Football

I don't care if you think I’m lazy: Juergen Klopp

Liverpool boss unfazed by criticism of his FA Cup replay stance

Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp has hit back at criticism of his decision to let the club's Under-23 team play in the FA Cup fourth-round replay against Shrewsbury Town.

The tie at Anfield will be played on Feb 4, during the Reds' winter break, and Klopp had said that he wants to respect the English Premier League's first mid-season break.

"I decided three weeks ago we would have a mid-season break based on a letter we got in April 2019," he said during last night's press conference for their match against West Ham United tomorrow morning (Singapore time).

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WEST HAM LIVERPOOL

"If people think I am lazy because I am not there, I cannot change that and I'm not interested. I just feel responsible for my players. If we find a way to play it, then nothing will change.

"I am not a revolutionary guy... If we react like we always react - 'OK, we have to do it' - nothing will change and everyone in football agrees something has to change."

While many pundits agree that the Reds' first-team players deserve a break following their exertions on multiple fronts, former Liverpool players such as Jamie Carragher believe Klopp should be leading the Under-23s in the replay.

Former Manchester United captain Rio Ferdinand agreed, saying on BT Sport: "That's where I draw the line, I think the manager should be in the dugout.

"Every game, doesn't matter if he's putting out a depleted squad or not, he should be in there."

In response, Klopp said: "Could I be here for it?

"Of course, but it is a misunderstanding of coaching. I cannot just show up for it within two days.

"They need their coach and that is Neil Critchley."

Klopp also revealed that Reds forward Sadio Mane, who was injured during last week's 2-1 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers, could miss their next two matches due to a muscle tear.

"Sadio will not be involved for West Ham and probably not for Southampton," said Klopp.

Meanwhile, Hammers boss David Moyes said his side are closing in on Slavia Prague midfielder Tomas Soucek for a reported 20 million euros (S$29.9m).

At his pre-match press conference, the Scot said: "I hope he is in the middle of his medical. He fits the profile of the player I want for West Ham.

"We are in a difficult period where we need experienced players as well, he has 20 caps for the Czech Republic."

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