The Reds boss has targeted broadcasters again after their draw with Brighton this weekend, taking on BT Sport’s Des Kelly in a tense post-match interview.
But former Manchester United defender Gary Neville has now dismantled his argument – by proving Liverpool’s schedule is no more demanding than in previous seasons.
While they had to face a difficult task with the Champions League group stage crammed into a shorter season, the Reds are expected to play a maximum of 60 appearances this season.
That would be nine less than the number Chelsea played in the 2012/13 campaign.
So far, they have averaged one game every 5.4 days – which is far from unusual with competing European teams regularly averaging one game less than every five days in the past.
And while the worst-case scenario could see the Reds drop below that number, Neville’s chart illustrated it was far from a unique case as he questioned Klopp and his complaints.
“He ended up on BT Sport but on certain things [I agree with Klopp]The former Manchester United defender said on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football.
“Kick off at 12:30 p.m. and kick off at 12 p.m. I don’t know why, I can see why some fans might not understand why there is a difference between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. in terms of recovery, but I personally hated the 12pm kick-off especially after playing midweek in the Champions League.
“I felt like your legs were never the same again, it was like you were eating pasta at 9am, I’m okay with that, no idea if it’s psychological or clockwork organic, it doesn’t 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 Asian market where it is 7pm.
“I have sympathy for him here, because you cannot deny him.
“But Sir Alex Ferguson wanted that advantage. He wanted to be able to recover more and play at different times to make it sort Manchester United. That’s what Klopp wants now.
“Does he have a point in the larger context? I don’t think it’s been an exceptional season, it’s just more exceptional because the players have rested more than they ever have.
“They had three months of Covid, then they had nine matches where even though they had won the league Klopp played all of their best players, then they had five weeks off before the start of the season.
“Whatever the season, I’ve only had three or four weeks in the World Cup and the Euros, so there’s more rest this year than in any other year. I don’t understand why it’s a unique season. I understand that the fans are not there and the feeling is not there for the players.
“I remember the third of the season of the 2002-03 season, we played at 11am, 11:30 am noon, we played so many games in this slot machine, like Liverpool did in 2006-07, this isn’t a new problem, it’s an 18 year old problem.
“Liverpool have played two games in this slot machine. The maximum Liverpool can play in this slot is six so I don’t think Jurgen Klopp could have a big complaint about being at a disadvantage, if you are successful and you’re Liverpool or Manchester United they want to watch you in Asia and to the Prime Minister. The League will pay for it and foreign broadcasters will pay for it.
“Volume of games? It’s days per game, Liverpool play one game every 5.4 games, Liverpool are not historically disadvantaged, their players are asked to play every 5.4 games.
Despite Neville’s evidence, former Reds defender Jamie Carragher insisted Klopp’s complaints were fully justified and were not fueled by a selfish motive.
” I think that you [Neville] are the only person in this country to say it’s not a great season, ”Carragher said.
“You talk like it’s completely normal. Everyone has said all the time, there are players with Covid. This is exceptional. you can’t deny it’s no different depending on the season.
“You talk about the players who were absent for three months, no one knew when the season started, the players were training at home.
“This argument started with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer with Istanbul and Everton. When he said the authorities wanted us to fail, I said no, I don’t agree, because everyone wants Liverpool and Manchester United.
“But Klopp pleaded for Solskjaer, I think the Liverpool manager is sincere in not just thinking of Liverpool, I believe him. Why go out and come back to Solskjaer? He supported him.