Your Premier League club’s best and worst kick-off times –so bad? Having to travel to Manchester City today is difficult enough, but Jurgen Klopp must also contend with the 12.30 p.m. kickoff.
This season, Klopp’s team has struggled mightily with the early Saturday kickoff time, going winless in five games, drawing three, and losing two.
Although it may seem unimportant, kickoff timings are more important than you might realize. One reason is that football players tend to be superstitious, and it is likely that Liverpool’s team is aware of their history of games at 12.30 p.m. They are important for fans as well because, according to the theory, early starts frequently result in flat atmospheres and games that are difficult to watch.
In actuality, the data point toward something quite different. While the 4.30 pm slot consistently scores the most goals (living up to the “Super Sunday” billing it receives on Sky television in the United Kingdom), the 12.45 pm slot is not far behind in second place, according to an analysis of how many goals the various kick-off times produce in games played over the last 10 years.
Your Premier League club’s best and worst kick-off times –so bad?
The fact that all but one of the evening kick-off times (7.30 pm, 7.45 pm, and 8 pm) are among the lowest scorers is also unexpected given the common misconception that games played under lights during the week are more exciting.
Managers definitely don’t like them. Mikel Arteta, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, and Frank Lampard have also been against starting at 12.30 p.m. on a Saturday after playing a game the previous Wednesday night. Jurgen Klopp has long complained about this, calling such schedules “really dangerous for the players” in 2020.
How much does it need to be in that 12.30 slot?
Lampard enquired. “There is no doubt that this is not the best way for players to train for a Premier League game.”
Since the early Saturday game started at 12.45 pm in 2016, Liverpool and City have been scheduled in that time slot the most often, with 34 and 32 games, respectively. Both teams have solid records overall, as you might expect from teams with their pedigree: City averages 2.38 points per game (PPG), while Liverpool wins 1.77 PPG and has the third-best record in the Premier League.