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Jurgen Klopp not willing to engage in fresh debate over Premier League fixtures

Liverpool v Atalanta – UEFA Champions League – Group D – Anfield
(Image credit: Peter Powell)

Complaining about the tough fixture schedule over the festive period is a waste of time, according to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Reds head to Brighton for a Saturday 12.30 kick-off after a midweek Champions League match – one of his pet hates – and have been given a similar Wednesday-Saturday turnaround next month when they play Tottenham and Crystal Palace.

However, having regularly spoken about his objections to it, Klopp was in no mood to talk about the subject with limited time to prepare ahead of the Seagulls match.

“I’ve got 25 hours now to prepare for a game. Whatever I say doesn’t help so I’ll stop talking about it. It changes nothing. It’s just a waste of time,” he said.

“My thoughts are clear but this isn’t the time for me to speak about it. The last thing I want is to create a headline but you say I’ve given up.

“I speak in a general way. A general problem. Wednesday/Saturday 12.30, you have to ask other people why they do that. I don’t have the answer.”

A packed Christmas schedule has been a staple of English football for years, and it had been feared 2020-21 could be especially problematic after the season started late due to the coronavirus pandemic.

However, no club has a gap between games of less than 48 hours and only four clubs have a gap of exactly 48 hours.

Last season, for comparison, five clubs had a gap of less than 48 hours and six clubs had a gap of exactly 48 hours.

Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl sympathised with Klopp, and accepted the bigger clubs faced the toughest challenges with congestion.

Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the demands on clubs at the very top, like Liverpool, are especially tough

Ralph Hasenhuttl believes the demands on clubs at the very top, like Liverpool, are especially tough (Nick Potts/PA)

“I understand him completely because the schedule they have is massive,” the Austrian said.

“If you are here at the top of the mountain, the wind is the strongest, then you have to face it.

“We are a little bit further down the mountain so it is a little bit nicer to live there, but maybe you get more often the rain.”

West Ham manager David Moyes admits he was surprised that no competition had been scrapped or shortened in any way to allow for the later start date.

“This has now been squashed into a really small period, but I was really hoping when this happened that we might have found that one of the cup competitions or some part of football would have altered to help the situation, but no one was willing to do that,” he said.

“So it’s meant that the players are the ones suffering for it, and the games are coming thick and fast.

“I have to say, here at West Ham we’ve been fine, I wish we were in Europe and I hope we will be in the future but I have to say it’s a hard shift for all those clubs who are in those slots and playing the games regularly, and a lot of flights and travel as well.”