The list almost reads like a succession of horror shows that highlighted just why Liverpool are preparing for a first Europa League stint in more than seven years.

A worrying 2-2 draw at Fulham. A dismal 0-0 stalemate at Everton. Dreadful defeat at Nottingham Forest. Another dire goalless draw at home to Chelsea. A shock loss at Bournemouth. And a 4-1 humbling at champions-elect Manchester City.

As well as being marker points throughout a turbulent campaign, the six results – three draws, three defeats – also have one other aspect in common. They were all 12.30pm kick-offs, Jurgen Klopp’s least favourite time for a Premier League match.

The latter loss at City also saw another Klopp gripe of being an early game after an international break, a situation in which Liverpool find themselves once again on Saturday when they resume their campaign at Wolves.

Liverpool’s early kick-off woes last season are all the more curious given that, in the previous campaign, they won all five such fixtures without conceding a goal.

But the greater concern for Klopp this time around is the international commitments of much of his squad, some of whom are likely to arrive back on Merseyside barely two days before kick-off at Molineux. Fingers are crossed not only in the hope that players avoid injury, but that fatigue and jet lag don’t also become an issue.

“The boys fly now all over the world now, which is horrible,” said Klopp earlier this month. “Pretty much 48 hours after our South Americans play somewhere on the other end of the world, we will play against Wolverhampton Wanderers. That will be a tough one so we have to make sure that we are ready and we will give it a go.”

While Liverpool’s South American contingent isn’t quite as sizeable following the summer departures of Fabinho and Roberto Firmino, there are still four players – Alisson Becker, Alexis Mac Allister, Luis Diaz and Darwin Nunez – who are expected to be the latest arrivals back at the AXA Training Centre after featuring in World Cup qualifiers.

That all four started the 3-0 Premier League win over Aston Villa last time out, with all bar Nunez beginning all four games so far this season, underlines their importance to a Reds side that have started the season strongly with 10 points from 12.

Regardless of the minutes played by each, all four will be involved with their countries on away trips late into Tuesday night or the early hours of Wednesday morning – Mac Allister on duty for Argentina in Bolivia, Nunez with Uruguay in Ecuador, Alisson required by Brazil in Peru and Diaz with 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.


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