Liverpool have been given a Saturday 12:30 kick-off for the fifth time in the Premier League this season, although the context surrounding the latest lunchtime fixture differs from the previous four.
Jurgen Klopp has been outspoken on more than one occasion about the Reds being handed that particular timeslot, with three such instances immediately after international breaks which saw four of his players flying back from South America less than 72 hours before those matches.
When it happened again this month for the 2-1 win at Crystal Palace, it came just 63 hours after the conclusion of the 2-0 victory away to Sheffield United.
Liverpool will be on the road once more for a Saturday 12:30 start against Brentford on 17 February, with that month’s updated fixture details announced today by the Premier League.
On all four previous occasions that LFC were handed the Saturday lunchtime slot, Klopp had legitimate grievances over the kick-off time owing to the rather limited preparation windows, as outlined above.
However, the Liverpool boss mightn’t be overly dissatisfied about the rescheduling of the Brentford game in mid-February, as in this instance the Reds won’t have to contend with a midweek fixture either before or after it, as things stand.
The Champions League round of 16 first legs, and the Europa League knockout play-off round ties, fall either side of the trip to west London; and with LFC having safely topped their group in the latter competition to progress straight to the round of 16 in March, the previous month’s calendar won’t be as congested.
There’s a caveat in that the Premier League fixture at home to Luton on 24 February will be moved if we reach the Carabao Cup final that weekend, with the Hatters’ visit to Anfield potentially being fixed for earlier in the month if there’s a window to do so.
We’re now seeing the real value of Liverpool winning their Europa League group rather than coming second, and another way to look at the lunchtime kick-off against Brentford is that it gives the Reds an opportunity to seal victory early in the day and put their feet up while their positional rivals subsequently slug it out for points.
Maybe this time a Saturday 12:30 start might suit us – anyway, our record in that timeslot has been refreshingly good so far this season!
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