Jurgen Klopp wary of challenging season after World Cup fatigue

Liverpool prepare for resumption of Premier League season against Villa

Liverpool's manager Jurgen Klopp during the League Cup match against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium. AP
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Football fans got to enjoy one of the greatest World Cup finals of all time in Qatar but the resumption of club football threatens to take some of the sheen off those memories as injuries and fatigue take their toll.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said that the new year will be extremely demanding as the Reds prepared for a visit to Aston Villa in the Premier League on Monday.

Liverpool are in sixth place in the league standings after a disappointing start to the season and face a Villa side who have moved up to 12th after the appointment of Unai Emery as manager in October.

"For the players who played in the World Cup, the whole year will be incredibly intense," Klopp was quoted as saying by Reuters a day after his side's 3-2 fourth-round League Cup defeat to Manchester City.

"That's really, really, really tough. We will have to see how we deal with that, and we will be really careful with the information we get.

"That makes planning really difficult for the next game because we were 100 per cent clear what we want to do against City and then you have to change in the last second pretty much, that’s not cool but it’s the situation and that might happen against Villa as well so we need to be flexible."

Klopp said that midfielder James Milner, who was substituted after 38 minutes against City due to a hamstring injury, would be out for a couple of days along with forward Roberto Firmino who is struggling with a calf injury.

Meanwhile, Klopp insisted the impending departure of sporting director Julian Ward will not impact their transfer activity.

Ward, who took over from Michael Edwards in the summer, is leaving at the end of the season.

Klopp has not ruled out making a move in January to bolster a squad which has been hit by long-term injuries to Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota.

"It was a surprise when Julian told me. But we work completely normal together until the day that he leaves. Julian is 100 per cent committed and everything is fine," Klopp was quoted as saying by the Press Association.

"We never had a problem and will not have a problem, so it's all fine.

"He told me after the Southampton game (their last game before the World Cup break) and it was a surprise at that moment. That is his decision and that's OK.

"It will have no impact for this period, not at all."

Updated: December 24, 2022, 6:45 AM