London – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp on Friday stepped up his calls to protect players from burn-out after claiming England’s festive fixture pile-up was bad for the sport.
Klopp is one of a growing number of Premier League managers frustrated by the demands placed on top-flight teams by England’s domestic competitions and television’s unquenchable thirst to show the games.
Liverpool are down to 12 fit senior outfield players after a host of injuries in recent weeks, while Tottenham star Harry Kane suffered a torn hamstring on New Year’s Day and Newcastle lost four players in one match.
Klopp believes coaches and football people should be included in the discussion with the sport’s governing bodies and television companies to ensure a proper solution can be found.
“I told what I had to say to UEFA personally, I told FIFA sometimes in interviews because I don’t know anyone there and I don’t think the Premier League, FA (Football Association) or Football League are in any doubt of my opinion,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“I just do that not because of me but because I think someone has to speak for the players.
“If you have a good friend and you see him twice a year, brilliant. Best time of your life. If you see him every day you think after five days ‘What the heck?’.
“But what we do is throw football at the people. How many games were on Boxing Day? There were maybe some men, probably, who watched all of them live.
“I don’t think that’s good for their relationship. It’s not good for mine and I already watch a lot of football.”
Klopp wants all parties to get together and come up with a sustainable plan and he has volunteered to attend.
“The solution is to bring all these people together and try to think one time in all these negotiations about the players,” he added.
“Other people are sitting there and they are not football people. We need to talk with football people, I think there is a solution possible.
“We love this game but in the end we have to make sure that we can all come through and in the end the best team wins and not the most lucky with injuries. If you need me in the discussion I am pretty much there.”