Unlike Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool defender Nathaniel Clyne doesn’t think the Premier League should abandon its festive fixture schedule.
The fullback claims he enjoys the Christmas matches and that a break around this time would pause his momentum rather than help his long-term fitness.
“Being a footballer at Christmas is good,” Clyne told the Echo, with the subject much discussed right now. While Spain, Germany, France and Italy take a breather, England and the Premier League ramps up the pace.
“You don’t get a rest, it’s football after football followed by more football, but that’s good,” Clyne continued.
“People talk about having a winter break in this country but I’m happy playing right the way through Christmas, New Year and January. I’m used to it. It’s a big part of the English league and you get used to keeping on going.”
“If there was a break and we had time off it would feel like we’re coming back in for pre-season when we return. It would also put a stop to the momentum of the league.
“Personally, I think it’s good that we keep on playing right through. Playing in front of capacity crowds at Christmas is enjoyable because you usually get good atmospheres too so I hope it stays that way.”
His manager vehemently disagrees. Klopp, who’s used to the Bundesliga, which has 18 teams and one Cup competition, thinks our Christmas tradition is detrimental to our biggest clubs and England’s chances at the Euros.
“There are reasons why the big English clubs in the last few years were not that successful. You have too many tournaments,” he said.
“You have too many games, that’s for sure,” Klopp told Football Focus. “You have no break, too many tournaments.
“I think everybody knows that’s not the way [to be successful].”
“Everybody thinks [manager] Roy [Hodgson] should lead these boys to the title, they have really good players.
“But they’ve had no break for one year. All the other teams have. You can be [successful] but it’s much harder.”
Both parties make sensible arguments, in fairness. But what’s most important is that regardless of anybody’s feelings, it won’t change any time soon and Klopp must adapt accordingly.
Liverpool won on Boxing Day versus Leicester, but now face an intense run of games against Sunderland, Weat Ham, Stoke and Exeter.
With Clyne the only serious right-back option, perhaps he’ll feel a little differently come the end of January!