Jurgen Klopp tells Gary Neville 'I'm not like him' after claims Liverpool boss looking for psychological advantage

Jurgen Klopp insists he genuinely cares about the welfare of all players in the Premier League and "will not stop fighting for" the five-sub rule; Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita are in contention for Sunday's match with Wolves.

Gary neville Jurgen Klopp 1:23
Jurgen Klopp has defended himself against comments from Gary Neville over his unease at the fixture schedule and claimed that he is thinking about 'all players'.

Jurgen Klopp has refuted Gary Neville's claims that he is trying to gain a psychological advantage by complaining about the effects of kick-off times on his players.

The Liverpool manager has been unhappy about playing on Wednesdays in the Champions League and then the lunchtime kick-off on a Saturday, as well as the absence of the five-sub rule, amid a raft of injuries to some of his key men.

Neville said on Monday Night Football that he believed Klopp was emulating his former boss at Manchester United Sir Alex Ferguson in trying to gain an edge, but Klopp insists he genuinely cares about all players in the Premier League.

"I heard that Gary Neville said that I - I can't remember exactly what he said - but it's not about Liverpool," Klopp said ahead of Sunday's clash with Wolves.

"Whatever he thinks might be evidence of how he would be in a situation like this, he should not think that I am like him, because I am not like him.

Jurgen Klopp
Gary Neville told MNF that Jurgen Klopp's complaints about the early Saturday kick-off is not a new issue and he's just looking for an advantage

"I speak about all the players and not only Liverpool players."

Neville had said: "I don't think Jurgen Klopp's got a point around fatigue, around the length of time of pre-season or about the Saturday kick-offs.

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"My view is that when you become a winning manager, and this is where Sir Alex got to and why they called him a whinging so and so for many years, the best managers they just want to win.

"The biggest risk to Klopp winning the league again this season is another big injury or two. So, he wants to try and gain that advantage to put some psychological thing into people's minds. Sir Alex Ferguson did it for 15 or 16 years."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp 1:12
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is increasingly concerned by the reluctance within Premier League clubs to not vote through the introduction of five substitutes this season

Klopp has been a vocal advocate of the five-sub rule and insisted it is "not a good sign" that the matter was not voted on in the latest Premier League shareholders' meeting this week.

"I was not surprised because I knew about it," he said. "I think that information speaks for itself; nobody thought that it would go through.

"I told you about the fact that, in the managers' meeting [in November], if we were to have voted that day, then it would have been through, 100 per cent, with 15 or 16 votes. That it didn't happen since then is obviously a sign that some shareholders see it differently to their managers.

"That is really not a good sign because it shows that these people really ignore the player welfare. The coaches don't do that anymore but these people do it and that's not okay.

"If you don't have the chance to vote for it then we have to accept that for the moment but because it is about player welfare, we will not stop fighting for it. It is just the right thing to do."

Trent Alexander-Arnold went down with a suspected calf injury in the 63rd minute of Sunday's draw against Manchester City
Image: Klopp says Trent Alexander-Arnold (pictured) and Naby Keita could be included in the squad to face Wolves on Sunday

Alexander-Arnold, Keita return to training

Klopp remains without a number of first-team players due to injury for the visit of Wolves including goalkeeper Alisson, Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez, but the Liverpool manager says Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita could return.

Alexander-Arnold has not featured since suffering a calf injury against Manchester City on November 8, while Keita limped off against Leicester on November 22, but both players are set to return to full training on Friday.

"Trent and Naby will do the first steps in training today," said Klopp. "Whatever we can do with that, that depends on how it looks. There were some niggles against Ajax. Will have to see how they respond so far. Apart from Naby and Trent, nobody is coming back.

Diogo Jota's second goal in Liverpool colours proved a valuable one in their 2-1 win over Sheffield United 0:29
Liverpool forward Diogo Jota is relishing the opportunity to play in front of the club's supporters and says he is looking forward to feeling the 'Anfield effect'

"[Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain] looks really promising. He is doing a lot of stuff, warming-up with the team now, some ball work. We will develop that over the next few days. We will see from which moment on it makes sense to throw him in but he is not too far away.

"There is a chance that Naby and Trent can be in the squad, I would say. If they are in the squad then they can play but if they can start or play 90 minutes, I don't know."

Liverpool fans will be allowed to attend a home match for the first time in 271 days on Sunday and Klopp is hopeful the 2,000 supporters will provide a positive atmosphere at Anfield.

"I hope it will be a great experience for all of us," said Klopp. "As a player, I played very often in front of 2,000 people and they were not always in the best mood to be honest, 2,000 people can create a bad mood - I remember that very well!

"After their long break I think our fans will be in the best possible shape. I hope that 2,000 people can be really influential."

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