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The excessive number of games returns to take center stage in English football. It is not a new issue in the UK, but after Liverpool's last match in the Carabao Cup and the 'reds' moving on to the next round of the tournament, the accumulation of fixtures is a reality for Jürgen Klopp’s team, who exploded after the match and threatened not to present his side to face the cup quarterfinals.
'The Mane's, Salah's, Henderson's... they have two weeks off a year!"— Optus Sport (@OptusSport) November 2, 2019
With 17 matches in Liverpool's next 9 weeks of football, Jurgen Klopp has urged for football's governing bodies to think of player welfare when considering future fixtures.#PremierLeague #OptusSport pic.twitter.com/Nn8wcyntRd
“If they don't find an appropriate place - and I don't mean Christmas Day 3 am - then we don't play (that game). If they don't find a proper date and we can't play the next round, then whoever our opponent is will go through, or Arsenal plays. I think a lot of people from the Premier League were sitting watching on television hoping Arsenal can do it. But I'm sorry,” were the words of the German coach after their win against the ‘gunners’ in a game where he used a completely alternative team full of youngsters from the academy.
The reality is that this is a recurring problem for English teams and other major European league clubs, which encounter domestic and international competitions that force them to play every three or four days for several months in a row. Thus, the leading teams reach the second part of the season with a great accumulation of fatigue that shows in the form of injuries and a lower level of football.
If Liverpool decides not to appear for the next round of the Carabao Cup, they would undoubtedly receive a strong punishment from the FA, but they would also send a clear message to the world of football to try to change things once and for all. English football had its peak at the continental level last year when the four finalists of the Champions League and the Europa League were representatives of the Premier League, but the winners add new matches and tournaments, such as the Club World Cup for Liverpool, which add to a calendar in which there are almost no spaces to rest.
"It's obvious that it is too much. Everybody involved in the game would tell you and you know it as well. The situation is clear. The solutions are possible but there is not one day anyone discusses anything about the players and not about their wallet," Klopp continued before the last league game. "If you have a fixture list where one team cannot be part of all the games, then you have to think about the fixture list. Hopefully it starts now. I really think that's fair, and this problem is obvious now," he completed after the match.
"People can say 'make more extensive squads'. But football is not made for bigger squads. You cannot have 40 players and then send 20 on vacation until January and pay them all. It is not possible," Klopp insisted before adding: "Right now there is an imbalance between the number of players in the squad, the competitions there are and the difference between the rest that the players would need and the one they really have. A player who is international and is in all competitions with his team have two weeks of vacation per year,” he concluded.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola backed Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp's call for soccer authorities to reduce the number of matches players face pic.twitter.com/2ovCvNHoKt— Reuters (@Reuters) November 1, 2019
From the other great protagonist of the Premier, Manchester City, came the support for the German coach from a benchmark like Pep Guardiola. "I totally agree with Jürgen on this issue. There should be fewer games, less competition and more rest. I already participated in several meetings to discuss this, but in the end, nothing is done. We only talk about this," the Spaniard claimed about a problem which threatens to unleash a big crisis in English and world football.
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