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Jurgen Klopp lets rip at TNT Sports in rant about Liverpool fixtures

May 3rd, 2024

Jurgen Klopp has long been a critic of 12.30pm kick-offs on Saturday – Rob Newell /Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has launched a full-throttle attack on TNT Sports’ meddling with fixtures, calling his side’s recent schedule a “crime worthy of investigation by Amnesty International”.

Klopp has been a long-time critic of the 12.30pm kick-off slot on Saturdays, especially for those sides with Uefa commitments and an overload of midweek games. He has claimed television broadcasters are partially responsible for English clubs’ failure in European competition this season.

The Liverpool manager was evidently biting his tongue in the build-up to the 2-2 draw with West Ham at 12.30pm last weekend, but he let rip in his pre-match briefing on Friday.

“Seeing that Aston Villa lost 4-2 last night for example would mean that if they really go out, that no English team is in any kind of European final,” said Klopp.

“I watch a lot of football all over the world. The Premier League is the best league in the world. So it’s not overrated. The players are overworked. Easy as that. You can talk about that until everybody realises finally, but somebody needs to help the people.

“I’m not sure exactly how many more Champions League games we have, they have next year. Three? Three more Champions League games and you cut off for that, what is it, a League Cup semi-final, the second [leg]. And the discussion you all allow, ‘What is that? They cut off one game?’

“I had a discussion only the other day with colleagues from our favourite TV channel which I will definitely not watch again, TNT, and said it’s always a conversation they have, saying 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, but it’s not that TNT is not doing extremely well, or Sky or whoever, is doing extremely well.

“You have to become a part of football again, and not just the squeezer. That’s it, that’s a little advice from an old man on the way out. I will watch a lot of football, but not all because people can survive without match days from time to time, definitely.”

‘I was waiting for Amnesty International’

Klopp suggested the Premier League title contenders would have progressed in Europe but for their demanding schedule.

“Us, City and Arsenal are out in the quarter-finals. That is just not a reflection of quality. It’s just a reflection if we could not deliver on the day we had to,” said Klopp.

“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 the quarter-finals.

“You always think when I speak about it, it’s because of our last situation. No, it’s a general problem. Nothing to do with our schedule now. Our schedule is right, it’s good. Can we use that? I don’t know, we will see. But that they dare give us Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 is a crime. I was actually waiting for Amnesty International to go to them. Somebody sits there and decides that. I would like to meet them. 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 biggest turnaround in the whole world. Liverpool FC, yeah [laughs]. And we sit there, and I’m the same. I tell you, ‘You have to do more, you have to fight more, and you have to go for it.’ In a 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!

“If you’re looking for a pundit [shaking his head].”

Klopp’s comment could be a complication for TNT if they hope to broadcast his last game as Liverpool manager. TNT have ‘second pick’ of the final round of games, which could make Klopp’s last stand attractive if the title race and relegation issues are settled and Sky pick the fixture of the champions of Manchester City or Arsenal.

In response to Klopp, TNT opted to be humourous in their reply, posting a mock job application for a punditry role with the German missing the last job requirement of being ‘willing to work 12.30pm on Saturdays’.

Klopp still furious at VAR howler in Liverpool defeat to Tottenham

Klopp says he has ‘500 reasons’ for wanting to beat Tottenham this weekend following the controversial meeting of the sides earlier this season.

Liverpool were denied a legal Luis Diaz goal in their 2-1 defeat to Spurs in October, VAR failing to communicate correctly that the Colombian was onside.

The PGMOL admitted ‘significant human error’ after the audio revealed a shambolic process which failed to inform referee Simon Cooper to give the goal.

Klopp remains livid that the unprecedented mistake has been shrugged off in the same way as an error of judgment, or a result of a contentious, subjective refereeing decision. He said at the time he felt the match should be replayed, although the club did not pursue that course of action.

The memories linger, however.

“I don’t want to make it the biggest subject but I cannot forget the [last] Tottenham game as well, it was just so strange,” said Klopp.

“Only the other night was the first time since Tottenham that Simon Hooper was standing next to me for 90 minutes in a game I didn’t enjoy in the first place against Everton. I tried to get it out of my head and couldn’t. Now we play Tottenham and that was obviously not their fault that night, they just played the game, but I would like to win that game for 500 reasons and that we lost there in the way we lost is one of them.”

Liverpool were also reduced to nine-men after Curtis Jones and Diogo Jota were sent off; Jota’s dismissal was later adjudged by a panel of experts to be the wrong call.

Had Liverpool won that game, they might still have a chance of winning the Premier League title with three games left. Klopp has effectively conceded that is not possible for his side now.

“I know mathematically there is still a chance, but it looks like it is all over,” said Klopp.

“The pressure is off now and it would be really cool if we could play really good football again. It was really tense in the last few weeks. Playing Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday, Saturday didn’t work out too well for us after a long season. Going back to the start of the season, everyone knew how important it would be to qualify for the Champions League again. It is super important for the future of the club.”

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