Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp did not hold back in his post-match interview following his side’s 3-0 demolition of Leicester City in the Premier League on Sunday night.
In an interview with Sky Sports, which the broadcaster chose not to show – but was still seen by international viewers – Klopp’s message was clear.
“If we keep playing Wednesday night and then Saturday 12:30, I’m not sure we will finish the season with 11 players,” he began “And that goes for all the top six and seven. I know you don’t care and that’s the problem.”
Klopp on Sky: “If you don’t start talking to BT, we are all done. If we keep playing on Wednesday, and Saturday at 12:30, I’m not sure if we will finish the season with 11 players. I know you don’t care, and that’s the problem.”— James Nalton (@JDNalton) November 22, 2020
Midfielder Naby Keita was the latest Liverpool player to join their extensive injury list, when he was substituted with a hamstring problem on 54 minutes.
He joins Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago, Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri on the sidelines. Liverpool have also been without Mohamed Salah, Alisson Becker and Fabinho at points this season.
Klopp continued: “I’m happy about the game tonight but we’ve lost another midfielder and on the bench we don’t have a lot.
“I don’t talk just about Liverpool. I talk about all the football players out there.
“Yesterday, Pique, massive knee injury. Today, maybe Saka, he played all three games for England in the international break.
“People tell us to rotate. With who? Offensive players, we can rotate, yes. The rest are kids.”
Liverpool welcome Italian side Atalanta to Anfield on Wednesday night in the fourth of their Champions League group stage fixtures, before travelling to Brighton for the 12:30 kick off on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds boss is not alone in his frustrations at the intense fixture scheduling this season. Manchester United’s Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes his side received ‘no help’ from the Premier League when they faced a similar problem earlier this month.
Their quick turnover saw them face Everton in the Premier League at 12:30 on Saturday, just days after returning from Turkey following their Champions League tie against Istanbul Basaksehir on the Wednesday night.
Pep Guardiola also called the schedule ‘completely crazy for everyone’ back in October before his injury-ridden side were due to face West Ham in the league.
Tottenham were faced with a hectic schedule earlier in the campaign that Jose Mourinho branded as ‘not human’, with nine potential games in only 22 days.
This isn’t the first time managers have directed criticism towards broadcasters and the FA; Klopp has long been fighting the players’ cause when it comes to the intense winter period in regular seasons.
But this year, the footballing schedule has been heavily interrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the Liverpool boss believes very little has been done to adapt to the difficult circumstances.
“If somebody tells me again about contracts then I’ll really go nuts,” he went on to say. “The contracts are made not for a COVID season. We all have to adapt.
“You stand here with your facemasks on. We adapt to the situation, yet the contracts with broadcasters are still the same.”