody made the decision that we have to play Saturday 12:30 p.m. [BST, 8:30 a.m. ET]. If we say something, people say that's why you have a big squad. But you have a big squad not for issues you have with football associations because they put in tournaments.
"Atletico are not playing at the weekend. Something like that would never happen here and if it would happen [people would say] 'my god, how can they do it for them'? We've known for a while, we made our decision a while ago. We had to sort quarantine issues and all these kinds of things. The decision we made is the boys will not be here, they will go directly to Madrid, wait there for us, be able to play hopefully against Atletico, will come back slightly later than us and then can come back in our normal procedure again."
Klopp confirmed that Liverpool had asked Watford and the Premier League to push the kick off of Saturday's game back from a later slot. This request had been rejected by both the club and the league. In those circumstances it made little sense for the Brazilians to return and be thrust into further time away from their families.
The Liverpool boss explained: "They could have flown in to England with all the quarantine stuff, that would have meant they would have had to isolate from their families. Ali has three kids, being away 12 days with the national team then 10 days in isolation then two weeks here and the same rubbish again. We need solutions for that and they are still not there.
"We get the information, try to find the solution and take the solution. We asked only for a few more hours that would have made it more likely that they could have played because bringing them for 12:30 p.m. there's no chance to play. If we had played at seven o'clock, or whatever, we would have tried it. Neither Watford nor the Premier League were open to it."
Klopp will have Trent Alexander-Arnold, who missed two games prior to the international break, available as well as Diogo Jota. The Portuguese forward had been sent home early by Portugal with a muscular issue. Curtis Jones, however, has returned from duty with the England Under-21s with a groin injury. His manager bemoaned the decision to use him for a game against Andorra, sarcastically labelling the clash with a relative minnow of European football as an "important game". Thiago is also sidelined with a calf injury.