Liverpool boss says players are ‘at the edge’ but believes clubs will not allow more subs

A number of clubs across the Premier League have recorded Covid cases among their first-team players and staff in recent weeks, with the positive tests coming amid the traditionally busy festive period.

This has led to an increased workload for those that are fit to play, as well as players returning from Covid and injuries being asked to make their comebacks faster than usual.

Various managers including Thomas Tuchel, the Chelsea head coach – have called for clubs to once again be permitted to make five changes per match to help ease the pressure on their squads.

But some – such as Sean Dyche, the Burnley manager believe allowing five subs disproportionately benefits bigger clubs, such as Liverpool.

With 14 of the 20 Premier League clubs needing to vote in favour to push through any changes, Klopp is not confident it will happen.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has once again called into question the busy festive fixture schedule and says that players need help

“We have to put the competition aside and don’t say that Man City has better subs than Burnley or whatever,” said the Liverpool boss. “Yes that’s probably true. But the problem is the intensity for a top-class footballer in England is definitely at the edge.

“You need 14 votes to change there is something wrong. As an example, I’m not sure how many Burnley players play international football. When our players have three games, they have no game.

“We are talking about an issue that some clubs and some players definitely have but it is decided by other teams. Because we make a competition of it, they say no. That’s a real problem because it’s the right decision, especially at this moment.

“You bring players back after Covid or after an injury, and because of the games we have to play they have to play immediately. Then they are out again because you cannot get them off after 60 minutes because you have to change other things.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp says that dealing with positive Covid cases is like a lottery as you do not know who will be available each day

“This wonderful game is so wonderful because usually the players on the pitch are in good shape, are well-trained, have recovered and gone for it. That’s why we love the game.

“The best league in the world, and the most intense league in the world, is the only league with still three subs. That’s not right. We should change it. [But] I don’t see a real chance to change it, to be honest.”

Klopp: Leicester will be ‘tricky’ despite their woes

Liverpool returns to action on Tuesday night for the first time in six days following the postponement of their Boxing Day fixture at home to Leeds due to Covid cases among the visitors.

Klopp’s side takes on Leicester also their opponents in their most recent game – and he is expecting a tough fixture, regardless of the Foxes’ recent struggles.

Leicester’s Boxing Day fixture at Manchester City saw them trail 4-0 at half-time before a second-half comeback saw them reduce the deficit to 4-3.

However, City pulled away to record a 6-3 victory to leave Leicester 10th in the table and with just one win in their last six games.

“Obviously Leicester are not in a perfect situation,” admitted Klopp. “They have injuries and probably still Covid cases.

“We played them only a few days ago and they were pretty strong in that game. Yesterday when we went out for training it was 4-0, and then all of a sudden somebody told me it was 4-3. Wow. They were obviously close.

“They are just a good team, and the work that Brendan (Rodgers) is doing there is exceptional. It will be tricky for us of course but we will try.”

Liverpool will be boosted by the return of Fabinho, Virgil van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara and Curtis Jones, who have all missed time due to Covid.

However, Klopp revealed further positive cases in the Liverpool camp, saying: “We have one young player who is now isolating and two staff.

“It’s really tricky – every morning you come in and it’s pretty much like a lottery.”

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