Premier League TV changes see Liverpool fans moan ‘not again’ over 12.30pm game
More fixture furore is stirring at Anfield after news of another Saturday lunchtime kick-off early on in the New Year.
The Premier League has confirmed Liverpool's trip to Brentford on February 17 is now scheduled for the 12.30pm. The move has been made to optimise viewing for fans watching at home, but that won't provide much comfort to manager Jurgen Klopp, who has repeatedly voiced his disdain for the Reds' regular brushes with the early Saturday slot.
More specifically, the tactician has aired concerns over playing at that time straight after midweek fixtures or international breaks. Fortunately for the Merseysiders, there are no such distractions impeding them on this occasion.
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Their trip to the Gtech Community Stadium will be the fifth time so far this season that Liverpool will have played at the early Saturday KO time. Premier League rules state no club can feature in that slot more than six times, meaning the Reds will have almost reached their limit in that regard.
Fans bemoaned another 12.30pm addition to the calendar as one raged: "It's becoming a bit of a joke now." Others took aim at TNT Sports for favouring them in an attempt to pull in viewers, with one social media user commenting: "It's absolute b******s."
Are Liverpool being treated unfairly by the Premier League schedule? Let us know in the comments section below.
Klopp, 56, has become somewhat renowned for his candid views on Liverpool's lunchtime kick-offs, most recently tearing into Amazon Prime presenter Marcus Buckland earlier in December. Following a 2-0 midweek win over Crystal Palace, Buckland joked it was a quick turnaround before the Reds returned less than three days later in Klopp's "favourite kick-off time," but the German didn't take the comment in stride.
"That’s really brave to make a joke about that," he fired back. "We go home, I don’t know exactly what time we will get home, we will arrive, maybe 1am-2am tonight, and then play again.
"We have two sessions. It is fine to recover and then we go again. Crystal Palace play tonight as well so it is really fine. I realise you don’t understand it as well and you work in football so why should I explain it again. If you make a joke out of that you are ignorant.”
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There have been 28 early Saturday kick-offs immediately after an international break since August 2016, and Liverpool have played in 13. Of those, Klopp & Co have won eight and most recently drew 1-1 away to Manchester City when they returned to action with a share of the spoils in late November.
That record suggests the Reds have fared decently despite the difficulties, though City, Arsenal and Chelsea each boast better records in the early slot. At the same time, that could be due to the fact Liverpool have played in the 12.30 slot almost as much as those other clubs combined in that time frame, making the frustrations at Anfield easier to understand.
Saturday February 3
12:30 – Everton v Spurs (TNT)
3pm – Brighton v Crystal Palace
3pm – Burnley v Fulham
3pm – Newcastle v Luton Town
5.30pm – Sheff Utd v Aston Villa (Sky Sports)
Sunday February 4
2pm – AFC Bournemouth v Nottingham Forest
2pm – Chelsea v Wolves*
2pm – Man Utd v West Ham (Sky Sports)
4.30pm – Arsenal v Liverpool (Sky Sports)
Monday February 5
8pm – Brentford v Man City (Sky Sports)*
*Match will move to 3 February at 8pm GMT if either club is playing in an FA Cup fourth-round replay
Saturday February 10
12.30pm – Man City v Everton (TNT)
3pm – Fulham v AFC Bournemouth
3pm – Liverpool v Burnley
3pm – Luton Town v Sheff Utd
3pm – Spurs v Brighton
3pm – Wolves v Brentford
5.30pm – Nottingham Forest v Newcastle (Sky Sports)
Sunday February 11
2pm – West Ham v Arsenal (Sky Sports)
4.30pm – Aston Villa v Man Utd (Sky Sports)
Monday February 12
8pm – Crystal Palace v Chelsea (Sky Sports)
Saturday February 17
12.30pm – Brentford v Liverpool (TNT)
3pm – Burnley v Arsenal
3pm – Fulham v Aston Villa
3pm – Newcastle v AFC Bournemouth
3pm – Nottingham Forest v West Ham
3pm – Spurs v Wolves
5.30pm – Man City v Chelsea (Sky Sports)
Sunday February 18
2pm – Sheff Utd v Brighton (Sky Sports)
4.30pm – Luton Town v Man Utd (Sky Sports)
Monday February 19
8pm – Everton v Crystal Palace (Sky Sports)
Friday February 23
8pm – Chelsea v Spurs (Sky Sports)*
*Subject to Chelsea's involvement in the EFL Cup final on Feb 25
Saturday February 24
3pm – Aston Villa v Nottingham Forest
3pm – Brighton v Everton
3pm – Crystal Palace v Burnley
3pm – Liverpool v Luton Town
3pm – Man Utd v Fulham
5.30pm – AFC Bournemouth v Man City (Sky Sports)
8pm – Arsenal v Newcastle (TNT)
Sunday February 25
1.30pm – Wolves v Sheff Utd (Sky Sports)
Monday February 26
8pm – West Ham v Brentford (Sky Sports)*
*Match will move to 24 February at 12:30pm GMT if either club involved in the FA Cup fifth round
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