International round-up: Van Dijk and Solanke on target but several Reds sit it out

Liverpool Crest

The bulk of Liverpool’s first team squad were involved in international duty over the last few days, but several Reds had little or no part to play in those friendlies staged on Monday and Tuesday.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was Liverpool’s only starter in England’s 1-1 draw against Italy, picking up a first half yellow card in an understated display before being substituted on the hour for clubmate Adam Lallana, who managed to get a valuable 30 minutes under his belt. Reds captain Jordan Henderson came on for the final 17 minutes in place of John Stones. The match saw Jamie Vardy put England ahead before a controversial VAR intervention gave Italy an 88th-minute penalty which Lorenzo Insigne converted.

Virgil van Dijk had a frustrating night against England last Friday, but the Liverpool defender was on target for Netherlands in their surprise 3-0 victory over Portugal in Zurich. Former Reds winger Ryan Babel also scored for the Oranje, while Georginio Wijnaldum played for 68 minutes on the night that Ronald Koeman picked up his first win as Dutch national team coach. Alex McLeish did likewise in his second coming as Scotland boss, with the Tartan Army winning 1-0 in Hungary on Tuesday. Andrew Robertson again started, playing until the 67th minute after another positive showing for the left-back.

From a Merseyside perspective, the eagerly-anticipated clash of Germany and Brazil was being billed as Emre Can versus Roberto Firmino. In the end, neither Liverpool man featured on the night. Indeed, the German midfielder was again omitted from the world champions’ matchday squad, while the Brazilian striker remained on the bench for the entirety of his team’s 1-0 victory. Elsewhere, Mohamed Salah was given the night off as Egypt fell to a disappointing 0-1 defeat to Greece, with Kopites no doubt relieved to see their talisman sit this one out.

On-loan Liverpool striker Harry Wilson started for Wales in their 0-1 defeat to Uruguay in China, featuring for 72 minutes in a match that also featured one-time Reds assassin Luis Suarez. Ben Woodburn did not feature for the Welsh on Monday, though. Meanwhile, Sadio Mane was on the field for 87 minutes of Senegal’s goalless draw with Bosnia-Herzegovina, while Ragnar Klavan played for the full 90 as his Estonia side lost 2-0 to Georgia.

Dominic Solanke has had a very frustrating season since joining Liverpool, but he again came up with a vital intervention for England’s under-21s, coming off the bench to score an 88th-minute winner in their European Championships qualifier against Ukraine in Sheffield. The striker had been expected to miss out because of a toe infection, but Aidy Boothroyd will doubtlessly be pleased that Solanke was available for what turned out to be a very even contest. There was no involvement, though, for Reds right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold, who had been a regular feature for the England under-21s in recent months.

All in all, it hasn’t been a bad international week from a Liverpool perspective. Several of the Reds scored or had good games, while Joe Gomez was the only injury casualty, albeit one which could test our defensive resources in the coming fortnight. Also, with quite a few players not featuring on Tuesday, they will hopefully be fresh for the crucial trip to Crystal Palace on Saturday.