Jurgen Klopp famously hates early kick-offs, but when looking at Liverpool’s disastrous record in the fixtures last season, it’s easy to understand why.
For half a decade now, Liverpool have been fiercely competing in four competitions and average upwards of 50 games per season as a result.
Of all the types of games, by far the fixture that Klopp loathes the most is an early kick-off game on a Saturday – especially in seasons gone by when Liverpool have had a Champions League night just three days before – and he has made his feelings on the matter abundantly clear to the press on several occasions.
Liverpool’s boss once said that 12:30 PM is a time to eat not play football.
While the Reds are in the Europa League rather than the Champions League this season, meaning their Thursday night fixtures will allow them to swerve many tricky 12:30pm Saturday turnarounds, the Reds will have an early-kick off directly after the international break when they take on Wolves this Saturday.
READ MORE: Wolves vs Liverpool – Match Preview
Liverpool’s depleted defensive options and players returning from far-flung international duty already makes this match something of a potential banana skin, but when combined with the club’s horrendous recent form in Saturday morning fixtures, things look even more worrying.
The Reds took part in six early kick-offs in the Premier League last season, and this is how they got on.
Fulham 2-2 Liverpool: 6 August 2022
Usually, looking at the fixture list at the beginning of the season and seeing your team against one of the newly-promoted sides is something to be excited about.
However, an away trip to a promoted side as the early kick-off in the opening weekend of the Premier League season, with fans across the world watching and hoping for a slip up, is far from ideal – and Liverpool certainly buckled under the pressure.
Aleksandar Mitrovic opened the scoring at Craven Cottage, and it took until mid-way through the second half before Liverpool equalised courtesy of Darwin Nuñez on his Premier League debut.
Unfortunately, Mitrovic scored again moments later, this time from the penalty spot after being taken out by the last defender Virgil van Dijk. If it wasn’t for the brilliance of Mohamed Salah, who had already provided an assist for the first goal, Liverpool would have been beaten on the opening day of the season. The Egyptian’s 80th minute strike, however, ensured the Reds left with a point.
Everton 0-0 Liverpool: 3 September 2022
Anything other than a win over Everton, especially given their form in recent seasons, is a disappointment from a Liverpool perspective, and this away performance is no different.
Liverpool’s second early kick-off of the campaign resulted in a boring 0-0 draw, despite the dominance from Klopp’s side.
The Reds had 60% of the ball and had 23 efforts on goal (eight on target), compared to Everton’s 14 (three on target), but were unable to break down their rival’s defence and beat Jordan Pickford.
When the final whistle blew, Liverpool were left in seventh place in the league, earning just nine points from the opening six fixtures, and this poor form went from bad to worse as the season progressed.
Nottingham Forest 1-0 Liverpool: 22 October 2022
Liverpool went into their 12th game of the 2022/23 Premier League season without one single win away from home, and what better opposition to right that wrong than a Nottingham Forest side languishing at the very bottom of the league? Or so fans thought.
Despite dominating the ball once again, and forcing a number of world-class saves from Dean Henderson, Liverpool simply didn’t have enough to break down the disciplined, defensive line of Forest.
A win here would have been the third consecutive win for the first time all season, but they couldn’t even manage a point.
Ex-Liverpool striker Taiwo Awoniyi broke away in the second-half and buried the rebound from his initial strike which hit the bar, scoring the only goal of the day and securing his side three points.
Liverpool 0-0 Chelsea: 21 January 2023
Liverpool only had one early kick-off at Anfield last season, and it was against Chelsea, so of course it ended in a dull draw.
The two sides have a strange habit of always cancelling out one another. The last seven fixtures in all competitions between the Reds and the blues have ended in a draw (even if two of those did end with Liverpool winning on penalties and lifting a trophy).
However, at least in the 2021/22 season, both teams were drawing games while in good form. For much of last season, it felt as though Liverpool and Chelsea were in a private competition to see who could perform worse.
If anything, Liverpool were lucky to walk away from the game with a point. Kai Havertz scored early on in the fixture, but the goal was marginally ruled offside.
Bournemouth 1-0 Liverpool: 11 March 2023
For the second time this season, Liverpool faced an early kick-off away trip to the team in 20th place in the Premier League, and again, they failed to capitalise.
Liverpool had beaten Bournemouth by a record-breaking nine goals in the reverse fixture at the start of the season, and were coming straight off the back of a historic 7-0 thumping of bitter rivals Manchester United – surely Liverpool had to win the game?
Unfortunately not. The Reds were chasing the Cherries for two thirds of the game after Philip Billing burst into Liverpool’s half on the counter-attack to put his side 1-0 up in the 28th minute. This seemed to be happening every single game against Klopp’s side last season.
Salah did have a golden opportunity to level the score in the second-half as Liverpool were awarded a penalty, but the effort was shockingly skied above the bar.
No one in the stadium expected the Egyptian to miss, and the fact that he did, really optimised the club’s awful season.
Manchester City 4-1 Liverpool: 1 April 2023
Liverpool’s sixth and final early kick-off was the very next game week after the loss at Bournemouth, and who better to return to form against than Manchester City *sigh*.
Liverpool actually beat Pep Guardiola’s side at Anfield earlier on that season and when Salah opened the scoring in the 17th minute, fans were ecstatic.
This jubilation didn’t last for long though, with Julian Alvarez, Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gundogan and Jack Grealish all scoring as City eventually won the game 4-1.
That means that from Liverpool’s six early kick-off games last season, they managed to accumulate a grand total of three points.
Liverpool’s complete record at 12:30 BST in the Premier League 2022/23: played six, drew three, lost three… won zero.
It’s clear to see why Klopp is not a fan of an early fixture.
However, the curse has to be broken at some stage, and with Liverpool finally back in good form and unbeaten in the Premier League so far this season, Wolves would be the perfect fixture to finally start the weekend with a win.