Sunday 23 April 2017

Liverpool to play two matches in less than 48 hours after Premier League reject request to move Sunderland fixture

Jurgen Klopp is not happy that Liverpool face two games in under 48 hours
Jurgen Klopp is not happy that Liverpool face two games in under 48 hours

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool’s request to ease their festive fixture burden by rescheduling their trip to Sunderland has been rejected by the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp is unhappy with the timing of the game in the north east on January 2 as it comes less than 48 hours after his side play Manchester City at Anfield. The City game was moved as it will be screened by BT Sport.

Speaking last October when the broadcasters confirmed their choices for the Christmas period, Klopp expressed his concerns.

“Now I have seen the fixtures and I am not too happy," he said. “We have less than 48 hours between our game against Man City on December 31 and in Sunderland on the 2nd.

“Forty-eight hours is an interesting idea but less than 48 hours I cannot believe.

“I learn more and more about this league and maybe I have to ask someone if we can ask if there will be another time for us at Sunderland.

“Our job is to do everything we can to win games. I understand tradition - I would never say Boxing Day is not a good idea as I love it and I have absolutely no problem.

“But now having a match day with two days between there should be another possibility.”

The Premier League considered Liverpool’s request but turned it down believing it would set a dangerous precedent to make a change for one club.

Manchester City must also play at the same times – they are at home to Burnley on January 2 – so it was not considered reasonable to give Liverpool a competitive advantage, albeit they have further to travel.

There was also no wish to demand Sunderland change the time of their game, which is their only home fixture over the Christmas schedule.

The Premier League’s most compelling argument points out that it is the chairman, chief executives and owners of the clubs who agreed to the demands of television companies when they signed up to the £5 billion TV deal, well aware of the likelihood of congestion during the Christmas period.

Ultimately, it is up to all the Premier League club to agree amongst themselves how to avoid what has become an annual debate regarding the demands on players in December and January.

Club selected to appear on TV can expect around £1.2 million per match.

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