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Henderson hits out at player welfare concerns


Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson says he is “concerned” that “nobody really takes player welfare seriously”.

Including last Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Tottenham, the Reds will play five games within two weeks despite Covid-19 cases and injuries.

Premier League clubs chose to fulfil festive fixtures at a meeting on Monday despite a rise in Covid-19 cases.

Former Sunderland midfielder Henderson this week expressed his fears about the impact the gruelling programme could have on players’ welfare.

“I don’t think people can appreciate how intense it is until you actually see it first hand,” said the England man in an interview with 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.”

Liverpool are bidding to reclaim the Premier League title this season and are scheduled to host struggling Leeds United on Boxing Day.