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EARLY RETURN: Jota muscle problem could cut Portugal duty short

EARLY RETURN: Jota muscle problem could cut Portugal duty short

PA Mike Egerton

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota could be sent home early from international duty with Portugal as a muscle problem has prevented him training.

Coach Fernando Santos admits the 24-year-old’s chances of facing Luxembourg in Tuesday’s World Cup qualifier are slim as he did not feature in the weekend friendly win over Qatar and is not fully involved with the squad.

That could put in doubt his participation in Liverpool’s Premier League match at Watford this weekend, a game which goalkeeper Alisson Becker and midfielder Fabinho could also miss as they are not due to arrive back in England from Brazil duty until late on Friday.

“He trained a while ago, increased the intensity today with (physio) Joao Brito, but he didn’t train with us,” Santos told his pre-match press conference.

“The probability (Jota will play) will be little. I’ll talk to him and see how he feels.

“If we see that he is in any condition to be on the bench and then he can come in, that’s fine.

“If we don’t, we won’t take the risk with a player who hasn’t been able to train with us for a long time.

“If he cannot participate in the game, he goes (back) to Liverpool because, in these matters, clubs want to have players.

“They have confidence and know the quality of our clinical department, but if he can’t play tomorrow, it makes perfect sense for him to head to Liverpool.”

Jota having a muscle injury would see him join a list of players not available for the Reds upcoming trip to Watford after the international break.

Fabinho and Alisson Becker will not be able to play due to their international duty with Brazil coinciding with the game.

The pair are due to feature for Brazil just 35 hours before the Reds kick-off away at Vicarage Road.

Curtis Jones also suffered an injury as he featured for England U21s while Trent Alexander Arnold and Thiago Alcantara could join Jota in being unable to play.

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