Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has blasted the Nations League as “the most senseless competition in the world of football” following his side’s 0-0 draw with Manchester City, inferring that their lacklustre encounter arose from international fatigue.
Players from both squads, namely the England contingent of Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Fabian Delph, only had a two-week break following the World Cup and have since embarked on a hectic schedule further compressed by UEFA’s introduction of a new tournament.
Pointing to the lack of respite for international representatives, who are again on duty for the Nations League and friendlies over the coming fortnight, Klopp argued that due concern was not being given to players.
“People asked why this game was less intense. [It’s because] guys like Jordan only had two weeks after the World Cup,” the German stated following his side’s drab result against the champions.
“Now the players go off and play the Nations League which is the most senseless competition in the world. We have to start thinking about the players. You have to call the manager of any country and say can you leave players out and he says I am under pressure as well.”
Liverpool were rocked by a further blow during their Premier League clash after influential midfielder James Milner hobbled off during the first half though Klopp added that it was too early to say how bad it was.
The Reds coach stressed that the player himself did not seem unduly worried about a lengthy lay-off, and added: “I ask him if it is a big one and he said don’t think so but big enough and he goes off.”
Klopp also felt that referee Martin Atkinson was correct in awarding Manchester City a late penalty for Virgil van Dijk’s foul on Leroy Sane, that was ultimately blazed over the bar by Riyad Mahrez.
“It feels much easier to say it was a penalty when he didn’t score but I saw it,” the 51-year-old added. “Very often with penalties, it is very close. I think he touched the ball a bit but not enough. He touched Sane more.”