Liverpool defender Joel Matip has suggested that the Thursday-Sunday fixture schedule that comes with Europa League participation is ‘not the best combination’ but insists the Reds will ‘give their all’ to excel in the competition.
Despite a strong end to last season Jurgen Klopp’s side missed out on Champions League football for just the second time since the German tactician’s arrival back in 2015.
The Anfield outfit have won both of their group stage games so far as they aim to make it all the way to the final in Dublin next year.
“Playing on Thursday night and Sunday afternoons is not the best combination, but a lot of teams do it and so should we,” Matip said (as quoted by Caught Offside).
“We are used to playing in midweek so this is not new for us, but of course, it means there are always just two days in between whenever we play in the Europa League.
“There’s not a lot of time to prepare for the weekend game as there will always be more time needed on recovery. But we all want to play European football and therefore we are ready to give it our all.”
The Reds have balanced European football and domestic fixtures well in recent years with us competing for the Premier League with Manchester City in three of the past five seasons while also reaching the Champions League final three times during Klopp’s tenure.
We currently have what is probably the best squad we’ve ever had during the former Borussia Dortmund manager’s tenure so should certainly be in with a shout of Europa League success this term.
The English top-flight is as competitive as ever at the moment so we’re going to need some luck with injuries throughout the campaign if we’re wanting to compete on all four fronts.
Matip may no longer be a regular starter under Klopp but he’s a player that gives his all whenever called upon.
His current deal expires at the end of the season and with it unlikely our No.32 will be offered a new deal let’s hope his last campaign on Merseyside is a success.