Liverpool - Jurgen Klopp has branded the UEFA Nations League "the most senseless competition in the world" as he prepares to see many of his squad leave on international duty following Liverpool's drab 0-0 draw with Manchester City.
The two sides - along with Chelsea - are all locked on 20 points at the top of the Premier League table, separated only by goal difference after Sunday's matches.
Klopp is pleased a hectic schedule of seven matches in 23 days is now over but is unsure what the next fortnight will bring for his players.
"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'," said Klopp.
"The boys unfortunately go away again now and have to play Nations League games, the most senseless competition in the world of football."
Klopp said players need a proper break to be fresher, pointing to the case of Liverpool midfielder Jordan Henderson who played for England at the World Cup in Russia.
"If you want to see fresher (players), give them a summer break," he said. "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 League.
"I don't exactly know what you can win but there is some final next summer or something so that's it."