Jürgen Klopp: ‘common sense’ prevailed over mooted Christmas Eve fixtures

Jürgen Klopp: Liverpool are not ‘500 miles’ behind Manchester City

Jürgen Klopp has said he is grateful to television broadcasters for using “common sense” after they decided against moving Liverpool’s fixture against Arsenal to Christmas Eve. Sky Sports had wanted to schedule the game that Sunday night but have instead moved the match to Friday 22 December, following a backlash from supporters against the initial proposal.

“To be honest I don’t know when it last happened, that somebody could take something but did not take it, because of common sense,” Klopp said at his pre-match press conference. “I don’t know. So, Sky, thank you. Usually [it is] ‘I can get it, so I take it’ and that is how it is, and that is how the world looks a little bit in this moment. I thought it was a very, very good decision – especially for the fans because that is number one.

“It is still difficult and we will do everything we can from the club side. If we can bring our fans at least back from London, which could obviously be a little difficult. But it is a very good sign and I love these signs because, I have said a few times, we respect all of the contracts the club has signed but it is still the players who decide how nice the product, the things, the game is. And if they can never rest, then it is a problem.”

Klopp, whose team play Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley on Sunday, also questioned how Aliou Cissé, the Senegal coach, can be so confident that Sadio Mané will be “100% fit” for two crucial World Cup qualifiers in November. The Liverpool forward is currently sidelined with a hamstring injury and is expected to absent for around six weeks.

“I don’t know how he [Cissé] can know,” Klopp said. “But I don’t know, so that’s how it is. Sadio is still in rehab, indoors, that is how it is. He has not been outside for any exercises and that is the situation at the moment. So if he is fit earlier I would be really happy but nobody knows in this moment. I have nothing else to say about it. They have very important games I think, I think they need one point to qualify for the World Cup, so I can imagine they are feeling the pressure a little bit but we cannot change the situation.

“If Sadio is fit, we cannot hide it. If he his fit, I do not think we can do anything to keep him here and he would go with the national team of Senegal. At this moment, I do not know.”

In-form Mohamed Salah is expected to feature at Wembley, though, and Klopp admits he has been delighted with his instant impact at Anfield. “He is a fantastic boy and always it helps if you settle as a person very quickly,” Klopp added.

“It helps you settle in as a player. And I don’t think he needed even half an hour to settle in the team. If he can stay fit that will be very important for us. Egpyt have qualified but I do not think they give him a lot of rest. He is their man in Egpyt, like Sadio in Senegal, so I am always a little bit afraid when they are away on different pitches, long travels and stuff like this. But so far it has gone and well, and hopefully it stays like this.”

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