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Managers Upset With Premier League Festive Schedule

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is just one of the Premier League managers who is upset with teams having to play Premier League games on 26 and 28 December saying that players “need help” and wants talks about the festive schedule to continue.

The Reds avoided such a scenario this year as their game against Leeds United on 26 December was postponed because of Covid-19 cases at the Yorkshire club.

“The situation should not be like this,” said Klopp, whose side are at Leicester City on Tuesday.

“I know so many people think it’s tradition and we want to play on Boxing Day, we could have played on Boxing Day and that would have been no problem at all.

“But playing on the 26th and the 28th is just not right, I just say that because it’s true and I think we can find solutions for that.

“It’s not that difficult to play football in a slightly different way. The 26th and the 29th, where’s the problem?”

Opposing Liverpool and Klopp is Leicester City and Brendan Rodgers. Leicester were beaten 6-3 by Premier League leaders Manchester City on Boxing Day and Rodgers has also criticized the festive schedule.

“It’s a ridiculous schedule, we all know that,” said Rodgers.

“Players aren’t fully recovered for 72 hours after a game, so for us to be playing on a Tuesday against Liverpool is ridiculous.

“It’s a very quick turnaround. To play Manchester City and Liverpool in quick succession over this period is a big challenge, especially with the squads that they have.

“However, we have to play the game. We’ll do what we’ve done in this period.

“We will fight, keep working and we’ll do our very best, and that’s what we’re prepared to do on Tuesday.”

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel called the Premier League schedule “not fair” and said his side “are struggling” after sustaining more injuries.

The Blues won 3-1 at Aston Villa on Sunday, with Romelu Lukaku scoring a goal and winning a penalty in his first match back after a Covid-19 absence.

Chelsea asked for their game with Wolves on 19 December to be postponed, but the Premier League rejected this.

“It’s like it is – but this cannot be the right way,” said Tuchel.

While 15 top-flight matches have been postponed so far in December, Chelsea were playing their eighth game in all competitions in the month and have Brighton to come at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday.

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Lukaku have both missed games because of Covid-19, while forwards Kai Havertz and Timo Werner were still absent and defender Thiago Silva and midfielder N’Golo Kante picked up injuries in the win at Villa Park.

“It’s not fair,” added Tuchel. “We’ve all been in bed for 10 days and we play against teams who prepare with games postponed, and who prepare with one week for these matches.

“They make us play all the time, even if we have Covid. We have new injuries and it won’t stop. People at the green table, in offices, make these decisions.