Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has hit out at the Premier League’s festive fixture schedule after the re-arranged dates for the period were announced.
Changes to suit television scheduling means Liverpool are due to play Manchester City at 1730 local time on December 31, before travelling to face Sunderland on January 2.
Klopp is unhappy with the changes and says he will look to get the match against the Black Cats moved.
The German – named Premier League Manager of the Month for September – also fired back at Raymond Verheijen, the former Wales and Netherlands fitness coach who has criticised Klopp’s training methods, suggesting they cause injuries.
Klopp said: “Manager of the Month is a nice prize, but unfortunately a second ago I saw the new fixture changes.
“I am not too happy. I can’t believe we have less than 48 hours between City and Sunderland.
“I learn more and more about this league and maybe I have to ask someone if we can ask if there will be another time for us at Sunderland. I got the information and I thought, ‘Who had this idea?’
“I would never say Boxing Day is not a good idea because I love it – but now having a matchday with two days between, I don’t know why we play on Monday [January 2]. Is it special here, a day off in school?
“We sit here and you ask me about injuries – 48 hours between two games, how does this work?
“And then you will sit there and say, ‘Didn’t perform too well, how did this happen?’ or, ‘Injuries – oh?’ and then this Dutch guy, the funny athletic coach, says, ‘The training is not too good’.
“How do you prepare a team for this? Do you say only 50 per cent against City because we have Sunderland on Monday?
“It doesn’t sound like it is right. Everyone is asking why England is not too successful in big tournaments.
“Ask what other big countries are doing at this time – they have their legs on the sofa and are watching English football.”
Verheijen promptly responded on Twitter, saying: “Liverpool manager Klopp caused 20 hamstring injuries in 10 months but keeps blaming external factors for injuries.”