Jurgen Klopp has aimed a dig at Gary Neville after he accused the Liverpool boss of looking to gain an advantage by calling for the five substitutions rule.
Klopp has been very vocal on the matter in recent weeks, saying it would benefit all teams as it enables more rotation, which, in theory, means players are less likely to pick up injuries.
Sheffield United boss Chris Wilder is among the managers against the idea, as it also provides the likes of Liverpool – who have much more quality in reserve – with more opportunities to make tactical changes.
Neville recently agreed with Wilder, saying: “[Klopp’s] trying to gain an advantage to get results, that’s it.”
And now Klopp has fired back in his Friday afternoon press conference, telling the media: “Gary Neville said something, but it is not about Liverpool. He should not think that I am like him. I am not like him. I speak about all players, not only Liverpool players.”
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Former Manchester United captain Neville made his comments, which riled the Liverpool boss, on Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football show.
Neville said: “I don’t think Jurgen Klopp’s got a point around fatigue, around the length of time of pre-season or about the Saturday kick-offs.
“My view is that when you become a winning manager, and this is where Sir Alex got to and why they called him a whinging so and so for many years, the best managers they just want to win.
“The biggest risk to Klopp winning the league again this season is another big injury or two. So, he wants to try and gain that advantage to put some psychological thing into people’s minds. Sir Alex Ferguson did it for 15 or 16 years.
“Klopp has been the best manager in interviews for the last few years, he’s been the best manager on the pitch, he’s connected with the fans better than anybody else, his style of football is fantastic, but on Saturday he got done in an interview, and that’s very rare.
“He didn’t get his story right, he hasn’t got his evidence to back him up either in games played or in the Saturday kick-off slots. He just lost this particular one having been brilliant in all his other interviews that he’s done.
“He’s trying to gain an advantage to get results, that’s it.
“I played for a manager in Sir Alex Ferguson, every single season he wanted that advantage. He wanted the ability to recover more, to play at different times, so it suited Manchester United, and that’s what Klopp wants now.
“What Klopp has done at Liverpool over the last three years is unbelievable, but his squad this season is just wilting a little bit under the fact they’ve had that three years.
“There might be an element of Covid and sport science, but the rest time has been there. The games are not coming thicker and faster than any other season.
“The Saturday kick-offs are not coming thicker and faster than any other season so the exceptional points Klopp is making haven’t happened.”
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