With Leicester City beating Manchester United on Tuesday, Liverpool’s top four hopes look all but done. And given United played a weakened squad for that match, it was inevitable that Jürgen Klopp would be asked about the situation.
However, while the Reds’ boss might not be happy Leicester were given a boost in the top four race at Liverpool’s expense, he doesn’t blame United for making the changes and says he would have done the same in their place.
“It was the lineup I expected because I knew he had to make these changes,” Klopp noted at his pre-match press conference. “To play Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday is a crime. It is not the fault of Ole Gunnar Solskjær and the players.
“So my question to myself is would I have done the same? Yes, you have to. We are late in a season, all the players have played an awful lot of games. But now United have the weekend off, so they play now Thursday and then have time off.
“I’m not doing the schedule, but the explanation from the Premier League was no other team should suffer because of the things that happened in Manchester. Let me say that didn’t work out pretty well for West Ham or Liverpool.”
Klopp added that when looking the schedules, he thought the sensible solution would have been for Liverpool to move their game against West Brom to mid-week and play United on the weekend to evenly space the games for both sides.
Whether out of respect for West Brom or at the behest of broadcasters looking to preserve the weekend schedule and give the rescheduled Liverpool-United match a headlining weekday evening time slot, the league chose otherwise.
At the end of the day, though, if as seems likely Liverpool don’t finish in the top four, the reason will be too many dropped points in 2021 and not one game where a rival for the Champions League places got a slightly easier go of it.
“If we don’t go to the Champions League it’s only our fault, but in this specific case I think it should have been done differently,” the Liverpool manager added. “But our plan was to win all the games we play now and we don’t change that.”