Football-Man City
Manchester City's Riyad Mahrez celebrates his hat-trick with the match ball after the match against Burnley on Saturday. Image Credit: Reuters

London: A 5-0 win over Burnley on Saturday should have boosted the morale of Manchester City, but the killing schedule of Premiership in the 2020-21 season seems to be taking the joy out of the teams.

Just ponder this: they now travel to Porto for their Champions League tie on Tuesday and then on coming back, will have to get ready to face Fulham on Saturday. Pep Guardiola joined Juergen Klopp in criticizing the schedule, with the Liverpool manager saying it’s taking a toll on the players with frequent injuries.

“The problem is the players lose the joy of playing football,” Guardiola told reporters.

“Before it was nice playing once or twice a week with spectators. Now it’s three days and then another one. We will travel to Porto to win, then prepare against Fulham.” City had netted just 10 times in their opening eight games before Saturday’s victory and Guardiola said his forwards must deliver if they are to retain their spot in the team.

“The goals help us, of course. Gabriel Jesus has to score goals. Raheem Sterling when he plays has to score. They have to score more goals. That is why they are here. It depends on the players, their performance on the pitch,” Guardiola said.

Klopp again fumed at a “dangerous” schedule as Liverpool had two goals disallowed and conceded two penalties in a 1-1 draw at Brighton. Liverpool edged back to the top of the Premier League table, a point ahead of Tottenham, but were left frustrated by Pascal Gross’s stoppage-time penalty which salvaged a point for Brighton.

Klopp had voiced his displeasure all week at facing a lunchtime kick-off just three days after a Champions League defeat to Atalanta.

Already hit by a huge list of injuries, the Reds suffered another setback when James Milner had to be replaced with a hamstring problem in the second-half.

“Congratulations,” Klopp said sarcastically to a television reporter for BT Sport. “You work for them yeah? Hamstring, surprise. I’ve not had a go at the broadcaster, I just say how it is. After Wednesday, Saturday 12.30 is really dangerous for the players.”