Jurgen Klopp has warned Pep Guardiola he will need at least 35 players to cope with the demands of English football. The 48-year-old German has admitted to being surprised by the hectic fixture schedule in the Premier League, but has backed Guardiola to find a solution of his own.
The duo were rivals during their time in the Bundesliga, with Klopp managing Borussia Dortmund and Guardiola in charge at Bayern Munich. They are likely to renew their battles next season, with Guardiola having recently announced his plan to quit Bayern at the end of the current campaign to move to the Premier League.
Klopp – who is currently missing a number of key players through injury – said, according to the Daily Mail: "The number of games is the biggest difference. When I came here, I didn't know there were two rounds in the semi-final of the Capital One Cup. I had people in Germany, saying after we beat Stoke, 'yeah, you're in the final again!' Idiots!
"In Germany, when you tell people about the FA Cup that if you draw you play again, they say 'what?'. Here you have penalties and extra time, but only after the second game. That's the thing, it's the number of games, football, football, football. With a perfect pre-season you are prepared for a long, long journey.
"We knew about it, but to feel it is different. Pep is so experienced, for sure. I'm sure he will buy a few players and have a good team, have 35 players or whatever."
The Liverpool boss admitted he used to use the winter break in Germany to nurse his players back to full health. However, he does not enjoy that luxury in England.
"I've had a similar situation before with injuries, but with the winter break, they come back. That's a big difference," Klopp said. "What I can say about here is very positive – it's a great country, great people, the food is much better than everybody said. OK, the weather is not great - like everyone said – but today is not bad!"
Klopp's remarks come shortly after Anfield legend Phil Thompson rubbished the idea of introducing a winter break in England. "In Germany they have two weeks off but I don't get that, clubs have just got to deal with it. It goes in cycles, some teams get more injuries than others. Next year it may be Spurs, Manchester City. It just happens," he said.
"We have the games, particularly the lower clubs, you pack them in over the festive period. It's a life saver to them. Just because some coaches don't like the way we do it, well it's tough as far as I'm concerned."