Jurgen Klopp has sounded his displeasure at the lack of consideration given to players yet again by the league and television broadcasters – and hinted at an early derby kick-off time.
Liverpool, along with all elite teams, face a series of unprecedented challenges this year, with essentially no pre-season, a condensed fixture schedule and the regular possibility of losing players to coronavirus.
Added to that, the international breaks are even more absurd than usual: an extra fixture has been thrust into the break, meaning triple-headers for European nations this month and next.
Factoring in that potential additional playing time and the ever-present threat of players coming back from all corners of the world potentially carrying the virus, clubs might have hoped for some sensitive handling of the domestic fixture list – but once more Klopp has had to point out that the broadcasters are simply in it for themselves.
In that message, the boss also appeared to suggest Liverpool will play Everton immediately after the international break in an early Saturday kick-off.
“In the end as a football club it’s often that you are alone in these moments,” he said to reporters.
“Premier League and TV broadcasters give us a challenge on top [of the other challenges with international football] because they don’t care about our players.
“If our players play in Peru for example, we still play Saturday early, that’s our problem, stuff like this.”
“You have to make sure you bring the players home as quickly and in the safest way possible. They arrive Friday, we do a [Covid-19] test and we wait and see if they are available for Saturday.”
The Reds’ Brazilian contingent play World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia on Saturday, 10 October and Peru on Wednesday, 14 October, meaning they’d likely return to Merseyside by Friday. The Reds play on Saturday, 17 October in the derby at Goodison Park—though the confirmed date and time has not yet been announced by the Premier League.
That is expected to follow soon, but Klopp clearly expects it to be the 12:30pm kick-off.
Klopp further acknowledged that communication from international FAs is difficult enough to contend with at the best of times, which can make arranging logistics all the more tricky for the club at a time like this.
“I don’t want to sound disrespectful and we don’t know too much about what other coutnries are doing. But if your family asked you to travel you would say ‘it’s not the right moment’.
“This [the UK] isn’t the safest place in the world but it’s the place we know. So yes im slightly concerned [that the players will travel] because it’s difficult to get in contact with all FAs all over the world.
“I understand 100 per cent the demands on FA, UEFA, FIFA. But it’s just not exactly perfect, the information we get from some, let’s say it like that.”
Liverpool were reported by some outlets to have had one coronavirus positive test in pre-season in Austria, with Kostas Tsimikas also testing positive in the last international break according to local Greek reports.
Thiago Alcantara is now similarly absent and in a 10-day period of self-isolation after testing positive before the Arsenal game earlier in the week.