"We wanted to play": Jurgen Klopp reiterates Liverpool fixture list stance in wake of Leeds United postponement

Jurgen Klopp has reiterated his stance on the festive fixture list in the wake of Leeds United's postponed trip to Liverpool.

By Joe Urquhart
Monday, 27th December 2021, 3:47 pm

The Reds boss is one of several managers that have been hugely critical of the demands being put on footballers across the Christmas period in England.

Liverpool originally faced five games - four in the Premier League and one League Cup tie - in 14 days heading into the new year while Leeds were set for four matches in that same two-week timeframe.

The Whites clash on Merseyside scheduled for Boxing Day, though, was called off due to a Covid outbreak at Elland Road which has also seen Tuesday night's hosting of Aston Villa in West Yorkshire fall victim to a rearrangement.

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Liverpool head coach Jurgen Klopp. Pic: Getty

Both teams will have reluctantly welcomed the postponement due to the added rest time in what is a hectic run of matches.

Klopp, though, has again fired the issue of player welfare into the spotlight despite believing his side would have been ready had the Leeds game gone ahead.

"I said before the situation should not be like this and we can discuss that every year and all these kind of things," said Klopp, following the Anfield postponement.

"I know, so many people think it’s tradition. We wanted to play on Boxing Day, we could have played on Boxing Day, no problem at all [but] it was because of Leeds and the situation there, so we accept that.

"Then playing the 26th and 28th is just not right and I just say that because it’s true. I think you can find solutions for that, it’s not that difficult to play football in a slightly different way - 26th and 29th, where is the problem?

"Some teams are doing that. Man United play tonight and I am not sure when they have the next game, but probably not the 29th.

"There are enough days for playing football and it just would help the players, even without COVID, and the problem is now some teams definitely have a proper COVID problem at the moment.

"Then you rush a smaller group of players through two games. You need luck in these moments and I think we should not need luck in these moments, that’s the situation.

"We said it very often. Boxing Day is never in doubt, we all want to play on Boxing Day, it’s a great fixture, everybody loves it, it’s great for the people, it’s great for the players, really good for everybody, but after that… we will not stop discussing it because if we don’t discuss it then it just stays like this.

"Maybe it stays like this anyway, but the players need help and the help needs to come from other areas. That means now the coaches are the closest to the players and we have to deal with all these kind of things and that’s why we are pretty clear about that."

Liverpool return to action against Leicester City in midweek while Leeds play next on January 2 against Burnley in LS11.

Marcelo Bielsa will be hopeful that the short hiatus from game time can allow a number of injuries to heal with no less than eight players currently in the Thorp Arch treatment room.