Burnley boss Sean Dyche has every sympathy for Liverpool, whose packed schedule has seen them be forced to play two games in two days on two different continents next month.
The Reds will have to field two different squads to play Aston Villa on Tuesday, December 17th at Villa Park in the EFL Cup quarter-final, as, the following day, they will play, as Champions League winners, in the Club World Cup semi-final in Qatar.
Dyche knows from personal experience now fixture congestion can derail a season, and he admits Jurgen Klopp’s side have it far tougher, with the pressure of modern football.
Back in 1996/97, third-tier Chesterfield reached the FA Cup semi-final, where they played out a remarkable 3-3 draw after extra time with Premiership Middlesbrough, with Dyche scoring from the spot at Old Trafford.
However, a replay at Hillsborough added another game to a packed schedule, with the Spireites also pushing for the Second Division play-offs.
They ultimately fell short, as Dyche remembered a gruelling two weeks, in which Chesterfield played seven times, winning four and losing three: “FA Cup semi-final year, add in games called off at Christmas, in the last two weeks we played Saturday, Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, Monday, Wednesday, Saturday.
“Bear in mind we were pushing for promotion, because the FA wouldn’t extend the season for us.
“We were dead, we fell out of the play off zone with three games to go, we just couldn’t do it.
“We played Bristol City away, lost 2-0, and Jamie Hewitt slept all the way down, I remember thinking ‘you must be knackered!’
“Its not easy sleeping on a bus, obviously we didn’t have hotels and all that, he slept all the way.”
Looking at Liverpool’s predicament, Dyche admitted: “We’re talking about a different level of football, with all due respect, don’t get me wrong, they have support now, but the games are a much higher level, much higher pressure.
“I totally understand his (Klopp’s) concerns, you’re taking about the absolute pinnacle, Champions League, possible cup finals, winning the Premier League, that is a whole different ballgame.
“I don’t know how you get round it, let’s face it, it you are successful, you’re going to have all these games in all these competitions, and you have international players.
“The one thing I know, for sure, is the League are trying to find a way to fit everyone’s games in.
“The Europa League, no one else is playing but that team on a Thursday, so that’s another week full. If you now make that team play another week, the league goes out of kilter.
“So at the end of the season you have teams who’ve played more, or less, and it gets weird.
“They’re trying to make sure everyone plays on the same weekend, so by the end of the season everyone is on the same games.”
He added: “Joking apart about my tales of woe from Chesterfield, it’s a whole different level now, the physical and mental demands, the stress and pressure of that pinnacle level I can only imagine.
“I think there’s a lot on it, so I totally understand when the managers get frustrated.
“Your instinct is to try and win everything so you get caught up in your successes.
“I don’t know what the answer is, I’ve been in those meetings, and you say ‘can we make the season a week longer, two weeks’, but you’ve got internationals...back in the day, I remember Teddy Sheringham, in four years, the maximum amount of time he had off was two and a half weeks, and on year five, he had a bad season, meltdown, his body couldn’t take it.
“I do feel for them, it’s really hard on the super powers who are successful, but what do you do?
“I was at the Champions League Final, it’s 38 degrees, I was wet just sitting in the stadium, never mind playing, and then you expect them to play this amazing game, when really it’s ‘hang on’ football, just get through it to win it, which is how it panned out, two teams slugging it out, muck and nettles.
“What will happen in 2022 with the World Cup? Imagine that?
“I feel for the top players and managers, they are a victim of their own successes.”