November 1, 2019 / 3:06 PM / a month ago

Liverpool manager Klopp slams authorities over fixture congestion

(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp believes soccer’s governing bodies are ignoring player welfare as the Merseyside club prepare for a congested fixture list in December.

Soccer Football - Carabao Cup - Fourth Round - Liverpool v Arsenal - Anfield, Liverpool, Britain - October 30, 2019 Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Having qualified for the League Cup quarter-final in midweek, Liverpool are scheduled to play nine matches across four competitions next month.

“The likes of (Sadio) Mane, (Mohamed) Salah, (Jordan) Henderson - they have two weeks off a year, with a physically demanding job, with pressure as well on every game,” Klopp told a news conference on Friday.

“The situation is clear, the solutions are possible but FIFA, UEFA and the leagues have to sit at a table and discuss it and think about the players rather than their wallet.”

The Premier League leaders have been drawn to play away at Aston Villa in the League Cup quarter-final in the week of Dec. 16 — the week that Klopp’s side travel to Qatar for the FIFA Club World Cup.

Klopp has already said that, if the fixture cannot be rearranged, Liverpool may not be able to play in the League Cup - having progressed thanks to a penalty shootout following a thrilling 5-5 draw against Arsenal. Talks are continuing with the English Football League to identify an alternative date.

“There is no final decision yet,” the German told a news conference on Friday.

“If we would play while we’re in Qatar, then we would need two different teams - but we cannot leave any players at home for the Carabao Cup (League Cup).”

Klopp said it was “absolutely obvious” that English clubs were being forced to play too many games.

“If I create headlines, then people will say ‘Why is he moaning?’ That is what I don’t like,” he added. “It is obvious that it is too much.

“Carabao Cup - a nice competition obviously. What a wonderful game we had on Wednesday night - but then, still, at the end of January, there are two semi-finals (legs).

“England is the only country where nobody really wants to touch (fixture congestion) - or maybe they want to, but don’t discuss it.”

Liverpool, currently six points clear at the top of the Premier League, visit Aston Villa in the league on Saturday.

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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