It’s that time of year again: the holiday fixture list! And with it comes Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp to explain how horrible the scheduling is for the league.
Unlike past years, Liverpool have gotten off with a decent schedule, getting 3-4 days between each league contest. Not every team got so lucky, including our next opponents, Wolves, who play City tomorrow night before traveling to Anfield on Sunday.
“None of us managers have a problem with Boxing Day [fixtures], none of us,” Kloppo explained in his pre-match presser, “But playing on the 26th and 28th is a crime. It is absolutely not OK and we still have it.
“This year we don’t have it, we have the 26th and the 29th and it is like a holiday. I understand all the others who are, not moaning, but who are telling that it just should not happen. Not for the spectacle, not for anything.
“It would not be a problem to play the 26th and 29th with more teams. There is no reason for giving teams less than 48 hours to play another Premier League game.
“Sports science doesn’t really give you something to deal with it because things are just like they are. The body needs a specific amount of time to go again, that’s how it is. It depends how long you have to do something, but it’s easy – it’s science.
“But we ignore that completely, we just look and think, ‘Oh my God, they look strange when they run again today’ and that’s the situation.”
It probably won’t matter this year, but at least Klopp is making an effort even when it doesn’t affect him directly. It’s easy to moan when things go against you, but even easier to say nothing when things are going your way.
His statement also speaks to his character, and his concern for players’ safety—and not just his own. Clearly his own sports scientists are none-too-pleased by this constant pressure on Liverpool’s core group of players to dust themselves off and go again. And for teams with smaller squads, the strain is even more difficult to overcome.
Of course, the Premier League is too busy counting money from TV deals to be concerned with things like “player safety” or “quality performances.” It wouldn’t be shocking for Liverpool to draw the short straw next season, and then for the media to jump on Klopp’s case for “moaning” about it.