As any avid Premier League away fan will tell you, the FA don’t give two shits about anything else when TV money is involved, in this case making a decision that could derail Liverpool‘s unlikely title bid with the big bucks in mind.
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Quite why Liverpool thought their request for a fixture rescheduling over the festive period would be listened to is a mystery; the suits that run the Premier League would happily throw their families into shark-infested waters if BT were looking to broadcast it, so the welfare of Jurgen Klopp’s men was never going to be of much concern.
The Reds did naively ask, though, arguing that playing two games in under 48 hours was an unreasonable demand. That logic seems to be corroborated by the fact that teams playing in the Europa League are always handed Sunday fixtures to prevent this very situation, but they have been told that their evening clash with Manchester City on New Year’s Eve will be followed by an afternoon meeting away game at Sunderland on the 2nd of January.
We can’t imagine this news has pleased Herr Klopp – who spoke about the original decision in disbelief after seeing the calendar – and it could result in an unhappy Christmas for his team.
This is a shame, because we’d love to see the German in a jolly, festive mood in the coming weeks, but are probably going to get something more like Billy Bob Thornton in Bad Santa than Will Ferrell in Elf. It does provide the Scouse outfit the opportunity to stick two fingers up at the FA by overcoming the circumstances and might create an ‘Us against the world’ sentiment in the dressing room, but will more likely result in drained performances and crocked stars, especially given their intense playing style.
On the bright side, there’s always the chance that the Liverpool players might get to laugh away the January blues, jetting off to a sandy beach somewhere when Coutinho and co. inevitably face long lay-offs with muscular problems. Perhaps this is the FA’s cunning way of providing the side a winter break that so many people in the game – Klopp included – have suggested in the past.
To be fair, Man City are in exactly the same situation and haven’t been heard complaining like their title rivals, although this might well be because The Citizens are planning to spend £150 million on new players solely to play in their home game against Burnley that follows the top of the table clash.
From the fans’ perspective, there’s no doubting that games coming thick and fast around Christmas is wonderful entertainment, but surely it is a little irresponsible of the FA to ignore Liverpool’s request? Maybe they can just ‘accidentally’ show up late to the City game and get their revenge at the expense of a fine? They could even hire a bunch of West Ham fans to make the journey up to Manchester and attack the team coach as they did when ‘welcoming’ Manchester United to the Boleyn Ground last season.