Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says it is a “crime” that tomorrow’s opponents Manchester United have been forced to play three Premier League games in five days.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer received some criticism for playing a weakened side in last night’s 2-1 defeat to Leicester, which handed the title to Manchester City.
United have the punishing schedule after protests forced their original meeting with Liverpool to be postponed. With the season running out of time and Solskjaer’s side competing in the Europa League, there was little wiggle room.
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"It was the line-up I expected. Not exactly what I expected, but I knew he had to make these changes," said Klopp, as two of England’s biggest rivals found a rare common ground.
They played on Sunday. Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday - I said it 500 times that with all the things that happened, and the protests at Manchester that led to that Sunday, to play Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday is a crime. It is.
"But it is not the fault of Ole and the players. My question to myself was: 'would I have done the same? Yes'. You have to. You have to.
"We are late in the season, all the players played a lot of games. United went to the Europa League final so that means an awful lot of games and now you get Sunday-Tuesday-Thursday. That is not possible."
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Liverpool will be attempting to make up ground on the top four at Old Trafford, but will still be without injured captain Jordan Henderson.
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Meanwhile Virgil van Dijk had to admit defeat in his race to be fit for the Netherlands’ European Championship campaign, but Klopp believes Henderson has a better chance of being ready to feature for England at the tournament.
"Hendo doesn't play and doesn't train normally with us so that is a decision between Gareth (Southgate) and Hendo but I think there is a chance for sure," said the Liverpool manager of the midfielder, who has been out since February having had groin surgery.
"Unfortunately not for us but for England. Hendo's not out (of Euro 2020) yet.
"It will probably be around the last week when he will have the chance to train with us but he will have been out too long to play for us.
He would be completely fit and what makes it really different to all other English players probably, maybe Declan Rice as well, is that he would be properly rested.
"That means Hendo will have a proper pre-season for the Euros if everything works to plan. He is not out of that."
Klopp also said he sent a text message to City boss Pep Guardiola and Ilkay Gundogan, who he worked with at Borussia Dortmund, to congratulate them after Liverpool lost their status as Premier League champions.
"It was a very difficult year for the whole world, for football teams as well, and what they achieved so far this year is exceptional," said the German.
Five titles in 10 years - it's always like this when you bring together the best financial resources and football knowledge, you have a good chance to create something special and that is obviously the case.
"City has an incredible squad and the best manager in the world so that makes it a good recipe".
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