The opening phase of the 2022 World Cup is almost over and there have already been some shocks among the more predictable results. The tournament has not been too bad so far – and the best thing is that no Liverpool players have picked up any injuries to derail their seasons.
The World Cup odds still fancy the likes of Brazil, Argentina or France to end up lifting the famous trophy later this month. But will there be any World Cup winners returning to Anfield just before Christmas? Here’s a round up of how the Reds have done so far in Qatar.
At the time of writing, all the Liverpool players on show in Qatar will be extending their Middle Eastern jaunts a little longer. We have representatives in the Brazil, France, Uruguay and Netherlands squads – as well as England, of course. All those teams have now made it through to the round of 16, although Uruguay still have to play their third game.
With players in the squads of the top nations, it is no surprise that Liverpool players have a good chance of winning the World Cup. There is no one from some of the developing international teams, so it looks like our lads will not be the ones getting a much-needed rest before the Premier League kicks off again on Boxing Day.
Brazil look like they are getting ready to make a concerted effort to win the World Cup for a record sixth time. The Selecao became one of the first teams to qualify for the knockout stages when after just two games of the opening phase – and they are doing it without the injured Neymar at the moment.
Alisson and Fabinho are the Liverpool players in the Brazilian squad. But the midfielder hasn’t really had a look in on the pitch yet. With so much talent in the squad, that shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. But Alisson has been chosen as the best of a very good trio of Brazil keepers and could be the one that keeps them in the competition.
The World Cup holders have looked very good in the group stage – and were able to rest almost the entire starting eleven in their final group game against Tunisia and still finish first. Two convincing victories in the first two games against Australia and Denmark did the job.
Ibrahima Kounate is the only Liverpool player in Les Bleus squad. But he has seen some pitch time thanks to Didier Deschamps’ ability to rotate the squad. Whether he gets a look in during the later rounds remains to be seen. But he could still be the one to come back to Anfield with a World Cup winners’ medal.
Liverpool have always provided the national side with some excellent players and this World Cup is no different. Both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Jordan Henderson have been able to make an impact in the group stage, with the captain a particular plus point for the Three Lions.
Many of the pundits and commentators have praised Henderson for his leadership qualities on and off the pitch for England – and is familiar-sounding voice has been echoing around the stadiums of Qatar. It has been good to see Trent coming back from unfair criticism to star for England once again too.
The other two Reds at the World Cup are Virgil van Dijk, who is captaining the Netherlands team in Qatar – and Uruguay’s Darwin Nunez. The Dutch finished top of Group A after seeing off a potentially tricky trio of Senegal, Qatar and Ecuador. Incredibly, it is Van Dijk’s first ever World Cup and he is looking like he was born to play at this level.
Nunez has seen slightly less pitch time for Uruguay as they have tried to give Anfield old boy Luis Suarez a chance to shine at his last World Cup. But the young striker could get more action if his country make it out of the group. If he does he will be just one of a plethora of Reds starring in the Middle East.