Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticized the scheduling of his team’s Premier League clash against Manchester City after the international break, accusing those responsible of lacking a true understanding of football.
The Reds are set to travel to Manchester on Saturday, November 25, with the kickoff moved forward from the original 3 pm slot to the earlier 12:30 pm TV slot. While the game was always slated for a time other than 3 pm due to broadcasting restrictions in England, Klopp takes issue with the immediate scheduling after an international break when Liverpool’s players are returning from duty worldwide.
This season, Liverpool has played at 12:30 pm following both the September and October international breaks, winning against Wolves and Everton on both occasions. However, Klopp emphasizes that the unfairness of the timing applies to both Liverpool and Manchester City.
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In the aftermath of the weekend win over Brentford, Klopp commented, “The boys responded sensationally well, but now they all go, and when we come back, we can only train once before we play Man City. No one can say I’m moaning, but how can you put a game like this on Saturday at 12:30 pm? Honestly, the people making these decisions cannot feel football; it is just not possible.”
“You have these two teams who have altogether probably 30 international players. They all come back on the same plane by the way, all the South American players. They all fly back [together], we put them on the plane from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia. One plane and they arrive here. It’s mad. But we just have to make sure we are ready.”
Although travel between Liverpool and Manchester on a Saturday won’t be dramatically affected by the time change, there are increasing general concerns that matchgoing fans, as well as players, are an afterthought when it comes to broadcasters choosing their TV picks.
Next month will see the first Premier League match to be played on Christmas Eve in 28 years after Chelsea’s trip to face Wolves was chosen to be broadcast that day by Sky Sports. Supporters’ trusts from both clubs criticised the move amid travel and staffing concerns.