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Liverpool could be handed huge advantage because of Euro 2020

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While football supporters can be split on the merits of international football, for players there is no higher honour than to feature for their countries.

Liverpool were very strongly represented at the last European Championships, in France in 2016. Twelve of their players were included across five different national squads, and of them only Simon Mignolet failed to make at least one appearance at the tournament.

The Reds’ involvement in the World Cup at Russia dropped to eight, and this time only six of them played any part. Some enjoyed relative success though, with Dejan Lovren’s Croatia reaching the final after knocking out England – who had Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander-Arnold in their squad – in the previous round.

But in this summer’s edition of the Euros, there will be just a handful of Liverpool players among the total of 622 who will be taken by the 24 nations taking part.

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The official records state eight Reds will be included, but Ozan Kabak and Gini Wijnaldum will have played their last matches for the club, while Harry Wilson is listed under his on-loan club Cardiff City.

Is Liverpool’s relative lack of inclusion a somewhat damning indictment of the state of their squad, even allowing for the fact that their established front three, best defensive midfielder and goalkeeper all play for countries outside Europe?

Rival fans will no doubt view it that way and will overlook the fact that Virgil van Dijk and Alexander-Arnold would have been there but for injury, plus Joe Gomez might easily have been too.

And with 146 players who ply their trade with English clubs taking part in Euro 2020 – at least 55 more than represent teams from any other country – the Reds may be able to use their relative lack of involvement to their advantage.

After all, Xherdan Shaqiri may leave Anfield this summer, Neco Williams is very much the deputy right-back at club level and Henderson is battling to be match fit. It could be that Thiago Alcantara, Diogo Jota and Andy Robertson are the only first team regulars at Liverpool who play many games at the Euros.

This would be in sharp contrast to their immediate rivals. Chelsea and Manchester City each have 15 players in European squads this summer, the joint-most of any club, while Manchester United have 10.

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City have the bulk of their starting XI taking part in Euro 2020. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pep Guardiola select an outfield of Walker, Stones, Dias, Zinchenko, Gundogan, Rodri, Silva, Foden, De Bruyne and Sterling, with the likes of Ake, Laporte, Cancelo and Torres in the mix too.

With the exception perhaps of Oleksandr Zinchenko’s Ukraine team, the other players listed all represent countries who will harbour realistic hopes of going deep into the tournament.

It’s a similar story for European champions Chelsea, who have players in the squads of England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain, among others.

As with City there’s no goalkeeper, but otherwise there’s a very impressive potential Blues team who will be kept busy across the continent this summer.

United aren’t as strongly represented – and two of their players at the tournament are goalkeepers – but some of their key men will be there and have played an awful lot of football in 2020/21.

Per Transfermarkt, Bruno Fernandes made the joint-most appearances for club and country by any player in world football this season, with 67 games played. Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay each appeared 60 times, while Harry Maguire – who is currently struggling to regain fitness – played 58 matches. They could certainly benefit from a lengthy summer break which they will be denied.

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With the 2021/22 Premier League season set to kick-off less than five weeks after the final of Euro 2020, players who take part at the business end of the tournament won’t have much time in between for rest and recovery.

Liverpool’s Brazilian trio may be involved in the Copa America final, which happens to be on the same day as it’s European counterpart.

But overall Jurgen Klopp will be delighted that his squad will not be as heavily taxed as their rivals’ rosters look set to be this summer.

For more news relating to Manchester City, visit our sister site City Latest Live.

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