Jurgen Klopp has suggested overhauling the format of the FA Cup amid concerns by leading managers over the congested nature of the English football calendar.
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola spoke out this week about the concerning demands placed on the country’s leading talents, admitting more must be done to protect player welfare following a hectic festive fixture schedule.
Liverpool manager Klopp has now echoed those sentiments and called on the Football Association to make changes to their current calendar, suggesting FA Cup replays should be scrapped in favour of a penalty shoot-out system to ease the burden on players, with lesser sides automatically being given home advantage.
“Replays in the FA Cup? Have a penalty shoot-out,” said Klopp.
“The explanation against that is that the smaller teams have a chance to win the game. Then give them the home game in the first place. Go there, play there. If they beat us, ‘Congratulations. Go for it’. It’s just another game on television. But who watches these games?”
Klopp’s comments come after recent news that the Africa Cup of Nations will be played in January of next year, whilst there are also plans to extend the Club World Cup to a 24-team format in China in 2021.
The German has criticised those plans, insisting clubs should be willing to take a financial hit in order to find time to have a break in their ever-increasing calendar.
“There is no year without a tournament anymore and that makes no sense. I don’t know why nobody sees it like this,” he said.
“And then you come up with the money (argument), so I say, ‘less money for less games? Okay’. But the Carabao Cup second (leg) semi-final is nothing to do with money. Nothing. It’s not okay, These games are not okay.
“So that’s the thing where we have to start and that’s not about money. The Football League and the FA have to talk and find a solution, just internally. That would already decrease the situation because every year we do the same. We talk about it at this stage of the year and then the rest of the year we don’t talk about it. We have seven games in a week and then we start talking about it. So just talk now because it’s time.”
Earlier this season, Liverpool were forced into playing a youth side for their League Cup quarter-final against Aston Villa, the Merseyside club scheduled to play two games on two different continents in the space of 24 hours due to their involvement in the Club World Cup.
Klopp has now discussed the plans to expand the inter-continental tournament which Liverpool won in Qatar last month, and whilst admitting he is in favour of the idea, says other competitions must be sacrificed or altered to make way for the new format.
“I am not sure we have to (go to the Club World Cup) but we are all well paid and that’s how it is,” the German said.
“We know that this money, someone has to earn it somewhere. If it’s that competition and we have to go and it’s the first time – I don’t know exactly.
“I like the idea in general but then you have to cancel another tournament. You just cannot add on another tournament and another and another. That cannot work. That’s the only thing I say. Just make decisions. Where is the year where there is no tournament? It’s just not there anymore for some players. You have the World Cup, the European Championships, the Club World Cup and the Copa America.”