With the final international break of the season now over, Crystal Palace are able to concentrate fully on the run-in to the Premier League season and whilst the visit of Liverpool this weekend is daunting for a wide variety of reasons, there is one particular statistic which will be giving Roy Hodgson and his players real hope of causing an upset.
If you’ve ever heard Reds boss Jurgen Klopp give his opinion on early kick-off times you’ll already be aware that the German is far from sold; a view he holds thanks to the impact that the time-shift has on his players’ bodies whilst they are preparing for the match itself.
Sadly for the former Dortmund gaffer, the millions Sky pump into the English game from year to year leave the country’s biggest clubs in a bind over their willingness to comply with what can often be an extremely hectic schedule. Like it or not, early weekend kick-offs are big business for broadcasters across the globe, putting his wishes as a manager behind those of the men looking after the club’s balance sheets.
When you take a look at Liverpool’s record when kicking off prior to 1pm, it’s not hard to see why Klopp is so vehemently opposed. With a total of 13 such games under his guidance, the Reds have won just four, drawing three and losing on a whopping six occasions. It’s a tally that appears to be more than a case of coincidence and will likely put a spring in our players’ steps on Saturday afternoon.
Given our fantastic recent record against the Merseysiders, not to mention the looming presence of their Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City in midweek, there are a fair few reasons for the Palace faithful to be cheerful ahead of the game, regardless of the incredibly potent attacking threat that the visitors are sure to pose throughout.
Let’s hope the early kick-off hoodoo strikes one more time.