Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp reiterates criticism of 'senseless' Nations League
LIVERPOOL, England -- Jurgen Klopp has once again slammed the UEFA Nations League as he believes there is too much football at international level.
Klopp described the new competition as "senseless" prior to the recent international break and took the opportunity to air his opinion at a news conference on Friday afternoon.
Mohamed Salah, Virgil van Dijk, Sadio Mane and Naby Keita all handed the Liverpool manager injury scares in the last week when they were away with their respective national teams, although only Netherlands defender Van Dijk played in the Nations League.
"You make a lot of my comments about the Nations League," Klopp said. "And everyone has their opinion about it, but the things they say about it are exactly what I think -- it's too much in that competition: 'Proper games, real opponents, it is better than having any friendlies'.
"That's all good but you don't want to see [heavyweight boxer Anthony] Joshua fighting every second night, it's not possible. This week he fights in Leeds, next week he fights in Manchester and no one asked for it.
"In American Football you have the summer break which is longer than our season -- it's not that long, but it's a real proper break. In basketball they have a summer league, whatever it is, and then come together.
"Only [in] football everyone seems to be interested in now having only big competitions where you can get promoted or relegated. Or when Wales play Ireland they play for something and the atmosphere in the stadium is different.
"Do we want to have opera every night or every two months? I like competition, of course, but at one point someone has to step back and think: 'OK, wait, wait, wait. They are players who play'. If they don't perform I am angry, so how can we make sure they perform?
"That's all I wanted to say. The Nations League itself is a good idea, [but] do it in another sport because in football there is no space for it.
"I realise already I could have told my coffee machine because no one is really interested, but it is still my opinion.
"We only have highlights now, 'highlight, highlight, highlight'. Where is the rest? When can we have normal things? That is all I was talking about."
Sources have told ESPN FC that Salah (groin) and Van Dijk (ribs) are expected to be fit for Liverpool's trip to Huddersfield Town on Saturday evening.
Keita, meanwhile, is expected to be sidelined for around two weeks with the hamstring issue he picked up when playing for Guinea.
Liverpool are still assessing Mane's condition after he underwent an operation on his fractured left thumb, sustained during Senegal's Africa Cup of Nations qualifier with Sudan.
"We had a session yesterday and a few of the boys trained, so we'll have to see how they've reacted after that," Klopp said. "The only thing that is pretty sure is that Naby will not be available; with all the rest we have to see how it develops. That's it, pretty much."
Saturday's game will see Klopp lineup alongside his close friend and former Mainz teammate David Wagner in the dugout.
Huddersfield are yet to win a match this season and currently sit 18th in the Premier League, although Klopp considers their record to be slightly misleading.
"I can tell a little story when we had our pre-match analysis meeting," he said. "The analyst came in and said: 'They are much stronger than you would imagine'. That was his words, not mine.
"I use the word 'trap'. If you look at the table and see one team 20th, three points, you say it's a clear situation. But it isn't.
"They had more possession against Tottenham, maybe people are not interested in that but it's a big step. They promoted with playing football, they stayed in the league last year and this year they are the strongest side playing their best football."
Elsewhere UEFA have fined Napoli after fireworks were let off and stairways were blocked during their Champions League clash with Jurgen Klopp's team.
The Italian side were fined €34,000 for the incidents at the Stadio San Paolo on Oct. 3. They went on to beat Liverpool 1-0.