The list nearly reads like a series of terrifying television programmes that demonstrated why Liverpool is gearing up for its first appearance in the Europa League in more than seven years.
At Fulham, a concerning 2-2 draw. a depressing 0-0 draw at Everton. terrible loss at Nottingham Forest. Another embarrassing 0-0 draw against Chelsea at home. a surprise defeat at Bournemouth. And a 4-1 defeat to the eventual champions Manchester City.
The six results—three draws and three losses—served as landmarks during a tumultuous campaign and share another characteristic. Jurgen Klopp dislikes the timing of 12.30 p.m. kickoffs for Premier League games the most.
An early game following an international break was another complaint of Klopp’s in the latter defeat at City, and on Saturday, when Liverpool resume their season against Wolves, they will find themselves in a similar predicament.
Given that they won all five of these games without giving up a goal in the previous season, Liverpool’s early kick-off struggles last year are all the more puzzling.
The international obligations of a large portion of Klopp’s team, some of whom are expected to return to Merseyside just two days before kickoff at Molineux, are, however, of greater worry. Fingers are crossed that players stay well and avoid getting tired or experiencing jet lag as well.
Klopp earlier this month noted, “The boys fly now all over the world, which is dreadful. We will play Wolverhampton Wanderers roughly 48 hours after our South Americans play someplace else on the planet. That will be a challenging one, so we need to be sure we are prepared and willing to try.
Following the summer departures of Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, Liverpool’s South American contingent isn’t quite as large, but there are still four players – Alisson Becker, Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz, and Darwin Nunez – who are anticipated to be the latest arrivals back at the AXA Training Centre after participating in World Cup qualifiers.
Their importance to a Reds team that has started the season well with 10 points from 12 games is highlighted by the fact that all four began the most recent 3-0 Premier League victory over Aston Villa. All four, with the exception of Nunez, have started all four games this season.
No matter how many minutes each player gets, all four of them will be on international duty for their nations late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning. Mac Allister will be representing Argentina in Bolivia, Nunez will represent Uruguay in Ecuador, Alisson will represent Brazil in Peru, and Diaz will represent Colombia in Chile.
Diaz has the longest trip back to Merseyside of around 7,200 miles. Alisson will travel 6,250 miles while Mac Allister has only a handful of miles fewer. Nunez has the comparatively short distance of 5,600 miles with which to contend.
Not for the first time, Klopp’s chief worry will be in what state his South American squad members return to Merseyside. The clock is already ticking.