Jurgen Klopp has hit out at the Premier League after they sanctioned the switch of the Merseyside derby for a Saturday lunchtime kick-off in between their Champions League blockbuster with Manchester City.Liverpool’s manager is furious that a fixture of such importance, which was originally scheduled for 2.15pm on Sunday, April 8, will now take place 26 hours earlier due to the second leg of their quarter-final being played on Tuesday, April 10.
The switch gives Liverpool more time to prepare for the trip to Manchester but Klopp is more concerned about the impact it has on preparations for the game at Goodison Park, which will have a significant bearing on whether Klopp’s side can finish in the top four.
Manchester City also play on Saturday, April 7 – their clash with Manchester United could see them become champions – but Klopp sees the 5.30pm kick-off time as being more beneficial to Pep Guardiola’s team and he is shocked that Liverpool have been handed this slot.
When asked about the possibility of squaring up to City, Klopp said: ‘There will be a point when I am looking forward to that game but at the moment I am already angry because I heard a second ago the Premier League will put our game against Everton at 12.30 on the (middle) Saturday.
‘I know countries where they cancel whole match days so teams can be in the best shape. We play Wednesday night against Man City and then play Everton at 12.30 three days later. That is not too cool but obviously we have to go the hard way, I am used to that.
‘We play Wednesday night and then 12.30 means the players get up on Thursday and have lunch or breakfast and then we train and next day we are second-day recovery and then you start at 12.30.
‘It is not perfect. We take it like it is but if I cannot be angry about something like that any more and have to be politically correct and say nothing then I am dead because that doesn’t work. Obviously whoever made the schedule didn’t think we’d go to the quarter-finals because it (the derby) was a Sunday game.
‘Oops. It is only Liverpool…I cannot see differently. We play at 7.45 on Wednesday night and 12.30 on Saturday. The other team (City) plays at 5.30. Can you imagine how big the difference is in these five hours? It means the world in preparation and recovery.’
Pressed on whether he would want the fixture moved, Klopp witheringly responded: No, I’d like it at nine o’clock in the morning. What the f…? At three o’clock normal game. Usually it was Sunday quarter-past two. Put it on at a normal time and not at breakfast.
It is a very intense game against Manchester City and it is only the first one because the next one to follow will not be a lot less intense. We have to do it and we have to deliver. I am not happy about that.’
Liverpool are the only team to beat City in the Premier League this season but Klopp said: ‘I didn’t expect anything, I didn’t wish anything. It is cool in the Champions League if you play against a team from your own country and at one one it was clear it would pretty much happen.
‘I think it is an absolute dream draw – for all Manchester United fans. I really don’t mind. I knew it would be difficult and that is difficult. The good news is for Manchester City it will be difficult as well.
‘I saw (City’s director of football) Txiki Begiristain’s face after the draw and it didn’t look like it was Christmas and Easter on the same day.’