MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, April 1, 2023: Liverpool's (L-R) Cody Gakpo, Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konaté form a defensive wall during the FA Premier League match between Manchester City FC and Liverpool FC at the City of Manchester Stadium. Man City won 4-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Expect fewer lunchtime starts for Liverpool next season – Klopp will be relieved

When the team news is released and the clock still reads ‘AM’, you know it’s too early for football – but it is not a problem Liverpool will have to contend with as often next season.

There were few reasons to celebrate when it came to 12.30 kick-off times in 2022/23, Jurgen Klopp‘s squad was sluggish as if they enjoyed a late Friday night.

Of the six lunchtime starts, the Reds won none, drew three and lost three. In that time, they conceded eight and scored only three.

You can see why having them on the schedule less will come as a relief.

That is because Liverpool are involved in the Europa League and as those matches always fall on a Thursday, the next Premier League match will always be played on a Sunday.

12.30pm results in 2022/23

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 11, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté reacts as referee John Brooks awards a free-kick during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The longer the Reds are in the competition the more safety they have from TNT Sports, formerly BT Sport, selecting them for the 12.30 Saturday slot.

For example, Arsenal, who were in the Europa League until the round of 16, were made to play three times in the lunchtime slot, while Man United did so four times on their way to the quarter-final.

So while they are not off the table completely, we should expect to be selected fewer times than we were last season – which will be a relief to many.

Not only for travelling supporters but also Klopp, who has never hidden his distaste for the early starts.

When Liverpool were chasing a quadruple and had a 12.30 kick-off between a Champions League semi-final he blasted it as “just not OK,” questioning “what are you doing? Why would you do that?”

In 2020 he called it “nearly a crime” in an interview that made his frustration abundantly clear and while he was not taken seriously then, changes were made to ensure those who play in the Champions League on a Wednesday evening are also not up for 12.30 selection.

A different challenge awaits the Reds in 2023/24 but fewer 12.30 kick-off times can only be a blessing.