Juergen Klopp laments timing of Club World Cup, Latest Football News - The New Paper

Juergen Klopp laments timing of Club World Cup

Liverpool manager also not keen on plans to expand it to 24 teams

Juergen Klopp insists Liverpool are fully focused on winning this week's Club World Cup, but hit out at the timing of the competition and questioned Fifa's plans to expand the tournament in future.

"We are here now and we are completely focused on it, but if you had asked me beforehand if I think that there should be a Club World Cup in the middle of our season, I would say no, in my honest opinion," Klopp told journalists at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, where Liverpool face Monterrey in the semi-finals tomorrow morning (Singapore time).


The Anfield club have had to take time out from their seemingly relentless march towards the English Premier League title to travel to Qatar for the tournament, in which they are Europe's representatives thanks to their Champions League triumph last season.

If Liverpool win against the Mexican side, they will advance to a final on Sunday morning, against either Flamengo of Brazil or Saudi side Al Hilal.

Even if they lose their semi-final, they will remain in Qatar for a third-place play-off over the weekend.

Their EPL trip to West Ham United, scheduled for this weekend, was postponed as a result.

They have also been forced to play their League Cup quarter-final at Aston Villa this morning with a squad of academy players due to the lack of alternatives in a packed schedule.

After the Doha expedition, they will rush back home to prepare for a trip to Leicester City - their closest title-challengers - next Thursday, on the Boxing Day holiday.

Fifa recently confirmed plans to expand the current seven-team Club World Cup played in December to a 24-team competition which will start in China in 2021 and will be played in June and July - that means a clash with the next African Nations Cup, to be held at the same time.

The existing format is particularly unloved in Europe, even if European clubs have won the last six editions.

Klopp added: "Can it be an even bigger tournament in the future? I don't know. We have to make sure that we have great competitions, but not at the same time, that's all.

"I like now being here because we have a lot of fans in this part of the world.

"They usually have to follow us at night time if they want to watch our games, so that's nice that we can come closer from time to time.

"But everybody needs to think about it.

"If there is time for a tournament which is nice, then you cannot have then another. You cannot just add on tournaments, that doesn't work."

Liverpool arrived in Qatar without injured defender Dejan Lovren but with Georginio Wijnaldum, who came off last Saturday's 2-0 win over Watford.

Monterrey reached the semi-finals after beating Al-Sadd, coached by Barcelona great Xavi Hernandez. - AFP