Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish fumes at fixtures nightmare

Kenny Dalglish has hit out at the scheduling of matches which requires Liverpool to face Chelsea just 48 hours after playing Manchester City

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes the scheduling of tonight's Carling Cup quarter-final is “irresponsible”.

The Scot was outraged when he discovered his side would have to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge two days after Sunday’s league match at home to league leaders Manchester City.

Liverpool held discussions with the Premier League, Football League and Sky television in an attempt to get one of the games moved but it was to no avail.

The Premier League were reluctant to bring the league match forward because of concerns it would cause major inconvenience to fans at short notice.

Also the Metropolitan Police could not sanction a move to Wednesday because of a Trades Union Congress rally taking place in central London that day and Tottenham's Europa League game at home to PAOK Salonika.

Dalglish is likely to make a number of changes for their second trip to Chelsea in just over a week — having won 2-1 the weekend before last — but that has not stopped him speaking out again about the timing.

“Forty-eight hours is a bit irresponsible for the people who've organised the dates of the matches. It's not just us, it's Man City,” he fumed.

“To ask any team or any players to play two games of high intensity in 48 hours is a bit of a joke.

“I don't know why the PFA (Professional Footballers' Association) don't come in and say something about it — it's their players. For me it's difficult to understand why they don't come out and say something. Or do they agree with it?

“We know we've got to accept it although we don't agree with it, and it won't affect the application or give us an excuse.

“There'll be one or two bumps and bruises I would have thought, and maybe one or two missing, but we have a strong squad and we've made changes in other Carling Cup matches.

“It will be a late shout because we have to give everyone the best possible opportunity to recover.

“We've sold out our tickets for the match, we know what's expected, the players know what's expected of them, so all we can do is try our best and see what happens.”

Chelsea played on Saturday afternoon so they have had an extra day to recover.

Dalglish believes Andre Villas-Boas will keep disruptions to his side down to a minimum.

“I don't expect Chelsea to have to make changes,” he added.

“He (Villas-Boas) has said he'll use the competition to try to develop three young players he has that he likes, so I suppose those three will play.”

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor did eventually break his silence on the matter and said he understood Dalglish's sentiments but stressed there were positives to come out of the situation.

“The fixture calendar is so compact now it is like trying to get a quart in a pint pot,” said Taylor.

“But to the same extent clubs have big squads these days. Probably the one good thing about it is it gives the opportunity to players who are not featuring regularly to show what they can do.”

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