Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has criticised the scheduling of his team's Premier League clash with Swansea City this weekend. The Reds travel to the Liberty Stadium for an early lunchtime kick-off on Sunday (1 May), just 48 hours after returning to Merseyside following a last-gasp 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final against Villarreal at El Madrigal.
Such a fixture forms part of a bumper day of top-flight football, with Leicester City also hoping to seal the title with victory at Manchester United and Southampton playing host to Manchester City. Television scheduling dictates that such kick-offs are not uncommon, although Liverpool manager Klopp is clearly upset at having to start so early as he carefully plots his team selection.
"We have to respect the intensity of the last game and to think about the line up for Sunday. Noon [kick off] I can't believe [it]," Klopp was quoted as saying at a pre-match press conference by the Liverpool Echo."It's not about next Thursday, because if you think now about next Thursday, then you have no chance on Sunday... We always did and we will always respect the Premier League.
"That's how it is, but of course we need to have a look at the players from yesterday. We came home at 3.30am and I'm pretty sure that no-one slept immediately. It's intensive, it's busy so I will see them in one or two hours and then I will make decision about [the] line-up."
He later added: "[On] Sunday, all English people will have lunch and we play football. I think it's my first time at 12 o'clock. I really would be interested [in] who makes these decisions... I'm not sure who made the decision about letting us play at 12, but we can't change [it] obviously so we have to play then. That's it.
"I don't want to make headlines. I don't come from Germany and explain to somebody how it should work. I only can say how it is sometimes. I think nobody in this room thinks after the games we had, we should start at 12... If somebody wants to make our way a little bit harder, no problem. We are ready...It is not an excuse for anything. I only wanted to say it's maybe for a few people funny, but it's not really funny."
Klopp could be forgiven for making more sweeping changes to his side for trip to Swansea, with the return fixture against Villarreal to come on 5 May. Although he eventually only swapped three from the side that blew a 2-0 lead to draw with relegation-threatened Newcastle United last weekend, the 48-year-old responded to a thrilling victory over Borussia Dortmund earlier this month by making 10 alterations for the match against Bournemouth.
Definite team news is unclear at this stage, but Christian Benteke is back in contention after returning from a knee injury during the latter stages of that narrow defeat in Spain. Midfield duo Jordan Henderson and Emre Can remain sidelined with knee and ankle ligament problems respectively, while striker Divock Origi is still recovering from a terrible red card challenge committed by Ramiro Funes Mori during the demolition of rivals Everton. Philippe Coutinho must be considered a doubt after being substituted at half-time in Villarreal due to illness.