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.”


Meet the Saudi Arabian businessman shaping squash’s Olympic dream

Updated 14 November 2018
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Meet the Saudi Arabian businessman shaping squash’s Olympic dream

LONDON: A Saudi Arabian businessman is driving the bid to get squash included in the Olympics for the first time.
The World Squash Federation has petitioned three times for squash to join the Games, but each bid has been rejected by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The decision has prompted frustration in the squash community, particularly as sports such as climbing, surfing and skateboarding have been admitted.
Ziad Al-Turki is the Chairman of the Professional Squash Association (PSA) and has done wonders in marketing the game and broadening its appeal. He is now pushing hard for the game to be showcased on the biggest stage of all at the 2024 Olympics Games in Paris.
Squash has huge global appeal, with the men’s singles final in the last Commonwealth Games attracting a TV audience of more than one million.
“Everyone’s ultimate goal is the Olympics,” said Al-Turki. “The main push comes from the World Squash Federation (WSF) and for many years they were stuck in their ways. We changed a lot at the PSA and ticked every box with the IOC. The WSF just stayed stagnant and didn’t do anything. They didn’t want to put our hand in their hand and work together.”
Relations between the PSA and the WSF came to a head in 2015 in the wake of squash losing out to wrestling for a spot at the 2020 Olympics. A statement from the PSA described the then president of WSF, Narayana Ramachandran, as an “embarrassment to the sport.”
“Nothing could happen with the president of the WSF. Nothing would change. It was just a one-man show. We tried to help but he wouldn’t accept any help,” Al-Turki said. “We have a new president now and they are all very keen,” he added.
Jacques Fontaine is the new president and at his coronation in 2016 he encouragingly said “the Olympic agenda remains a priority.”
“The WSF love the sport and they understand the needs of the IOC,” said Al-Turki.
“They understand the PSA is at a completely different level to the WSF and we’ve now joined forces and are working together. Hopefully 2024 will be the year squash is in the Olympics. Right now, the way we are working together is the strongest collaboration ever and hopefully we can tick all the boxes for the IOC.
“We ticked all the right bodies as a professional association but the WSF didn’t. Now they are putting their hands in ours and we will tick all the right boxes for the ICO.”
Al-Turki, once described as the Bernie Ecclestone of squash, has certainly transformed the sport since he took up office in 2008.
“When I joined the PSA we didn’t have any media coverage,” he said. “Right now we are live in 154 countries. the women’s tour has just grown stronger and stronger — the income has gone up by 74 percent.
“I just love the squash players. I think they are incredible athletes are are some of the fittest athletes in the world. I felt they deserved better and I wanted them to have better.
“I don’t think we’ll be able to reach the levels of football and tennis in terms of exposure and prize money, but I want to reach a level where they will retire comfortably. It’s one of the fastest growing sports in the world right now.
“It’s all about the player and their well being. Nick Matthew retired recently and I think he’s retired comfortably. I think I’ve contributed to this as the income has improved. That’s all I want – nothing more.”