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Conte Takes a Page Out of Mourinho’s Complaining Playbook

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By bemoaning fixture congestion, of course.

Liverpool v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Complaining about scheduling and the Premier League. It’s a time-honored tradition, and one likely to continue well into the future. Whereas other leagues have winter breaks, the Premier League doubles down over the festive period. Whereas other leagues try to better accommodate clubs with European commitments, the English FA has a hardy laugh over the matter.

While both Liverpool and Chelsea had to travel for the Champions League, it was Chelsea who needed to travel all the way to Azerbaijan and back. Chelsea’s manager, Antonio Conte, is none too pleased about having to play again on Saturday evening.

“We have to work during the flight, to prepare the game against Liverpool,” Conte explained. (Those must have been some interesting player drills to have in the aisle of the plane).

“To have only one day to rest and only one day to prepare this big game is not simple, is not easy. I think also it’s not right.

“I don't want to make excuses, but this is the reality. Also, when people hear the complaints of the coach, also someone has to help us. The press, the TV, to underline this strange situation.”

Obviously this isn’t an ideal situation. And really, the Premier League should do better at spacing games and allowing for more recovery time between fixtures. That said, playing in Europe is a privilege for the best clubs in England, and one that comes with a significant financial benefit.

With or without the appropriate rest, Liverpool-Chelsea is a match that should bring out the best in both sides. And Liverpool’s one day’s extra rest isn’t likely to give them a significant advantage.

Complaining at least has one tangible benefit for Conte: either he’ll look like a genius if Chelsea win, or he’ll have a reasonable excuse if they don’t.