Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said that players need a break from the ever-expanding international, year-round football schedule.
Jurgen Klopp is in the middle of preparing Liverpool in preseason. For fans, the new season is beginning to bubble up before they’ve adjusted to the old one being finished.
For players, who played over the summer, and staff, who likely don’t get a break, it must be even more gruelling.
The appetite for football in the age of content is insatiable. Although conversely, fatigue and burnout are becoming an issue despite football’s rapidly multiplying popularity.
“Ask Sadio how much holiday he has had,” Klopp told the Daily Mail.
“He’s played pretty much every game for Senegal. He’s played each game for us. Every international break, he is away. Ask him.”
Sadio Mane is a good example of an overworked top-level footballer. He featured prominently for Liverpool in 2017/18. Then, he played for Senegal at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Then, he helped Liverpool win the Champions League in 2018/19 before reaching the Africa Cup of Nations Final with Senegal.
That took place last week, and the Premier League season begins again on the 9th of August. Sports science and nutrition is more advanced than ever in the modern game, but the players are still human. Just ask Alexis Sanchez.
Sanchez was famed for his bombastic, high-energy, often relentless style of play. He was a star attacker for Udinese, Barcelona, Arsenal and Chile for years. His improvisation, determination and dynamism endeared him to all types of fans.
Look at him now, though. After so many consecutive years without a summer break, Alexis Sanchez is a shadow of himself at Manchester United.
With the World Cup, Euros, Copa America, Confederations Cup,Asian Cup, AFCON, the Olympics, underage tournaments, preseason tours and now the Nations League, when was the last time an entire Premier League squad had a full summer’s rest? It just doesn’t happen anymore and with TV money increasingly influential, won’t happen again soon.
“We sit here and it sounds like I am having a moan or whatever,” said Jurgen Klopp.
“It is just the situation, in the long-term, is not acceptable. For here [on pre-season] it is not a problem. We have all the boys here, apart from the three up front and Alisson.
“That’s not the biggest problem for Ali, but the other three we will see. They need a holiday.
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“It’s not like after three days you can say to them, ‘Hey! Come on! Let’s start running again!’. They have had a tough summer programme.
“It’s football. It’s not riding a bike, so you lose a little bit. It will all come back but it will be a tough start.
“For the other teams as well – Tottenham have had it pretty much like we have. But it is just like it is.
“In the future, we have to change that! It looks like nobody can imagine a week without football in the year. When did that happen? A game again, a game again.”