“Put player welfare before their wallets”, Jürgen Klopp tells football authorities


Jürgen Klopp has said the time has come for football authorities to put players’ interests before their own wallets because the demands have left top internationals at breaking point.

Liverpool remain in talks with the EFL over when to play a Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa that clashes with their involvement in the Club World Cup in Qatar. Klopp has ruled out playing two teams in two different competitions in the same week and threatened to withdraw from the Carabao Cup if a workable solution is not found.

He is also unhappy that the increased demands on players are not being addressed at the top level of the sport, and generate headlines only when high-profile managers speak out on the problem.

“People will say: ‘Why is he moaning? He earns so much money’ but everyone involved in the game would tell you that [the demands are too great] and you know it as well,” Klopp said on Friday. And he insisted the drive of Fifa, Uefa and the major leagues to generate as much revenue as possible must be curbed.

The Liverpool manager said: “The FA wants to touch the League Cup, the Football League wants to touch the FA Cup, but nobody really wants to discuss it. Then, on top of that, Uefa decides to make the Nations League to give the boys who are already pretty busy another couple of intense games. And we wonder why the best players in the world cannot perform on the highest level as long as we wish for or they get bad injuries. People say you should have a bigger squad but the game is not made for bigger squads.

“At the moment it’s an imbalance between the number of players you have in a squad, the number of games you have to play, and a big gap between the breaks the boys would usually need and what they get. If you are an international player and play all the big competitions in the world, then you have two weeks per year off. That’s a fact.

“Two weeks for the Manés, the Salahs, the Hendersons; all these guys have two weeks off a year. In a physically demanding job with pressure as well – we cannot say: ‘This game is not important, or this game we don’t have to play really’ – that’s the situation. There would be a few solutions possible but there was not one day where Fifa, Uefa, the Premier League, the Football League and the other leagues sit at a table and think about the players and not about their wallet.”

Klopp confirmed that no decision had been reached on when to play the Villa cup tie but said he would not take an understrength squad to Qatar in December for the Club World Cup.

“We discussed it already – we have to because there’s not too much time to make that decision, and there is not a final decision yet,” he said. “We cannot leave any players at home for the Carabao Cup. It’s not that we can go there with 11 players and say: ‘These 11 guys play the two games in Qatar and the other guys play at home in England against Aston Villa.’ We have to make a decision and we will make a decision but not yet.”

Liverpool have temporarily suspended from home and away games the fan responsible for the offensive Divock Origi banner displayed at the Champions League match in Genk.

The supporter has 14 days to respond, after which a final decision will be taken. Punishments range from a full ban, a ban and education, education on its own or other minor sanctions. It is understood Liverpool’s letter has referenced that education will be considered.