There’s injury news both good and bad involving Liverpool midfielders, while a key defensive asset for Spurs looks set to be fit for Saturday’s north London derby.
On the pitch, meanwhile, Switzerland and Croatia book their places at Russia 2018.
Here are the notes from Sunday’s international programme.
Mixed news for key trio
Liverpool’s attacking options received a boost when Sadio Mane returned fit and firing for both club and country last week.
But the midfielder has now been released from international duty, with his national federation citing concerns over the recurrence of ‘an old injury’ following his star turn in Senegal’s 2-0 win over South Africa on Friday.
That is understood to refer to the hamstring problem that had kept him out of action for a month before he produced a double-digit performance on his return for Liverpool in their Gameweek 11 win at West Ham.
Mane provided two assists in the 4-1 victory over the Hammers and followed that up with another as Senegal sealed their place at Russia 2018.
Owned by 7.6% of Fantasy Premier League managers, the winger’s release by Senegal was confirmed in a statement from the country’s FA.
“After consultations between the medical staff of the national team of Senegal and Liverpool, it was decided by mutual agreement to make him available to his club to continue treatment until full recovery.”
Mane will now be assessed by Liverpool’s medical staff on his return to the club ahead of the Gameweek 12 visit from Southampton on Saturday.
It’s not all doom and gloom for Jurgen Klopp, however.
Long-term absentee Adam Lallana is reportedly close to a return, while Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho has now declared himself fully recovered from a groin issue that had kept him out of Liverpool’s last three matches in all competitions.
He was unused on the bench in Brazil’s friendly win over Japan on Friday and hopes to feature in his country’s match at Wembley tomorrow.
“Unfortunately, I could not play for Liverpool in the past three games because of injury. Now I feel 100 percent fit, I have recovered, and I am in a good shape to be available for the game against England.”
Injuries and the protracted saga of a possible move to Barcelona have dampened Fantasy interest in Coutinho this season – he is currently owned by just 4.4% of managers.
But he is now making all the right noises, stating that he is happy and ‘playing in one of the biggest leagues in the world’, and could become a differential prospect for Liverpool in an excellent upcoming schedule.
A Gameweek 13 visit from Chelsea and a pre-Christmas trip to Arsenal aside, the Reds’ fixtures are set fair until the middle of January.
Meanwhile, Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen (8.7%) has reportedly recovered from an ankle injury that kept him out of Belgium’s 3-3 draw with Mexico on Friday.
The centre-half could now feature in his country’s friendly with Japan tomorrow ahead of Saturday lunchtime’s north London derby.
Switzerland booked their place at Russia 2018 with a 1-0 aggregate win over Northern Ireland.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka and Stoke City midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri started last night’s second leg goalless draw, with the latter withdrawn after 80 minutes.
West Brom defender Jonny Evans saw a last-minute header cleared off the line that would have taken the tie into extra time.
He was joined in the side by club-mate’s Gareth McAuley and Chris Brunt. All three, together with Southampton midfielder Steven Davis, played the full match for the Ulstermen.
Croatia’s play-off passage to next year’s World Cup finals was rather less fraught.
They completed a 4-1 aggregate victory over Greece with a 0-0 draw away last night in which Liverpool centre-half Dejan Lovren played the full 90 minutes for the second time over the international break.
Everton winger Nikola Vlasic was an unused substitute last night, having seen seven minutes of action in the first leg.
Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey played the full 90 minutes for Ghana in their 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at home to Egypt.
Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny and Stoke City’s Ramadan Sobhi started and finished for the visitors.
Huddersfield Town striker Steve Mounie started and played 56 minutes for Benin in a 1-1 draw with Tanzania.