Football: Forced to play two teams, Klopp says time to rethink scheduling

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp smiles during a press conference in Doha. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

DOHA (REUTERS) - Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has appealed for football authorities to rethink the scheduling of their big events, as he prepares for Wednesday's Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar on Wednesday (Dec 18).

Confronted with a League Cup match in Birmingham on Tuesday and then the clash in the Gulf state with Mexican club Monterrey on Wednesday, Klopp has been forced to field a youth team against Aston Villa.

His European champions have flown to Qatar to play in a tournament that holds little prestige in Europe and while the German insists he wants to triumph at the Khalifa International Stadium, he believes Fifa and other bodies need to review the entire football calendar.

"If you had asked me beforehand if I think there should be a Club World Cup in the middle of our season I would say no. But we are here and so it is the most important competition in the world," said Klopp.

The Liverpool boss suggested the tournament, which is scheduled to become a 24-team event in 2021 played in the European summer, could yet rise in status but that Fifa needs to find the right balance.

"Can it be bigger in the future? I don't know. If we try to push it in between other competitions... I think the Fifa plans a team world cup in the summer but it is a summer when African Nations is on as well and other competitions," he said.

Liverpool players will gather at their hotel on Tuesday to watch their younger versions playing at Aston Villa in the League Cup.

But while he has in the past questioned the domestic schedule in England, where his team is involved in two national Cup competitions as well as the Premier League and Champions League, Klopp thinks it is now time for a global re-set.

"They all have to sit around a table and talk about the competitions not being at the same time. From the organisational point of view everyone needs to think about it. Fifa cannot plan a tournament in the summer and then Uefa says 'We'll have one as well'. It is not too easy.

"You need to find a common language and talk about it. You cannot just add on tournaments, that doesn't work," he said.

Now that his team is in Qatar, however, Klopp wants them to go all the way.

"We are here, we don't fly 3,000 miles to not show up. Our life is constantly dealing with difficult situations and finding solutions.

"We will be prepared and try to win football games. We don't see ourselves as favourites, we see ourselves as challengers as it will be the first time to win it."

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