Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp hits out at FA over treatment of teen star Jordan Rossiter

New Pool boss says players are 'not horses'

By Carl Markham

The Liverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, has launched himself into a club-versus-country controversy less than two weeks into his new job after likening England's handling of Jordan Rossiter to that of a horse.

The 18-year-old midfielder, who made his first-team debut in September 2014, returned from Under-19 international duty with a hamstring injury after playing three matches of 90 minutes in five days.

Klopp said that the situation was not normal and that he would be speaking to someone at the Football Association.

Liverpool have recent history with the FA over treatment of players as just over a year ago Klopp's predecessor, Brendan Rodgers, expressed his displeasure after the striker Daniel Sturridge sustained a thigh injury during an England training session the day after an international match.

"Rossiter is a special story. I never heard of an 18-year-old playing three games in five days," said Klopp before the Europa League visit of the Russian side Rubin Kazan tonight, the German's first home match in charge.

"That is why he is injured and I don't think he will be ready until the next international break [in mid-November].

"I don't know who I have to talk to about this but I will find a way because it is not OK.

"On my first day I didn't want to have a call with someone with the FA but for sure this is not OK. These young players are our future. If we handle them like horses, we get horses."

As if to emphasise the point Klopp insists he is not a slave to the 100 per cent, flat-out running dogma which people associate with his football, as he is just as concerned about players' fitness.

The German's methods from his first match in charge at Tottenham Hotspur last Saturday - when the Reds ran a combined 116 kilometres (72.5 miles), by far their furthest of the season - have been the subject of much analysis. But Klopp stressed it was not necessarily the requirement every game

"The biggest misunderstanding in my life is people ask me if it is possible to play this kind of football," he explained.

"We don't have to run 115 kilometres only to be successful. We need healthy players but we don't kill the players.

"You don't have to run like crazy if you have the ball. But if you play a much better team and you are not ready to run more than them, then you are crazy."

Klopp is likely to make changes tonight as he is holding back Sturridge, who sat out the goalless draw at White Hart Lane with a knee problem, for Sunday's visit of Southampton.

Klopp's home debut is one of the most eagerly anticipated in the club's history but the German sought to manage expectations.

"We have to be patient, in a football way. I hope no one is waiting for it to be 4-0 after three minutes and is then disappointed," he said.

Striker Daniel Sturridge is not fit enough to play in new manager Jurgen Klopp's first home game in charge when the Reds play Rubin Kazan.

However, Christian Benteke, Roberto Firmino and Dejan Lovren are back in training and likely to be in the squad for Thursday's Europa League group tie.

Sturridge missed Klopp's debut at Tottenham with a knee injury. Klopp hopes the 26-year-old Sturridge is available for Sunday's home league game against Southampton.

"Sturridge is getting better and better," he said. "Yesterday he was outside for the first time since Saturday.

"It was OK and the target for him is Sunday, for sure. That's what we'll try to do."

Liverpool have drawn both Europa League games so far and are second in their group, level with Bordeaux.

Belfast Telegraph


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