Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: ‘We ask too much of weary World Cup stars’

Updated 14 September 2018
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Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says: ‘We ask too much of weary World Cup stars’

  • Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes too much demand is placed on international stars
  • he likes of England captain Harry Kane, midfielder Dele Alli and victorious French skipper Hugo Lloris are tiring

LIVERPOOL: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes too much demand is placed on international stars who have had barely any rest following the World Cup.
Klopp’s men play away in the early Premier League kick-off on Saturday against Tottenham who had nine players involved on the final weekend of the World Cup, less than a month before the start of their Premier League campaign.
The likes of England captain Harry Kane, midfielder Dele Alli and victorious French skipper Hugo Lloris were thrown straight back into action by Mauricio Pochettino.
But Alli and Lloris are now sidelined by injury, while Kane has looked jaded in the opening weeks of the season.
“A good pre-season should be at least three or four weeks,” said Klopp. “That is how it is, the body needs the time only to calm down from an intense season — they didn’t have it.
“We ask too much from the players, we constantly want them ready and if they are not we are not happy. It is a weird situation.
“Now with the Nations League, international managers cannot rest players because it is a proper competition. It is a constant challenge for all of us.”
Liverpool were less affected by the demands of World Cup action than their title rivals and it has shown in their fine start to the season with four straight Premier League wins to sit top of the table.
Klopp has bedded captain Jordan Henderson slowly back into action, while Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane’s early exits in Russia with Egypt and Senegal meant they had a few weeks of pre-season training.
Kane has been a constant scourge of Liverpool, scoring five times in seven appearances against the Reds, including twice in a 4-1 thrashing at Wembley last season.
And Klopp is sure Kane will find his best form, even if he hopes it comes after Saturday.
“We all knew it after the World Cup, especially after England came that far, they have had no rest,” added Klopp.
“Harry played from the first match on, so maybe he had two weeks holiday — that is nothing.
“He is a physical worker, he uses his body every day. He cannot get a rest match-wise but he will find his form and maybe at the weekend.”


Juventus crowned Italian Super Cup champions

‘I’m very happy to have won my first title with Juventus,’ Cristiano Ronaldo said. (Photo/General Sports Authority)
Updated 17 January 2019
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Juventus crowned Italian Super Cup champions

  • Ronaldo’s glancing header sinks AC Milan 1-0 at Jeddah’s King Abdullah Sports City Stadium

JEDDAH: A historic Wednesday evening at King Abdullah Sports City Stadium saw Italian champions Juventus beat AC Milan in the final of the 31st annual Supercoppa Italiana.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winning goal as Juventus lifted the Supercoppa Italiana for the first time since 2015 with a 1-0 victory in front of a sold-out 61,235-capacity crowd.

As only one should expect when two of the most successful Italian clubs go head to head, a tactical and elegant, albeit very physical, display of football was at hand. 

Cheerful roars from the Jeddah crowd resonated throughout the night, in the kind of buzzing atmosphere that only a cup final brings.

Juventus, the Serie A champions, began brightly and were the first side to settle into the game, threatening with frequent sweeping moves.

Juventus and Portuguese international Joao Cancelo could have opened the scoring in the 16th minute after being played through on goal, but the defender’s zooming effort lacked the necessary precision and whisked past the far post with the Milan keeper rooted in his spot.

A maddening crescendo of noise erupted when Juventus and French international Blaise Matuidi thought he had opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after being played through by Costa before being flagged offside. 

Juventus did not have too much longer for another opportunity though, with Ronaldo’s acrobatic half volley from just outside the six-yard box bouncing and nestling agonizingly just over the bar and sparing Donnarumma’s blushes in the process.

Christiano Ronaldo has scored eight goals in his last seven finals. (Reuters)

Milan, who qualified for the final as runners-up to Juventus in last season’s Coppa Italia, had struggled throughout the first half to settle into the game. They gradually grew into their own though, and nearly broke the deadlock at the stroke of halftime with a stinging drive from Turkish international Hakan Calhanoglu.

After a slew of opportunities had Juventus failing to build a halftime lead, Milan nearly made them pay for their squandered chances by starting the second half like bats out of hell. 

Milan’s confident pressing start to the half was almost rewarded in the 47th minute when a Ronaldo tackle inadvertently set up Cutrone with a clear sight on goal.  The striker turned and blasted an effort that rattled off the crossbar — the closest either team had come thus far.

And just when the tide seemed to have turned for Milan in the second half, their confidence building with every minute, a perfectly floating cross from Pjanic found Ronaldo with yards of space, and he made no mistake directing a swift header into the back of the net in the 61st minute and sending Juve supporters into a frenzy.


• AS IT HAPPENED: Cristiano Ronaldo's goal gives Juventus Supercoppa Italiana victory over AC Milan in Jeddah >>

• Arab News Matchday gallery >>


Things went from bad to worse for Milan in the 73rd minute. Franck Kessie came rushing in with a recklessly timed tackle, crunching his studs into the shins of Emre Can, which resulted in him seeing a straight red and leaving Milan with 10 men and a subsequent insurmountable uphill battle.

The final whistle came soon after, and with it brought Juventus a record eighth Supercoppa. It goes without saying that there is nothing quite like the atmosphere of a cup final, but this was a historic and monumental occasion for Jeddah. 

The first major European cup final match being held in Saudi Arabia is now in the books, and with it brought an added sense of passion and excitement. 

Thousands of men, women and children showed up enthusiastically, were highly supportive of both teams, and were thoroughly entertained. It was a successful and memorable night that will surely pave the way for many more.

Addressing a prematch press conference on Tuesday night, Juventus Captain Giorgio Chiellini had defended the choice of Jeddah as the venue for the game against a backdrop of criticism by some. He said that it was “right” to give the Saudi port city the chance to host the showpiece match.

“We (footballers) cannot change the world but initiatives such as this can provide a new start.”

Juventus had been experiencing a worrying trend in cup finals of late. Despite securing the Serie A and Coppa Italia double for three seasons running, they had lost back-to-back Supercoppas and seven out of nine European Cup finals. 

Chiellini, however, firmly believed that his team would change the trend and the team did make their captain proud. 

Juventus now holds the outright record of most Italian Super Cups with eight titles. (Arab News photo by Ali Khamg)