Jurgen Klopp calls 12:30 kick-off ‘criminal’ – does Liverpool boss have a point?

video subtitles, Jurgen Klopp: Our schedule reversal is crazy

  • author, Sean Kearns
  • Role, BBC sports reporter

If there’s one thing in English football that Jurgen Klopp won’t miss, it’s the early start of the Premier League on Saturday.

The Liverpool boss has made no secret of his dissatisfaction with the 12.30pm kick-off time, dubbing it a “breakfast” slot in 2018.

On Friday, Klopp once again took aim at the Premier League and its broadcasters, calling the arrangement “absolutely crazy” at a press conference.

He joked: “I was actually waiting for Amnesty International to go to them. I would love to be in that meeting when someone said ‘Liverpool 12:30’ and the whole room would burst into laughter.”

Klopp added on Saturday’s broadcast on TNT broadcast at 12:30: “I had a discussion the other day with colleagues from our favorite TV channel and I will never watch this channel again, TNT… “

Klopp described his views as “a bit of advice from an old man on his way out” and said it was a crime for Liverpool to be asked to play at 12:30 on Thursday, Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday.

That prompted Wayne Rooney to tell the Dutchman to “get on with it” – but if Liverpool feel they’ve been unfairly attacked, they may have a point.

What statistics are there for Klopp’s 12:30 complaint against Liverpool?

Klopp has kicked off early in 13.6% of his 331 Premier League games at Liverpool, a higher rate than at any other club during his time in charge in England.

Since Klopp took over in October 2015, Liverpool have played in 45 early kick-off games, more than any other Premier League club.

Manchester City (40), Tottenham Hotspur (40) and Manchester United (35) have played significantly fewer early games in this period, while Chelsea (33) and Arsenal (31) are even further behind.

Under Klopp, Liverpool’s overall winning percentage in the Premier League is 63%, but in lunchtime games, the winning percentage drops to 49%.

The Reds have won just 22 of their 45 early kick-offs, losing eight and drawing 15.

Klopp claimed that “we have the fastest turnaround between games in the world.”

But he added that the impact of early kick-off times affects more than just his team, suggesting the Premier League schedule is part of the reason English clubs have struggled in Europe this season.

“Overall, I think it’s a very interesting topic. For example, Aston Villa lost 4-2 last night – [it] “If they go out it means no English team will reach any kind of European final,” Klopp said.

“I watch a lot of football. The Premier League is the best league in the world, so it’s not that it’s overrated, it’s that the players are overworked.”

A common criticism of early kick-off times is that it affects the quality of the game.

However, analysis by “The Athletic” shows that in 9 of the past 15 Premier League seasons, the average number of goals per game in the “early” kick-off period exceeded the average number of goals per game in the entire season.

Criticisms that early tee times impede entertainment are therefore largely unfounded.

What are the factors?

The Premier League has certain red lines in schedule selection and game broadcasting.

Teams playing in the Champions League on Wednesday night will never be selected for Saturday’s 12.30pm match, nor will teams be required to play two games within 60 hours.

There are further considerations, including fans’ travel arrangements, broadcast slots and security.

BBC Sport has contacted the FA for comment.

“Liverpool pays the price for popularity” – analysis

BBC Sport chief football writer Simon Stone:

TNT’s only broadcast “slot” is Saturday lunchtime, so this is their chance to get the “biggest” teams on the channel. No team may appear in that particular position more than six times in a season.

It’s important to note that no team participating in Thursday night’s game will be eligible to play. Teams playing away from home in the Champions League on Wednesday night will not be able to play.

Liverpool’s game schedule this season has not broken a single rule.

However, there are clear reasons why Jurgen Klopp may feel aggrieved.

Firstly, Liverpool have been selected to play in the 12:30 slot on six occasions, two of which came after midweek league games. They also get the 12:30 slot after the international breaks in September, October and November.

Don’t forget, given the travel times from around the world, managers often don’t see their players until Thursday or even Friday after the international break.

video subtitles, ‘Nothing will ever be the same again’ – Can Liverpool thrive after Klopp?

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