Soccer

Jurgen Klopp attributes Manchester City’s winning streak to ‘two-week break’ in beginning of season

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp claimed Friday that Manchester City’s recent winning ways can be attributed to a “two-week break.” This comment was given in the shadow of a 1-0 home loss to Brighton and a rough patch for Liverpool, which Klopp has attributed to general fatigue from a long stretch of training and games.

Of course, City weren’t just awarded a fortnight-long vacation just because. In late December, a COVID outbreak in the club led to a game against Everton to be postponed, meaning the blue side of Manchester went from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3 without a game. Not exactly two weeks. Here’s the full quote from ESPN.

“We haven’t had a break — I think City had a two-week break for COVID reasons,” Klopp said. “It’s really tough. It’s a tough season for many teams.

“It’s the first time I felt that way, but after a week of twice travelling to London, two intense games [against Tottenham and West Ham], I don’t think we really ran too much in those games. We ran exactly as much as we had to do to win the games.

“Then we came back and faced a Brighton team who had a good idea and we were not ready at that moment, obviously.

“The players couldn’t do it and you have to think why they couldn’t, that’s why I said what I said after the game.

“But we now have four days between games, things are different. Last week we had two days between games and travel, that’s not an excuse, that’s just how it is and we therefore weren’t fresh enough.”

Naturally, Pep Guardiola — whose team is on a 13-game winning streak that dates back to mid-December — had some thoughts about his Sunday opponent making such claims. Mostly, they were that of surprise.

“I will tell [Klopp] tomorrow,” he said. “He knows it’s not true. Come on! Nobody in the Premier League has had two weeks off.

“I’m not irritated, I didn’t expect it, not from him,” Guardiola continued. “I’m surprised. I thought Jurgen was not that type of manager, like other ones who are usually doing it. I didn’t expect that comment. But maybe it was a misunderstanding from him. If he sees the calendar again he will realize it was not two weeks, it was two months.”

Guardiola made sure to note that Klopp’s squad had a summer break that totaled 48 days, while City’s summer break was just 37 days as a result of Champions League commitments. He also pointed out that at the end of the break the Liverpool manager mistakenly said was “two weeks,” they had to travel to Stamford Bridge with 14 players.

The question now becomes whether this war of words spills onto the pitch Sunday when City and Liverpool face off at Anfield. 



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