Jurgen Klopp says that Liverpool's relentless fixture schedule as they chase a historic quadruple is taking its toll on his team.
Liverpool take on Southampton in the Premier League on Tuesday having just won the FA Cup following a draining penalty shoot-out victory over Chelsea at Wembley Stadium three days earlier.
The Merseyside club are currently second in the table, four points behind Manchester City having played a game less than Pep Guardiola's team.
Tuesday's match at St Mary's Stadium will be their 61st of an intense campaign that will come to an end on May 28 when they face Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
“They are pretty much sleeping on their massage beds,” Klopp said of his players ahead of the game on the south coast.
“It's better to moan and argue when you've won, but why did they think the best day for our game was Tuesday?”
“Nobody thought we could have had an extra day's rest and played on the Thursday? We're going there with eight players who played 120 minutes so we will have to make changes – I just do not know how many.
“All the same, I can't wait to play the game. I'm really excited about it and we will go with all we have to make it happen.”
While Liverpool is playing barely three days after 120 intense minutes against Chelsea, Southampton will have had 10 days since its most recent game and is known for its high-energy, heavy-pressing style of play under Ralph Hasenhuttl.
“They’ll be completely fresh,” Klopp said. “We cannot go there, fall into this game and go, ‘What’s going on here?’ Southampton is a really well-drilled team, full of energy … and playing their last home game of the season.”
There has been no decision made on whether the injuries Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk picked up during the cup final win will rule them out of the Saints match.
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“This process is not finished yet,” added Klopp. “We played 120 minutes only two days ago. The boys only arrived today [Monday] and we have to make a lot of decisions.
“But what I can promise, definitely, is we will line up to try to win the game at Southampton. We have a job to do and we have to see who is able to help.”
City’s draw at West Ham on Sunday means that Liverpool can move back within a point of the leaders heading into the final game if they beat Saints. On Sunday's season finale, City are at home to Aston Villa while Liverpool entertain Wolves at Anfield.
Klopp said: “I am really looking forward to the game tomorrow. Is it a big chance? I wouldn’t say so because I don’t know when City last dropped points two games in a row.
“I don’t expect City to drop points but that has no influence on our game tomorrow. In an ideal world we’ll go into the last match one point behind.”
Meanwhile, Hasenhuttl believes that securing the Premier League title is even more difficult challenge than winning the Champions League.
“We all know Jurgen and how strong he is and you can be sure that he doesn’t give up the chance for winning the league, for sure,” said the German, whose team have taken four points off Manchester City this season.
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“This is still the title that is the most countable for everybody because it’s the hardest to get.
“For me it’s even harder to be over 38 games in the Premier League consistently on the top than to win the Champions League sometimes.
“Even if he [Klopp] says it’s tough for him to go for all four, I know he will do everything to win this game on Tuesday to give himself a chance on the last day.
“I think it is fantastic for the Premier League to have such a close title race. “Everybody is electrified from this battle and we are now part of this duel.”
Hasenhuttl again came under criticism from his own supporters at the weekend after losing 3-0 at Brentford – Southampton's seventh defeat in 10 league games.
“This is maybe the most difficult one at home,” said Hasenhuttl, who team lost 4-0 at Anfield earlier in the season. “We have shown against the top teams that we can achieve something very big – and this is what we will need on Tuesday evening.
“They [the players] know what team we are facing, they know how tough it is, they know on what run of form they are.
“It’s our Champions League final, if you want. And we are going for this with everything we have and the team that is on the pitch is the team that will do everything to make them proud.”