London (AFP) – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has reacted angrily to a proposal that could see the Champions League group stage transformed into a 32-team division.
Reigning European champions Liverpool already have a packed fixture programme, with the runaway Premier League leaders due to fly to Qatar for the Club World Cup less than 24 hours after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Watford at Anfield.
Indeed so congested is their schedule that Liverpool have two games in as many days next week, with Klopp set to field a youth side for the English League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa on Tuesday before the senior team plays in Doha on Wednesday.
Against this background, it was no surprise that Klopp was decidedly unimpressed by talk of an increase in Champions League matches that would lead to a fresh fixture pile-up.
“Today I read the top clubs want more games in the Champions League — I am not involved in these plans but that is absolute bollocks,” he told reporters after the Watford game.
“The fixtures are like they are. You all like watching us suffering. That is how it is.”
The German added: “You (the media) always look concerned but no-one cares. We speak about it and no-one else speaks about it.
“We have to do what we do and are quite positive about it.”
Klopp’s mood was not improved by that fact that the Khalifa International Stadium in Qatar will host five matches — including two semi-finals, a third-place playoff and the final — in as many days during the Club World Cup because the Education City Stadium is not ready for the tournament.
“It think it is raining there. It doesn’t help the one pitch we are all playing on — sensationally good organising,” said Klopp sarcastically.
“All the games are on one pitch and it is raining, I am not sure the people in Qatar are used to a lot of rain.
“We will see how the one pitch will be but that is a bit of a problem.”
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