It is becoming a farce at this point.
Liverpool drew 1-1 with Brighton take the lead at the top of the Premier League table, but the Reds will be disappointed to not have all three points after VAR intervened to give a stoppage time penalty.
However, the overarching narrative was once again match overload and the injuries that result as the Reds lost another defensive option as James Milner left the game with what looked to be a hamstring complaint. It added to a horror list of defensive injuries for Jürgen Klopp as his vice-captain appears set to join the likes of Virgil Van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold on the physio’s table.
The Liverpool boss had expressed frustration coming into the match with the scheduling that assigned his side to the early kickoff despite having played Wednesday in the Champions League in 2-0 loss to Atalanta.
The irritation bubbled over in his post-match interview, with the German getting into a combative and extended debate with BT Sport’s Des Kelly over the lack of concern shown by the decision makers over player welfare.
“Yes, congratulations,” Klopp sarcastically responded when asked if Milner’s knock was in fact to the hamstring.
Kelly retorted that the broadcaster was not at fault for scheduling Liverpool for a time agreed upon by the Premier League and its shareholders. It led to a heated back and forth in which Klopp argued that, at the end of the day, the player welfare was not being adequately taken into consideration by all parties, but in this particular case, specifically by the broadcaster:
“Playing Saturday at 12:30 pm after playing on Wednesday is really dangerous for the players,” he continued adamantly.
“In this season it’s a bigger problem. Because of no preseason, because of the intensity, because of the shorter season. So, when BT Sport [picks Liverpool for] that slot, I say it’s not OK.”
The German manager has been leading calls for the Premier League to adopt the five substitution rule that the other major European leagues and even the rest of the English football pyramid have adopted amidst an unprecedentedly dangerous time for player health.
Klopp reiterated that that the current consensus among Premier League managers for implementing the rule change might be as much as 16 for it and only 4 against, expressing frustration that the proposal has not been brought up again as injuries continue to mount.
The 53-year-old called out Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder by name after the Blades manager openly criticized his Liverpool counterpart for advocating for five subs.
“[Brighton] had injuries as well. Surprise,” Klopp continued after the Gull’s leading scorer Neal Maupay was withdrawn with what also appeared to be a hamstring complaint. “But ask Chris Wilder how we can avoid [injuries].
“Nothing’s happened,” Klopp admitted incredulously of lack of movement since the latest manager call regarding five subs. He then concluded by throwing in a dig at the last place side.
“Chris Wilder says constantly that I am selfish. I think all the things he says shows he is selfish. They have three subs and one point if I am right.”