Jurgen Klopp has described the Nations League as “the most senseless competition in the world of football”, and intimated that part of the reason that Liverpool’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City was less intense than their usual meetings was because of the toll on the players.
Klopp pointed to how some of his squad only had a two-week break after the World Cup, and complained that they now have to go off for more international matches after a packed start to the season, arguing that more concern needs to be given to players and their schedules.
“If somebody had told me after eight games, 20 points I would say yes but with this fixture list, I would buy it,” the German began. “Now the players go off and play the Nations League which is the most senseless competition in the world. We have to start thinking about the players. You have to call the manager of any country and say can you leave players out and he says I am under pressure as well.
“People asked why this game was less intense. Guys like Jordan only had two weeks after the World Cup.”
Klopp meanwhile said it was too early to say how bad James Milner’s injury was, but that the midfielder felt it would be not be a “big one”. Milner went off in the second half, to be replaced by Naby Keita.
“I ask him if it is a big one and he said don’t think so but big enough and he goes off.”
Klopp also felt that referee Martin Atkinson was correct in awarding Manchester City a late penalty for Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Leroy Sane, that was ultimately blazed over the bar by Riyad Mahrez.
“It feels much easier to say it was a penalty when he didn’t score but I saw it. Very often with penalties it is very close. I think he touched the ball a bit but not enough. He touched [Leroy] Sane more. We deserve this bit of luck because with this performance. To respond is really difficult. We made not too many mistakes in Napoli but massive one formation wise and today we were back again.
“I am fine. It is a very intense, it is an unbelievable challenge to face Man City and as the last game it makes the challenge even bigger. I am really happy with what the boys did. If you want to win against Chelsea you have to use a few of these half chances. You need to finish. You cannot defend over 95 minutes 100 percent but I thought how we defended was brilliant. Penalty and one or two situations that need a really good save, that is true, but we played City often and they are outstanding. When we won 2-1 at City they push us in our 18-yard box and we didn’t know how to come out. It is really intense and both showed respect for the other team. Don’t lose the ball in your own moment. We were a bit lucky with the penalty.”
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