LONDON • Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has intensified the war of words with Juergen Klopp by claiming that his Liverpool counterpart is responsible for the injury epidemic at Anfield.
Liverpool's problems reached crisis levels on Tuesday after two more regular starters, Dejan Lovren and Philippe Coutinho, suffered hamstring strains to leave Klopp without 10 first-team players. Allardyce believes that the former Borussia Dortmund manager's high-octane style of play is to blame.
"That is him (Klopp) asking his players to play a high-tempo pressing game from the top end," Allardyce told TalkSport on Wednesday. "It's great the players have been able to carry it out but I think it (fatigue) has kicked in now."
Allardyce also accused Klopp of underestimating the ferocity of the Premier League with his criticism.
"I don't think Juergen has realised just how ferocious our league is at this period of time and because he has asked for that extra high energy, that extra 10 yards. These lads are fatiguing now with so many games in such a short period of time and picking up these muscle strains."
It's great the players have been able to carry it out but I think it (fatigue) has kicked in now.
SAM ALLARDYCE , Sunderland manager, claiming that Juergen Klopp's high-octane style of play is to blame for the spate of injuries at Liverpool
His stinging criticism comes one week after the pair clashed during and after Liverpool's 1-0 Premier League win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Dec 30.
On that occasion, Klopp was outraged by a challenge on Mamadou Sakho by Jeremain Lens, the Sunderland substitute, and vented his anger at Allardyce, who subsequently dismissed the Liverpool manager's outrage as the antics of a "soft German".
Klopp retaliated after Liverpool's 1-0 win at Stoke City on Tuesday night by claiming that Sakho had missed the League Cup semi-final first leg as a direct result of an injury caused by the "soft tackle" made by Lens.
And the German also responded to Allardyce's latest comments yesterday.
"I'm glad for Sam, that such an experienced manager has time to think about Liverpool's problems," Klopp said. "The problem is that, in this situation, we speak about the intensity of my style. I didn't create this style, how could I? I'm not a genius."
He also confirmed that Coutinho faces up to three weeks on the sidelines. Reserve Kolo Toure, who came in for Sakho against Stoke, was limping with cramp towards the end, and Klopp has also ruled him out of today's match.
"Phil is more serious than Dejan, (who is more serious) than Kolo but none of these three will be available for tomorrow," Klopp added.
"With muscle injuries you don't know. Kolo had cramp and that is not a problem but after three days it is not possible to play the next game but for next week it should not be a problem."
THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE