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Liverpool's Slot jokes about early kickoff: It's because Klopp's not here

Andrew Powell / Liverpool FC / Getty

Liverpool boss Arne Slot joked Thursday that TNT Sports selected the Reds' opening match of the new Premier League season at Ipswich for a lunchtime kick-off because Jurgen Klopp was no longer in charge.

Former Reds manager Klopp, who stood down at the end of the last campaign, was a repeated critic of early kick-off games, particularly after midweek games and international breaks.

Klopp was a constant critic of Saturday 12.30 pm local starts, especially after midweek games and international breaks, and in one of his final press conferences at Anfield last month labelled such fixtures "a crime".

But while he has departed, Liverpool will still launch the new season with a 12:30 pm (1130 GMT) match at Portman Road on August 17.

"They've told me it's going to be 12.30... from what I know, Jurgen complained a lot about this so probably they thought, with Jurgen being out let's put them at 12.30 again," Slot told Liverpool's website.

"It's different to a normal 12.30 because it's not after a game in Europe. Looking forward to it. A promoted team so it's going to be special for them as well."

The 45-year-old Dutchman added: "I think every team might prefer a home game to start with, but we're going to face Ipswich and we are looking forward to that."

Last season Liverpool had six lunchtime kick-offs, while champions Manchester City and Manchester United had just three apiece. 

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