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Covid losses leave Premier managers less than impressed


Jurgen Klopp must plan without Mo Salah

Jurgen Klopp must plan without Mo Salah

Jurgen Klopp must plan without Mo Salah

There is relief now at Manchester City that Pep Guardiola has committed his future there by signing a new contract. Players don't really get caught up in whether the manager has a long-term contract, they focus on their own issues. It's more that external forces, mainly the media, get hung up on whether the manager has a contract so it won't affect City all that much.

But across the Premier League, and clubs in general, I can see a lot of unhappiness and unease at what happened with Covid-19 during the international break. People like Matt Doherty, Mo Salah, and Alex Telles tested positive while they were away with their national teams and others like Son Heung-min were caught up in Covid cases. The managers who are now without those players will be raging this week.

We could see it was a problem last month and I was amazed that the November international dates went ahead. And unless there is a vaccine widely available before the next internationals in March, I can see the situation being very difficult.

You will definitely see more players reporting an injury or a niggle after a Saturday game to prevent them from linking up with their national team. Covid is a basic problem, we know that, but when you travel across the world, to Egypt like Salah did or Brazil like Telles, the danger is only heightened. Clubs pay the players' wages and the clubs suffer when the players return positive tests or are close contacts.

I can understand the clubs' point of view and I can understand Jurgen Klopp's anger this week as he is denied the services of Salah for a period of time. We know that you can be as careful as possible at home or at work and then pick up Covid at the supermarket. But when you travel across the world to play for your national side, when you are in hotels and airports and on coaches, the danger is multiplied.

Players can pick it up at home, but I imagine that Premier League managers will be thinking 'it wouldn't have happened if he had stayed here' and not be so keen on seeing them go on international duty again.