Sunday, May 9, 2021

Klopp takes aim at UEFA & Super League creators: ´We don´t get asked, we just have to deliver´

SoccerNews in English Premier League 23 Apr 2021

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The European Super League saga reached a positive end for Jurgen Klopp, but the Liverpool boss bemoaned a lack of consultation with players and managers as more games are set to be added to a revamped Champions League.

Liverpool were one of six Premier League clubs to sign up for the proposed breakaway league, plans for which are now in tatters after the widespread condemnation of the closed-shop competition led to hasty withdrawals from the majority of teams.

Klopp’s side found themselves in the midst of the furore on Monday as they were met with protests outside Elland Road ahead of their 1-1 draw with Leeds United.

The German had made no secret of his negative views of a potential Super League in which teams kept their place regardless of domestic results, and Liverpool’s players spoke out en masse against the plans via social media on Wednesday.

Though the Super League now looks dead in the water, Liverpool may have to deal with expanded European commitment in future after changes to the Champions League coming into place from the 2024-25 season were confirmed.

The 32-team group stage with eight pools of four will be scrapped in favour of a 36-team league in which each team plays 10 games, with the top eight going automatically into the last 16 with teams between ninth and 24th entering a play-off round.

Asked if there were any positives from the Super League episode, Klopp was quick to direct his ire at UEFA over the revamped Champions League.

He told a media conference ahead of Saturday’s Premier League game with Newcastle United: “Positives? The most positive thing is that it didn’t happen but I’m now not involved anymore because I start focusing again on preparing the team.

“From what I’ve heard it’s not over yet, and I don’t mean that the Super League could still happen, obviously now there are a lot of discussions about other things as well and could we speak a lot about these kind of things. I’m just not here to do that.

“Everyone knows my view on more games. You cannot introduce always new competitions. Yes, the new Super League is off the table, good, very, good but the new Champions League is now not. They showed it to me, they called me, one hour to UEFA they showed it to me the whole idea, I said I don’t like it because there are 10 games instead of six.

“I have no idea where we shall put them in. Then you shall see what happens then, maybe UEFA will ask for the cup competition gets cancelled in England, or that we have 18 teams in the league and stuff like this, you tell the Premier League and they say ‘no way’, you tell that to the EFL and they say ‘no way’.

“The only people that never get asked are the coaches, the players and the supporters. All the coaches think the same. If they all think the same, there must be something in it, that it could be a little too much.

“UEFA didn’t ask us, the Super League inventors didn’t ask us, it’s always ‘just play more games’ and we said before, that’s not possible in this structure. You cannot have 20 teams in a league, two cup competitions, playing 10 international games before Christmas, these things are not possible but we don’t get asked we just have to deliver.”

On whether he would like an explanation from Fenway Sports Group and principal owner John W. Henry over the decision to join the Super League, Klopp added: “I have time to speak to them and they probably will tell me what they thought but is that really important now?

“If they would have spoken to me before, I would have said it is not a good idea.

“I decide a lot of things, but never did before on these kind of things, none of us [managers] is doing it. Was not involved in it, that is a completely normal thing, there are different levels in a club, they made a decision for some reasons, I don’t know them. It’s now not about that I get an explanation. I’m happy that it didn’t happen and I have so much things to talk about with them, this will not be a part.

“We have to plan our future and not talk about what happened last week. It’s great that it didn’t happen, absolutely great, it would have been really bad. Now it didn’t happen, I have a job to do.

“The situation shows it will not happen again. There was a proper try obviously and they couldn’t get it through. It’s now a long, long, long, long time that something like this will not happen, but other things will happen.

“We spoke about these things before and nobody listens to the players or managers. The football structure in this moment is not prepared for more games. I don’t know, and some others on a really high level, do not know how you shall deal with even more games. Where is the drop-off?

“And we have to make sure the quality of football gets higher, not by buying, no, by training. Even the best players cannot get as good as they could be without training that’s just not possible but we cut off training time constantly.

“Nobody cuts off games, they just continue, more games, more games. These are my concerns, not the things that didn’t happen, no, the things that happened and we still have to deal with.”

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