Liverpool’s match at Burnley would not have been moved because of the Premier League’s reluctance to rearrange fixtures for reasons other than safety concerns and broadcast purposes, a source has told ESPN FC.
Liverpool play Leicester City at home on Saturday (Dec. 20) before they travel to Burnley 48 hours later, with no plans from broadcasters to televise either fixture domestically.
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was bemused as to why his team’s games with Leicester and Burnley were arranged so close together after the updated schedule was released.
In the eyes of the Premier League, the Saturday and New Year’s Day slots are seen as a traditional match-rounds for the league, with games only moved out of those slots for broadcast reasons.
Speaking in November, Klopp said: “Is there a reason why nobody plays in the midweek in the first week of January? They put us on Dec. 30 and January 1, but they could easily play all the games on the 3rd or 4th of January. Is it not possible to play then?
“If it’s on television, then OK, we signed the contract, we do it. But why can we not play on Tuesday? It’s crazy. It’s not just us. Burnley and all the other teams have to do the same.”
It is a similar scenario to last season when Liverpool played Manchester City on New Year’s Eve and then went to Sunderland with less than 44 hours to prepare. Liverpool’s request to move that Sunderland game, which they are allowed to do under Premier League rules, was rejected.
Bournemouth and Brighton & Hove Albion have the rawest deal this season as they both play on Saturday at 3 p.m. before taking on each other in an early kick off on New Year’s Day.
Chelsea, meanwhile, play Stoke City at 3 p.m. and then do not return to action until the evening of Jan. 3, when they play at Arsenal, which will be televised in the U.K.
With UEFA taking more dates out of the Premier League’s schedule and the 2018 World Cup on the horizon — meaning the season has to be concluded sooner — the league warned all 20 clubs ahead of the campaign about how taxing the festive period would be in 2017-18, sources say.
Glenn is ESPN FC’s Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.