Jürgen Klopp believes Fifa’s threatened ban on Brazil internationals, the addition of a third game during international breaks and a proposed World Cup every two years are evidence the authorities “do not care” about players’ wellbeing.
The Liverpool manager was awaiting confirmation on Friday on whether he can select Alisson and Fabinho for Sunday’s Premier League game at Leeds, with attempts to resolve the dispute over the Brazilians’ eligibility continuing. Roberto Firmino could also have been banned under the five-day rule imposed by Fifa but has a hamstring injury.
Irrespective of the outcome, Klopp insists there is a fundamental problem in football that vested interests have no intention of solving. “Every idea is about more games,” he claimed.
Klopp said: “My personal opinion is that nobody should be banned because there was no solution to get around the problem. They gave us three games [in the international break] and we, as we always do, were happy to let the players go but we couldn’t because when they come back they cannot play for at least four games [if they had to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days].
“We cannot sit here and just say: ‘Yes, no problem, let them go,’ because we did not make any of these decisions. We did not ask for three games in the international break. At the last possible moment they played the third game in South America. Nobody thinks about players.
“People say Klopp only thinks about Liverpool because he doesn’t have his Brazilians. No, there is a problem in football. Somebody organises a tournament and doesn’t care about the players who have to be part of that tournament. That is the situation at the moment. It doesn’t sound right because it is not right.”
Arsène Wenger, Fifa’s chief of global football development, recently visited Klopp at Liverpool’s training complex where he outlined plans for a biennial World Cup. “I immediately said: ‘More games? That means every year a tournament? No chance, that is not right,’” the Liverpool manager revealed.
“Where is the good old, very important, pre-season where there is no tournament at all? All people who train for a big competition need preparation. If you go to the Olympics you go high in the mountains for lots of reasons, train there – and incredibly hard – and then they are well prepared for the moment when they have their competition. But footballers just play the whole year, then three weeks off, then two weeks’ pre-season preparation and then play again. That’s football. How do you improve this game if you only play all the time? You cannot.”
Klopp, meanwhile, has questioned Gareth Southgate’s deployment of Trent Alexander-Arnold in midfield during England’s World Cup qualifying win against Andorra. He said: “In a game where England are that dominant, or that we are that dominant, then Trent could play in midfield. I would rather he was the 6 than in this case the 8, that is possible, but why would you make the best right-back in the world a midfielder? I don’t understand that.”