Arsene Wenger has refused to side with Jurgen Klopp over his tirade on fixture congestion. The Gunners' manager has said that the money involved in the league means that every team should have the resources to build a team of 25 top-notch players, who can be rotated over the course of a season.
The Reds have played a game more than their competitors over the festive period owing to their involvement in the semi-finals of the League Cup. They face another two games over and above the normal fixtures, with an FA Cup replay against Exeter City coming up followed by the second leg of their semi-final clash against Stoke City.
The congested schedule has had a massive impact on their fitness, with the Reds missing 13 players against Exeter when they took on the League Two side at St James Park. However, Klopp will welcome back four players into the line-up when they take on Arsenal at Anfield, with Mamadou Sakho, Kolo Toure, Jordan Henderson and Jordon Ibe all expected to be back for the fixture.
The Reds are currently on 30 points, 12 points behind the league leaders and Mark Lawrenson hopes that a win over the Gunners will get their season back on track, which has been extremely inconsistent thus far. The corresponding fixture between the two sides ended in a 2-2 draw last season, with Martin Skrtel scoring in injury time to get a share of the spoils for the Merseyside club.
"You get that from everybody who comes to England at the start because you have to adapt to the English style. I was like that and I'm still in favour of a winter break – but without losing the traditions of English football. That is play over Christmas and maybe have a break in January," Wenger said, as quoted by the Guardian.
"But I believe as well that we go a little bit overboard because today the English clubs are in a financial situation to have a squad of 25 top-level players. It's not like it was 25 years ago, so we cannot always complain that we play too much because we have players who can rotate, players who want to play.
"In every club now, when I look at the bench, I am quite impressed with the players who are there and can play, so I don't believe that it's like we have 13 players who have to play every single game," he added.