Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp branded the Nations League as ‘senseless’ ahead of the international break and hopes his players can avoid fitness issues.
The Reds were held to a goalless draw at Anfield by Manchester City on Sunday, which ensured that both sides remain top of the Premier League along with Chelsea.
All three sides are unbeaten this season and look set to contest one of the closest title race’s in recent memory, but Klopp is concerned about the demanding fixtures being imposed on his players during the international break.
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The UEFA Nations League was created to limit the number of friendlies played between national teams and spice up the qualification system for the European Championships, however, the new format has proved to be divisive.
According to the Daily Mail, the Liverpool head coach has slammed the new tournament as a major hindrance for his squad, with many of them heading off for duty with their respective countries later in the week.
“The boys, unfortunately, go away again now and have to play Nations League games – the most senseless competition in the world of football!” Said Klopp, as per The Mail.
“We hope that they come back healthy and play these easy competitions, the Premier League, the Champions League and all this.
“It’s tough times for the boys, eh? We have to start thinking about the players.”
International friendlies have always received a bad rap, but at least they are a good opportunity for youngsters to gain experience on the world stage and a break from the intense schedule of club football for senior players.
The Nations League is a whole different kettle of fish, with points at stake and an easier qualification route up for grabs, players cannot afford to take things easy and managers cannot afford to risk blooding the young talent within their squad.
Unfortunately, club bosses are going to have to make their peace with this new system for the time being, but it could be a real concern in the future if title races at club level are affected by this seemingly unnecessary new tournament.