‘This is a joke…’ – Klopp doesn’t mince his words on Liverpool having Saturday 12:30 kick-off

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Jurgen Klopp made no secret of his disdain at Liverpool playing in the Saturday lunchtime kick-off on the weekend that the Premier League resumes following the international break.

The Reds had numerous players in action with their countries over the past fortnight, several of whom were in South America and have only landed back in England this morning.

The Merseysiders are on the road to face Wolves tomorrow afternoon in the early game, and the manager didn’t mince his words about his team being given that particular timeslot straight after the international fixtures.

Speaking in Friday’s press conference ahead of the trip to Molineux (via liverpoolfc.com), Klopp said: “It’s not a problem if you have a normal week, I always said that. It’s easy to adapt.

“The only problem is the lack of recovery time. We have four international breaks until March. [After] two of them we already have a 12:30 kick-off. If I say a word about it, the whole world goes ‘he starts moaning again’.

“This is a joke. We have players [who were] in South America. I didn’t see them yet and we have 24 hours before we play, but it’s like it is. We cannot change that and we’ll never change that.

“The TV channel [TNT Sports] has a different name but that doesn’t change anything at all. They just don’t give a [pointed long pause here from Klopp] about that.”

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Although Liverpool are well accustomed to playing three matches in a week from their annual participation in European tournaments, Klopp is entitled to feel that his side (and indeed Wolves) drew the short straw by having a Saturday lunchtime fixture straight after an international break.

Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz, Darwin Nunez and Alisson Becker have all just returned to South America, with all but the latter playing for their respective countries over the past few days.

Notwithstanding the Reds’ appalling record last season when handed the Saturday 12:30 kick-off, Opta football editor Michael Reid factually pointed out that we’ve been given that timeslot far more often than any other Premier League club since Klopp took the reins in October 2015.

He informed his social media followers that tomorrow will be the 12th occasion on which Liverpool’s have played on a Saturday lunchtime straight after an international break under the German, at least twice as many as anyone else in the top flight. Furthermore, eight of those have been away from Anfield.

Any manager at Premier League level will have to deal with players travelling long distances due to national team duty, but the information is there to show that LFC have a disproportionately high rate of being given the earliest possible kick-off time following international windows.

Klopp will probably be subjected to the usual barrage of criticism from pundits and supporters of other clubs, but in light of Reid’s revelatory social media post, the Reds boss has a fair point in questioning certain aspects of fixture scheduling.

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  1. Plus our record in 1230 matches is awful, whether after an international break or not. Last year we played 1230 Saturday matches 6 times, lost 3 and drew 3, so 3 out of 18 possible points. Cost us CL football. Not looking forward to tomorrow.

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