Klopp needs to adapt to English calendar: Wenger

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp.
Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp. PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Arsene Wenger has said that Juergen Klopp will need to get used to the English football calendar quickly after the Liverpool manager complained about the number of fixtures played over the holiday period.

Liverpool will play a sixth game in 18 days, against Wenger's Arsenal tomorrow, and meet Manchester United on Sunday.

Wenger is accustomed to the schedule after nearly two decades at the north London club.

The Frenchman believes that the English club have enough financial resources to build a strong-enough 25-man squad to cope with the matches.

"Well I must say you get that from everybody who comes to England because you have to adapt to the English style," Wenger said.

"I was like that, and I'm still in favour of a winter break, but without losing the traditions of English football.

"That is play over Christmas, and maybe have a break in January.

" But I believe as well that we go a little bit overboard because today the English clubs are in a financial situation to have a squad of 25 top, top-level players.

"It's not like it was 25 years ago, so we cannot always complain that we play too much because we have players who can rotate, players who want to play.

"In every club now, when I look at the bench, I am quite impressed with the players who are there and can play.

"So I don't believe that it's like we have 13 players who have to play every single game."

Klopp said last week that the combination of a relentless fixture calendar and the absence of a winter break will be the biggest challenge that Pep Guardiola, the Bayern Munich coach, will face if he takes charge of a Premier League club.

In contrast to Liverpool, who will have played 36 fixtures by the end of this month, Bayern, who are enjoying a winter break, will have contested five fewer.

"In Germany, when you tell people about the FA Cup that if you draw, you play again, they say, 'What?'," said Klopp.

"Here you have penalties and extra time, but only after the second game. That's the thing. It's the number of games - football, football, football.

"With a perfect pre-season you are prepared for a long, long journey. We knew about it, but to feel it is different."

Wenger faced Klopp four times in two seasons when the German was in charge of Borussia Dortmund, and the managers have opposing playing styles.

Klopp once labelled his pressing and energetic style as "heavy metal" compared with Wenger's "orchestra".

"We are used to that pressing. It is not just Liverpool who do that, everybody in the modern game (does it)," Wenger said.

"Pressing has been created in England basically because there is a history of teams who have done that very well, so it is part of the modern game to make quick decisions, be very short with your first touch and play your game."

THE TIMES, LONDON, THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2016, with the headline 'Klopp needs to adapt to English calendar: Wenger'. Print Edition | Subscribe