Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jürgen Klopp attacks TNT Sports over Premier League’s European struggles

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Jürgen Klopp has rounded on TNT Sports and accused broadcasters in England of contributing to the failure of Premier League clubs in Europe this season.

The Liverpool manager was in the mood to settle a few scores before his penultimate game at Anfield, against Tottenham on Sunday, with broadcasters and Fifa among the targets. The Premier League has lost out to the Bundesliga for the extra Champions League place for next season owing to its clubs’ performances this season and, after Aston Villa’s home defeat in the Europa Conference League semi-final first leg, may have no representatives in a European final.

Klopp pinned the blame on the fixture schedule, a long-held concern of his, and accused broadcasters of undermining the product that is key to their business model.

Liverpool have had the most 12.30pm Saturday kick-offs this season and the most since the start of the 2017-18 campaign. Klopp said: “The Premier League is the best league in the world. It is not overrated, the players are overworked. Somebody needs to help the people. You cut off one game [next season; Carabao Cup semi-finals to one leg] but give the top teams three more Champions League games. Everyone has a reason to ask: ‘You cannot cut off these games, they are important!’ But you cannot sort it all the time.

“I had a discussion the other day with colleagues from my favourite TV channel which I will definitely never watch again, TNT. They always say: ‘They pay you. They give money for football.’ It’s the other way around. Football pays them. They broadcast and deliver it but it’s not like TNT or Sky is doing really well and can pay all of you. You have to become a partner of football again and not just the squeezer. That’s just a little advice from an old man on the way out. I will watch a lot of football but not all – people can survive without matches from time to time.

‘Players are overworked’: Klopp tears into TNT Sports over English European struggles – video

“[Manchester] City and Arsenal are out in the [Champions League] quarter-finals; it’s just not a reflection of quality. Yes, other countries have good teams – it’s not about that. It’s a sign. We have to change our approach. When I speak about it they think it’s because of our situation, if we lost the last game, but it’s a general problem. They dare to give Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 – it’s a crime! I was waiting for Amnesty International to go to them. I would like to be part of that meeting when someone says: ‘Liverpool 12.30’ and the whole room bursts into a laugh. The quickest turnaround in the whole world … Liverpool! It’s absolutely insane. But they are still happy. They like subscribers – you can take me off that list.”

Giving his impending departure from Liverpool, and concerns over how the game is being run, Klopp was asked whether he would consider a role in football administration in the future. He replied: “I got an award yesterday from the PFA, I don’t know exactly for what, but I think for speaking up for players. I never thought about it but they will need people in a normal age knowing the business. But imagine me becoming Fifa president? It is obviously a well-paid job – that is why they all want to do it; not the official part obviously, but you can make a living from it. I don’t think I will spend my lifetime on these kind of things. Alone you can’t change anything. I probably wouldn’t survive in that sea of sharks.”

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Klopp repeated his claim that Mohamed Salah’s petulant behaviour at West Ham last Saturday was “completely resolved” and a “non-story”. He insisted there were no indications that Salah wants to leave Anfield this summer.

“Mo as a player is incredible and I don’t think I should speak about that [the player’s future],” he said. “Other people will decide that, especially Mo. I don’t have any signs it will not be like that [Salah staying].”

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