Manchester City and Liverpool: A Premier League Rivalry Like No Other
Manchester City and Liverpool have established themselves as two of the most successful teams in the Premier League in recent years. With Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp at the helm, these teams have battled it out on the pitch, creating one of the greatest rivalries in English football.
The next chapter of this fierce rivalry is set to unfold after the international break. However, what makes this upcoming clash unique is its unusual broadcasting slot. The match is scheduled for 12:30pm GMT (7:30am ET) on Saturday, November 25, a departure from the typical marquee game on Sunday at 4:30pm.
Typically, Sky Sports holds the rights to the 4:30pm Sunday slot, with 19 first picks out of the 32 matches shown in that slot per season. However, there is no competition for this slot following the international break, making it an opportune time for the Manchester City vs Liverpool showdown.
Interestingly, this is not the first time these two teams have faced each other in the 12:30pm slot. The last encounter between Manchester City and Liverpool, which ended in a 4-1 victory for Guardiola’s side, was also played at this time. However, this scheduling is a rarity, as seven out of the nine previous meetings were held on Sundays at 4:30pm. The remaining two matches were allocated midweek slots.
So, why the change in schedule? The reason lies in Manchester City’s Champions League commitments. They are set to face RB Leipzig on Tuesday, November 28, and playing Liverpool on Sunday would not allow them sufficient time to recover and prepare for that crucial game. As a result, Sky Sports opted for Saturday as the new date. Initially, there were hopes of a 5:30pm slot, but local stakeholders, including the police, did not approve, forcing the match into the earlier time.
For UK fans, this scheduling change also means a shift in broadcasters. The 12:30pm Saturday kick-off, previously aired on TNT Sports (formerly BT Sport), has now been selected as part of Sky Sports-owned Package B. As a result, Brentford vs Arsenal at 5:30pm GMT (12:30pm ET) on the same day will be shown on TNT Sports in the UK.
While this change may seem insignificant to some, it holds greater significance for Liverpool and Klopp. The German manager has been vocal about his team’s frequent appearances in the early Saturday kick-off slot after international breaks. This upcoming match against Manchester City will mark the 14th time Klopp has had to prepare his team for a lunchtime kick-off immediately after an international break since moving to England. This number is more than double that of his peers, with Tottenham and Chelsea facing this scenario six times, and Manchester United and City both experiencing it five times.
The scheduling also poses challenges for players who are involved in World Cup qualifying matches. Alisson, Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz, and Darwin Nunez could all be in action in the early hours of Wednesday morning, leaving them with just over 72 hours to recover, fly back to England, and prepare for the Premier League game. Julian Alvarez is the only Manchester City player likely to face a similar rapid turnaround.
Unsurprisingly, Klopp expressed his dissatisfaction with the scheduling, stating that it does not consider the physical demands on players. He emphasized the number of international players involved and the logistical challenges they face in returning to England for the match.
Despite these challenges, both teams will undoubtedly give their all in this highly anticipated clash. Manchester City and Liverpool have proven time and time again that they are capable of delivering thrilling encounters on the pitch. Football fans around the world eagerly await this showdown between two footballing giants.
(Top photo: PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images)