(Reuters) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said the game’s governing bodies were in no doubt about his opinions on the congested schedule during the festive season in England and vowed to continue discussions for the welfare of players.
Speaking ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup third-round clash against neighbours Everton, the German reiterated the need to space out matches or risk losing players to injuries.
“I don’t think the Premier League or the FA are in any doubt about my opinion. It’s not because of me... I think somebody has to speak for the players,” Klopp told reporters on Friday.
“I told UEFA all that I had to say personally. I told FIFA sometimes in interviews because I don’t know anybody there. I enjoy each game but there are things to improve. If you change things, do you kill tradition?”
Klopp only has 12 fit senior outfield players and new signing Takumi Minamino available for Sunday.
“People have told me already I wouldn’t respect the Cup. It’s not true, but my first job is to respect the players,” Klopp said.
“I’ve got to decide if it’s allowed to play them again... how can you look at a situation like Newcastle United -- losing four players (to injury) in one game -- and not think ‘this is crazy’?”
Liverpool, who won the Club World Cup in Qatar last month, played nine matches in all competitions in December and began the New Year with a 2-0 win over Sheffield United to move 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League.
“I spoke to (Blades manager) Chris Wilder on the difference about the game and today it’s massive,” Klopp added. “The guys ran 13km to win. I can tell them to run less but it’s more physical and demanding in every department.
“We throw football at the people. How many games were there on Boxing Day. All these plus TV come together and speak... try to think one time in all these negotiations about the players.
“Without the money it doesn’t work but without players it doesn’t work... the problem is real football people are not involved in talks... if they need me in discussions I’ll go there.”
Liverpool will be without Naby Keita for the Everton game after the midfielder sustained a groin injury, but their other absentees are progressing well.
“They’re all in a good way, our only problem is the games are coming so quick,” Klopp said.
Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru, editing y Ed Osmond
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