With success in the Champions League comes a run of fixtures which could wreck a team’s season. Liverpool, the current European champions could win two trophies before mid-august and a third before Christmas but this might not be good news for Jurgen Klopp as the accumulated fatigue and potential injuries threatens to hinder his club’s run for the more prestigious trophies.
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Any top English team’s priority in terms of trophies is the Champions League and English Premier League (EPL). For Liverpool, the EPL takes precedence due to them not having won the domestic league since 1990. Their illustrious past still haunts them to this day.
To be able to win the league, you need a good coach, consistency in your level of play, squad depth, minimal injuries and a little bit of what we call “Champion’s Luck”. Liverpool had all of that going for them last season, apart for the last one which went Manchester City’s way. That was in a season where Liverpool played for four trophies.
This year, Liverpool are playing for a whopping seven trophies: the Community Shield, UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, FA Cup, League Cup, the EPL and the UCL. All this adds up to five extra games to an already packed schedule, not to mention an exhausting trip to Qatar in the middle of the season, when the schedule in the EPL is the busiest.
To add to Liverpool’s woes, the season in England starts way earlier than other top leagues in Europe. The customary season-opener, the Community Shield, will be played on August 4th and the league subsequently starts a week later. In contrast, Serie A starts on August 24th.
In a way, Liverpool are being put at a disadvantage because of their success, which is very unfair. This also raises concerns for players’ health. FIFPro released a worrisome report relating to player’s health and recommending four week off-season breaks. Klopp has been vocal about this issue too.
I don’t know why we start that early. The Premier League is such a wonderful product. It doesn’t make sense. I love football. From my point of view we can play each week but somebody has to think about the players and nobody is doing it.
From time to time I start a discussion but then it’s like ‘he’s looking for excuses.’ I don’t, especially not for me, but we have to think about these things and nobody, especially in England, is thinking about it.
The clubs want us to go on tours. With who? We can’t go alone. These are the situations.
Liverpool’s players have been successful in the off-season. Alisson and Roberto Firmino played for Brazil in their Copa America triumph while Sadio Mane and Mo’ Salah represented their countries at AFCON 2019. These three form Liverpool’s deadly attack. With little rest in between international commitments and the start of the season in England, it will be tough for them to maintain the same level of performance, not to mention the extra games put them at risk with respect to injuries.
Many managers have called for the Football Association in England to protect it’s top teams better in terms of schedule to they have a better chance of excelling in Europe. So far, it has not resulted in anything satisfactory. A break in February will be observed for the first time this season but more is needed.
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Starting the league later, accommodating the teams playing in Europe in terms of scheduling and abolishing the League Cup (Carabao Cup) would be a major improvement, for the sake of players’ health and the maintenance of the competitiveness of English teams in Europe.
We all want to see more games but not to the players’ detriment. Hopefully, Liverpool can navigate their insane end of 2019 without any injuries.