Jurgen Klopp has reached his limit with the alarmingly quickly growing list of injuries to star Liverpool players, and the Reds boss says he is not at all certain “if we will finish the season with 11 players.”
Klopp’s ire is nearly solely reserved for the UK’s television broadcast rights holders as he feels the process of scheduling games, which is largely decided by the broadcast partners as their prioritize more desirable games over those that are less so, is to blame.
Speaking after his side’s 3-0 victory over Leicester City on Sunday, Klopp took his opportunity to (once again) rail against the television broadcasters as well as the Premier League’s decision to not retain the five-substitutes rule for the 2020-21 season.
Whichever side of the five-subs debate you fall on, Klopp makes a compelling — and passionate — case as the injuries pile up for Liverpool and other PL sides…
“It’s a completely different type of challenge we have this year. It’s really tough how we discuss the necessity of changes — I can’t believe that. Why we [made substitutions] late is because we constantly have to think that somebody will go down with a muscle injury. We cannot make changes early, because we change [one player] early and another one [gets] a muscle injury and you end the game with nine players.
“I always said it was never about us when I spoke about [the five-substitution rule]. It’s all about all of the players, it’s about the England players, it’s about all the players that will play in the European Championship next summer.
“If we keep playing [every] Wednesday and Saturday at 12:30, I am not sure if we will finish the season with 11 players — all of the top-six and -seven teams.”
“We discussed it already for a long time, and nothing happened. Everybody tells me it’s difficult — it’s difficult here, it’s difficult there — but it’s difficult for the players, that’s what is difficult. The rest is just a decision on a desk in an office.
“If we keep it like this, if you want to see this spectacle, I’m happy about the game tonight but we lost another midfielder.”
“I want to discuss this completely calm. The problem is: whatever I say — maybe it’s my language — it’s like ‘He talks about Liverpool.’ I don’t talk about Liverpool, I talk about the football players out there. … People us to rotate — who? We have offensive players we could rotate, yes, but the rest are kids. That’s how it is.”
“[The Premier League] has two teams that play Champions League on Tuesday night and two that play Champions League on Wednesday night, then we have teams that play Europa League on Thursday night.
“[This week,] we play at Atalanta on Wednesday night and 12:30 at Brighton [on Saturday]. It’s like an early Christmas present, we will show up there shaking [from fatigue]. I am thinking about sending the points [to Brighton]. That’s how it is … it’s a problem. We cannot change 10 or 11 positions because we can’t only show up, we have to win football games.”
“If somebody tells me again about [broadcast] contracts, I will go really nuts. This is a COVID season, we all have to adapt. You adapt, we adapt, you stand there with a face mask, we adapt to the situation. Would you have thought a year ago you would ever go somewhere with a face mask and have to stand there and we cannot be close like this? That’s the situation, and everything changed, but the contract with the broadcasters says, ‘Nope, we have this so we keep this.’ What? Everything changed, the whole world changed. That’s it.”