Soccer

Liverpool’s record on Saturday lunchtimes as Jurgen Klopp prepares for Man City

Jurgen Klopp faces another Saturday lunchtime kick-off (Zac Goodwin/PA)
Jurgen Klopp faces another Saturday lunchtime kick-off (Zac Goodwin/PA) Jurgen Klopp faces another Saturday lunchtime kick-off (Zac Goodwin/PA)

The Premier League returns on Saturday lunchtime as league leaders Manchester City host second-placed Liverpool.

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp joked that he loves playing at 12:30 in Friday’s press conference, but he has been a long-time critic of the slot and expressed his frustration again before the international break.

Here, the PA news agency looks at Liverpool’s record in early kick-offs under Klopp.

Early birds

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

The clash against Manchester City will be Liverpool’s 42nd Saturday lunchtime kick-off since the German arrived on Merseyside in October 2015, which is the most of any Premier League club in that time.

City and Tottenham will have both played 38, ahead of Manchester United (33) and Chelsea (31).

Klopp has overseen a total of 20 wins, 13 draws and eight defeats in the early Saturday slot, which equates to 1.78 points per game.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City beat Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool 4-1 in their last Premier League meeting, which was also scheduled at 12:30pm on a Saturday (Mike Egerton/PA)

That represents the second-best record among ‘big six’ clubs, behind City (2.24), but is well below his average return across all other kick-off times (2.16).

Liverpool’s performances in Saturday lunchtime games have been indicative of their title prospects in recent years, with the Reds having won all 12 of such matches in 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2021-22 – seasons in which they lifted the title or finished within a point of Pep Guardiola’s City.

In contrast, Klopp’s men won just one of five 12:30 kick-offs in 2020-21 – when they barely made it into the top four – and none of six on the way to finishing fifth last season.

Jet lag

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics) (PA Graphics)

Fourteen of Liverpool’s 42 Saturday lunchtime kick-offs under Klopp have come immediately after an international break, including three in three already this season.

That is more than twice as many as any other club, with Tottenham and Chelsea having done so six times since October 2015, ahead of the Manchester clubs on five apiece.

The Reds’ squad contains four South American internationals who all featured in continental qualifiers in midweek before making the return trip to the north-west.

Alexis Mac Allister and Alisson Becker faced each other in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Brazil, while Darwin Nunez scored twice for Uruguay against Bolivia and Luis Diaz played for Colombia against Paraguay.

  • Tottenham 0 Liverpool 0 (Oct 2015)
  • Liverpool 3 Everton 1 (Apr 2017)
  • Man City 5 Liverpool 0 (Sep 2017)
  • Liverpool 0 Man Utd 0 (Oct 2017)
  • Crystal Palace 1 Liverpool 2 (Mar 2018)
  • Tottenham 1 Liverpool 2 (Sep 2018)
  • Liverpool 3 Newcastle 1 (Sep 2019)
  • Everton 2 Liverpool 2 (Oct 2020)
  • Watford 0 Liverpool 5 (Oct 2021)
  • Liverpool 2 Watford 0 (Apr 2022)
  • Man City 4 Liverpool 1 (Apr 2023)
  • Wolves 1 Liverpool 3 (Sep 2023)
  • Liverpool 2 Everton 0 (Oct 2023)

Despite his unhappiness with the schedule, Klopp has a good record in lunchtime fixtures following an international hiatus.

Fittingly, his reign began with a post-international 12:45 kick-off against Spurs, which ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

He has since recorded eight wins – including victories over Wolves and Everton this term – two draws and two defeats in 12 subsequent games.

However, both losses came at the hands of Saturday’s opponents City, with Guardiola’s side recording 5-0 and 4-1 thrashings in 2017-18 and 2022-23 respectively.