Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says 'nobody takes player welfare seriously' as he opened up on the difficulties currently faced by Premier League players as the latest Covid outbreak clashes with a packed football schedule.
The Reds currently sit second in the table after drawing 2-2 with Tottenham on Sunday, but six other games on the weekend were postponed due to a rise in positive cases.
And Henderson says players are currently unable to perform consistently at the highest level as the games come thick and fast and squads tackle the loss of players to Covid.
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"I don't think people can appreciate how intense it is until you actually see it first hand," Henderson told BBC Sport.
Football to us is everything and we want to be able to perform at the highest level every time we set foot on the pitch. And unfortunately, in this period it is difficult to do that.
"That has been like this for a few years now and it has been difficult but then, on top of that, you chuck in Covid and it becomes even harder and even worse.
I am concerned that nobody really takes player welfare seriously.
"I think decisions get made - of course we want to play as footballers, we want to get out there and play - but I am worried about player welfare and I don't think anybody does take that seriously enough, especially in this period, when Covid is here.
"We will try to have conversations in the background and try to have some sort of influence going forward, but at the minute I don't feel the players get the respect they deserve in terms of having somebody being able to speak for them independently and having the power to say actually this isn't right for player welfare."
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has echoed Henderson´s concerns, saying he is having to take "huge risks" with player fitness.
Tottenham Hotspur's English striker Harry Kane (L) vies with Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah
Image credit: Getty Images
And Henderson believes that fatigue will take its toll when players are given such little time off each year as international tournaments and European football go on.
"We do speak about it as players because, at the end of the day, it affects us directly," added Henderson.
"I know people will say we do get paid a lot of money to go out and play football. I get that and understand that, but football is everything to us. And especially those players that are playing international games and European games, you get a maximum of probably two or three weeks off a year. I am not sure that is enough to physically recover and mentally recover from the season previous.
"But again, there is no communication with players in terms of what they think, which is a big problem really, I am not saying they have to make decisions on what players think, because everybody will have a different opinion, but I think they need to be part of a conversation because, ultimately, we are the ones that are going out and feeling it and playing it."
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