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Klopp, Pep call for schedule change

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said the Premier League “has to change” its fixture scheduling, with Manchester City counterpart Pep Guardiola adding that players are not protected.

It follows Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s criticism of match timings, with his Manchester United team kicking off at 12:30 GMT on Saturday after playing on Wednesday in the Champions League.

Liverpool and Manchester City played out a 1-1 draw on Sunday after also both having had European fixtures in midweek.

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Klopp told BBC Sport: “The boys are on the edge. No team on a Wednesday night should have the 12:30 kick-off on Saturday.

“Sunday—no problem. Not the 12:30 because that is a complete killer. You wake up and play football. This is the recovery phase.

“The Premier League has to change. Sky, BT, you—everyone has to talk to each other.

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“You want good football? Give the boys a few hours more rest.”

United beat Everton 3-1 on Saturday but a visibly angry Solskjaer said the short turnaround from their trip to Istanbul they “set us up to fail”, adding: “It’s an absolute shambles.”

Liverpool won at Italian side Atalanta on Tuesday, while City beat Olympiakos at Etihad Stadium on the same night.

On Sunday, Mohamed Salah scored the opener for the Reds from the penalty spot and Gabriel Jesus scored a brilliant equaliser, but the sides had to settle for a draw after Kevin de Bruyne’s penalty miss.

Liverpool lost right-back Trent Alexander- Arnold to a calf injury in the second half, and the 22-year-old will now not go on international duty with England.

That change was one of two made by Klopp during the match, while Guardiola used one of his three permitted substitutions.

After the game, both managers expressed frustration at a congested fixture schedule in the lead-up to the international break.

“These boys need rest. It’s a difficult time. We want to play, obviously, but I heard Ole [Gunnar Solskjaer] Monday as well and I understand him 100 percent. We are in the situation quite frequently,” Klopp said.

“I spoke to the Premier League already and spoke to Pep before the game about the five substitutions. Everyone watching is like: “Oh, that’s interesting.” But we have to change things and help the players.

“We want to play football, it’s great. But playing Wednesday night and then 12:30 on Saturday is a crime and we have to change that.”—BBC

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