Liverpool manager Klopp is not the only Premier League manager to take issue with the packed festive schedule as Covid outbreaks continue to impact Premier League clubs

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Klopp questions why Carabao Cup semi-final is two-legged

Jurgen Klopp’s issues with the quick turnaround between matches isn’t unique to this season, but it has taken on extra importance given everything going on in the Premier League.

Liverpool’s Boxing Day match against Leeds United is one of several to be postponed amid a wave of positive Covid tests, and the Reds manager has made a passionate presentation to the Premier League regarding the packed festive calendar.

Klopp argued the tradition of games on both Boxing Day and December 28 was “inhuman,” having previously taken issue with his team playing in Saturday lunchtime games after Wednesday Champions League exertions.

This time, though, comments from other managers in the league suggest the German is not the only person to hold concerns.

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It is not the first time Klopp has spoken out about Premier League scheduling
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Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

“After [a] Wednesday, Saturday 12:30 is really, really dangerous for the players,” Klopp said last season, and the turnaround over the Christmas period is even shorter.

This is before getting onto the impact of Covid, with squads stretched even further amid positive tests.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said it was “close to being irresponsible” to give N’Golo Kante 90 minutes against Wolves after the Blues were unable to get the game postponed, and Norwich’s Dean Smith has also spoken out about the situation.

“It is asking massive questions of everybody’s squads at the moment and it is lunacy that we are having to play two games in 48 hours,” Smith said.

“There has got to be a question about the integrity of the competition when teams are playing weakened teams against other teams and it is affecting league positions.

“We had it the other day against Aston Villa and I blame myself for not pushing to get the game called off because we shouldn’t have played.”







Smith described the situation as “lunacy”
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The Premier League’s lack of a late December break is one of the ways in which it differs from the other top European leagues, and some will point to the value of preserving tradition in the game.

The last Bundesliga games took place on December 19, with the league on hiatus until January 7, while Serie A returns that same weekend after wrapping things up for 2021 with a midweek programme of games.

Klopp has previously said neither he nor his fellow top-flight bosses have an issue with the Boxing Day games, but the presence of two games in three days has been questioned in normal circumstances, let alone the abnormal ones we’re facing right now.







Liverpool are due to face Leicester City in the league on December 28
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Since the start of the pandemic, efforts have been made to protect player safety, with the 2019-20 season concluding with the number of substitutes temporarily increasing to five.

Clubs have also instituted bubbles to keep players insulated against the virus wherever possible, though vaccine take-up has been inconsistent across the Premier League.

Some have already taken issue with the substitution rule being abandoned after a vote from Premier League, clubs, especially with other leagues (and European club competitions) retaining the five substitutes approach.

What seems clear, however, is the objection to the 48-hour turnaround need not be an attack on tradition, at least not this season.

Squads are already stretched for Covid reasons, while a number of Premier League bosses – Klopp included – are expected to be without a number of squad members when the Africa Cup of Nations begins in the new year.

It’s a unique situation and one where the demands should not be seen as unfair or an attack on anything. If it takes a spate of injuries to prove Klopp right, he’s unlikely to take much pleasure in the vindication.

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