Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp and Tottenham’s Jose Mourinho have described the Premier League’s hectic festive schedule as a “crime” against some teams that are forced to play two matches in the space of 48 hours.
League leaders Liverpool, who won the Club World Cup title by beating Brazil’s Flamengo last Saturday, take on second-placed Leicester City on Thursday and host Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday, but other teams including Manchester City are not as fortunate.
The champions visit Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves on Friday before welcoming Sheffield United on Sunday, prompting manager Pep Guardiola to write to the league to “thank” them for a demanding schedule.
“It is absolutely not OK,” Klopp told the British media. “There’s no reason why more teams do not get more than 48 hours between Premier League games.
“None of the managers have a problem playing on Boxing Day, but playing on the 26th and 28th is a crime. This year we play 26th and 29th and it’s like a holiday.”
Brighton, Everton, Watford and Manchester United all play twice within 48 hours this week.
“I understand all those saying it shouldn’t happen. They’re not moaning. They’re telling,” Klopp added.
“We can say what we want but no one is listening … sports science gives you nothing to deal with this.
“The body needs a specific amount of time to go again. But we ignore that completely.”
Liverpool are looking to increase their 10-point advantage over Leicester, while the Foxes will aim to return to winning ways after their nine-match unbeaten run was ended by City.
Mourinho, meanwhile, was speaking after Tottenham’s 2-1 comeback win over Brighton at home. Spurs face Norwich away on Saturday and Mourinho said: “I cannot imagine that these boys can play in less than 48 hours. It is a crime that they are going to play football again in 48 hours. It’s against every rule of physiology and biology.”