Former Liverpool and Ireland footballer John Aldridge has hit out at Premier League chiefs over the scheduling of Liverpool games.
Speaking to the Independent, Aldridge derided the fact that Liverpool were made to play on Sunday afternoon at Southampton, despite having a Wednesday tie in Portugal against Porto in the next round of the Champions League:
I don't agree with Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho too often, but he has been criticising the scheduling of matches for England's European representatives for years and he has a very valid point on this issue. Why did Liverpool have to play an away game against Southampton late on Sunday? I don't understand the logic behind that decision ahead of a big Champions League game.
The ex-Ireland international used Serie A as an example of a league that helps their clubs when it comes to congested fixture lists:
Juventus had their latest Serie A game moved to last Friday to help them prepare for a game against Tottenham on Tuesday as the Italian authorities understand how important the extra day is in for preparation.
Aldridge went on to argue that the FA, Premier League and Sky should accommodate their clubs as best they can, as the success of English sides in Europe is beneficial to their brand:
Getting English clubs through to the latter stages of European competitions is good for the image of the Premier League, but the old farts who run English football don't care about that.
Television companies decide how the game is run now and while they pump enough money into football to be allowed to make those decisions, they should give Premier League clubs a helping hand by giving them extra time to prepare for Champions League games.
Though on the other side of coin, with the TV money on offer to the top tier, should the wealthy elite be expected to kowtow to the will of Sky? The broadcaster is one of the main reasons for the success of Premier League and perhaps occasional awkward scheduling is the price you pay for lucrative TV deals.