It’s a well-known bug bear for Jurgen Klopp. Despite an embarrassment of riches in his squad, the scheduling of Premier League matches in and around cup and European competitions has riled up the Liverpool manager throughout his time in England.
Speaking a few weeks back about his side facing Newcastle on Saturday at 12.30pm having faced Villarreal in the Champions League semis on Wednesday, he said: ‘It’s just not OK.
‘If we play a Champions League semi-final, if you find another league in the world and another broadcaster where they put one team who is in the semi-final, might be two, might be three English teams, on a 12.30… what?
Jurgen Klopp’s anger at Premier League fixture scheduling is a common bug-bear of his
Liverpool beat Villarreal on Wednesday night and face Newcastle at 12.30pm on Saturday
‘What are you doing? Why would you do that? So that’s why it’s so difficult [to win four trophies], but nothing happens because nobody cares.’
He also added on the subject: ‘I don’t understand it. I can understand that people want to see a football match between Liverpool and Newcastle but I don’t see why any team should have an advantage or a disadvantage.
‘The league and the broadcaster really have to try at least to help. We will see. I haven’t heard anything yet. Nobody from BT contacted me yet.’
But what does the actual evidence over six-and-a-half-years in charge at Anfield about this Wednesday-Saturday lunchtime fixture combination show? Sportsmail takes a look and assesses whether Klopp, in actual fact, has anything to complain about.
CRYSTAL PALACE 0-7 LIVERPOOL (DECEMBER 2020)
Having sprung to the top of the Premier League table with victory at home to Tottenham on the Wednesday, Liverpool travelled to Selhurst Park with Mohamed Salah benched amid speculation about a move away.
Not that they needed their Egyptian King on this spectator-less afternoon in south London. From Takumi Minamino’s third-minute opener, Liverpool were clinical and took Palace to the cleaners.
Roberto Firmino scored twice, as did Salah who came off the bench to great effect late on, with Sadio Mane and Jordan Henderson also among the goals.
No lingering effects from the short turnaround for Klopp’s side here, as they extended their lead at the top of the Premier League.
In fact, it was after this game when their season as defending champions disintegrated.
Roberto Firmino scored twice as Liverpool thrashed Crystal Palace 7-0 in December 2020
The last time Jurgen Klopp’s side played the Wednesday-Saturday lunchtime combination, they registered their biggest victory during his time in charge
LIVERPOOL’S SATURDAY LUNCHTIME GAMES SINCE DECEMBER 2020
LEICESTER 3-1 LIVERPOOL (FEBRUARY 14, 2021)
Salah’s second-half opener was the highlight after the Foxes scored three goals in seven disastrous second-half minutes, with Alisson’s apocalyptic error for Jamie Vardy’s goal the worst of the lot.
Game before: Sunday Feb 7
LIVERPOOL 1-1 NEWCASTLE (APRIL 24, 2021)
Joe Willock equalised in stoppage-time for the Magpies after Salah’s third-minute opener.
Game before: Monday Apr 19
LIVERPOOL 2-0 BURNLEY (AUGUST 21, 2021)
The first game at Anfield this season saw a goal in either half – first from Diogo Jota and second from Sadio Mane – seal a comfortable win for Klopp’s side, after a full week’s break.
Game before: Saturday Apr 14
WATFORD 0-5 LIVERPOOL (OCTOBER 16, 2021)
Off the back of an international break, the Reds again dealt out a thrashing on the road. A Firmino hat-trick was the highlight at Vicarage Road, with Salah and Mane also netting.
Game before: Sunday Oct 3 (pre-international break)
BRIGHTON 0-2 LIVERPOOL (MARCH 12, 2022)
A brave Luis Diaz header and a Salah penalty were enough for the Reds to win at the Amex this time round.
Game before: Tuesday Mar 8
LIVERPOOL 2-0 WATFORD (APRIL 2, 2022)
Playing again after an international break, the Reds beat the Hornets again though this game was a lot tighter, with Jota and Fabinho scoring.
Game before: Sunday Mar 20
BRIGHTON 1-1 LIVERPOOL (NOVEMBER 2020)
This was the game where everything went wrong for Liverpool, resulting in Klopp really losing his rag afterwards.
Having lost to Atalanta in the Champions League on the Wednesday, Klopp’s blood was already boiling as his team were forced down to the south-coast for this Saturday lunchtime game.
Diogo Jota broke the deadlock in the 60th minute but after James Milner was forced off with a hamstring injury – adding to Klopp’s injury woes – the real killer came in stoppage-time when Brighton equalised from a penalty, after a clumsy Andy Robertson foul.
A clearly furious Klopp directly pinned Milner’s injury during the lunchtime action on BT Sport in scathing fashion and jousted verbally with Kelly for almost eight minutes.
Jurgen Klopp and Des Kelly endured a war of words after the Liverpool boss hit out at BT Sport
James Milner was the latest Liverpool man to be forced off with a hamstring strain at the Amex
When questioned by Kelly over the severity of the latest setback, Klopp sarcastically said ‘congratulations’ and continued his steadfast stance over the toll the fixture congestion is taking on his players.
‘Well you work for them,’ Klopp told Kelly, clearly furious with BT Sport. ‘Ask Chris Wilder how we can work on that. I don’t know how often I have to say it, but you pick the 12.30pm kick offs.
‘Between now and December there is one more Wednesday, Saturday. These are difficult times. I am just saying it how it is. Wednesday to Saturday 12.30 is really dangerous.’
Kelly, an experienced anchor and interviewer, opted to stand his ground against Klopp’s accusations, however, and insisted that the issue surrounding the league’s relentless calendar was no fault of the broadcasters.
But BT Sport interviewer Kelly fired back at Klopp and insisted the issue actually lies elsewhere
SHEFFIELD UNITED 0-1 LIVERPOOL (SEPTEMBER 2019)
Chris Wilder’s team make life hard at Bramall Lane and for Liverpool, they needed an uncharacteristic error from Dean Henderson, who failed to stop Wijnaldum’s tame shot, to hand them all three points.
It was a big win for Liverpool at an important stage of the season as they laid the platform for their runaway Premier League title triumph.
And the hard fought win over the then Premier League newboys was on the back of a 2-0 win over MK Dons in the Carabao Cup.
Georginio Wijnaldum struck with a fortunate goal as Liverpool won at Sheffield United in 2019
BOURNEMOUTH 0-4 LIVERPOOL (DECEMBER 2018)
A midweek trip to Turf Moor proceeded Liverpool’s journey to the south coast and Klopp had rotated smartly to take on Sean Dyche’s men.
With the game poised at 1-1 he threw on Firmino and Salah around the 65 minute mark to run down Burnley’s weary defence and the Brazilian, along with Xherdan Shaqiri, scored in an impressive triumph.
It was Salah’s turn for centre stage three days later. He blasted a hat-trick as Liverpool crushed Bournemouth 4-0, making it six fantastic points on the road in only three days.
Mohamed Salah got a hat-trick at Bournemouth days after coming on as a super sub at Burnley
EVERTON 0-0 LIVERPOOL (APRIL 2018)
Sandwiched between two Champions League ties against Manchester City, Liverpool had a gruelling clash with Merseyside rivals Everton. That’s about as tricky as it can get.
Klopp made five changes for Everton, resting Salah completely, starting Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke and replacing Mane and Milner as the game wore on.
A goalless draw wasn’t an awful result – full-strength Liverpool sides generally struggle at Goodison. And Klopp was ultimately vindicated by his decision – after winning the first leg against City 3-0 at Anfield, Liverpool ran out 2-1 winners at the Etihad in the return match.
Liverpool met Everton at Goodison Park between two Champions League ties with Man City
LIVERPOOL 1-2 WOLVES (JANUARY 2017)
It’s testament to how far Wolves have come that only back in 2017 was it considered a major shock that they went to Anfield and beat Liverpool in the FA Cup. They were a Championship side back then.
It was a humiliating day for Klopp and Liverpool – they were behind after only 53 seconds to a Richard Stearman goal before Andreas Weimann doubled the advantage.
Klopp rotated his side quite heavily to focus on a two-legged Carabao Cup semi-final with Southampton (that Liverpool would go on to lose) but finished the game with Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Origi on the pitch, who gabbed a late consolation.
‘I am responsible,’ a clearly shell-shocked Klopp said. ‘I am sorry. I thought this line-up was ready for this game but obviously we weren’t and that doesn’t feel too good.
‘I could look for excuses but I don’t want to, maybe we should use this time to be disappointed, to be frustrated, to be angry at ourselves.’
One of Klopp’s lowest ebbs at Anfield came in a 2-1 FA Cup loss to Championship side Wolves
LIVERPOOL 2-3 SWANSEA (JANUARY 2017)
January 2017 was a bad month for Liverpool and Klopp. Here, they were beaten on their own patch by Paul Clement’s Swansea side, who snatched a valuable three points in their (ultimately fruitless) battle to avoid Premier League relegation.
Remarkably, Liverpool went into that game against bottom-of-the-table Swansea only seven points off the top, so three points were imperative. Firmino’s double cancelled out the two goals that had put Swansea ahead but they struck late on to win it.
Mane, in his first season at Anfield, was absent at the Africa Cup of Nations and Liverpool missed him dearly.
January 2017 was a disastrous month for Liverpool and harder times were soon to follow
Liverpool needed to beat Swansea to keep their title hopes alive but they were beaten 3-2
NORWICH 4-5 LIVERPOOL (JANUARY 2016)
An absolute thriller, arguably one of the most entertaining matches in Premier League history – and that’s before you remember Klopp breaking his glasses in the celebration of Adam Lallana’s late, late winner at Carrow Road.
Roberto Firmino had put Liverpool ahead but Norwich surged into a 3-1 lead by 55 minutes. Jordan Henderson scored a minute after Norwich’s third, Firmino equalised and Milner put Liverpool back ahead in the 74th minute.
A sharp turnaround led to Norwich 4-5 Liverpool, one of the most epic Premier League games
But it seemed like heartbreak for Klopp when Sebastian Bassong scored in the second minute of injury time for 4-4.
Yet there was time for one last twist as a bouncing, looping strike in the fifth minute of added time from Lallana snatched the three points for Liverpool and Benteke inadvertently knocked Klopp’s glasses off in the celebration of the goal. They were snapped in the ensuing melee.
Klopp will be hoping for no such late heroics from Lallana on Saturday as he is now at Brighton, although is a doubt with a groin issue. That 2016 triumph came after a midweek FA Cup replay and win against Exeter.
Klopp’s glasses got broken in the celebrations of Adam Lallana’s 95th-minute goal
WEST HAM 2-0 LIVERPOOL (JANUARY 2016)
A woeful display at Upton Park, with salt rubbed into Liverpool’s wounds through former striker Andy Carroll, who scored a towering header late on to seal the victory for the Hammers after an early Michail Antonio strike.
‘Again, we didn’t play how we should,’ Klopp said, acknowledging his team were off the pace throughout. The result felt alarming, even so early in Klopp’s tenure – while there were noticeable wins away at Chelsea and Manchester City, there were also awful defeats at Watford and then West Ham.
The Upton Park clash came after a midweek Premier League win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light but there was little reference to the fixture list that day.
CHELSEA 1-3 LIVERPOOL (OCTOBER 2015)
Klopp’s first Premier League win as Liverpool manager came against Jose Mourinho’s defending champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. And it was a commanding victory as well, one that not only hinted at the early potential of his time at Liverpool but also how the cracks were widening in a Chelsea team that would see Mourinho sacked later on in the campaign.
It was a bad start for Liverpool – Ramires fired Chelsea ahead after just four minutes but Philippe Coutinho hauled Liverpool level in stoppage-time of the first half. For so long in the second, it was a gritty encounter where both teams pushed to seize control. Coutinho eventually struck Liverpool ahead in the 74th minute and Christian Benteke made the game safe in the 83rd.
On the Wednesday night prior, Klopp’s first ever win as Liverpool boss came in a slender 1-0 triumph over Bournemouth in the Carabao Cup, with Nathaniel Clyne scoring the decisive goal.
Klopp’s first Premier League win came at Chelsea, after a midweek win against Bournemouth