Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was involved in a tense exchange with a reporter during his pre-match press conference when discussing his team’s awful record in early kick-offs.
Klopp’s team face Wolves away at 12.30pm on Saturday, with some players having only just returned from international duty.
Liverpool failed to win any of their six early kick offs in the Premier League last season as they lost three games and drew the other three.
The Reds were held by Fulham (A), Everton (A) and Chelsea (H) but lost to each of Nottingham Forest (A), Bournemouth (A) and Manchester City (A).
The Athletic journalist James Pearce asked Klopp whether playing at 12.30pm is problematic or whether the issues are due to a lack of preparation time.
Jurgen Klopp was quizzed over his side’s poor record in 12.30pm kick-offs before Wolves trip
The Reds lost to newly-promoted Nottingham Forest in October 2022 while struggling
They were also beaten by Bournemouth in March, a result that dented their top four ambitions
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Klopp was evidently frustrated with the question and said: ‘Are you serious with this question?’
LIVERPOOL’S RECORD IN EARLY KO 2022-23
D 2-2 v Fulham (A)
D 0-0 v Everton (A)
L 1-0 v Forest (A)
D 0-0 v Chelsea (H)
L 1-0 v Bournemouth (A)
L 4-1 v Man City (A)
‘What do you mean what is the difference when you play 30 hours ago in Bolivia? What do you think is the reason, I don’t understand.
‘Is it something about the time or the lack of recovery in between. It’s not a problem if you have a normal week, we’ve always said that. The only problem is the lack of recovery time.’
Klopp stressed that the issue was certainly down to players having to travel far for international commitments rather than the kick-off time itself.
Liverpool’s Argentina international Alexis Mac Allister, for example, was playing away in Bolivia this week.
Klopp said: ‘We have four international breaks until March, and on two of them we have the 12.30pm kick-off. If I say one word about it again the whole world goes “He’s starting to moan again”, but it’s a joke – we have players in South America that I haven’t seen yet and we play in 24 hours. It’s a joke.
‘We’ll never change that, but it doesn’t change anything at all. They just don’t give a (inaudible) about that so why should we talk about it?
‘In the moment someone like you gives me the feeling, sitting there “What’s exactly the problem, is it 12.30pm because it’s lunchtime? Or could it be the like of time between the games and the intensity of the travel?” Make your own opinion about it but maybe without a source.’
After an underwhelming season last term, Liverpool have started brightly in 2023-24, winning three and drawing one of their first four games of the Premier League campaign.
Mohamed Salah, who had been linked with a big-money move to Saudi Arabia, has hit the ground running in particular, with two goals and as many assists but Klopp insisted that he was not worried about his talisman leaving in January.
Liverpool stars were in action across the world, with Alexis Mac Allister (pictured) playing in Bolivia
Liverpool been selected to play in two 12.30pm kick-offs on the Saturday immediately after the international break.
Although Liverpool dominate the head-to-head record against Wolves in their history, with 59 wins to the Molineux outfit’s 39, it has been a more even contest in recent years despite the gulf in budgets and personnel.
Last season the two sides met four times in three months, with the Reds winning twice, once in the league and once in the FA Cup Third Round replay following a 1-1 draw first time round, while Wolves came out on top in a 3-0 league win at Molineux.