Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says Manchester United have enough depth that Jose Mourinho shouldn’t be complaining of an “unfair fight” for the top four because of their fixture congestion.
United, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal are all fighting to finish in the top four alongside title contenders Chelsea and Tottenham, but after United’s goalless draw with City on Thursday, Mourinho claimed that his side’s busy slate made for an unlevel playing field.
“I think 18 more matches played than Liverpool,” Mourinho said of this team’s fixtures, though the reality is 13 games more than Liverpool.
“Eighteen more matches is like half of a Premier League almost. Eighteen matches are many miles in the players’ legs. So if you can say that, it is an unfair fight.”
But while Klopp said he could understand Mourinho’s frustration as Liverpool faced similar circumstances a year ago, he also dismissed Mourinho’s argument, that United have all the resources needed to compete on multiple fronts.
“I can imagine what he means but they have played a similar season to what we had last year,” Klopp told English newspapers. “They also have a different squad, a wider squad, and with all of their injury problems they had so far they are still able to put out teams.
“And you think, ‘[Henrikh] Mkhitaryan isn’t playing? [Wayne] Rooney isn’t playing? And him, and him…’ It is different but of course it is hard.
“They have seven or eight games left — five in the Premier League, a semifinal and maybe a final — and yes that is hard, absolutely, but we had a similar situation last season, not fighting for the Champions League unfortunately, and it’s not unfair, it is the situation.
“Nobody asked us last year how we felt about it. It doesn’t feel well but I know what he means.”