There were mixed fortunes for Liverpool’s players as they jetted off to join up with their national teams for the final round of World Cup qualifiers.
In an eventful fortnight, Jurgen Klopp’s Reds grabbed the headlines as some secured a place in next summer’s tournament while others experienced the agony of elimination.
Let’s take a look at how they got on:
Jordan Henderson may have lost the armband to Harry Kane, but he played the full 90 in England’s 1-0 victory against Slovenia. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain lined up alongside his Liverpool team-mate but found it difficult to make an impact before being withdrawn on 64 minutes.
Henderson kept his place for the trip to Lithuania, while Daniel Sturridge came on for the final 20 minutes but was unable to find the net.
Philippe Coutinho started for already-qualified Brazil as they took on Bolivia in conditions team-mate Neymar described as ‘inhuman’. Coutinho was taken off on 66 minutes, with Roberto Firmino watching the goalless draw from the bench.
Coutinho was in action again on Tuesday night as Brazil dumped out Alexis Sanchez’s Chile with a comfortable 3-0 win, effectively creating his side’s second with a delightful ball over the top to Neymar.
‘O Magico’ picked up a yellow card in an ill-tempered affair and was ultimately replaced by Firmino.
It was a night to remember for Mohamed Salah as the 25-year-old sent Egypt to their first World Cup since 1990 with a stoppage-time penalty.
That came after Salah, now a national icon, opened the scoring with a composed finish just after the hour mark. The rapid winger has now hit 32 in 56 games for his country.
Emre Can also grabbed the headlines after rounding off Germany’s 5-1 rout of Azerbaijan with a sensational 30-yard thunderbolt. The goal put the gloss on a fine performance, with Can enjoying more touches than anyone else and completing just under 90% of his passes.
Can was handed a start at the Fritz-Walter-Stadion after being restricted to a 25-minute cameo against Northern Ireland and very much seized the opportunity, opening his international account in style.
Andrew Robertson started both of Scotland’s decisive qualifiers, putting in a man-of-the-match display as Gordon Strachan’s side kept their World Cup hopes alive with a 1-0 win over Slovakia.
There was no clean sheet against Slovenia, however, as a 2-2 draw saw the Scots fail to qualify for a major tournament once again.
There was only a single outing for Sadio Mane’s Senegal, who beat Cape Verde 2-0. Mane, his country’s talisman, played 89 minutes but could not add to his tally of 14 international goals.
After the match, it emerged that Mane had picked up a hamstring injury which will see him sidelined for up to six weeks. Devastating news for the Reds, and yet more reason to lambaste international breaks.
Georginio Wijnaldum’s Netherlands faced an uphill battle to make the play-offs, and two victories were not enough to prevent them missing out.
Wijnaldum started both games for the Oranje, but was cautioned against Belarus and hooked after 71 minutes against Sweden.
Despite netting a magnificent winner on his debut last month, Ben Woodburn was benched by Chris Coleman against Georgia and the Republic of Ireland.
After being introduced in stoppage time in Tbilisi, Woodburn was thrown on for the final 25 minutes of Wales’ showdown with the Irish, but could not inspire a comeback.
There was no injury to no.1 Wayne Hennessey, so deputy Danny Ward was not called upon.
Estonia skipper Ragnar Klavan managed a clean sheet and a rare assist as his side put six past minnows Gibraltar, only to fall to a 2-1 defeat against Bosnia three days later. Klavan was booked on his 120th cap.
There was no gametime for Belgian duo Simon Mignolet and Divock Origi, currently on loan at Wolfsburg, even though Roberto Martinez’s side had already sealed qualification.
And finally, Joe Gomez and Dominic Solanke both started for England U21s in their 3-1 win against Scotland in qualifying for the European Championship. Solanke was on the scoresheet, tapping in his side’s third after a generous lay-off from Swansea’s Tammy Abraham.
Gomez was left on the bench for the subsequent trip to Andorra, while Solanke was withdrawn on 79 minutes as the Young Lions recorded a 1-0 win.