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Jurgen Klopp Slams Champions League Expansion Report as 'Absolute Bollocks'

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistDecember 15, 2019

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 14: Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp looks on during the Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield on December 14, 2019 in Liverpool, United Kingdom. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Jurgen Klopp has criticised a report that Liverpool and the Premier League's other top sides support plans to expand the UEFA Champions League.

Matt Hughes reported in the Daily Mail that the Reds, along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Manchester United, are in favour of an expansion to the competition that could mean teams have to play 10 or 12 games in the group stage rather than six.

Per Goal's John Skilbeck, Klopp said:

"Today I read an article [saying that] the top clubs want to do more games in the Champions League or whatever. I am not involved in these plans. So that's absolute bollocks as well.

"That's how it is. We can talk about everything but we have to cut off games, not be putting more in. ...

"The fixtures are like they are. You all like watching us suffering—that's how it is. You look a little bit concerned, but at the end nobody cares really."

Per football writer Manuel Veth, Klopp has previously expressed concerns over the number of fixtures clubs have to deal with and opposed the idea of a European Super League:

Manuel Veth @ManuelVeth

Klopp is also against the creation of a European Super League. "I hope that competition never comes," he said.

His Reds side have a particularly busy schedule this season because of their Champions League success last season. As a result of winning the competition, Liverpool will be competing in the FIFA Club World Cup, which will be expanded from seven to 24 teams in 2021 and moved from December to June.

This has created a fixture pile-up, as the team also have to compete in the quarter-final of the Carabao Cup, per The Times' Paul Joyce:

paul joyce @_pauljoyce

Liverpool to play two teams in two continents in 24-hours. The Carabao Cup quarter-final with Aston Villa will be played on Tuesday, December 17 at the club’s request. The semi-final of Club World Cup in Qatar on December 18.

If the Reds reach the final of the Club World Cup, they will have played nine matches in December. Should they beat Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup, they will also have to play a two-legged semi-final in January.

The Champions League is a vital source of revenue for the Premier League's elite, as well as their counterparts across Europe. Per football finance blogger Swiss Ramble, the Reds benefited greatly from their run to the final in 2017-18:

Swiss Ramble @SwissRamble

All three #LFC revenue streams increased: broadcasting was a substantial £66m (43%) higher at £220m, due to Champions League participation; match day climbed £7m (10%) to £81m, while commercial rose £18m (13%) to £154m, also largely linked to European success. https://t.co/Yz4iZNyiqw

They will likely have done even better after making it to the final and winning it last season.

An expanded version of the competition would bring in even more income.

According to Hughes, the development could have a significant impact on the domestic schedule in England. It's said the two-legged Carabao Cup semi-finals and FA Cup replays could be scrapped, and the Premier League might even be reduced from 20 teams to 18 to compensate for the extra fixtures.

There would still be plenty of strain on the players, though. As such, it's understandable Klopp and other coaches might be opposed to it, but they are unlikely to have much, if any, say when it comes to changes.