Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce has come in for criticism in parts of the media today, for ‘blaming’ Jurgen Klopp’s tactics for Liverpool’s injury crisis.
But the criticism is very unfair, with his comments on talkSPORT yesterday morning taking badly out of context.
Liverpool’s 1-0 win in the first leg of their Capital One Cup match at Stoke on Tuesday was marred by injuries to Philippe Coutinho and Dejan Lovren.
Allardyce was talking with radio presenter Alan Brazil yesterday about the need for a winter break - as well as the Black Cats boss’s frustration at a Premier League fixture being place in midweek after Saturday’s FA Cup fixtures.
They leave Sunderland with a three away games in a week – Arsenal in the cup followed by Premier League games at Swansea on Wednesday (which was pushed back a day at Swansea’s request) and an early kick-off at Tottenham on Saturday.
Liverpool’s injury situation was brought up by Brazil.
Allardyce said: “That is him (Klopp) asking his players to play a high-tempo pressing game from the top end.
“It’s great that the players have been able to carry it out but I think it (fatigue) has kicked in now.
“I don’t think Jurgen has realised just how ferocious our league is at this period of time and because he has asked for that extra high energy, that extra 10 yards these lads are fatiguing now with so many games in such a short period of time and picking up these muscle strains.
“They are highly trained athletes, more than ever before, and they become more susceptible to injuries by the amount of work they do in a game now.”
Allardyce’s point was that the fixture list is getting harder and harder to cope with, and he said that Sunderland too had been suffering from inuries.
“We’ve already had lots of fixtures and injury problems show how important the (winter) break is.
“Next week we have three big away games in a week and that could well add to our injury problems. As a league and county, we need to look after our players better.
“I saw the fatigue in Stoke last night (their defeat to Liverpool) - their lads couldn’t run to get into a final.”