Premier League managers were still confused on Friday about whether they can call on their red-list stars this weekend.
Manchester City’s Brazil duo Ederson and Gabriel Jesus travelled to Leicester with Pep Guardiola’s squad, but Brazil have asked FIFA to invoke their five-day rule stopping players from representing their clubs if they do not report for international duty.
As well as Ederson and Jesus, the ban applies to Liverpool trio Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, Leeds’ Raphinha, Chelsea’s Thiago Silva and Manchester United’s Fred.
Jurgen Klopp still doesn’t know if Alisson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino can face Leeds
The Premier League were hopeful the issue would be resolved but as of Friday evening there was still no word from FIFA.
‘They are going to travel, ready to play,’ Guardiola said. ‘Maybe tonight or tomorrow we have a letter from FIFA or the Premier League.
‘The problem is, I don’t understand the situation. It is crazy. Right now I’m thinking they’ll play because I don’t have any other instructions.
Firmino is ruled out by injury, but Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp admitted: ‘I have no idea when I can expect a solution. I don’t know when I can make a decision. It would be nice if I could train with the team I want to play (against Leeds) on Sunday.’
Manchester City could be without Ederson after he wasn’t released to play for Brazil, while Thiago Silva may be unavailable for Chelsea
Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who could be without Fred, described the situation as ‘a farce’
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel said: ‘Right now, Thiago is not out. Not officially. The chairman [Bruce Buck] is still in negotiations. I’m waiting for the final decision.’
Wolves’ Raul Jimenez is in line to start for Wolves at Watford on Saturday after FIFA held talks with Mexico to clear the striker to play.
Jimenez was one of three other Premier League stars kept out by the same five-day rule, along with Paraguay forward Miguel Almiron and Watford’s Francisco Sierralta of Chile, after their nations also complained to FIFA.
But FIFA persuaded Mexico to withdraw the complaint after discussing the matter with Wolves. ‘It’s the best decision for everyone as the fans want to see the top players on the pitch,’ said Wolves boss Bruno Lage.
Liverpool refused to allow Alisson, Fabinho and Firmino to travel to red-list countries, but the Brazilian FA responded by imposing a five-day restriction on the players they called up for the games against Chile, Argentina and Peru, even though they didn’t play.
Liverpool refused to release goalkeeper Alisson for Brazil’s international fixtures this month
If players had travelled to red-list countries then they would have missed several games for their clubs when they returned because of quarantine rules, with Gianni Infantino’s letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson request exemptions for players due to play in red-list countries during the international break falling on deaf ears.
Other Premier League players who may be prevented from playing include Miguel Almiron of Newcastle and Paraguay, and Francisco Sierralta, who plays for Watford and Chile.
However, Brazil will definitely allow Richarlison to feature for Everton against Burnley on Monday after the Toffees gave permission for him to play in the Olympics this summer when they weren’t forced to.
Sportsmail revealed earlier this week that the Premier League are hopeful that the 11 players affected by the ruling will be free to play this weekend.
Chief executive Richard Masters wrote to clubs and suggested a resolution is in sight on Wednesday. He said four national associations complained to FIFA and added that the top flight has been locked in talks with both the governing body, the government and the Football Association.
In addition, Klopp criticised football’s ‘relentless calendar’, stressing that it places unreasonable demands on players amid plans for a biennial World Cup.
Fabinho (left) and Roberto Firmino also didn’t travel but may now face restrictions
He said: ‘There’s no other sport in the world with such a relentless calendar. There are more demanding sports in the world but they don’t run 20, 30, 40 a year.
‘We know why it’s happening. It’s about giving different countries the opportunity, that’s why we have more countries in the World Cup but in the end it’s all about money. That’s fine.
‘In the end at one point somebody has to start understanding that without the players, the most important ingredients, we cannot play.
‘Whoever thinks it’s more important than the players, nobody’s more important. Imagine every two years a World Cup, there will be every two years a European Championship.
‘Top class players will play every year a tournament and have a three week break every year.
‘There’s only one body they have and that’s what they have to use. It’s always about more games.
Klopp criticised the relentless schedule players have to endure and the demands they face
‘There’s no problem about a meaningless game, but if you always have competitions like Nations League, they have to play without a break, that’s not right. For the long term, I’m sure not.’
‘It’s absolutely not important what I say because nobody listens. Nobody thought about the players when they decided at FIFA and CONMEBOL that the last game is Friday morning our time 1.30.
‘We’re playing on Sunday so if they come back this afternoon they cannot play. There must be a point when the confederations sit together and start thinking about the game and the benefits, but I’m 54, I’m not sure I will be alive when that happens.’
‘I have no idea when I can expect a solution. There will be a moment, it would be nice if we could train with the team I want to play on Sunday.
The Liverpool boss previously told the club’s official website: ‘I can say what I know: I don’t know in the moment. We will see, there are meetings going on.
‘The thing I want to say about that is just, let’s look at the full case. So, we all know we are in the middle of a pandemic, which is difficult for all parts of life and for football it was difficult as well.
FIFA president Gianni Infantino had written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to request exemptions for players due to play in ‘red list’ countries during the international break
‘We have a few more games to play than we have to play usually internationally. We had a summer break where all of a sudden somebody organised again a Copa America, where they could have played the games, for example, without playing a Copa America, which they had a year before.’
Klopp stressed that Liverpool weren’t consulted over the scheduling for the South American fixtures, with Brazil playing World Cup qualifiers less than two months after their involvement at the Copa America.
He said: ‘But people decide without us these kind of things. OK, nobody cares, that’s how it is. They play a Copa America, then they still have more games to play.
‘Then a week or 10 days before the international break we get, ‘OK, we play now three games and the last game is on Thursday night.’
‘So we have nothing to do with that. Friday morning, by the way. Friday morning, 1.20am, would have been Brazil against Peru.
‘We have nothing to do with that, we cannot decide anything about it, we just read these things.
Klopp is angry South American World Cup qualifiers took place so soon after the Copa America. Lionel Messi is pictured lifting the trophy with Argentina back in July
‘Then we have to think, ‘OK, clear, they are invited.’ But when they come back they have to quarantine [for] 10 days.
‘Again, it’s not our decision, we didn’t say they have to quarantine [for] 10 days, we didn’t say you have to go to the national team, we can’t say nothing – we just sit in between and we think, ‘OK, what’s going on?’
‘Our players, if they come back then they have to quarantine 10 days in a random hotel, next to the airport probably, which is not good for any people who have to do that but for a professional football player, being 10 days in a hotel – with the food they get from there – you lose everything.
‘You lose muscle, you lose everything. It means 10 days in the hotel, coming back [and] needing pretty much 10 days to get on track again.’