The return of international football is looming along with the 2020/21 season after Gareth Southgate named his England squad on Tuesday for matches in early September.

Trent-Alexander-Arnold and Joe Gomez were called up to represent the Three Lions while Rhian Brewster was included in England Under-21’s squad.

The Liverpool defensive duo will join up with their international teammates as they take on Iceland and then Denmark away from home.

Both matches will be played in Reykjavik on Saturday, September 5 and in Copenhagen on Tuesday, September 8 respectively.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was left out following an injury sustained during Liverpool’s Austrian training camp that is likely to see the 27-year-old miss the beginning of the season while club-captain Jordan Henderson was also not included Southgate’s squad.

Liverpool Pre-Season Training Session - Jordan Henderson

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – AUGUST 17: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jurgen Klopp manager of Liverpool with Jordan Henderson captain of Liverpool during a training session on August 17, 2020 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

The Premier League-winning skipper was a surprise omission considering Liverpool recently confirmed that Henderson is expected to be fit in time for the champions’ opening league game of the season against Leeds United.

Henderson is currently vice-captain of his country, behind Harry Kane and is arguably England’s best option in the middle of the park.

This could serve to Liverpool’s advantage as it suggests that Southgate will be looking to utilise Henderson as carefully as he can considering England also have a number of up-and-coming prospects in Henderson’s position.

Last season, the 30-year-old enjoyed his best run for Liverpool in terms of appearances and sustained performance levels as Henderson was awarded the Football Writer Association’s Player of the Season following his heroics in the club’s 19th title victory.

 

Considering the player has recently entered the twilight stages of his career, Henderson will have to be managed carefully next season which means if Liverpool’s No.14 misses the odd international call-up it will only play to the Reds’ advantage.

Liverpool Pre-Season Training Session - Jordan Henderson

SALZBURG, AUSTRIA – AUGUST 16: (THE SUN OUT. THE SUN ON SUNDAY OUT) Jordan Henderson captain of Liverpool during a training session on August 16, 2020 in Salzburg, Austria. (Photo by John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Extra incentive

Henderson missed the final four league matches of last season following a knee problem sustained at Brighton.

In those matches, Henderson’s importance to the team became glaringly apparent as Liverpool lacked their usual urgency and complacency had a tendency to creep in.

Against Arsenal at the Emirates last month, Liverpool were the masters of their own undoing as two errors from Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker led directly to goals during the Reds’ fourth defeat in two seasons.

While it is easy to say that if Henderson was playing these lapses of concentration wouldn’t have happened but following the skipper’s effect on the team last season it is increasingly likely that such mistakes just wouldn’t be allowed.

Henderson is the standard-bearer for his team and of Liverpool’s three defeats last season, the club-captain was absent from two of them.

The former Sunderland star has been on the receiving end of just two defeats in the past two league campaigns – both at the Etihad Stadium – meaning it has become glaringly apparent every time Henderson isn’t involved in Jurgen Klopp’s starting XI.

Southgate’s decision to snub Henderson showcases that he will be managed carefully ahead of next summer’s Euro 2021 tournament as both England and Liverpool look to get the best out of one of the country’s undisputed star performers.

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