Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp expresses his displeasure with the World Cup's impact on player welfare and offers his thoughts ahead of the Fulham game..
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp admits he is “really angry” about the World Cup’s potential impact on player welfare, and believes the competition is taking place at the “wrong time for the wrong reasons.”
The finals will be held in the middle of the season for the first time in their 92-year history, after being moved later this year due to concerns about summer heat in Qatar.
As a result, the Premier League, along with many other major leagues, will be closed for more than six weeks during the competition in November and December.
A number of Liverpool players are expected to be involved in the latter stages, meaning they are unlikely to be afforded much of a rest period before the Premier League resumes.
“If all the players then have a break, it is not a problem, it is good,” Klopp said. It’s similar to a winter break, which I had a lot of as a player in Germany, four weeks or so.
“The problem is the players who play the World Cup, that is just not okay but it is decided a long time ago.
“If you go to the final at a World Cup and win it or lose or a third-place match you are already quite busy and the then the rest starts a week later. When I start talking about it, I get really angry.”
Klopp added: “My problem is that as much as everybody knows it’s not right, nobody talks often enough about it that it will be changed. Something has to change. You cannot just constantly watch top-class players and say, ‘Oh my god, how they are great.’
“It is like with the climate. We all know it has to change but nobody is saying what we have to do. Why we wouldn’t talk about it and do it properly and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, FIFA, Premier League, FA, start talking to each other’.
“There must be one meeting where they all talk to each other and the only subject should be the most important part of this game, the players. It didn’t happen yet because the managers are in the jump seat, in out, in, out, why should we be concerned about the long-term effects?
“But now I am a long time here and some others talk from time to time to about it but all the rest has his own interest so that makes it not easy. This World Cup happens at the wrong moment for the wrong reasons.”
The Premier League season kicks off this weekend, with Liverpool visiting Fulham on Saturday. It then closes on November 12 before reopening on Boxing Day.
The Reds will take a short break before traveling to Dubai for a training camp, where they will be joined by those playing in Qatar once the tournament concludes.
When asked if the season could be divided into two sprints rather than a marathon, Klopp responded, “The second part is definitely no sprint, that is from December 26th until May, that is no sprint, until then we will see.”
“I understand the question, I just can’t see an answer it is a sprint you have to prepare really different, we didn’t, we prepare like we had to do for 15-16 games. We prepare because I am not smart enough to do it for 16 games.”