Antonio Conte has once again bemoaned the Premier League's insensitive fixture scheduling as his Chelsea side prepare to contest their penultimate Champions League group stage match some 2,470 miles away in Azerbaijan just three days before they are due to face Liverpool in a teatime affair at Anfield.
While the Blues have embarked upon their longest-ever European away trip as they look to secure qualification for the last 16 with a game to spare by beating Group C minnows FK Qarabag in Baku on Wednesday night (22 November), Liverpool will have an extra 24 hours to recover as they make the much shorter trip to Andalusia to take on Sevilla on Tuesday [21 November].
Chelsea, now nine points off the title pace, faced a similarly swift turnaround back in September when they played Manchester City shortly after an away win against Atletico Madrid, with the dominant top-flight leaders having hosted Shakhtar Donetsk the night before.
"On Saturday we are going to play another tough game against Liverpool. This season it is the second time we have had this situation, firstly against Manchester City and now Liverpool is playing tonight and we play tomorrow, a long trip and it will be very difficult to recover and rest," Conte lamented during a pre-Qarabag press conference held on Tuesday, per football.london.
"Whoever prepares the fixtures for the league must pay great attention. Because it is difficult to ask if we can catch Man City if we are in this situation. I don't want to find an excuse, but this is the reality."
Conte stressed that he was not just referring to the problems experienced by Chelsea but all of the country's Champions League participants, stating that something must change for the good of English football. No team from these shores has won Europe's elite club competition since the Blues' memorable 2012 triumph in Munich.
"We are doing our job and it's important to do it in the best way," he added. "We want also a bit of respect for our job."
Although Chelsea can seal their knockout berth with a win, Conte is likely to make changes for trhe game at the Baku National Stadium after declaring that it is "normal to have rotation" when playing matches every few days.
However, back-up striker Michy Batshuayi (ankle) and Charly Musonda (knee) are still out, while the lesser-spotted Kenedy is now struggling with a muscular issue.
Eden Hazard is fit after playing a starring role in Saturday's 4-0 demolition of struggling West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns and Conte has already said that he hopes starting wing-back Victor Moses will make his return from a hamstring problem against Liverpool.
"Hazard is fit and no new injuries," the manager said. "Batshauyi and Moses are not available for tomorrow's game, also Musonda and Kenedy. Kenedy had a little muscular problem, but I think he is very close to be back with us."