Break brought welcome respite for Liverpool players, says Klopp

Liverpool players celebrate their victory over Southampton. The first-ever Premier League mid-season break has pleased the club’s coach Jurgen Klopp. (AFP/File)
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Updated 15 February 2020

Break brought welcome respite for Liverpool players, says Klopp

  • Liverpool coach takes his players to bottom-placed Norwich on Saturday

LONDON: The first-ever Premier League mid-season break pleased Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp as it allowed the runaway leaders to rest their aches and pains following the hectic festive period.

The 52-year-old German takes his players to bottom-placed Norwich on Saturday holding a 22 point lead over two-time defending champions Manchester City.

Klopp said the break will have done his squad the world of good as he knew from his own playing experience.

“I was a player myself. When I look back it feels like I played through 80 percent of the time with pain,” he said at his eve of match press conference.

“Nobody appreciated that because I played bad so it didn’t help. Nobody asked then. It is completely normal for a professional football player to play through pain.

“After that long period in December-January, there was no player in the squad who had no pain. Everybody had something.”

Klopp — whose Champions League holders travel to Atletico Madrid next week in their last 16 first leg clash — has also been boosted by the return to fitness from hamstring injuries of Senegal attacker Sadio Mane and veteran James Milner. Sane has missed the last four matches while Milner has been out since January 5.

“Millie (Milner) and Sadio are back. When they are back you consider them immediately,” said Klopp.

“Apart from (Xherdan) Shaqiri, (Nathaniel) Clyne and (Paul) Glatzel, all the players are in training. We have some good options. Hopefully, it stays like this for the rest of the season.”

Klopp says Norwich may be struggling at the bottom — they are 7 points adrift of safety — but he is full of respect for their adventurous style of play.

“I really admire that Norwich stick to their principles. It’s really good football, super coaching,” Klopp said.

“You can see all the patterns on the pitch, all the movements — that’s from the training ground. They’ve caused 95 percent of all teams real problems.

“They’ve lost a lot of these games, that’s why they’re in the situation they are, but for me, on the outside, it looks like a club that really sticks together.”

 

 


Virus cases increase in Bundesliga after int’l break

Updated 20 October 2020

Virus cases increase in Bundesliga after int’l break

  • Other cases are causing concern that soccer may be put on hold again as Germany appears to be dealing with a second wave of the virus

BERLIN: Players are returning to the Bundesliga from international duty, and they are bringing the coronavirus with them.

Hoffenheim played Borussia Dortmund on Saturday without Andrej Kramaric and Kasim Adams after they tested positive following national team matches with Croatia and Ghana, respectively. Czech Republic defender Pavel Kaderabek was in quarantine because of a family member’s result.

Hoffenheim director of football Alexander Rosen said after the 1-0 loss that clubs would have to think about letting players leave again for international duty.

“The clubs pay the players and work with everyone to ensure the processes are carried out properly," Rosen said. "And you get the impression that the national associations simply don’t care.”

Dortmund had to do without defender Manuel Akanji after he tested positive while on duty for Switzerland.

“When you look at the rising numbers, you have to wonder whether it makes sense to stop (players from leaving) for the next break,” Leipzig sports director Markus Krösche said after his team’s 2-0 win in Augsburg. “There has to be clear guidance from FIFA on how it goes, especially in risk areas.”

Leipzig was without Amadou Haidara. The midfielder had tested positive after helping Mali defeat Ghana 3-0 in a friendly in Turkey. Also, Hertha Berlin was upset that Mattéo Guendouzi returned from France’s under-21 team with the virus.

“The signing was already very complicated,” Hertha coach Bruno Labbadia. “Now it’s the worst case scenario.”

Other cases are causing concern that soccer may be put on hold again as Germany appears to be dealing with a second wave of the virus. The country’s disease control center reported 7,830 new cases over the previous 24 hours on Saturday, a record for the third day in a row.

Second-division club Nuremberg reported two positive cases on Wednesday. The game between Osnabruck and Darmstadt was postponed with most of the home team in quarantine for 14 days after two of its players tested positive for COVID-19.

Union Berlin striker Max Kruse was criticized for posting an Instagram video showing him enjoying a visit to a shisha bar with friends. Berlin has some of Germany’s highest virus infection rates.

“It wasn’t the cleverest from Max, he knows that himself,” Union teammate Marvin Friedrich said after the team's 1-1 draw at Schalke on Sunday.

Dortmund coach Lucien Favre assumes there will be more cases among players and he warned that the league may be suspended again. There was no soccer for two months when the pandemic started in March.