Jurgen Klopp is satisfied with Liverpool‘s position heading into the international break but is not so happy with his players being taken away to play in “the most senseless competition in the world”.
The goalless draw with Premier League leaders Manchester City at Anfield means the top three are all level on 20 points and separated only by goal difference.
Klopp is pleased a hectic schedule of seven matches in 23 days is now over but wonders what the next fortnight will bring for his players.
“If somebody would have told me after eight matchdays you have 20 points, I would say with that fixture list, ‘I’ll buy it, let’s start with the ninth matchday!’,” said Klopp.
“The boys unfortunately go away again now and have to play Nations League games – the most senseless competition in the world of football!
“We hope that they come back healthy and play these easy competitions, the Premier League, the Champions League and all this.
“It’s tough times for the boys, eh? We have to start thinking about the players.
“Somebody asked me, ‘Is the level of the game (against City) because of the intensity?’ – already in the question there is criticism (suggesting) it could have been better if you were fresher.
“If you want to see fresher, give them a summer break – for Jordan Henderson it was exactly two weeks, which is funny. But that’s how it is.
“That’s why I say going away is not a big problem but now you call a manager of any country and ask him to leave out one or two players and he says, ‘I am under pressure as well’ because now it’s Nations League.
“I don’t exactly know what you can win but there is some final next summer or something so that’s it.”
Former England captain John Terry has announced his retirement from playing.
The long-serving Chelsea defender has hung up his boots at the age of 37 and is understood to be primed for a quick return to Aston Villa.
He is poised to become Thierry Henry’s assistant at the club he played for last season, with former Arsenal star Henry in pole position to be named as manager this week.
Terry wrote on Instagram: “After 23 incredible years as a footballer, I have decided now is the right time to retire from playing. I have many people to thank.
“My wife Toni and my two children, Georgie and Summer, for being my rocks throughout my career – I couldn’t have done it without you, I love you with all my heart.
“I thank my parents, Sue and Ted, for the sacrifices they made for me as a boy, giving me the best opportunity to fulfil my dream and become a professional footballer.
“My brother, Paul, for his help and advice throughout my career – and all my family and friends for their great support.
“As a 14-year-old, I made my best and biggest decision: to sign for Chelsea Football Club. Words will never be enough to show how much everyone at the club means to me, in particular the fans.
“Right from the outset they have given me total support, on and off the pitch, and I have a tremendous bond with them.
“We achieved so many great memories together and I couldn’t have succeeded without you. To me, you are the best fans in the world. I hope I have done you all proud wearing the shirt and the armband.
“My club career and heart will always belong to Chelsea, but I am grateful for my loan spell at Nottingham Forest in 1999, which was invaluable for my development as a young player.
“And I also want to say a huge thank you to Aston Villa for giving me the opportunity to play at such a big club and captain it throughout the 2017-18 season. It was a privilege to represent such a renowned football club with great fans.
“I look forward to the next chapter in my life and the challenges ahead.”
Terry turned down a move to Spartak Moscow last month, despite reportedly having a medical, saying it was not the right option for his family.
His last game as a professional was Villa’s 1-0 Championship play-off final defeat to Fulham in May.
Terry won 78 England caps, five Premier League titles with Chelsea, five FA Cups and three League Cups. He also picked up Champions League and Europa League winners’ medals but did not play in the finals.
He made 717 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 67 times, before joining Villa after leaving Stamford Bridge in 2017, playing 36 games for the club.
This top-of-the-table clash between Liverpool and Manchester City offered much but in the end delivered very little as the two teams cancelled each other in the first scoreless draw between the sides at Anfield in more than thirty years.
The one moment of note was Leroy Sane’s run late in the second half that drew Virgil van Dijk into conceding a penalty, which Riyad Mahrez insisted on taking rather than substitute Gabriel Jesus, only to blast over.
Here are our ratings for the Man City players:
Ederson – A very quiet afternoon for the Brazilian who was not tested all day with two comfortable saves. Had 81-per-cent accuracy in distribution. 6
Kyle Walker – Dealt with Sadio Mane comfortably, but hardly threatened going forward. Obviously restrained by his manager. 5
John Stones – Cut out some dangerous balls in the first half and rarely troubled in the second with five aerial duels won. 7
Aymeric Laporte – Worked hard to make some crucial defensive touches in the first half, and hardly needed in second. Had 85-per-cent passing success. 6
Benjamin Mendy – Dangerous every time he got forward and caused real issues for Joe Gomez. Held back in second half as Gomez got forward more. 5
Fernandinho – Robust defensive effort as Guardiola was clearly determined not to concede. Three tackles and two aerial duels won. 6
Bernardo Silva – Again focused more on defensive duties, making four tackles. Had 74 touches with 86-per-cent pass accuracy. 6
Raheem Sterling – Contained fairly comfortably by Gomez most of the afternoon. Another disappointing return to Anfield, subbed on 75 mins for Sane – 5
David Silva – Worked well with Bernardo Silva and Fernandinho to deny Liverpool time and space in the middle. Dominant in the second half with dangerous passes every time he got the ball. 8
Riyad Mahrez – Worked hard down the right wing without finding the telling cross in the first half. Had City’s best chances with four shots, two on target. A bad penalty miss. 6
Sergio Aguero – Unlucky not to win a penalty in the first half after Lovren’s clumsy swipe. Booked for clumsy challenge on Henderson in second half and substituted on 64 minutes after a frustrating afternoon. 5
Gabriel Jesus – On for Aguero on 65 minutes. Superb run on 76 minutes, twisting and turning through two defenders. 7
Leroy Sane – On for Sterling on 75 minutes and made the surging run to win the penalty from Van Dijk, blazed over by Mahrez. 7