Jurgen Klopp has compared authorities ignoring the issues with a World Cup in Qatar with climate change, and urged “something has to change” for the players.
Despite major human rights concerns in Qatar, including in preparations for the World Cup, the tournament will take place there this winter.
It is the first time the World Cup will not take place in the summer, with intense heat during Arabian summers making it impossible to host in the off-season.
That means there will be a pause to the domestic calendar, with the Premier League due to break from mid-November to the end of December, forcing an early start and a congested fixture list.
For clubs like Liverpool, that has presented a unique challenge in preparing for the season ahead, and asked about the situation in his pre-Fulham press conference, Klopp was left “angry.”
“With these things, I was not angry at all before I came in, but when we start talking about it I really get angry,” he said.
“And with you [in the media] as well, because in my opinion you misunderstand your job in these moments.
“You say ‘we wrote it’ and stuff like this, but my problem is, as much as everybody knows it’s not right, nobody talks often enough about it that it will be changed.
“Something has to change. You can’t just [have] top-class players and constantly watch them, ‘oh my god, aren’t they great?’. That doesn’t work.
“It’s like with the climate. We all know we have to change but nobody is really [asking] ‘what do we have to do?’.
“I mean that as well, no doubt about that, but why wouldn’t we really talk about that, just do it properly, and say ‘ladies and gentlemen of FIFA, UEFA, Premier League, FA, please start talking to each other’.
“There must be one meeting where they all sit together and the only subject should be the most important part of this game: the players.
“That didn’t happen yet.
“Because the managers are in the jumpseat pretty much – we are in, we are out – why should we be concerned about long-term effects and stuff like this?
“Now I am a little bit longer here, some others as well, so we talk from time to time about it, but all the rest have their own interests. That makes it not easy.
“So this World Cup happens in the wrong moment for the wrong reasons. But everything is fine!”
As Klopp circled back to his primary concern – the wellbeing of the players – he detailed the problems he and his staff are facing heading into 2022/23.
Liverpool will see a number of their first team depart for the tournament, while the remainder will be given a short break before a mid-season training camp in Dubai.
But the manager was unsure whether the campaign could be seen as two ‘sprints’ rather than the usual ‘marathon’.
“The second part is definitely not a sprint, because that’s from the 26th of December, I think that’s the first game, until May. That’s no sprint,” he continued.
“Until then, we will see. I understand the question, I just can’t see a real answer, I didn’t hear it yet that somebody said ‘yeah, it’s a sprint, we have to prepare completely different’.
“We didn’t. We prepared like we had to. We didn’t prepare for 15, 16 games, we prepared like we prepare, because I’m not smart enough to do that for 16 games, to be honest.
“For all the players who then have a break, it’s not a problem – it’s rather good, it’s like a winter break, which I had when I was a player in Germany a lot, four weeks’ winter break and stuff like this.
“For them, it’s good. We know how to deal with that.
“The problem is the other players who play in the World Cup for a long time, it’s just not OK.
“But it’s decided long ago for, how everybody says, the ‘right reasons’. That’s it.
“If you go to the final at the World Cup, win it or lose it, [even] if you reach the semi-final, then you are already quite busy. Then the rest starts a week later.”