London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has once more criticised the Nations League, comparing the tournament to watching opera every night or having world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua box week in week out.
Klopp believes there is no place in football’s already congested calendar for a major new competition, with the German arguing that the increased number of fixtures risked devaluing the currency of international football.
But the Reds boss accepted his was not a popular view, saying he might as well talk to his coffee machine for all the likelihood of changing the minds of European football chiefs trying to create a more meaningful framework for international fixtures.
“It’s too much in that competition: ‘Proper games, real opponents, it is better than having any friendlies’,” Klopp said on Friday ahead of English title-contenders Liverpool’s match away to Huddersfield.
“That’s all good but you don’t want to see Joshua fighting every second night, it’s not possible. This week he fights in Leeds, next week he fights in Manchester and no-one asked for it.”
Warming to his theme, Klopp added: “Do we want to have opera every night or every two months? I like competition, of course, but at one point someone has to step back and think ‘OK, wait, wait, wait. They are players who play’.
“The Nations League itself is a good idea — do it in another sport because in football there is no space for it.
“I realise already I could have told my coffee machine because no-one is really interested but it is still my opinion.
“Where is the rest? When can we have normal things?”
International football, albeit not the Nations League, saw three of Klopp’s players return to Anfield with injuries.
Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita returned with hamstring problems, while Sadio Mane broke a thumb training with Senegal.
Of the trio, Guinea international Keita is the only one who has so far been ruled out of the match at Huddersfield.
“We’re pretty sure that Naby will not be available,” said Klopp. “With all the rest, we have to see how it develops.”
Meanwhile England midfielder Adam Lallana is set to return to the Liverpool squad for the first time since September 1 after fully recovering from a groin problem.
“Hopefully no-one forgot how good he was before his little injury. He is a proper option again,” said Klopp.
“He will play first-team football for Liverpool again and that is the best news. When it will start we will see.”