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Champions League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp unhappy with new format

Champions League: Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp unhappy with new format thumbnail
‘I don’t like it’ – Klopp on Champions League reform

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp welcomed the collapse of the European Super League (ESL) but warned the reformed Champions League format will put further pressure on the fixture schedule.

The controversial ESL is “on standby” after nine of the 12 founding teams withdrew earlier this week.

But a revamped 36-team Champions League was agreed on Monday.

“You can’t just introduce always more competitions,” Klopp said.

“It’s very good that the new Super League is off the table, but the new Champions League isn’t great.”

The new Champions League format is due to start in 2024 and run until at least 2033.

The number of clubs competing in it will increase from 32 to 36 with a revamped group stage that will see all teams play at least 10 fixtures.

“Ten games rather than six and no idea where to put them in,” said Klopp. “The only people who never get asked are the coaches, the players and the supporters.

“Uefa didn’t ask us, the Super League didn’t ask us. It’s just always ‘play more games’. The new Champions League, what’s the reason for that? Money… I have no idea how we’re supposed to deal with even more games.

“You can’t have 20 teams in a league, two cup competitions, 10 international games before Christmas – these things aren’t possible.”

‘It was a concept I didn’t want to see happen’ – Henderson

Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson it was good news for football that the ESL had collapsed during an “extraordinary week for football”.

Writing in the Liverpool programme for the match against Newcastleexternal-link on Saturday he said: “Being critical of my own employers isn’t something I do easily.

“It was a concept I didn’t like, didn’t support and didn’t want to see happen. I think it would have been bad for football. There has to be risk and reward in sport, otherwise what’s the point?

“It is good that Liverpool withdrew and the concept has collapsed. That’s good for football. It’s also good that our owners, via John Henry, have apologised unreservedly.

“People can disagree with me saying this, but my opinion is that our owners have been good for Liverpool.

“What matters now, for the team and the club, is that our relationship with our supporters is strengthened on the other side of this.

“If there is a positive to come from this situation it is that the power of supporters has been recognised in all its glory. Stopping the proposal was your victory – you showed you cannot and must not be ignored.”

‘Maybe we need 400 days in a year’

On Thursday night, Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan raised concerns over plans to change the Champions League by adding more matches, saying it was just the “lesser of two evils” compared to the ESL.

City boss Pep Guardiola is concerned that adding even more fixtures will increase the risk of injury to players.

“Of course there will be more injuries,” he said. “These guys will finish an incredibly tough season, have five or six days off and then go to their national teams.

“We have to ask Uefa and Fifa to extend the year, maybe have 400 days a year. Maybe then they can find a solution on that.”

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