Jurgen Klopp said it has become impossible for the Premier League to continue with the current fixture list ahead of a difficult meeting between the Premier League and clubs on Monday.
In the face of the growing number of Covid cases, the Premier League is set to return to action with a full round of matches via Boxing Day and December 27 with another round to be held on December 28, 29 and 30.
While the Premier League has confirmed “its intent to continue the current fixture schedule wherever possible safely”, the Premier League will meet with clubs on Monday amid mounting pressure to review the fixture list.
After his side is beating 2-2 The draw at Tottenham, Klopp, who has previously voiced his opposition to the proposed ‘circuit breaker’, argued that the league needed to reconsider its Christmas plans.
“We’ve played Wednesday, Sunday and Tuesday now, it’s not possible – we don’t have players. It could happen we might have another case or two, so the players will have to quarantine,” Klopp said. Sky Sports.
“On the 26th and 28th – it’s not really possible. We like to play but we need help in the matches. The big thing that we all have to talk about is whether or not we can continue, but if we continue that we can not continue as usual.
“If we don’t play anymore and we have a break, I’m fine with that too. They said before Corona we are a little busy. Now Corona gives us a proper punch and tells us we can’t continue like him.”
Only four Premier League matches were played this weekend, with the Aston Villa-Burnley match postponed just two hours before kick-off.
On Thursday, Brentford coach Thomas Frank urged the entire tour to be cancelled.
“We think we should postpone the full round of Premier League matches this weekend,” Frank said. “Postponing this round as well as the Carabao Cup round will give everyone at least a week, four or five days to clean up and do everything on the training ground so that everything is clean and you break the chain.”
His Newcastle counterpart Eddie Howe also expressed concerns about continuity.
“I think health and safety is first [concern]Howe said. “Everyone’s life is individual, we have to put that first in everything. Next, I think the integrity of the competition is key, because you don’t want to see unevenness in the games.”
Tuchel: We did not protect the safety of the players
Chelsea said it was “deeply disappointed” by the Premier League’s rejection of its request to cancel Sunday’s match at Wolverhampton.
“We thought we had a strong argument regarding the safety and health of the players. We have seven positive cases, every day more positive cases come in,” said Thomas Tuchel.
“We were forced to travel on the bus for three hours together, in meetings together, dinners, lunches, and the situation did not seem to stop if we continued to do so. We made a request not to play to give us some time to control the situation and it was rejected.”
After his team’s 0-0 draw at Molino, Tuchel added: “We are only concerned about the safety of our players. We are concerned about their health.
“I understand everyone is saying we still have 14 players but look who the players are. You have Trevor Chaluba playing after two training sessions, Mateo Kovacic after one training session, N’Golo Kante after one training session.
“We are putting the players at risk but that was the decision. At some point, we will definitely pay the price.”
What will be in the Premier League meeting on Monday?
There will be a special meeting of Premier League shareholders at 1pm on Monday to discuss the impact of Covid on football.
Six out of 10 Premier League matches have been postponed this weekend and clubs need to decide whether to suspend the next round of matches on Boxing Day as a Covid circuit breaker.
Some clubs feel they should keep playing where possible because there is no guarantee that the situation will improve if they stop. Other clubs feel that the integrity of the competition is threatened and the next round of matches should be cancelled.
Most Premier League clubs are set to play three times between Boxing Day and January 2, and there are fears more matches will be postponed due to Covid cases. There will also be an increased workload for players available to play in upcoming games.
There is also a real fear among the clubs that they will soon have to return to play matches without fans. Premier League managers and captains are also scheduled to hold separate meetings.
What are the Premier League rules about postponements?
The 2021/22 Premier League handbook includes the Covid protocols, and states that the Premier League’s board will “only allow a re-arrangement or postponement of a league match in exceptional circumstances”.
The board is making calls on a case-by-case basis and by directing says the Premier League will not be given permission for a postponement if the club has 14 or more players from the squad list available.
In a statement, the Premier League added that it would “evaluate a number of factors, including the club’s ability to put together a squad, the situation, severity and potential impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the club; and the team’s ability to prepare for and play the match safely.”
“The board must also consider the broader risks of the opposition and other people with whom the club may deal.”