Liverpool's title rivals handed boost as two key players leave international duty ahead of Arsenal clash

Premier League title race: Liverpool's rivals have been handed two major boosts ahead of their clash with Arsenal.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

With the Premier League title race heading into the final 10 games, Manchester City have been handed a fitness boost.

Liverpool, Arsenal and City have a huge percentage of their squads currently representing their countries around the world but there have been players from each club who have pulled out of international duty.

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As explained by Gary Neville on the latest episode of the Overlap's Stick to Football podcast, Sir Alex Ferguson used to restrict the amount of key players who would play in the international friendlies in March of a season as he didn't want to risk any avoidable injuries ahead of the business end of the season. After claiming that the trio of Phil Foden, Declan Rice and Bukayo Saka will all pull out of the second game, news broke yesterday that Saka had left the England camp as a precaution prior to their first game against Brazil at Wembley.

On top of that, Man City duo Ruben Dias and Bernardo Silva have both left Portugal's camp after their 5-2 win over Sweden last night ahead of their clash with Arsenal next weekend. It's clear the top sides are all jostling for any advantage they can get and, given that the majority of these players are involved in friendlies rather than important qualification matches, their stars are able to leave.

For Liverpool, they had already decided that key duo Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez would remain at the AXA Training Centre over the break rather than head on international duty and Wataru Endo will also return promptly after one game as Japan's game with North Korea was cancelled. It means more of Liverpool's key men will be available and fit and firing for their next game against Brighton.

In terms of their South American stars, Diaz's Colombia face Romania on Tuesday night while Alexis Mac Allister face Costa Rica on Wednesday night which gives both time to head back for their Sunday game at Anfield next week. Jurgen Klopp's squad should be strong and raring to go after the international break, but Arsenal and City are also protecting their key man as the three teams duke it out for the title.