All eyes will be on Anfield this Saturday when Liverpool host Crystal Palace, but after that, they’re going to be darting all over the globe as World Cup qualifying matches resume and another international break interrupts our early season form.
We’re used to seeing our stars jet off to foreign lands with their national teams, but one player we were expecting to stay home is 32-year old defender Kolo Toure. The Ivorian has racked up more than a century of caps playing for his country and though he hasn’t pulled on their shirt since last March, his good form since joining the Reds has earned the defender a recall for the first leg of the Elephants crunch play-off with Senegal in Abidjan on October 12th. This will be the first meeting between the two countries since their infamous African Cup of Nations qualifier that had to be abandoned due to rioting.
Toure will join his brother, Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure, as well as fellow Premier League players Ismael Tiote and Wilfried Bony as the Ivory Coast tries to navigate the two legged tie – with the return leg being played on November 16th in Morocco – and qualify for next year’s World Cup in Brazil. While Kolo gets to go to the big show, Raheem Sterling will have to settle for the England u-21’s after failing to earn a recall to Roy Hodgson’s side.
The Liverpool youngster, who was selected for the Three Lion’s last round of matches, will be on hand for the sides European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against San Marino and Lithuania after boss Gareth Southgate selected the winger alongside Reds defender Jack Robinson, who is currently plying his trade on loan at Blackpool. Southgate, who was named baby Lions boss following the departure of Stuart Pearce, has prioritized “preparing players for the senior team” and not “winning tournaments.” Sounds like he’s got expectations in check – might as well get them used to not winning anything while they’re young so they’re not disappointed in the future.