Recent fan trouble blamed for early Man City-Liverpool kick-off this Saturday

Liverpool's clash with Manchester City this weekend will be the Reds' third Saturday lunchtime kick-off following the international break this season alone.

Overall, the total number rises to 14 since Jürgen Klopp took over as coach in October 2015 (more than double the number of the second-placed team, Spurs on six), and this has led to widespread criticism of the fixture-makers - none more so than from Klopp himself.

The game at Etihad Stadium had originally been expected to take place at 5.30pm, but a report from the Daily Mail has shone light on the reasons for the change.

According to the report, the change in kick-off time comes specifically as a result of a series of previous incidents during encounters between the two football giants.

Recent trouble

Recent matches between the two sides have produced disturbances, including an episode where a 15-year-old girl was left "scarred for life" after being struck by a pint cup weighted with coins thrown from the Liverpool supporters' section onto the home fans during the Carabao Cup tie last December.

During the Premier League fixture at Anfield in October, City coach Pep Guardiola claimed he was targeted by coins, while the club said that their team bus was also attacked, with damage to the windscreen.

Likewise, City fans were accused of trashing the Anfield away end and singing Hillsborough chants.

As a result, the local safety advisory group, which encompasses law enforcement authorities among others, expressed reservations about permitting the fixture to commence in the late Saturday slot, choosing to reschedule the game to mitigate any potential risks.

Reduced allocation

Another consequence of the local safety advisory group's concerns has been that Liverpool's ticket allocation was reduced once again for this crucial fixture.

Last year, the Reds saw a 20% reduction in their ticket allocation in response to the regrettable incident involving the injured teenage supporter.

This time, Liverpool fans were given 2,382 tickets instead of the usual 3,000 allocation.

Ripple effect

This adjustment in the fixture schedule, however, hasn't just affected Liverpool and Manchester City: it's caused a ripple effect in the overall match timetable.

As a consequence of the change, the Arsenal-Brentford fixture, initially set for a 12.30pm kickoff on TNT Sports, will be played at 5.30pm to accommodate the broadcasters' schedules.

This will now be the third consecutive time this season that Jürgen Klopp's men must play the earliest possible fixture following a round of international games.

In September, the Reds travelled to face Wolverhampton Wanderers after the first international break this season. After going behind in a disastrously lacklustre first half, the side raced to an eventual 3-1 win.

Liverpool then returned from the October international break with a tricky early fixture against Merseyside rivals Everton at Anfield.

Now, they must do so again against the title favourites this Saturday on a ground that hasn't been kind to them.

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