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Neville shows Liverpool are NOT playing more than previous seasons

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 01/12/2020 Jordan Seward For Mailonline
Gary Neville wearing a uniform: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

Gary Neville has hit out at Jurgen Klopp for his outburst at the weekend over Liverpool's congested schedule and showed a table proving that the German's side are not playing more than in previous seasons.

A furious Klopp engaged in a war of words with BT Sport reporter Des Kelly after James Milner was forced off with an injury in their 1-1 draw at Brighton on Saturday as he once again blamed broadcasters for their fixture pile-up this season.

The Liverpool boss has already had to deal with a number of serious injuries to key players, including Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold, and has repeatedly called for the Premier League to re-introduce the five substitution rule in order to protect his players.

Gary Neville in a suit standing in front of a screen: Gary Neville has debunked Jurgen Klopp's complaints over Liverpool's hectic schedule

Gary Neville has debunked Jurgen Klopp's complaints over Liverpool's hectic schedule
© Provided by Daily Mail

Klopp has continuously raised concerns about his players suffering from fatigue in recent weeks and was unhappy that his team had to play in the Premier League early kick-off games just three days after their defeat against Atalanta in the Champions League, but Neville has insisted that the Liverpool boss has no grounds to complain or to feel unfairly treated.

Sky Sports pundit Neville presented a table to back up his point, which showed that Liverpool's hectic schedule is not as demanding as previous seasons with Klopp's men set to play a maximum of 60 matches this term - nine less than what Chelsea did in the 2012-13 campaign - and that their current average break of days between games is higher than what the club have contended with before.

'He got done on BT Sport but on some things [I agree with Klopp],' the former Manchester United defender said on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football.

'The 12:30 kick off and 12pm kick off I don't know why, I can see why some fans may not understand why there is a difference between 12 and 3pm in terms of recovery, but I personally hated the 12pm kickoff particularly after playing Champions League midweek.

'It felt like your legs were never the same, it felt like you were eating pasta at 9am, I agree with it, no idea if it is psychological or a body clock thing, it does not feel the same for a player. We understood why you had to do it, we always played at 12 because we had to hit the Asia market where it is 7pm.

'I have some sympathy with him here, because you cannot deny it.

a person holding a football ball: James Milner was the latest Liverpool player to get injured with Klopp moaning about fatigue © Provided by Daily Mail James Milner was the latest Liverpool player to get injured with Klopp moaning about fatigue Mohamed Salah standing next to a football ball: Klopp's Liverpool played Brighton in the early kick-off just three days after Atalanta game © Provided by Daily Mail Klopp's Liverpool played Brighton in the early kick-off just three days after Atalanta game

'But Sir Alex Ferguson wanted that advantage. He wanted the ability to recover more and play different times so that it sorted Manchester United. That is what Klopp wants now. 

'Does he have a point in the wider context? I don't think it is an exceptional season, it is only more exceptional because the players have had more rest than they have ever had before. They had three months of Covid, they then had nine matches where even though they had won the league Klopp played all his best players, they then had five weeks off before the start of the season.

'In any season, I only got three or four weeks in World Cup and Euros year, so there is more rest this year than in any other year. I don't get why it is a unique season. I get that the fans aren't there and the feeling isn't there for the players.' 

He continued: 'I remember the third of the season of the 2002-03 season we played at 11am, at 11:30, midday, we played so many games in that slot, as did Liverpool in 2006-07, this is not a new problem, this is a 18-year old problem.

'Liverpool have played two games in that slot. The max Liverpool can play in that slot is six, so I don't think Jurgen Klopp can have a major gripe about being disadvantaged. If you are successful and you are Liverpool or Manchester United, they want to watch you in Asia and the Premier League will pay for that and the foreign broadcasters will pay for that.

'Volume of games? It is days per game, Liverpool are playing a game every 5.4 days, Liverpool are not disadvantaged looking at history, the players they have are being asked to play every 5.4 days.'

Gary Neville in a suit standing in front of a screen: Neville insisted Klopp is not disadvantaged and said players got enough time off in the summer

Neville insisted Klopp is not disadvantaged and said players got enough time off in the summer
© Provided by Daily Mail

Former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher riposted Neville and insisted that the complaints from Klopp, who has come under criticism from Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder for being 'selfish,' are not only motivated by self interested. 

'I think you [Neville] are the only person in this country who said it is not an exceptional season,' Carragher said.

'You are talking as if this is just completely normal. Everyone has said all the time, you have players going down with Covid. It is exceptional. You cannot deny it is not different as a season. You talk about the players being off for three months, no one knew when the season was starting, the players were training at home.'

He added: 'This argument started with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Istanbul and Everton. When he said the authorities want us to fail, I said no I don't agree, because everyone wants Liverpool and Manchester United on (TV). 

'But Klopp argued for Solskjaer. I think the manager of Liverpool is sincere in not thinking just about Liverpool, I believe that. Why come out and back Solskjaer? He backed him.'

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