By Brian Bariyo Tumuramye
Manchester United host Liverpool in a blockbuster clash this Sunday in English Premier League but which team is fresher after international duties?
Liverpool are more likely to suffer from fatigue this weekend after clocking 66,553 air miles over the past week – three times the distance covered by Manchester United players, in addition, Liverpool’s travelling contingent collectively played 1,121 minutes for their national sides, compared with 913 minutes by united players.
Fabinho and Roberto Firmino faced team-mate Sadio Mane as Brazil and Senegal played out a 1-1 draw in Singapore the most distant destination – with Firmino opening the scoring and Mane winning the equalising penalty.
Divock Origi also covered considerable distance on duty, sitting on the bench during Belgium’s 9-0 win over San Marino on native soil, before spending another 90 minutes on the sidelines in a2-0 win in Kazakhstan
Who played the most?
Five Liverpool players clocked every minute in both fixtures, including Jordan Henderson (England), Georginio Wijnaldum, Virgil van Dijk (both Netherlands), Andy Robertson (Scotland) and Dejan Lovren (Croatia).
For United, only Harry Maguire (England) and Daniel James (Wales) played every minute, with the latter appearing to suffer concussion in a 1-1 draw with Slovakia only for manager Ryan Giggs to claim he was simply being “streetwise”.
In total, four players failed to clock game time during the international schedule, including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joe Gomez and Origi for Liverpool, and Tahith Chong for United.
De Gea injured in Spain game United youngster Angel Gomes has experienced only nine minutes in the Premier League this season but netted both goals as England U20s drew 2-2 with Italy U20s, before featuring in a dismal 3-0 defeat to the Czech Republic U20s.
Meanwhile, team-mate Marcus Rashford ended a three-game goal drought in an England shirt during the racism-marred 6-0 win against Bulgaria in Sofia
Did James suffer concussion on duty for Wales? If he did, he would almost certainly be ruled out this weekend. But United have one more serious doubt for Sunday.
David de Gea suffered a groin strain on the hour mark during Spain’s 1-1 draw with Sweden, which also saw Victor Lindelof start for the opposition – despite injury concerns of his own.
A host of other United stars have been sidelined with injuries, but Anthony Martial, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw, Jesse Lingard, Mason Greenwood and Phil Jones are all in contention to be fit, while Paul Pogba remains a doubt.
Anthony Martial has chance of Liverpool as United’s No 1 looks set to be sidelined, Liverpool stopper Alisson is on course for a return after suffering a calf injury in the opening game of the season, while Joel Matip, Mo Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri should be fit.