Two competitive matches in 22 hours: Club World Cup presents Jürgen Klopp and Liverpool an unusual challenge – and once again shows the madness of modern football.
When Jürgen Klopp was praised for questioning as a "good coach" at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, his anger at FIFA was momentarily forgotten because of Liverpool's exhausting schedule.
The team leader of the Champions League winner showed off his famous toothpaste smile and courtesy, beside laughing his player James Milner ridiculously.
But the whimsical scene only made Klopp's dissatisfied. "If I was asked about a World Cup in the middle of the season makes sense, I would say no," Klopp said before the semi-final of the intercontinental title match against Mexico's CF Monterrey on Wednesday (6:30 pm). The game, the whole tournament, comes at the worst time for him.
22 hours earlier Liverpool had the quarter-finals of the English league cup at Aston Villa on Tuesday (8.45am). "We would have liked it differently," Klopp said.
He solved the unusual problem by setting priorities: U23 played in the League Cup, all the stars around Virgil van Dijk, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane are at the club's World Cup. "We're here," Klopp said, "and we're not flying that far to avoid being there."
Klopp does not believe in FIFA plans
But he could not help but one or two swipes at the World Association. "It's not always possible to host more tournaments, it doesn't work," he said in the direction of FIFA president Gianni Infantino, who had promoted the expansion of the World Cup.
In the summer of 2021 it will be played with 24 clubs in China. The tournament, Klopp said, overlaps with the Africa Cup: "You should sit at a table and not play these big tournaments at the same time." FIFA, Klopp added, "probably doesn't like me saying that."
Even before leaving, he had talked sarcastically about a "sensationally good organization." Of course, he would have liked to have been at the Birmingham Cup match, Klopp emphasized, but he only had the role of TV viewer at the hotel.
However, Klopp avoided the unpopular political case about Qatar. Yes, he also has an opinion, he said, and he believes that everyone should be treated equally. But basically he is the wrong contact here.
At home in England at least the Premier League faces the reds: The match against West Ham United scheduled for Saturday has been postponed – then Liverpool could be in the world final. There, Klopp emphasized, his team wanted to "crown a busy but incredible year".
The Club World Cup is still missing from Liverpool's impressive trophy collection. In 1981 and 1984, the reds of old failed in 2005 in the new tournament mode. "We still have a little bit of thought," Klopp said. And that's a good thing: Five days after the final is the Premier League top boxing match on Boxing Day (December 26) at Leicester City.