Brighton boss backs Jurgen Klopp over “complex” issue of fixtures schedule

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Brighton boss Graham Potter says he can sympathise with Liverpool counterpart Jurgen Klopp over the scheduling of this weekend’s Premier League clash between the clubs.

Klopp, whose side lost 2-0 at home against Atalanta in the Champions League on Wednesday, said it was “nearly a crime” that it had been decided the contest at the Amex Stadium would kick off at 12.30pm on Saturday.

The German also expressed unhappiness about the 12.30pm Saturday kick-off slot earlier this month as he spoke about players getting injured and stressed his belief the five substitute rule should be in operation in the English top flight.

Potter, another manager in favour of allowing Premier League clubs to make five substitutions per match this season, says he can “certainly understand” Klopp’s position, although admits the scheduling situation is “really complex”.

Potter said: “I can understand where he is coming from. I also get the challenge of TV and revenue and all the rest of the things. Certainly those top teams have got challenges with Europe.

“That’s why I voted at the start for five subs, because I think it doesn’t necessarily fix the problem but it can help – unfortunately we didn’t pass that through as a league.

“The bit for Jurgen, which I get, is 12.30pm seems an extreme one when you have played at 8pm on a Wednesday night.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold crosses the ball under pressure from Brighton & Hove Albion's Alexis Mac Allister during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“There are lots of things going on and that’s why I thought the five subs rule was quite a sensible one, to alleviate the problem.

“I think the bigger problem is the fact that historically, culturally in this country…we just play a lot. But everything has just been made worse because of the circumstances of a global pandemic.

“Then on the flipside to that you’ve got revenue which is important for the clubs, and the TV companies provide that.

“So it’s a really complex situation, but I can certainly understand Jurgen’s points and it’s a real challenge for all of us.”

Asked if Saturday 12.30pm kick-offs were needed this season, Potter said: “I’m not the guy who knows about what the TV companies pay for. I can understand why they would want to have the product at the time they paid for it. Whether you have to renegotiate, that’s not for me to talk about.

“And at the same time, we’re in a world where there’s a lot of people suffering, people are losing their jobs. It’s not just football and footballers that are suffering, everybody is, so I suppose we (football) just have to suck it up as best as we can.

“But I totally get Jurgen’s point, I understand and sympathise with (it). They have certainly got it more complicated than we have because of the games and the schedule they have.

BRIGHTON & HOVE, ENGLAND - Wednesday, July 8, 2020: Liverpool's Sadio Mané and Brighton & Hove Albion's Tariq Lamptey during the FA Premier League match between Brighton & Hove Albion FC and Liverpool FC at the AMEX Stadium. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

“And then I can flip it and say their players they could rest the other night probably would, without any disrespect, get into our team. It’s so complex, but I totally understand where he is coming from.”

Brighton’s ex-Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana will be assessed ahead of Saturday’s match after coming off at half-time during the 2-1 win at Aston Villa last weekend.

Solly March is expected to be available despite a slight ankle issue and the fit-again Leondro Trossard could make his return the matchday squad.

Tariq Lamptey is suspended following his red card at Villa Park.

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