Rio Ferdinand believes that Klopp is “taking liberties” by handing the FA Cup fourth round replay to Liverpool U23 coach Neil Critchley. The match has been scheduled during the Premier League’s first ever winter break, and the boss is not happy. He took a stand on Sunday, promising that all of his senior players would get their winter breaks, and that he would also be unavailable.
This has caused a ripple in England, where people have taken umbrage with Klopp’s ‘disrespect’ of the FA Cup.
Rio Ferdinand told BT Sport that he could accept Klopp letting the senior players rest, but not the manager himself missing the match.
“When you are a successful team, you are fighting on all fronts and Liverpool are doing that. I totally understand you have to shuffle your pack,” he said.
He wants to make sure his squad remains fresh and if he thinks he can get through to the next round with a younger team, then so be it. It’s a great experience for those players. The only issue I have and he’s taking a liberty in some ways, is if he’s not actually going to be in the dugout. That’s where I draw the line. I think the manager should be in the dugout for every game. It doesn’t matter whether he’s putting out a depleted squad or not.”
This winter break is a whole new world for England, despite the fact that it’s common practice for the rest of Europe. Breaking those old habits and ways of thinking will take some time. But Klopp, who spent his playing career and most of his managerial time in Germany, has long been a vocal proponent of a winter break. It’s unsurprising that he would put his foot down and insist that they all get the break they were promised.
Since Liverpool are the first team to come across this problem, it’s possible that the boss has now set a precedent for other teams in this situation in seasons to come.