Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson has expressed his concerns about player welfare amid an already congested fixture list further complicated by Covid-19 outbreaks, insisting that people are not taking the issue seriously enough.
Starting with the recent 2-2 draw against Tottenham, which went ahead despite Covid cases in the Liverpool camp, the Reds will have played five games in the space of just two weeks by the time they face Chelsea on 2 January.
Earlier this week, Premier League clubs decided to go ahead with the festive fixture list despite potential problems posed by Covid outbreaks in squads up and down the league.
“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 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."