Jurgen Klopp detonates AFCON as “catastrophe” for Liverpool and again calls for player protection

Jurgen Klopp admits that the decision to bring the Africa Cup of Nations back to January is a “catastrophe” for Liverpool, as he reiterated that players are being asked to play too much football.

The Confederation of African Football confirmed this week that the 2021 tournament in Cameroon will take place in January and February of next year.

The competition had usually been played in the winter months until last year, when it was held in Egypt in the summer, a change welcomed by European clubs.

But the decision to return to the first date means that Liverpool will probably be without Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita for up to six weeks in the middle of next season.

Liverpool’s Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah during a training session at Melwood Training Ground

And Klopp said: “I couldn’t respect the African Cup of Nations more than I do because I like competition.

“But of course you play in a mid-season tournament.

“The African Cup of Nations dating back to January is a catastrophe for us.

“Also, we have absolutely no power, so if we say” We don’t let him go “the player is suspended.

“How is it possible that the company that pays the player cannot decide that the player should stay or not?

“But I’m talking about it here and nobody will listen. It’s like the biggest waste of time ever. Liverpool’s Moaner or whatever is back on track.

“As long as nothing changes, I will always say it. It’s because it’s about the players, not a second about me. “

While accepting the reason for the switch, Klopp believes that there are now too many tournaments with the 2021 edition that was originally scheduled to be played in the same summer as the inaugural 24-team Club World Cup, of which Liverpool should be one part.

“It makes more sense for Africa to play it in our winter when the weather is better for them – I understand that,” said chief Reds.

“But there are a couple of things that aren’t going well: one thing is that FIFA organizes a tournament in the summer of 2021, another tournament for many world-class players.

“I’m not sure it was part of the decision. But there are still too many tournaments. “

Every word of Jurgen Klopp in his pre-Manchester United press conference HERE

Klopp added: “Another thing is that it doesn’t help African players. We won’t be selling Sadio, Mo or Naby now because they have a tournament in January and February – obviously not – but if you have to make a decision on a player’s involvement it’s huge because you know four weeks before the season you don’t have them.

“It’s a normal process and as a club you have to think about these things.

“But these decisions are made without asking the players, without asking the managers, without asking anyone.”

Klopp has long been a critic of the growing demands placed on top players, and suggested that he would agree to be paid less money if there were fewer games.

“I feel massively about Harry Kane, now I feel it may not be in the euro,” he said. “For the first time some Brits in the FA might think ‘Oh, maybe too many games maybe’.

“Something has to happen for them to really start thinking about it.

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“FIFA, UEFA, the FA of all countries must come together and finally resolve it. Right now FIFA decides things without talking to UEFA, UEFA decides things without speaking to FIFA by enlarging the Champions League and therefore nobody talks to each other.

“It is FIFA that should order this as head of all the different associations.

“It’s a strange situation when we ask for less games and we would be paid less money, but I’m ready to do it, I can say it here.”


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