(Reuters) – Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has criticized the Premier League’s Christmas fixture schedule which will force his team to play twice in the space of 48 hours.
Liverpool’s clash with Manchester City has been moved to Dec. 31, less than 48 hours before they face Sunderland.
Klopp, who was named Premier League manager of the month for September, said the change in timings meant his joy at the award was short-lived.
“Now I have seen the fixtures I am not too happy,” Klopp told reporters on Friday before the visit of Manchester United on Monday.
“We have less than 48 hours between our game against Man City on Dec. 31 and in Sunderland on Jan. 2.
“Forty-eight hours is an interesting idea but less than 48 hours I cannot believe. I learn more and more about this league and maybe I have to ask someone if we can ask if there will be another time for us at Sunderland,” the German added,
“Everyone is asking, ‘Why is England not too successful in big tournaments?’. Ask what other big countries are doing at this time of year they have their legs on the sofa and are watching English football.”
Klopp also took aim at former Wales assistant manager Raymond Verheijen, who has often criticized the German’s training regime on Twitter.
“Forty-eight hours between two games – how does this work? And then you will sit there and say ‘You didn’t perform too well, how did this happen?’ or ‘Injuries. Oh?'” the German added.
“And then this Dutch guy (Verheijen) says ‘The training is not too good’. How do you prepare a team for this? Do you say ‘Only 50 percent against City because we have Sunderland on Monday’. It doesn’t sound like it is right.”
Liverpool are fourth in the table, two places above United, and Klopp said he was hopeful that midfielders Adam Lallana and Georginio Wijnaldum would be fit for the game after recent injuries.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)