Premier League

The proof Klopp is wrong to complain about Premier League schedule

The Liverpool boss has complained about a lack of time to prepare for the Premier League but the facts show the Reds are not hard done by.

7:22pm on Saturday 28th November 2020
Robin Bairner

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp couldn’t help himself.

After watching his side stutter to a 1-1 draw against Brighton on Saturday, he once again lambasted the television schedule that compelled his side to play less than 65 hours after kicking off in the Champions League against Atalanta.

He said on Friday that he had given up complaining about his side’s schedule, yet BT Sport’s Des Kelly found himself on the end of a remarkable rant from the former Dortmund boss.

“Congratulations,” he replied sarcastically when asked about yet another injury in his squad – this time to James Milner.

Perhaps it was this latest physical complaint that pushed him to distraction, or maybe it was Brighton’s late equaliser from the penalty spot. In all probability, it was a combination of both.

Certainly, on this occasion that Reds could feel hard done by. The 64.5 hours between kicking off their match against Atalanta on Wednesday and their clash with Brighton on Saturday is the least amount of time following a Champions League match to their next league game any of the English sides have endured this season.

Ave hours time between CL and PL kick offs

Manchester United88.5
Manchester City79

Manchester City, meanwhile, suffered a similar fate after matchday one. After hosting Porto, they were tasked with a quick turnaround to play West Ham on the Saturday.

Pep Guardiola’s men, though, have been far more severely handicapped in this regard than Liverpool.

Remarkably, Liverpool have had more than a full day extra, on average, after their Champions League exertions to prepare for their league matches.

Only after two round have the Reds been asked to play with three days rest or less. City, meanwhile, have faced such a trial on four occasions. On one of the other two occasions they were given the luxury of a longer rest, they played Liverpool, who had an identical period between games.

Indeed, the numbers show that Manchester United have also been at a handicap in this regard compared to Liverpool.

Only Chelsea have been treated by the fixture list more clemently – and Frank Lampard’s men have, on average, only had 15 minutes extra breathing space each week.

Of course, the flip side of this is that City and United have had more time to prepare for their European adventures, but given the group stage should be little more than a formality for the Premier League sides – the Red Devils aside – this is arguably less of an advantage than the flip side.

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