Liverpool have a number of foreign stars heading over to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup and we’ve got you covered for kick-off times and background for the games that include our star men. Some favourites, like Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Agger, have sadly missed out, for various reasons, but fan favourites like Luis Suárez and Mamadou Sakho are sure to be heavily involved in this festival of football.
Pepe Reina – Spain vs Netherlands, 8PM Kick-Off, June 13th
Kicking off proceedings for Liverpool’s foreign contingent is Pepe Reina. Remember him? Well he’s still a Liverpool player, for a few more weeks anyway, and he’s actually Spain’s second-choice keeper for this tournament due to Victor Valdez’s injury. The Spaniard may be viewed as the third keeper by some people with David de Gea enjoying a much better season between the posts – despite Manchester United’s poor seventh place finish.
Luis Suárez and Sebastián Coates – Uruguay vs Costa Rica, 8PM Kick-Off, June 14th
Liverpool’s player of the season might kick off his World Cup campaign against Group D whipping boys Costa Rica but the likeliest scenario sees Suárez missing this game and beginning his World Cup against England in the following game. One player who might be playing for Uruguay is Coates. The forgotten centre-back spent last season on-loan at Nacional but made only five appearances as he continued his long recovery from a serious cruciate ligament injury.
Suárez will be dearly missed by the South Americans but Cavani should be able to step into his goalscoring shoes. The hard working attacker scored an amazing 31 goals last season to claim a 50% of the Golden Shoe alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.
Kolo Toure – Ivory Coast vs Japan, 2AM Kick-Off, June 15th
Kolo Toure should be in the starting XI for the Ivorians as they kick-off their campaign against an exciting Japan team that contains talents such as Shinji Kagawa and Keisuke Honda. The Ivorians have struggled at the last two World Cups with the Africans being drawn in the so-called Group of Death on the last two occasions. Toure and his merry-men have been cursed by the “Golden Generation” label which has seen them underachieve for a number of years but Toure will be looking to brother Yaya, Wilfried Bony and Serge Aurier, among others, to lead them beyond the group stages at the very least.
Mamadou Sakho – France vs Honduras, 8PM Kick-Off, June 15th
Mamadou Sakho has captained France on a few occasions leading upto the World Cup and the strong centre-back will look to go far as the Finals get under way. France will be looking for a more positive campaign this time around after mutiny and distrust undermined the South African campaign back in 2010. France’s first game represents a good opportunity to get this tournament off to a more positive start with Honduras representing the underdogs.
Simon Mignolet – Belgium vs Algeria, 5PM Kick-Off, June 17th
Belgium’s draw in Group H means they begin their campaign later than most but more preparation time may benefit the improved Belgians. Leading talents Edan Hazard, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku will look to lead the new-look Belgians to the knockout stages, at the very least. Anything else will be deemed a failure for a squad that has improved ten-fold over the last few years. Simon Mignolet is an important member of this squad, but Thibaut Courtois is the undisputed number one goalkeeper so Mignolet will play the back-up role should anything happen to the Chelsea loanee.