English Premiership

Klopp fumes over Liverpool's hectic schedule

2016-04-30 09:26
Jurgen Klopp (TEAMtalk)

Swansea - A frantic fixture programme is not about to ease up for Liverpool, who face their ninth match in 30 days when they visit Swansea in the Premier League on Sunday.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp has indicated he will respond to the demands on his team by making several changes for a game that takes place between their two Europa League semi-final meetings with Villarreal.

Klopp's hand has been forced by the timing of the fixture, which will kick off just 62 hours after Thursday's first leg against Villarreal finished, with Liverpool losing 1-0 to Adrian Lopez's stoppage-time goal.

The decision to have the Swansea match kick off at 12pm local time, made to suit television schedules, has annoyed Klopp, who believes his players should have been given more time to rest, having only arrived home from Spain in the early hours of Friday.

"We have to respect the intensity of the last game and think about the line-up for Sunday," Klopp said.

"A 12 o'clock kick off? I can't believe it. We got home at 3.30am on Friday, and I guess no-one slept straight away.

"On Sunday all English people will have lunch while we play football. It is my first time with a 12 o'clock kick-off. Who made this decision?"

Klopp switched his side around significantly for the league games that took place after both legs of Liverpool's Europa League quarter-final against Borussia Dortmund earlier this month.

He made 10 changes for the trip to Bournemouth that followed the first leg, and seven for the home match against Stoke.

The fact Liverpool won both of those league games justified the manager's selection policy, which is likely to be used again.

Back-up goalkeeper Danny Ward made his debut in that victory at Bournemouth, and Klopp is set to select him again so that Simon Mignolet can have a break.

"Danny did really well against Bournemouth, especially with no rhythm," Klopp said.

"It was very impressive. I have not yet spoken to John Achterberg, the goalkeeping coach, but it is likely he will play at Swansea."

Liverpool's fringe players are likely to get a chance all over the field, with Brad Smith, Connor Randall, Martin Skrtel, Pedro Chirivella, Kevin Stewart, Cameron Brannagan, Sheyi Ojo and Jordon Ibe all likely to start.

Despite their recent glut of fixtures, Liverpool managed to stay unbeaten in the league in April, and while a top-four finish is very unlikely, they are only four points behind fifth-placed Manchester United going into the weekend's fixtures.

It is three weeks since opponents Swansea reached the 40-point mark generally considered to be enough to secure safety.

But since then, they have had little to be positive about, following up a 3-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Newcastle with a 4-0 loss at Leicester.

Head coach Francesco Guidolin, though, can be satisfied with his work in pulling the club away from the bottom three and towards the security of what will be a sixth successive season in the top division.

If a finish in the bottom half of the table seems something of a comedown for a club who were eighth last season, full-back Angel Rangel believes there is still much to be proud of.

"We have had three managers and when this happens, you know it's going to be tough," Angel said.

"Sometimes we can take things for granted - maybe people expect us to finish in the top 10.

"But it's been hard for us, and I think staying up this year will be a fantastic achievement considering what's happened."

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Sunday, 17 December 2017
West Bromwich Albion v Manchester United, The Hawthorns 16:15
AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool, Vitality Stadium 18:30
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