Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp slammed British broadcasters Sky and BT on Sunday over match scheduling that he says is leading to more player injuries.
Asked by Sky Sports why he waited until the 89th minute of his side’s 3-0 win over Leicester City to make two of his three substitutions, Klopp launched a broadside about the frequency of games.
“Why we change late is because we constantly have to think that somebody will go down with an injury. We cannot change early, because we change early and the other one has an injury, and you end the game with nine players,” Klopp said.
“It’s about all the players, it’s about the England players, it’s about all the players who will play the European Championship next summer — if you [Sky] don’t start talking to BT, we’re done.”
The COVID-19 pandemic caused the previous season to finish late and the current campaign to be condensed into a shorter period.
The 53-year-old German believes that the scheduling of Champions League matches, which are broadcast by BT, and the Premier League, which is broadcast by Sky and BT, is putting a strain on players and causing injuries.
“If we keep playing Wednesday and Saturday at 12:30 [local time], I’m not sure if you’ll finish the season with 11 players. All the top six are the same, but I know you [the broadcasters] don’t care, and that’s the problem,” Klopp told Sky.
Reuters has contacted Sky and BT for comment.
Already missing a slew of players to injury, including influential centre-backs Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez and midfielders Jordan Henderson and Thiago Alcantara, Klopp suffered another blow when Naby Keita had to be replaced in the 53rd minute against Leicester.
“People tell us we can rotate — who? We have offensive players, the rest are kids. That’s how it is. It’s all OK, we fight with what we have, but if you [broadcasters] do not start talking, you will see what happens,” he said.
“We cannot change 10, 11 positions, that’s not possible. We can’t only show up, we have to win the football games.”
Klopp said that the pandemic had forced football into making many changes over the last few months and dismissed suggestions that it would be difficult to adjust the schedule to give squads more time to recuperate.
“It’s really difficult for the players, that’s what is difficult — the rest is just a decision on a desk in an office,” he said.