Jurgen Klopp dubs Nations League 'senseless' after gruelling run ends with Man City draw

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LIVERPOOL, England -- Jurgen Klopp slammed the UEFA Nations League as "the most senseless competition in football" following his side's 0-0 draw with Manchester City on Sunday.

Liverpool remain level on points with Chelsea and City at the top of the Premier League table ahead of the international break, after a gruelling run of matches. Klopp's men have faced seven fixtures in 23 days that included encounters with City, Paris Saint-Germain, Tottenham, Chelsea and Napoli.

"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,'" Klopp said. "The boys unfortunately go away again now and have to play Nations Cup games -- the most senseless competition in the world of football. And 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? But I said already in an interview, we have to start thinking about the players.

"Somebody asked me: 'Is the level of the game because of the intensity?' Already in the question, there is criticism; 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 Cup.

"I don't exactly know what you can win, but there is some final next summer or something so ... that's it."

City's Riyad Mahrez blazed a penalty over the bar five minutes from time at Anfield as Liverpool remained unbeaten at home in the league since April 2017.

It took until the 62nd minute for both teams to register a shot on target as they cancelled each other out, before City were given a golden opportunity when Virgil van Dijk was adjudged to have upended Leroy Sane in the penalty area.

"I am really happy with what the boys did today," Klopp said. "The start of the game was fantastic. I liked it, but if you want to win against City, you have to use a few of these half-chances. You need to finish.

"You cannot defend them over 95 minutes at 100 percent. They will have their moments, but I thought we defended them brilliant -- apart from the penalty and one or two situations, where we needed Alisson with a really good save.

"We played City now very often and they are just outstanding. And in no game we played so far, the game was level like it was today. Even when we won 3-0 at home, 4-3, 2-1 at City, over the full match it was never like this.

"For both teams it was really intense, and both showed respect for the other team. Don't lose the ball in the wrong moment, otherwise you have big problems.

"Both teams did well, and we were a bit lucky with the penalty of course. That's clear."

James Milner was forced to come off injured 29 minutes into the encounter with his former club, appearing to clutch his hamstring as he limped off.

When asked about his condition, Klopp said: "Too early. I don't know. I [asked] him: 'Big one?' and he said: 'I don't think so, but big enough that I go off.'"