Liverpool trio among five players to stake Premier League claim over international break

Will Ford
Elliott Madueke England U21
Harvey Elliott and Noni Madueke have starred for the England U21s.

Three Liverpool lads did their chances of more Premier League game time no harm at all over the international break, while one Man Utd star is being moulded by a master.


Harvey Elliott
Two goals and an assist for Elliott in the 9-1 rout of Serbia and a further assist as he captained the England U21s in the 3-2 defeat to Ukraine. He was arguably the best player on the pitch in both games, playing in midfield in the first and on the wing in the second.

That versatility is a huge plus for Lee Carsley and Jurgen Klopp, and is the sort of trait that greases a young player’s arrival into the first team, but often hampers them being handed a consistent place.

Elliott’s featured in all but two of Liverpool’s 11 games this season, but he’s started just once in the Premier League, and he won’t have been comforted by the swathe of new midfield arrivals – with more expected – or the apparent indisputable need for a Mohamed Salah replacement should the Egypt international p*ss off to Saudi Arabia.

The quality Elliott displayed over the international break, as well as the influence he clearly has on his England teammates, should earn him some Klopp brownie points that could, and perhaps should, earn him Premier League starts.


Ibrahima Konate
We said he would be buzzing and the 24-year-old started both wins for France as Didier Deschamps continues to prefer Konate to the many, many further brilliant centre-back options he has to call upon.

It’s got to the point now – brilliant though Joel Matip has been – where it’s a bit odd that the guy starting for arguably the best international team in the world isn’t starting for the club that’s kept one clean sheet all season.


Noni Madueke
It’s fair to say the Ukraine U21 defenders sh*t themselves when Madueke ran at them before cutting inside, feigning a couple of shots and then smashing the ball into the bottom corner. That was essentially the theme of the night: Madueke gets ball; Madueke creates chance.

His link-up play with Chelsea teammate Cole Palmer should have been particularly encouraging for Blues boss Mauricio Pochettino, who has thus far barely used the winger through a mixture of injury and partying misdemeanors.

Madueke will surely be handed the opportunity before too long. Pochettino has shown through his consistent selection of Mykhaylo Mudryk that he’s ready to give raw attacking talent a chance, and Madueke’s displays for the England U21s suggest that he’ll be more effective than his Ukrainian competition.


Facundo Pellistri
If Marcelo Bielsa sees something in him, he must be pretty good. Pellistri was subbed off at half-time in the 2-2 draw with Colombia having not had the best time of it, but played close to the full 90 in the impressive 2-0 win over Brazil.

Manchester United and Erik ten Hag are very fortunate to have one of the club’s brightest prospects playing under one of the best coaches in world football when away on international duty, and you would have thought – given the current problem with wingers at Old Trafford – that Pellistri would have featured more than he has managed so far this season.

Facundo Pellistri Uruguay
Man Utd star Facundo Pellistri is starting games for Uruguay under Marcelo Bielsa.


Kostas Tsimikas
He was almost certainly going to start the Merseyside derby no matter his displays for Greece after Andy Robertson dislocated his shoulder against Spain, but Tsimikas also showed during the internationals that Liverpool may not suffer that much – if at all – through the Scotland skipper’s absence.

The left-back drifted in a perfect cross for Georgios Giakoumakis to bullet a header past Gavin Bazunu in their 2-0 win over the Republic of Ireland. That’s one more assist than Robertson’s managed for Liverpool this season, by the way.

This is perhaps a genuine chance for Tsimikas – who’s played just four Premier League minutes this term – to stay in the team.