Klopp smarts at UCL expansion rumours

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According to a Daily Mail report, leading Premier League clubs including Liverpool are backing plans that could see the UEFA Champions League significantly restructured.

The group stage could grow from a six-match commitment to 10 games per team, the British newspaper reported. Such a step could boost earnings potential but also have an impact on existing domestic football schedules.

Klopp's team lead the Premier League, and in the coming week it heads to Qatar to compete in the FIFA Club World Cup, after earning a place in that event by winning the UEFA Champions League last season.

Injuries are beginning to take a toll at Anfield, with Georginio Wijnaldum joining the casualty list on Saturday when he suffered a muscle problem in the 2-0 win over Watford.

One Liverpool team will face Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday (AEDT), before another plays Monterrey at the FIFA Club World Cup a day later.

"The fixtures are like they are. You all like watching us suffering — that's how it is," Klopp said. "You look a little bit concerned, but at the end nobody cares really."

He added: "Today I read an article [saying that] the top clubs want to do more games in the [UEFA] Champions League or whatever. I am not involved in these plans. So that's absolute b******s as well.

"That's how it is. We can talk about everything but we have to cut off games, not be putting more in.

"Until then we have to do what we do and we will do that and we are quite positive about it.

"We need each point we can get because it's a tough and long season. You [the media] can make early judgements... but we can't. We just have to recover and play the next game."

Klopp dismissed the idea his team was off its game against Watford, which had enough chances to win the match rather than leave empty-handed in Nigel Pearson's first game as Hornets manager.

"No, just a difficult game. It was not an off-day," Klopp said. "We scored sensational goals.

"It was just a difficult game and I'm completely fine with that."

Klopp also cast a questioning look at the arrangements in place for FIFA's Club World Cup.

The opening matches have been played at Doha's Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, but all games from now on will be contested at the city's Khalifa International Stadium, with five fixtures due to be played on the same pitch in five days.

That scenario has come about because FIFA said in early December that Education City Stadium, which had been due to host Liverpool's semi-final against Monterrey, plus the third-place play-off and final, was not ready in time to stage games at the tournament.

That venue is being built primarily for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Klopp recognised Liverpool would be going into a warmer climate after its seven-hour flight to the Middle East, but added: "I think it's raining there. Perhaps it doesn't help the pitch — the one pitch we are playing all on ... it's sensationally good organisation — where all the games are on one pitch and it's raining.

"I'm not sure if the people in Qatar are used to a lot of rain. We will see how the pitch will be. That's a bit of a problem."