Jurgen Klopp has slammed the UK’s broadcasters in Sky and BT for not caring about player welfare due to outrageous fixture scheduling which is resulting in increased injuries.
Klopp has been consistently vocal of his desire to see player welfare protected and form part of the discussion around when fixtures are scheduled, especially for those competing in Europe.
The German takes his stance not as Liverpool manager, but as an advocate for the players who supply the product BT and Sky fork out significant funds for as they are the ones paying the price.
Liverpool returned from the international break with a 3-0 win over Leicester but will have had just 64 hours to prepare for Atalanta’s visit on Wednesday before they kick off at Brighton at 12.30pm on Saturday.
It is a short turnaround consistently faced by those competing in European competitions and Klopp has again warned of the injuries set to mount and how change is required in a season like no other.
“It was never about us when I spoke about it, it was about all the players,” Klopp told Sky Sports post-match in an interview not shown in the UK.
“It’s about the England players, all the players who play the European championship. If you don’t start talking to BT [Sport] and Sky we are all done.
“Sky and BT have to talk because if we keep playing on Wednesday and Saturday 12:30, I’m not sure if we will finish the season with 11 players – all the top six or seven.
“I know you [the broadcasters] don’t care and that’s the problem. We’ve discussed it for a long time and nothing’s happened.
“Everybody tells me it’s difficult, it’s difficult here, it’s difficult there but it’s really difficult for the players – that’s what is difficult, the rest if just a decision on a desk in an office.
“We keep it like is, I’m happy about the game tonight but we lost another midfielder, and how you saw on the bench we don’t have many of them, and that’s the situation.
“But it’s not about us, I want to discuss these things completely calm but the problem is everybody whatever I say, it’s ‘he talks about Liverpool’.
“I don’t talk about Liverpool, I talk about all the football players out there. Yesterday, [Gerard] Pique, massive knee injury. Today, [Bukayo] Saka, maybe, I’m not sure, looked like a knee injury – he played all three games for England during the international break.
“Now people tell us to rotate, but who? We have some offensive players but the rest are kids. We fight with all we have but if we do not start talking you will see what happens.
“It’s a massive problem [the broadcasters]. Wednesday and Saturday 12:30pm is a broadcaster problem and nothing else. People tell me if we need to change that we need a shareholder meeting, for what!
“Because [Sky] pick first the team and then BT starts picking us and we play against Atalanta on Wednesday and then 12:30 [Saturday] at Brighton.
“It’s an early Christmas present. We will show up there shaking. I think about sending the points. That’s how it is.
“We cannot change 10 or 11 positions because it is impossible because we can’t just show up, we have to win the football game.”
Sky Sports’ Geoff Shreeves looked to make note of the fact that clubs agreed to a deal with the broadcasters but Klopp was right to point out that is was one made before COVID-19 forced a full season to be played out in a shorter period of time.
“Gentlemen, start talking and making decisions. I like the relationship with you [Geoff Shreeves], with Sky, that’s not the problem.
“If someone tells me again about contracts I’ll go really nuts. Because these contracts aren’t made for a Covid season.
“We all have to adapt. Everything’s changed, but the contracts with the broadcasters is still: ‘We have this, so we keep this’. What? Everything changed, the whole world changed!”