World Cup Squads: One Red, Six Ex-Reds
November 9th was an exciting day for world football. We saw Chelsea vs City, Arsenal lose to Brighton, Tottenham lose to Forest (hey maybe we aren’t so bad), Liverpool’s U13’s win a PK shootout, and five squads for the World Cup in Qatar released to the public. France, Croatia, Switzerland, and Wales all made their final cuts and additions. Well, the Liverpool senior roster only contains 1 player from those 4 nations, and he was selected! Ibrahima Konaté somewhat surprisingly found his way into the France team, alongside 2 other Premier League centre backs. However, there was plenty of former Liverpool men who saw their names called, with Joe Allen, Danny Ward, Harry Wilson, Neco Williams, Xherdan Shaqiri, and Dejan Lovren all finding their way into the team.
Konate was selected to represent the Reds, which is an awesome chance for experience, questionably the only thing that Konate needs. Elsewhere in the Prem, Alphonse Areola of West Ham will most likely back up Hugo Lloris of Totttenham in goal. Arsenal’s William Saliba will compete with Konate alongside Raphael Varane, who is thankfully chosen after an emotional injury scare away at Chelsea. Lastly, Paul Pogba and NGolo Kante were both unsurprisingly omitted due to long-term injuries.
France Full Squad
Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Rennes)
Theo Hernandez (AC Milan),
Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Manchester United), Ibrahima Konaté (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona)
Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich) William Saliba (Arsenal), Presnel Kimpembe (PSG)
Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Jordan Veretout (Roma), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Youssof Fofana (AS Monaco), Matteo Guendouzi (Olympique Marseille), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid)
Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Osumane Dembele (Barcelona)
Kylian Mbappé (PSG), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig)
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Olivier Giroud (AC Milan)
Despite being pretty out of form in the MLS, Xherdan Shaqiri has been selected. The ex-Liverpool man will hope to return to his usual international form for Switzerland, where he’s always excelled. Maybe this year he will avoid controversial celebrations. Elsewhere across the Premier League, Newcastle’s Fabian Schar will most likely serve as a backup to Man City’s new signing Manuel Akanji in the back. Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka was unsurprisingly selected in the middle, as he’s been in great form as of recent. Maybe he will also avoid controversial celebrations. He will be joined by two first-year Premier League players, Forest’s Remo Freuler and Chelsea’s Denis Zakaria, as they will fight for spots in a crowded midfield. Note: I’ve just realized they’ve brought 4 goalkeepers, because apparently there’s injury concerns for the first two. That should make thing interesting.
Switzerland Full Squad
Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund), Philipp Köhn (RB Salzburg)
Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Silvan Widmer (Mainz)
Eray Comert (Valencia), Fabian Schar (Newcastle), Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Edimilson Fernandes (Mainz)
Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Fabian Frei (Basel), Michel Aebischer (Bologna), Ardon Jashari (Luzern), Fabian Rieder (Young Boys)
Rueben Vargas (Augsburg), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Christian Fassnacht (Young Boys)
Noah Okafor (RB Salzburg), Haris Seferovic (Galatasaray), Breel Embolo (Monaco)
Despite having fallen out of favor after trouble with former manager Ante Cacic and UEFA, Twitter’s best user Dejan Lovren is back in the squad! Playing in the Russian Premier League could have caused some political problems, but apparently it didn’t, and Mo Salah’s big best friend will once again play in the World Cup. After being an instrumental piece in 2018’s run, it really shouldn’t have been surprising that he was selected again. Across the Premier League, Chelsea’s midfield maestro Mateo Kovacic will try to fight his way into one of Europe’s best midfields, and Ivan Perisic will look to return to his 2018 form on the wing.
Croatia Full Squad
Dominik Livakovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivica Ovusic (Osijek), Ivo Grbic (Atletico Madrid)
Borna Barisic (Rangers), Josip Juranovic (Celtic), Josip Stanisic (Bayern Munich), Borna Sosa (VFB Stuttgart)
Josko Gvardiol (RB Leipzig), Dejan Lovren (Zenit St. Petersburg), Domagoj Vida (AEK Athens), Martin Erlic (Sassuolo), Josip Sutalo (Dinamo Zagreb), Kristijan Jakic (Eintracht Frankfurt)
Luka Madrid (Real Madrid), Mateo Kovacic (Chelsea), Marcelo Brozovic (Inter Milan), , Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Lovro Majer (Rennes), Luka Sucic (RB Salzburg)
Ivan Perisic (Tottenham), Nikola Vlasic (Torino)
Andrej Kramaric (Hoffenheim), Bruno Petkovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Mislav Orsic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ante Budimir (Osasuna), Marko Livaja (Hadjuk Split)
Wow, this is quite the Liverpool rejects squad. Academy graduate Danny Ward, amazingly average midfielder Joe Allen, very poorly treated Neco Williams, and set-piece specialist Harry Wilson all made the cut. Elsewhere across the Premier League, Leicester’s Ward will have to compete with Forest’s Wayne Hennessey, and Forest’s Williams will be joined by Tottenham’s Ben Davies and Bournemouth’s Chris Mepham in defense. Fullham’s Wilson will be looking to cut through passes to Bournemouth’s Kieffer Moore, Forest’s Brennan Johnson, or his club teammate, the incredibly quick Dan James. In hindsight, I doubt Moore is outrunning any Iranian center backs to a through ball, but with Harry Maguire, Eric Dier, Tim Ream, and Walker Zimmerman playing at the back in Group B, anything could happen.
Wales Full Squad
Wayne Hennessey (Nottingham Forest), Danny Ward (Leicester City), Adam Davies (Sheffield United)
Neco Williams (Nottingham Forest), Connor Roberts (Burnley), Chris Gunter (AFC Wimbledon),
Ben Cabango (Swansea City), Chris Mepham (Bournemouth), Joe Rodon (Rennes), Ethan Ampadu (Spezia), Tom Lockyer (Luton Town),
Multipurpose Back (he’s the only one that does both)
Ben Davies (Tottenham)
Joe Allen (Swansea City), Matthew Smith (MK Dons), Dylan Levitt (Dundee United), Joe Morrell (Portsmouth), Aaron Ramsey (Nice),
Jonny Williams (Swindon Town), Sorba Thomas (Huddersfield), Harry Wilson (Fulham), Dan James (Fulham), Rubin Colwell (Cardiff City)
Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest), Mark Harris (Cardiff City), Kieffer Moore (Bournemouth), Gareth Bale (LAFC)
Team USA was finally revealed by Gregg Berhalter on November 9th, with no past or current Liverpool players involved, but maybe some future ones (I fantasize about Liverpool signing McKennie or Adams). However, Liverpool-born Antonee Robinson was included in the squad, which maybe counts for Liverpool representation? Across the Prem, Matt Turner will compete for the spot between the sticks, and the Fulham duo of Tim Ream and Robinson will look to start in defense. Jessie Marsch’s pet project duo Tyler Adams and Brendan Aaronson will play in the midfield, with the “Lebron James of soccer”, Chelsea’s Christian Politic expected to lead the line up top. The only big surprise omission from the Premier League would be Forest’s backup Zach Steffen, as Turner, Ethan Horvath, and Sean Johnson were all preferred by Berhalter.
USA Full Squad
Ethan Horvath (Luton Town), Sean Johnson (NYCFC), Matt Turner (Arsenal)
Sergino Dest (AC Milan), Antonee Robinson (Fulham), DeAndre Yedlin (Inter Miami), Shaq Moore (Nashville SC), Joe Scally (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Tim Ream (Fulham), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Celtic), Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)
Tyler Adams (Leeds United), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Yunus Musan (Valencia), Luca de la Torre (Celta Vigo), Kellyn Acosta (LAFC)
Wingers (most of whom can also play through the middle)
Christian Pulisic (Chelsea), Josh Sargent (Norwich), Gio Reyna (Borussia Dortmund), Brendan Aaronson (Leeds United), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Christian Roldan (Seattle Sounders), Tim Weah (Lille)
Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas), Haji Wright (Antalyaspor),