A couple of weeks ago Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp went off on a tirade against the Premier League scheduling gurus after the return leg of the Merseyside Derby was brought forward to the early kickoff slot on Saturday. His argument was that with the game against Everton sandwiched between two key Champions League quarterfinal clashes against Manchester City, playing a couple of hours earlier would be a disadvantage.
City also have a big game this weekend, playing their own Mancunian derby against Manchester United, but there is more riding on their tilt, as the Sky Blues can also lift the Premier League title with a win over their distant but closest rivals in the table.
However, what Klopp appears to be missing is that while the Reds will have a couple of hours at best less to recover from their efforts beating City last night, they’ll also have the same couple of hours more of recovery to prepare for what will be an interesting trip to Manchester on Tuesday.
“We play on Saturday at 12:30 and if you want to see games like this (an all-English quarterfinal), then the Premier League have to think about (rescheduling), have to think about it, really.
”Because that will be really tough (for Salah to face Everton), and probably Everton are more happy about the game (time) than we are, and that’s not fair.
”Being in international competition should not cause you problems. It should be something good, and not cause you problems.
”We have now a problem to find somehow players for Saturday, and everyone’s telling us it’s the most important game of the year, and that’s quite difficult.
”So I’m not really over the moon at the moment, I’m really angry about a few people who make decisions in this league.”
What exactly is Klopp getting at with his Derby bluster? Did he want it postponed only to complain about fixture congestion later?
With Everton being in the brutal form they currently are, the last thing he needs to worry about is the Blues having any kind of advantage going into a fixture they haven’t won in years now.
As for not having problems from being in international competition, Toffees will have little sympathy after having to deal with the Thursday-Sunday Europa League schedule, albeit only for six fixtures, earlier this season.
Liverpool’s star player Mohamed Salah picked up an injury and didn’t complete the game last night, and will likely be rested for the Derby to ensure he can play against City.
“After the game I asked (Salah) and he said: ‘I will be fine, I will be good.’
“But now we have to wait for the real diagnosis and not only Mo’s self-diagnosis, I don’t know in the moment.
”He came to the sideline and said he sometimes feels something. That was enough for me to not even ask the doc how he is and (I) immediately took him off the pitch.”
After blowing away the Premier League champions-elect last night, Klopp has the opportunity to rest some players for the Derby, so it’ll be interesting to see how many of his first team start on Saturday, especially after his latest rant.