Jurgen Klopp has hit back at Chris Wilder for his “selfish” remarks as he continued to fight his corner pertaining to the sub-rule and the intense schedule which saw his side have just a 63-hour turnaround.
The Reds were left with a short turnaround, just 63 hours in fact, from their defeat to Atalanta on Wednesday until their early Saturday afternoon kickoff at Brighton.
The reduced time to recover is compounded by a relentless schedule and season like no other and continues to be at a disadvantage after a majority ruling by the Premier League at the start of the season decided to discontinue the use of five substitutes.
It a battle Klopp has taken centre-stage with as he fights for player welfare but has met opposition with Sheffield United’s Chris Wilder, among others, with the Blades’ boss having labelled the German “selfish” for his position last week.
And after James Milner became the latest injury casualty after playing three games in the space of six days, Klopp took another opportunity to stand his ground in a heated interview with BT’s Des Kelly.
“Congratulations,” Klopp sarcastically responded in his post-match interview with BT Sport after being asked about Milner’s injury. “They have injuries as well but ask Chris [Wilder] how we can avoid that.
“I don’t know how often I can say this, you picked the 12.30pm [kickoff], not you personally but you did it. Us at 12.30.
“So between now and December and the new year there’s one more Wednesday and then 12.30.
“I said it a couple of times, these are difficult times.
“I’m not having a go at the broadcaster I just say how it is, after Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 is really, really dangerous for the players.
“Why did you pick us again for Crystal Palace [at 12.30 after midweek game] if you care?
“It’s such a special season you obviously lied on things we agreed in another time.
“That’s very interesting now,” he continued on the five sub debate. “When we had the talk between the managers a week ago it was 15-5, if not 16-4 for five subs. Since then nothing happened.
“You need at least 14 votes but Chris Wilder or whoever says constantly that I’m selfish.
“So, I think, all the things he’s said shows he’s selfish but it’s not too important. I was in a similar situation as he was when I worked at Mainz and it was only all about staying in the league.
A fascinating interview between Jurgen Klopp and @TheDesKelly discussing Liverpool's draw with Brighton, the Reds' injuries and fixture schedule. pic.twitter.com/s0BhahlUsP
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) November 28, 2020
“But they have now three subs and one point so there’s no advantage or disadvantage. So if you can do five subs in a game like this, it’s not for tactical reasons.
“For example, today with five subs I take off Robbo 100 percent and bring Kostas Tsimikas on to save Robbo not to make our game better or whatever, just to save him.
“That’s the situation, so it’s not about changing tactics or the system or to bring five players on at one time. It’s not like this.
“It’s just to save the players. Yes, of course, I say my players but it’s about all – it’s not only my players that have that problem.
“So, here you will see it from now on to December, we will see it and then we can we will see what happens.
“I’m 100 percent sure you’re going to rephrase what I’ve said but what I want to say is I only go for the broadcasters for the Wednesday and 12.30.
“Only seven managers have the same problem and they all agree. But the problem is we have a contract, we signed a contract. Yes, our CEOs or our shareholders did that, it’s true.
“It’s not a problem, okay in all seasons it is a problem but in this season it is a bigger problem. It’s a bigger problem because of no pre-season, the intensity, the shorter season.
“I say it’s not okay. I am not selfish, but I speak about Liverpool, until this year is over and the power of this season we have this slot three times.
“I spoke a lot about it but look who else has it three times? No one. So, of course, it’s a problem for me, it’s a problem for me to pick a team. That’s my problem.”