Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp calls Premier League festive fixture list a 'crime'

German critical of schedule as some teams are forced to play twice in 48 hours

Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp speaks to his players during the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup Final football match between England's Liverpool and Brazil's Flamengo at the Khalifa International Stadium in the Qatari capital Doha on December 21, 2019.  / AFP / Giuseppe CACACE

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has described the Premier League's hectic festive schedule as a "crime" against some teams that are forced to play two matches in the space of 48 hours.

The league leaders, who won the Fifa Club World Cup title by beating Brazil's Flamengo last Saturday, take on second-placed Leicester City on Thursday and host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, but other teams including Manchester City are not as fortunate.

The champions visit Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves on Friday before welcoming Sheffield United on Sunday, prompting manager Pep Guardiola to write to the league to "thank" them for a demanding schedule.

"It is absolutely not OK," Klopp said. "There's no reason why more teams do not get more than 48 hours between Premier League games.

"None of the managers have a problem playing on Boxing Day, but playing on the 26th and 28th is a crime. This year we play 26th and 29th and it's like a holiday.

"There is no reason why more teams do not get more than 48 hours between a Premier League game.

The likes of Brighton & Hove Albion, Everton, Watford and Manchester United all play twice within 48 hours this week.

"I understand all those saying it shouldn't happen. They're not moaning. They're telling," Klopp said. "We can say what we want but no one is listening ... sports science gives you nothing to deal with this.

"The body needs a specific amount of time to go again. But we ignore that completely.

"We are not in that situation this year, but I understand each manager who mentions it from time to time – or pretty much always – when we see it coming up because it is just not OK but other people have to decide that."

Liverpool are looking to increase their 10-point advantage over Leicester, while the Foxes will aim to return to winning ways after their nine-match unbeaten run was ended by City.

Klopp reckons Manchester City, who begin Boxing Day 11 points behind, are the reason the chasing pack are so far off the pace.

"I think City moved the bar massively, massively. The kind of consistency they showed in the last three years is incredible and difficult, very difficult to do," Klopp said.

"So they became champions two years ago and last year we helped a lot and they helped us as a lot as we tried to catch up with them.

"They did it in an incredible way. It has changed, it is not allowed to lose games any more.

"It is difficult, obviously, but winning the Premier League should be difficult, it is such a strong league with all the teams you see now.

"Watford looked like they were gone, relegated, but they changed their manager, came to Anfield and did a good performance and then won the next week and everyone down there is on their toes again.

"It looked like the top four were already gone for a while and then all of a sudden seven or eight teams will fight for being in the Champions League and Europa League."