Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Brentford set up a mouthwatering top-of-the-table clash against Manchester City, but manager Jurgen Klopp is less than impressed with the lunchtime scheduling.
The Premier League’s resumption after the international break kicks off with City v Liverpool at the Etihad Stadium live on television in a Saturday lunchtime clash.
Klopp has been a long-time opponent of broadcast scheduling, particularly the 12.30pm slot, and he has aired his complaints again.
“OK, no-one can say at the moment, but how can you put a game like this on Saturday at 12.30pm?” he said.
“Is it the moment where the world pays the most to see a football game? I don’t know if that is the case, I really don’t.
“Honestly, the people making the decisions, they cannot feel football, it is just not possible.”
The logistics involved in getting players back from South America are well-drilled now and usually involve clubs liaising to charter a jet for all their players to return home together.
But a lunchtime kick-off requires extra planning to get them back as early as practically possible, which often involves extra work to get them into one airport at the same time.
“You have these two teams who have, all together, about 30 international players. They all come back on the same plane from Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia,” said Klopp.
“One game, one plane, they all come back.”
Liverpool endured a couple of tricky moments at home to Brentford, but two goals from Mohamed Salah, taking him to 200 in English football, and one from Diogo Jota ensured Klopp’s side leapfrogged Arsenal into second place on goal difference.
In becoming the first Reds player to score in each of their first six home matches at the start of a season, Salah joined Alan Shearer and Thierry Henry in having scored or assisted in 15 consecutive Premier League home games.
“Exceptional, just exceptional player. Played a super game today and we all know how difficult it is against these tall centre-backs,” added Klopp.
“Two players around him, all these kinds of things, how often he kept the ball for us and we could play from there. That was super important and scoring two goals.
“We had so many good moments in the first half. We scored (through Darwin Nunez), but it was offside (twice), things like that, and then in that moment, the composure for the first goal is insane.
“There is no doubt when the ball is in that area in the end you see it on the scoresheet. So a pretty special player.”
Victory ensured the team headed off on international duty with a spring in their step after a difficult week which began with a draw at Luton and got worse with defeat in the Europa League to Toulouse.
But in extending their 100 percent home league record to six matches this season, having conceded just twice at Anfield in that time, Liverpool moved into pole position as City’s nearest challengers.
“Football is strange. If you would have asked me three days just about the feeling, not about what I know, I am not sure I would talk about the start (to their season),” said Klopp.
“But obviously you look at the game, the numbers, the results, most of the time it was OK or better.
“A point at Luton didn’t feel great, Tottenham, in the circumstances (a defeat after a controversial incorrect VAR decision) obviously didn’t feel great.
“It’s absolutely all right if we just don’t really think about it. Today it was about getting through the game and we did. The boys responded sensationally well.”
Brentford head coach Thomas Frank was unhappy with a second-half challenge by Wataru Endo on Christian Norgaard which, on the basis of what has gone before this season, he felt VAR got wrong.
“I think this situation, back in the day, never would have been a red card, but in the football we are playing now, with the slow image you can see a clear foot on the leg, four bloody marks on Christian’s leg,” he said.
“There is definitely some contact with force.”