Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola join Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in fixture list and substitutions criticism
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and his Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola joined Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in criticising the lack of action taken towards protecting the players with a tight fixture list and with substitution rules being intensified.
Klopp spoke after his side played out an entertaining 1-1 draw against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.
Solskjaer criticised the fixture schedule on Saturday after his side were asked to play the early fixture at 12.30pm even after being in action in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday and after having a long trip back from Turkey.
Liverpool and Manchester City have both been hit by plenty of injuries so far this season, with the intense calendar proving to be tough for several sides to deal with.
Klopp said "We played after the international break at 12.30 on Saturday at Everton. Some of my players were coming back from Peru. These kind of things should not happen."
He added "I understand the need of television, 100 per cent, but the Premier League needs to fulfil more the position of the unity of the players as well."
"Usually, we all have October, November and then a very tricky December. This year October is like December, November is like December and then December is still like December. The intensity is really difficult."
Whilst he felt that it is completely 'normal' that teams play on Saturday, he felt that the 12.30pm kick-off time is the 'killer'.
As a result of the fixture list, Klopp ended up losing right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold due to injury against City.
Guardiola added to this, saying that "Today the right-back for the national team for England (Alexander-Arnold) is injured, and other players. It's so demanding for the players, the same argument all the time."
"I don’t understand. I don’t know who is in charge to decide these things but I don’t know how they don’t understand, when all the leagues around the world except this league have five substitutions, to protect the players, to protect the physicality of playing every three days."
He concluded by saying that "Maybe this league likes to be different but the situation is unusual, it is different. It's not to take advantage, it's to protect the players."
Solskjaer claimed that United "were set up to fail" due to the kick-off time, losing both Luke Shaw and Marcus Rashford with hamstring and shoulder injuries respectively.
He stated "We have been to Turkey, played loads of games this season already, we got back Thursday morning and we are playing Saturday lunchtime, it's an absolute shambles."
He concluded that "Players this season, in these times, a pandemic, mentally and physically it's draining. Let us play on a Sunday, there's an international break after this, it's a joke."