Jurgen Klopp‘s FA Cup rival Paul Tisdale accepts playing in a certain fashion puts players at greater risk of injury.
Liverpool boss Klopp heads to Exeter for his FA Cup debut on Friday night with his training regime under huge scrutiny following a spate of hamstring problems at Anfield.
Klopp has a total of 11 first-team players unavailable for the third-round tie in Devon – including six either with or recovering from hamstring injuries – after playmaker Philippe Coutinho and defender Dejan Lovren were injured in the 1-0 Capital One Cup semi-final win at Stoke on Tuesday night.
The introduction of Klopp’s ‘gegenpressing’ style, after he took over from the sacked Brendan Rodgers, has been blamed in some quarters for the spate of injuries, and former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness said after the Stoke game that it was time for the German to consider modifying training.
Exeter counterpart Tisdale has some sympathy for Klopp given the amount of high-intensity football played in Britain, but he does feel that playing styles do influence the number of players spending time in the treatment room.
“Maybe the propensity for certain types of injury are different,” Tisdale said at his pre-match press conference.
“By definition if you play in a certain way, the ball is played in a certain area of the field and you play with a different flow I guess there will be (injuries).
“But it’s not something I can comment on, the way Liverpool have suffered their injuries.
“We’ve got players out, too, and we all suffer from injuries.
“There’s so much football with cup competitions and you expect players to train with so much intensity from Saturday to Saturday that injuries are a product of the modern game.
“You want to restrict them as much as possible, but there’s a lot of football played these days.
“We all want our players to play with a lot of intensity and really put themselves about, so I suppose it’s expected you will get injuries.”
On paper, the St James Park tie appears one of the mismatches of the third round with 76 places separating Exeter, 16th in Sky Bet League Two, and Liverpool, eighth in the Barclays Premier League.
Exeter have also lost their last four games with the televised cup-tie against seven-time winners Liverpool appearing to be a distraction.
And Tisdale admits that the glitz and glamour of the Premier League is a different world to the one which his players inhabit.
“It’s not the same sport as we play in League Two,” said Tisdale, whose nine-year reign at Exeter makes him the second longest-serving manager in English football after Arsenal‘s Arsene Wenger.
“We have to appreciate the differences but play our own game. Our job is to take what we see and focus our attention, because it is different.
“We’ve done our preparation the same way we do for most games, although we have had an opportunity to see them on TV.
“It’s going to be a League Two mid-winter pitch and it will be different to what Liverpool are used to, but I don’t want to come off it thinking we’ve left it short.
“The reality is it’s a game where we’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose – and I hope we’ve given it a good shot at the end.”