Saturday 24 February 2018

Klopp furious at Liverpool's festive fixture demands

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp. Photo: Nigel French/PA Wire.

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised the Premier League fixture changes that will force his side to play twice within 48 hours over Christmas.

Liverpool's home game with Manchester City has been moved to 5.30 on New Year's Eve for television purposes - the match to be broadcast by BT Sport. With the Merseysiders heading to Sunderland for a 3.0 start the following Monday, January 2, Klopp is aghast at the demands on his players.

"Now I have seen the fixtures and I am not too happy," said Klopp (right). "We have less than 48 hours between our game against Man City and in Sunderland. Forty-eight hours is an interesting idea but less than 48 hours I cannot believe.

"Our job is to do everything we can to win games. I understand tradition but now having a match day with two days between there should be another possibility."

Klopp indicated he would investigate moving the Sunderland game back. The German, who was named the Premier League manager of the month for September, also hit back at a long-term critic of his handling of players, Dutchman Raymond Verheijen.

Verheijen - the former Wales assistant manager - has used social media to argue several high-profile managers are causing injury to their players, with Klopp one of his targets.

"I don't know why we play Monday. Is January 2 a special day in England?" asked Klopp.

"Forty-eight hours between two games - how does this work? And then you will sit there and say: 'You didn't perform too well, how did this happen?' or 'injuries. Oh?' and then this Dutch guy says 'the training is not too good'.

"How do you prepare a team for this. Do you say only 50pc against City because we have Sunderland on Monday? It doesn't sound like it is right. Everyone is asking why England is not too successful in big tournaments.

"Ask what other big countries are doing at this time - they have their legs on the sofa and are watching English football." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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