Jurgen Klopp has given very honest Liverpool verdict on expanded Club World Cup

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FIFA have announced that the Club World Cup will expand to 32 teams in 2025.

FIFA have confirmed that the Club World Cup will feature 32 teams in 2025 and will feature 'the best teams in the world.

Speaking at a press conference, FIFA president Gianni Infantino made the announcement to expand the competition. It's seemingly in a bid to challenge rival governing body UEFA's Champions League.

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As things stand, only seven teams take part in the Club World Cup with teams from Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and Oceania involved.

Infantino said: “As you will remember, we had agreed a few years ago to have a new men’s Club World Cup with 24 teams. This should have taken place in 2021 [but] was postponed because of Covid. The new men’s Club World Cup will therefore take place in 2025 and will feature 32 teams - the best teams in the world. Of course, the details of that still need to be discussed and agreed but the 32-team tournament will go ahead, making it really like a World Cup.”

It means that there is a good chance the change could impact Liverpool. The Reds, of course, won the Club World Cup for the first tie in 2020 when defeating Brazilian outfit Flamengo in extra-time. Jurgen Klopp's side went into the competition as European champions.

But it may be that the new format includes clubs who have reached the Champions League final or performed strongly in their domestic league.

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Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in the Champions League final in 2018 and 2022 respectively, while they were Premier League winners in 2020 and finished as runners-up to Manchester City by one point last season. And potential additional fixtures is something that Klopp will likely rue.

Undoubtedly, winning the Club World Cup left Liverpool and their manager full of pride two years ago. But many supporters are indifferent towards the competition - the reaction when the Reds lost the 2005 final to Sao Paulo was apathetic. Still, it was another piece of silverware in the Anfield trophy cabinet and a genuine moniker of being king of the footballing world.

Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s Club World Cup triumph in 2019. Picture: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty ImagesJurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s Club World Cup triumph in 2019. Picture: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images
Jurgen Klopp celebrates Liverpool’s Club World Cup triumph in 2019. Picture: John Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images | Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Yet Klopp will scarcely be happy at the potential of the Reds having to play more fixtures. Last season, Liverpool played 64 games, which was every fixture possible to complete.

‘ Just cannot add on another tournament’

And when FIFA originally announced played to expand the Club World Cup to 24 teams in 2020, Klopp said he'd be happy to earn less if there were fewer games.

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He said: “I am not sure we have to (play in the tournament), but we are all well paid and that’s how it is. We know that this money, someone has to earn it somewhere. If it’s that competition and we have to go because they offer that kind of money and it’s the first time - I don’t know exactly. I like the idea in general [of so many clubs from around the world competing], but then you have to cancel another tournament. You just cannot add on another tournament and another and another. That cannot work. That’s the only thing I say. Just make decisions.

“Where is the year where there is no tournament? It’s just not there anymore for some players. You have the World Cup, the European Championships, the Club World Cup, the Copa America. There is no year without a tournament anymore and that makes no sense. I don’t know why nobody sees it like this. And then you come up with the money. So I say: ‘Less money for less games’ and I say: ‘Okay get it’.”

Player welfare

At the start of this season, Klopp also expressed his concern for player welfare given the number of fixtures they had to get through - and was frustrated the World Cup was taking place in the middle of the campaign.

“If all the players then have a break it is not a problem, it is good, It is like a winter break which I had that in Germany as a player a lot, four weeks [off], stuff like that. The problem is the players who play the World Cup, that is just not okay but it is decided a long time ago. If you go to the final at a World Cup and win it or lose or a third-place match you are already quite busy and the then the rest starts a week later.

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“When I start talking about it, I get really angry. My problem is that as much as everybody knows it’s not right, nobody talks often enough about it that it will be changed. Something has to change. You cannot just constantly watch top-class players and say, ‘Oh my God, how they are great.’

“It is like with the climate. We all know it has to change but nobody is saying what we have to do. Why we wouldn’t talk about it and do it properly and say, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, FIFA, Premier League, FA, start talking to each other.’ There must be one meeting where they all talk to each other and the only subject should be the most important part of this game, the players.

“It didn’t happen yet because the managers are in the jump seat, in out, in, out, why should we be concerned about the long-term effects? But now I am a long time here and some others talk from time to time to about it but all the rest has his own interest so that makes it not easy. This World Cup happens at the wrong moment for the wrong reasons.”

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