Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has issued a plea for a fairer and better solution regarding players' welfare for next season's Premier League.
The Reds boss has long been an advocate of managing the intense workloads on players and drew criticism earlier in the campaign when he insisted his first team take an already-scheduled week off rather than play in an FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury Town.
Speaking in his programme notes for Liverpool's match against Burnley, Klopp said he appreciated the unusual current circumstances which have necessitated the playing of eight matches in five weeks to conclude this Covid-19 elongated campaign.
But he reiterated his belief that all in the game have to work together to create a better solution to protect the wellbeing of the players and, ultimately, the quality of the football played.
Klopp said: "We are currently in the midst of a really intensive schedule matches-wise and this does pose challenges.
"To be clear, this is not an excuse even for one second.
"The same applies to our opponents today so it's not about the game. It is about player welfare and player safety.
"I am not silly and I know we are in extraordinary times and that we all have to make sacrifices to complete our season.
"I also get that when compared to the challenges the rest of society faces, our problems are luxury problems.
"So I do not speak about this for sympathy and I do not look to offer an excuse for any result or performance.
"I also appreciate the great efforts that so many in football have gone to in order to make competitive games possible.
"However I also have a responsibility to my players to look after their health and wellbeing and sometimes that means speaking out, even if I personally attract criticism from those who choose to misrepresent my position.
"The issue isn't playing one game in quick succession after another. This is our life and we are used to it. If you have to play Wednesday and Saturday during a season, we can all deal with this.
"But when it comes after a period where you have been asked to do it constantly it adds up and it has an impact. Impact on muscles and bones and energy and concentration.
"I know to a certain extent it is an impossible job. But I hope that - as an industry - we look at how it impacts on the players' health.
"The end of this season is what it is and we all have to do what we can to make the best of it.
"Going forward, if the next season is also to be impacted because of the disruption caused by this virus, we must come together to find a better solution and a fair solution.
"I personally don't think it is right to play Thursday-Sunday-Wednesday-Saturday as we have been asked, particularly when the third game in that sequence is the latest kick off in a part of the country as far away from our home as possible.
"Once again, I do not think one person or one organisation is responsible for a solution - we all are. The clubs and their owners, the league, the other federations, and - yes, not a popular thing to say with the media - but the TV companies also.
"I believe there is an English phrase about 'biting the hand that feeds you' and having worked for broadcasters earlier in my career in Germany I appreciate as much as anyone the positive impact they have on our industry and how they fund it. But, again, money does not heal a serious injury and the game without players is nothing.
"So, with the schedule likely to be a challenge for next season and beyond, I hope we can all maybe put aside some self-interest and ask what we can do to allow our players to perform with placing undue risk on their safety?
"There are enough intelligent, thoughtful people in the process to find a solution that works, so let's do it together."
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