‘I feel like I’m suffocating’ – FIFA, UEFA and the game’s big broadcasters have pushed players to breaking point

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Youngsters are playing more minutes than ever before, resulting in an increase in injuries to the likes of Gavi and Vinicius Junior.

Jurgen Klopp is acutely aware he has a reputation for whining, particularly when it comes to the fixture list, but he couldn’t help himself. While he should have been talking about a vital victory over Brentford on November 11, Klopp felt compelled to bring up the fact that Liverpool’s first game after the international break would be a top-of-the-table Premier League clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

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“How can you put a game like this on a Saturday at 12.30pm?” The German asked reporters at Anfield. Honestly, the people making these decisions, they cannot feel football. It is just not possible… These two teams have probably 30 international players altogether. And they all come back in the same plane by the way, the South Americans all on the same plane [will] fly back together. We pick them up [from] Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia – one plane and then we arrive here. It’s really mad.”

And it is. Whether one likes Klopp or not, he’s right: the sport’s major power-brokers don’t feel football. It’s not about emotion for them, it’s about money, meaning player welfare is utterly irrelevant.

Which is bizarre, really, because if players are tired, the product suffers. But then, it’s long been clear that the game’s governing bodies and the biggest broadcasters are more interested in quantity than quality. More games means more revenue – it’s that simple.

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