Despite the lack of Premier League football over the last few days, a number of Liverpool and Everton stars were still in action for their countries in the international break’s first set of fixtures, and Merseysportlive took a look at how they got on:
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez (England 7-0 Montenegro)
Oxlade-Chamberlain continued his rich vein of goal scoring form when he slotted home England’s first of the night in the 7-0 thrashing of Montengero, before being replaced by James Maddison in the 56th minute.
Alexander-Arnold also played a part in the first goal with a beautiful cross field ball which led to his teammate’s goal. His deflected cross also set up Harry Kane for his third goal of the night. The right back was a constant threat going forward throughout and lasted the full 90 minutes.
Joe Gomez replaced Mason Mount in the 70th minute but his appearance on the pitch was greeted by boos from a section of the England fans following his bust-up with teammate Raheem Sterling. Despite the hostile welcome Gomez remained solid although the Montenegro attack did not ask much questions of the substitute.
Alisson, Fabinho, Roberto Firmino (Brazil 0-1 Argentina)
Brazil’s number 1 stopper was unlucky to be beaten by Lionel Messi’s penalty and made seven saves throughout the game. Roberto Firmino started the game up top but failed to make any clear chances, lasting the full 90 minutes. Fabinho replaced Arthur in midfield in the 55th minute but failed to add any spark to the game as Brazil lost out to their rivals.
Virgil Van Dijk (Northern Ireland 0-0 Holland)
Liverpool’s colossal centre back managed to keep a clean sheet up against a stern Northern Ireland side at Windsor Park, however a Steven Davis penalty could have ruined Van Dijk’s hopes of a shutout. Gini Wijnaldum remained on the bench for the visitors. Virgil, Gini and the Netherlands will now be looking ahead to the Euros in the summer after the point was enough to see them qualify automatically.
Naby Keita (Mali 2-2 Guinea)
Naby Keita scored his first goal since April as Guinea earned a point in their first game of the Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. The midfielder went on to play the full 90 minutes despite an injury scare in the closing stages.
Sadio Mane (Senegal 2-0 Congo)
Liverpool’s number 10 produced a wonderful overhead kick assist for teammate Sidy Sarr in Senegal’s 2-0 victory, and despite not finding the net himself, Mane will have another chance to grab a goal tonight when Senegal take on Eswatini away from home.
Harry Wilson (Azerbaijan 0-2 Wales)
The Liverpool winger on loan at Bournemouth put Wales two ahead whenever he pounced on a rebound to head into an empty net which keeps Wales qualifying hopes alive. The goalscorer played the full game, picking up a yellow card along the way.
Divock Origi was an unused substitute in Belgium’s 4-1 win over Russia, whilst Mohamed Salah, Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson all missed out for their countries due to injury.
Jordan Pickfrod (England 7-0 Montenegro)
England’s number 1 goalkeeper had little to do on a quiet night in goal for his country, however he was alert to make two smart saves either side of the half-time whistle.
Lucas Digne (France 2-1 Moldova)
(Lucas Digne on international duty with France, photo by Catherine Kortsmik – CC licence)
Everton’s left back won the French a penalty in the second half which saved his side from what would have been an embarrassing draw at home to Moldova. Despite a poor first half performance, Digne improved in the second 45 minutes and will be pleased with his efforts.
Yerry Mina (Colombia 1-0 Peru)
The centre back picked up a yellow card as a late Alfredo Morelos strike gave Colombia a last gasp win over Peru. Mina lasted the full 90 minutes and will be happy with a clean sheet.
Gylfi Sigurdsson (Turkey 0-0 Iceland)
The creative midfielder failed to produce any spark in a drab affair against Turkey, despite playing the full game. The draw ended Iceland’s hopes of automatic qualification and will now be looking ahead to the play-offs.
Richarlison (Brazil 0-1 Argentina)
The blue’s joint top goalscorer came on in the 71st minute but didn’t manage to find an equaliser for Brazil.
Alex Iwobi (Nigeria 2-1 Benin)
Iwobi played in Nigeria’s 2-1 victory over Benin, giving the super eagles a perfect start to their African Cup of Nations qualifying campaign.
[Photos by Ailura, Кирилл Венедиктов and Catherine Kortsmik under Creative Commons]