Alexis Mac Allister has made a startling admission following Liverpool’s 1-1 draw against Manchester City on Saturday.
The 24-year-old arrived back in England during the week, having been in South America representing Argentina in World Cup qualifying action in the early hours of Wednesday morning UK time, and he confessed to feeling the strain of that travel during a tactical briefing on Friday.
Speaking to LFC TV after the clash at the Etihad Stadium, which kicked off at 12:30 on Saturday, the midfielder complained: “Honestly, it is so hard to play like this.
“Yesterday we were in a meeting talking about Man City and the way we wanted to play, and I couldn’t keep my eyes open. It’s very tough. Jet lag, long trip, but it is what it is.”
Jurgen Klopp has been quite vocal on more than one occasion about Liverpool being given the Saturday 12:30 slot straight after three successive international breaks, and this admission from Mac Allister justifies the German’s annoyance.
The Argentine would’ve had less than 72 hours between landing back in England and playing against Manchester City in what was a crucial showdown between the teams who went into the game as the Premier League’s top two.
For footballers to try and reach peak performance amid such a workload, compounded by regular transatlantic travel, is a hugely difficult ask, and the 24-year-old had a good game in the circumstances.
Cynics might argue that players like Mac Allister are getting paid well enough to ‘suck up’ such challenging situations and should just be glad of the privilege of representing their country while also playing at one of the most illustrious clubs in the world.
However, when you hear the players themselves openly admitting that the schedule can be quite tiring, it’s time for the authorities and fixture schedulers to take note.