Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is not happy with this year’s winter World Cup that he says is happening at the wrong time and for the wrong reasons.
The German was speaking to the press ahead of Liverpool’s opening day encounter with Fulham on Saturday and he said talking about the World Cup makes him ‘angry’.
Klopp was asked about whether the new Premier League season is still a marathon or now two sprints thanks to the winter World Cup and that led to a spectacular rant.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says football’s governing bodies have to think about the players
‘The second part is definitely no sprint because December 26 is first game I think and until May. That’s no sprint. I understand the question, but I can’t see a real answer.
‘I haven’t heard it yet where someone say ‘it’s a sprint and we have to prepare completely different’ – we didn’t. We prepared like we had to. For 15, 16 games you prepare like you have to prepare.
‘If all the players have a break then it’s not a problem, it’s rather good. It’s like a winter break like I had when I played in Germany a lot. Four weeks, winter breaks like this. It’s good, we know how to deal with that. But other players will play the World Cup for a long time. It just… just not OK.
‘It’s decided long ago, for how everybody says the ‘right reasons’ and that’s it. If you reach the semi-final then you’re are already quite busy and then the rest starts a week later.
‘With these things, I was not angry at all before I came in but then we start talking about it I really get angry.
‘In the end, my problem is that as much as everybody knows it’s not right, nobody talks often enough about it for it to change. Something has to change. You can’t just have top-class players constantly watch them. “Oh my god, aren’t they great?” That doesn’t work.
Klopp says ‘something has to change’ with the pressures and demands placed on top players
‘It’s like with the climate. We all know we have to change but nobody is really asking what we have to do. And I’m in that as well, no doubt about that.
‘[But I don’t know] why we wouldn’t talk about it and just do it properly and say ‘Ladies and gentlemen, FIFA, UEFA, Premier League, FA, please start talking to each other.’
‘There must be one meeting where they all sit together and the only subject must be – the most important part of this game – the players. It didn’t happen yet because the managers are on a jump seat pretty much. We are in-out, in-out, in-out, why should we be concerned with long-term effects and stuff like this. I’ve been a bit longer here and some others as well so we talk from time to time about it but all the rest have his own interest and that makes it not easier.
‘So this World Cup happens at the wrong moment for the wrong reasons. But, everything is fine.’
Both Jordan Henderson and Virgil Van Dijk are likely to be busy this winter at the World Cup
Liverpool will lose key men like Jordan Henderson, Virgil Van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Thiago and many others to the showpiece in Qatar, but players like Mohamed Salah, Luis Diaz and Andrew Robertson won’t be going as their nations didn’t qualify.
It’s understood players not involved in the upcoming World Cup will still be heading to the middle-east as part of the club’s winter training camp taking place in Dubai.
Klopp says he has been having conversations with other managers regarding the workload of players in today’s game and it seems Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is on the same wavelength.
Thomas Tuchel says players are already thinking about the World Cup in November
Also speaking at his press conference ahead of the new season, the former PSG manager said players are already thinking about the tournament that kicks off in November.
‘It does not make so much sense. The players are very focused on this World Cup already. It is a good thing as they come back in shape. It is a bad thing as they already thinking about November.
‘We will see how it influences the players and performances in October. They will come back physically and emotionally drained. Five days later we have Boxing Day. Players are excited about the World Cup and we try to turn it around and use it.’