Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola say there's 'too much football' for English clubs
Liverpool due to play at FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar in December during week of Carabao Cup quarter-finals
Last Updated: 01/11/19 10:47pm
Jurgen Klopp says there are too many games in the English football calendar, after threatening to pull Liverpool out of the Carabao Cup, and Pep Guardiola "completely agrees".
Liverpool face the prospect of having to field two teams in separate matches on consecutive days in December, with their Carabao Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa due to be played on the same week as the FIFA Club World Cup in Qatar.
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The EFL has confirmed it is in discussions with Liverpool to "identify an alternative date" for the Carabao Cup quarter-final, and Sky Sports News understands Villa are relaxed about a potential change of date.
Villa will take a lead from discussions between Liverpool and the EFL.
But Klopp believes his squad are being forced to play too many games over the course of a season.
"It's obvious that it's too much, absolutely obvious," Klopp said. "Everybody involved in the game will tell you that, and you know it as well.
"Let's have a look how they deal with it, that is how it is. If you see the schedule which is coming up, it is all okay.
"For example, the Premier League - what a competition, sensational, then the Carabao Cup a nice competition - what a wonderful game we had on Wednesday night.
"But then at the end of January after a very busy schedule in December, we have two semi-finals. It is an easy decision for me to say, okay if you want to keep the competition then why two semi-finals?"
Klopp added: "People say 'okay, you need a bigger squad'. But the game is not made for bigger squads.
"You cannot make 40-player squads and 20 of them you send on holiday until January and you pay for all of them. It's not possible, it's not how it works.
"At the moment there is an imbalance between the number of players you have in a squad, the competitions you have to play and the big gap between the breaks the boys usually would need, and what they get.
"If you are an international player and play all the big competitions in the world then you have two weeks off per year. That is fact."
Klopp says a decision is yet to be made on whether Liverpool will remain in both competitions but has ruled out splitting his senior squad to accommodate both matches.
He said: "If we would play while we're in Qatar then we would need two different teams but we cannot leave any players at home for the Carabao Cup.
"We have two games there in a very busy period. It's not that we can go there with 11 players and let them play the two games in Qatar and the other guys play at home in England against Aston Villa.
"It doesn't work like this. We have to make a decision and we will make a decision but not yet."
Villa 'sympathetic' to Liverpool's situation
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith said his club have been in talks with Liverpool and the EFL about a possible change to the date of their Carabao Cup tie.
Smith maintains he is "expecting" to play it, despite Klopp's threats to forfeit the competition.
"Hopefully that's a worst-case scenario," he said.
"I'm very sympathetic and understanding to the reasons behind them wanting that changed.
"They'll run it by the football club and make it sure it doesn't affect our games but I'm sure they'll find space. We haven't got club world championships or Champions League games so I think they'll find space in our calendar."
Pep: I completely agree with Klopp
Manchester City boss Guardiola echoed Klopp's comments, saying there should be "less fixtures, less competitions and more recovery".
He admitted he has to prioritise certain competitions, having rested Ilkay Gundogan, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva for City's win over Southampton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
"I completely agree with Jurgen on these kind of statements about 'too much'," Guardiola said.
Liverpool travel to face Villa in the Premier League on Saturday without defender Joel Matip, who has been ruled out until the end of the month with an ongoing knee problem.
"He is not ready, he is out," said Klopp, who confirmed Naby Keita remains a doubt after picking up a knock in the Carabao Cup fourth-round win over Arsenal.
"Naby I don't know yet, we will see but Joel is not available for the next few weeks unfortunately."