London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised England boss Gareth Southgate for overusing Jordan Henderson during the recent World Cup qualifiers.
Klopp is frustrated that Liverpool captain Henderson played the full 90 minutes in England’s matches against Slovenia and Lithuania.
The German was particularly unhappy with the midfielder’s selection for the fixture against Lithuania, which was played on an artificial pitch, because England’s World Cup place was already secured.
Henderson has had to cope with a troublesome heel problem which saw him miss the final three months of last season, and Klopp fears the needless workload puts him at risk.
“England played a friendly game on an artificial surface — it was a qualification game but they had already qualified — and I was not happy that Hendo was on the pitch to be honest with all the problems he’s had in the past,” said Klopp.
“It made no sense. We cannot be involved in this. They all make their own decisions.
“No manager of a national team asked me so far before a game, ‘How would you line up?’.
“We watch it, we wait until they come back and we take what we get.”
Klopp had already suffered a major blow over the international break with the loss of forward Sadio Mane for up to six weeks.
Mane sustained a hamstring injury sustained in the 89th minute of Senegal’s World Cup qualifying win over Cape Verde.
“He is the highest-quality player and was very unlucky with injury,” Klopp said.
“But we can play without him even if we would love to have him in the line-up.”
With in-form Manchester United visiting Anfield on Saturday, Klopp was relieved to learn Brazil internationals Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino arrived back on Merseyside with no fitness problems.
Coutinho and Firmino were flown home on a private jet also containing Chelsea and Manchester City’s Brazilian contingent.
“Phil played two games, Roberto played about five minutes so it is different. They should be OK,” Klopp said.
“They both had a long flight, even if it was pretty comfortable I am sure. I was not in the plane but I can imagine as I saw the price.
“The club has done everything to bring the boys back. We worked really closely with other clubs in this region to bring all the South American players home together.”