Arne Slot knows about the perils of 12.30pm kick-offs – “Looking forward to it”

Arne Slot will face one of Jurgen Klopp‘s foes in just his first game in charge, the 12.30pm kick-off.

Thankfully, the Dutchman hasn’t been worn down by years of Premier League football yet and he reacted humorously to news of Liverpool’s season-opener being a 12.30pm (BST) kick-off against Ipswich.

Slot told “Jurgen complained a lot about this so probably they thought, with Jurgen being out let’s put them at 12.30pm again!

“No, it’s different to a normal 12.30pm because it’s not after a game in Europe. [I’m] looking forward to it, a promoted team so it’s going to be special for them as well.

“I think every team might prefer a home game to start with, but we’re going to face Ipswich and we are looking forward to that.”

He added: “We have to take this really seriously to be the best possible team we can be at the first game at Ipswich and the second game, the home game against Brentford.”

Since the start of the 2017/18 season, no team has had more Saturday 12:30pm kick-offs in the Premier League than Liverpool’s 37.

In May, knowing he was about to leave, Slot’s predecessor spoke freely about the Premier League‘s scheduling, saying that the Premier League “is not overrated, the players are overworked.”

Klopp has long been a strong voice for player welfare, and added: “You can talk about that until everybody realises, but somebody obviously needs to help the people.”

Recently, footballers’ unions have been making their feelings known about the burden placed on players due to the constant expansion of seasons and competitions.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 7, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp (L) and Curtis Jones after the FA Premier League match between Manchester United FC and Liverpool FC at Old Trafford. The game ended in a 2-2 draw.(Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Maheta Molango, the chief executive of the PFA, said: “Everyone across football knows that the fixture calendar is broken to the point that it has now become unworkable.

“The most in-demand players are now part of an endless schedule of games and competitions for club and country, with their limits constantly being pushed through expansion and the creation of new competitions.

“I am constantly told by those members that what they want is a properly protected break where they can rest and recharge. Those who run the game know this. We have made sure they have heard it directly from players, but nothing has been done.

“There are too many emerging instances across football where the rights of players, and the legal implications of decisions by governing bodies and competition organisers, are seen as something that can just be ignored.”

It is a battle that players are losing at the moment and strike action hasn’t been ruled out.