Nuno Espirito Santo joins Jurgen Klopp in criticising “absurd” festive fixture list

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Wolves manager Nuno Espirito Santo used his preview of Sunday’s clash with Liverpool to criticise the Premier League‘s “absurd” festive schedule.

Nuno’s side head to Anfield this afternoon for their final game of 2019, which comes less than 48 hours after sealing a last-minute 3-2 win over Man City.

Wolves fought back from 2-0 down to overcome City for the second time this season, ensuring Liverpool head into their meeting 14 points ahead of the champions.

The Reds will be comparatively well-rested, having last played on Boxing Day, but as Jurgen Klopp has repeatedly stressed, this is a ridiculously demanding period for all sides.

Speaking in his pre-match press conference—held directly after Friday night’s win at Molineux—Nuno described the fixture list as “absurd” and confirmed he would be making changes on Merseyside.

“What we are doing now, and the players are doing, is recovering. It’s started already,” he explained.

“Every minute that passes is 45 [hours] minus. I never saw…playing a game against a tough team with 45 hours between games.

“It’s going to be very tough. Now let’s not think how we’re going to do it, let’s think rest and recovery, and then we think about how we’re going to play.

“[The players] are good, they are confident, but the 10, 11 [kilometres run] are there, that doesn’t change. They ran a lot today, a lot, it requires a lot of effort.

“Of course [we will make changes]. It’s absurd. There’s no explanation, all the decisions that we make are going to be based on us, how we are to play football.

“It’s there. It’s not only Wolves, it’s for all the teams. All the managers, all the players are concerned.

“We cannot do anything, we have to survive.”

Nuno dismissed the suggestion of making wholesale changes, with the Wolves staff taking an ad hoc approach with those who are capable of playing twice in such a short space of time.

Klopp is also set to rotate his side for Liverpool’s 19th game of the league campaign, telling reporters before the game that “fresh legs” will be required.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 4, 2019: Liverpools Divock Origi celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Fortunately, the Reds have a bigger squad than their opponents despite injuries to Fabinho, Joel Matip, Dejan Lovren and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain—who are all set to be back by February.

James Milner, Adam Lallana, Xherdan Shaqiri and Divock Origi are among those who could come in to start today, while youngsters Neco Williams and Curtis Jones are likely to be on the bench.

But while Klopp has adapted to the situation in his time with Liverpool, he echoed Nuno’s sentiments as he labelled it “a crime” to play twice in 48 hours.

“This year we play 26th and 29th and it is like a holiday. I understand all those saying it should not happen. They are not moaning,” he said.

“It would not be a problem to play 26th and 29th with more teams.

“There is no reason why more teams do not get more than 48 hours between a Premier League game.”

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