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Jurgen Klopp hit out at the Premier League and TV broadcasters for scheduling Liverpool’s top-of-the-table clash against Manchester City at 12.30pm on Saturday 25 November by declaring that they do not “feel” football.
The German said Liverpool will only be able to have one proper training session after his South American players return from international duty as he said it should not be possible that the clash at the Etihad Stadium, which he billed as the biggest in world football, is the first match of the Premier League weekend.
South American countries are playing World Cup qualifiers with Brazil facing Argentina on 21 November – with Liverpool’s Alisson and Alexis Mac Allister and City’s Ederson and Julian Alvarez all called up – while two of Klopp’s forwards, Darwin Nunez and Luis Diaz, will also be in action that night.
While, as usual, Premier League clubs have teamed up to share the cost of a plane back from South America, Klopp believes he and Pep Guardiola have been given too little time to prepare for a marquee match.
The Liverpool manager has long been a critic of the 12.30 kick-off when it follows European or international matches.
He said: “How can you put a game like this on Saturday at 12.30pm? Honestly, the people making the decisions, they cannot feel football, it is just not possible. And if that is the moment where the world pays the most to see a football game then nobody has to tell us. I don’t know if that is the case, I really don’t.
“There could have been a moment when you have these two teams who have, all together, about 30 international players. They all come back on the same plane by the way, all the South American players. They all fly back [together], we put them on the plane from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia. One game, one plane, they all come back. But we just have to make sure we are ready for this game.”
Klopp’s Liverpool beat Brentford 3-0 to go second in the Premier League and he praised Mohamed Salah, who scored their first two goals.
“A pretty special player,” he said. “Just an exceptional player. He played a super game today. The composure for the first goal is insane.”
Klopp was pleased with his team’s reaction to defeat against Toulouse in the Europa League, adding: “We scored wonderful goals to be honest and it was a really good performance against one of the most difficult opponents you can face. The boys responded sensationally well. Now they are all gone and we can train once before Man City.”