Jurgen Klopp criticises TNT Sports over fixture scheduling: ‘I will definitely not watch again’


Jurgen Klopp has told TNT Sports to “take me off your list of subscribers”, saying the gruelling fixture schedule is responsible for English clubs falling short in Europe this season.

The outgoing Liverpool boss warned that the demands placed on elite players have taken a heavy toll and believes that broadcasters are partly to blame.

“Seeing Aston Villa lose 4-2 last night (to Olympiacos in the first leg of the Europa Conference League semi-final) means if they go out no English team will be in any kind of European final,” Klopp said.

“Do you make of it that we all under-performed? Maybe us against Atalanta. But I watch a lot of football and the Premier League is the best league in the world. It is not over-rated, the players are over-worked. Someone needs to help.”

TNT Sports have the rights to the 12:30pm Saturday lunchtime kick-offs in the UK and they have selected Liverpool for that slot six times this season — the maximum number allowed.

“I had a discussion the other day with colleagues from my favourite TV channel which I will definitely not watch again, TNT,” Klopp continued.

“It’s always a conversation ‘But they pay you, they give money to football’. It’s not like that. I really don’t see it like that. It’s exactly the other way round, football pays them. They broadcast it, they deliver it, but it’s not that TNT is not doing extremely well, or Sky or whoever.

“You have to become a partner of football again, and not just the squeezer. That’s a little advice from an old man on the way out.

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“Manchester City and Arsenal, out in the quarter-finals (of the Champions League), us out in the quarter-finals (of the Europa League), is just not a real reflection of quality. It’s just a reflection of we could not deliver on the day we had to. Yes, other countries have really good teams, no doubt about that, but it’s a sign.

“Years ago I think we had four English teams in quarter-finals. And then we take that and say, ‘Yeah, it’s the quality of the Premier League, let’s make more of it!’ We have to change that approach. You always think when I speak about it, it’s because of our last situation. No, it’s a general problem.”

Liverpool’s 12:30pm kick-off at West Ham United last Saturday was their fourth game in the space of 10 days. In contrast, they have had an eight-day gap prior to Sunday’s home clash with Tottenham Hotspur, with Klopp giving his players three days off to rest.

“That they dared to give us Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 is a crime,” he said.

“I was actually waiting for Amnesty International to go to them!

“Somebody just sits there — you love this press conference!  — and decides. I would like to once be part of that meeting where somebody says, ‘Liverpool 12.30’, and the whole room is bursting into laughter: ‘Again?!’

“I would like to be there. This morning I got sent the stats of the quickest turnaround in the whole world. It’s Liverpool FC, yeah (laughs).

“I tell you, ‘We have to do more, we have to fight more, and go for it.’ But in the whole world, we have the quickest turnaround between games. That is absolutely insane. But they are still happy and they like subscribers. You can take me off that list! But if you’re ever looking for a pundit, I speak English! I could do it! But……”

The Athletic has contacted TNT Sports for comment.

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Klopp, Liverpool’s 12.30 ‘joke’ – and the numbers that reveal why he’s angry

(Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)





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