Liverpool were held to a cruel draw by Brighton at the Amex Stadium on the last weekend of November, as the home team scored a last-minute penalty to claim a point.
But it was the fireworks after the game that took most of the post-match headlines, with Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp embarking on a passionate tirade against fellow manager Chris Wilder, interviewer Des Kelly and the broadcaster he works for, BT Sport.
Klopp’s complaints were sparked not just by the loss of two points, but by the loss of yet another of his first-team players to injury. As James Milner limped off in the 74th minute and joined seven other Liverpool players on the treatment table, fans must be bemoaning their terrible luck so far this season. But Klopp is convinced that it’s not just luck at play… is he right?
The case for Klopp
Klopp became incensed when Kelly referenced Milner’s injury, complaining “You did it!”. While Klopp was obviously not referring to the interviewer personally, he was highlighting the fact that his employer (BT Sport) had forced Liverpool to play in the 12.30pm kick-off spot on Saturday, just two-and-a-half days after their European exploits against Atalanta.
Klopp pointed out that it was the third time that Liverpool had played in the early kick-off, something which no other Premier League team has to contend with. It’s this lack of consideration on the part of the broadcasters which Klopp takes issue with and for which he blames the raft of injuries that have crippled his side so far this season.
The case for the broadcasters
To his credit, Kelly did a manful job of defending both himself and his bosses, pointing out that Liverpool had been chosen for that spot because it is deemed the most prestigious of the weekend. However, that argument is more relevant outside of lockdown periods, when fans are more likely to spend their Saturday afternoons and evenings outdoors.
Kelly also drew Klopp’s attention to the fact that the organisation of the Premier League schedule is something that has been decided and agreed upon by all clubs in collaboration with BT Sport and the other broadcasters. This argument holds more water than his previous one, especially since Liverpool are more than happy to be the beneficiaries of the lucrative TV deals which sets the Premier League apart from the competition.
While Klopp’s frustration is more than understandable, it’s true that there is no perfect solution guaranteed to satisfy all parties. In the nature of a condensed season such as this one, it’s inescapable that fixture pileups will come to pass. His derogatory comments about Chris Wilder (whom he called selfish) and his team Sheffield United (whom he highlighted had just one point so far this season) were particularly undignified, but that is out of character for Klopp and can be explained away by the high tempers caused by the late draw and the loss of Milner.
The truth is that the fixture list could certainly be managed with a little more foresight and a little more consideration for all involved, but as current champions, Liverpool are likely to receive a disproportionate share of the limelight – especially when Klopp kicks up a fuss like he did on that Saturday.
Placing your bets online
Even with their recent injury woes, Liverpool have still put in solid performances and remain among the favourites to reclaim their title. As such, canny football fans can take advantage of the attractive odds offered by online casinos like 777 Casino to place a bet on them winning back to back titles for the first time since the glory days of the 1980s. Alternatively, there are also plenty of other online games and slots to enjoy at the site, meaning that even if the team’s luck sours on the pitch, yours needn’t do so off it.