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  • David Tyrer

Guardiola backs Liverpool boss over 'crazy schedule' of football players

Every few years there'll be a discussion about how the combination of increased club football and international football is affecting players, causing injuries and generally knackering players long before their prime years.

Then, every few years later, the powers that be will jig things around and declare all problems solved by moving international fixtures around, or extended the club season.

Shortly afterwards, they forget what the problem was and either extend club competitions or come up with some new, pointless international tournament so that players are once again deprived of a summer off from football.

The players don't really mind, of course. They love to play but then they're not the managers, coaches, fitness/medical experts and analysts who pore over data to ensure players don't get injured as frequently and are at the top of their game.

For a manager like Klopp, who squeezes every last ounce out of his players, the extended season and international fixture schedule can throw his plans off. And he had his say on that this week.

But now Man City manager Pep Guardiola has come out in support of the boss, saying: "Some [players] will come on the 29th or 30 (of July); the others will come in three or four weeks.

"They decide to come back between three or four weeks. I don’t want them to come back when they’re not fit or tired or mentally not recovered from an incredibly tough season.

"We cannot forget we started a new season while Riyad Mahrez had not finished the last one.

"It’s a crazy schedule and it is going to kill our players! We cannot sustain that for a long time.

"They have to breathe and rest and give more quality in the tournaments. They have to rest."

Like the Reds, City will have players who aren't returning to their club's pre-season camps until late this month. Some, like Sadio Mane and Riyad Mahrez won't return until almost 24 hours before the new season starts.

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