Liverpool's FA Cup fourth-round clash with West Bromwich Albion involves a rare outing at 7.45pm on a Saturday night, but is only the latest addition to a history of unusual kick-off times.
From a European semi-final being delayed due to a popular TV show through to an earlier start because of the Grand National, we have picked out 10 unorthodox fixture times from the archives.
Saturday March 11, 1967 – 7pm – Everton 1-0 Liverpool
Liverpool have played on a Saturday night in the FA Cup before. It was March 1967 and a short trip across Stanley Park. In the days before live football on TV, such was the demand for tickets for this fixture, a crowd of 64,851 was present at Goodison, while big screens were erected at Anfield for supporters to watch the game, with a recorded attendance of 40,149! The end result was disappointing for the Reds, though, as Alan Ball netted the only goal of the contest for the Blues.
Saturday April 8, 1989 – 11.30am – Liverpool 5-1 Sheffield Wednesday
The Grand National is one of the highlights of the sporting calendar and Liverpool’s players were keen not to miss the big event. A 3pm scheduled start was therefore brought forward to 11.30am and Kenny Dalglish’s charges produced a magnificent display to sink Sheffield Wednesday at Anfield. Peter Beardsley scored twice, while Ray Houghton, Steve McMahon and John Barnes were also on the mark. The players celebrated afterwards by enjoying an afternoon out at the famous Aintree steeplechase.
Sunday February 18, 1996 – 11am – Shrewsbury Town 0-4 Liverpool
Despite the early start at Gay Meadow, Roy Evans’ Liverpool proved too strong for their Second Division opponents who were looking for a cup upset. With a crowd of just 7,752 present, Stan Collymore gave the Reds an early lead before Dave Walton put through his own net. Robbie Fowler and Jason McAteer added further goals with late second-half strikes.
Thursday April 5, 2001 – 8.15pm – Barcelona 0-0 Liverpool
Gerard Houllier’s Liverpool faced the mighty Barcelona at the Nou Camp in the first leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final, but did you know the kick-off was changed because of an iconic BBC soap? On the same night as the Reds were in action, EastEnders would be revealing the identity of the person who shot ‘bad boy’ Phil Mitchell! To enable viewers to watch the programme until its 8pm end time, the game started 15 minutes later than usual and the teams played out a goalless draw in Spain.
Friday April 13, 2001 – 11.30am – Liverpool 1-2 Leeds United
During the Easter period this fixture, crucial in the race for a top-four finish, was brought forward due to live TV coverage. Liverpool would lose the game 2-1 to Leeds United and end the game with 10 men following the sending-off of Steven Gerrard. The Reds would be without the influential Scouser for the forthcoming Merseyside derby but, despite this defeat, Houllier’s side wouldn’t look back as they set off on an unbeaten run of 10 games, including nine wins, that earned the Reds a cup treble and qualification for the Champions League.
Monday April 16, 2001 – 6pm – Everton 2-3 Liverpool
One of the most pulsating Merseyside derbies played in recent times took place at Goodison Park with a rather unusual kick-off time of 6pm. The Reds went into the encounter without the suspended Gerrard and would end up with 10 men following the sending-off of Igor Biscan in the 78th minute. After David Unsworth’s 83rd-minute equaliser looked to have earned the Blues a point, Gary McAllister popped up with a stunning injury-time free-kick winner to send the travelling Kop wild with delight.
Wednesday March 6, 2002 – 8pm (originally...) – Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle United
‘Nothing unusual about this kick-off time,’ you might say, but this is a match that very nearly didn’t get started due to rare Anfield floodlight failure. When the ground was suddenly plunged into darkness, the start was delayed by half an hour. Once the lights came back on Liverpool produced a magnificent performance, with Nicolas Anelka in unstoppable form as he ran the Newcastle defence ragged. Danny Murphy netted twice and Dietmar Hamann also struck.
Wednesday December 18, 2002 – 8pm (kick-off delayed 80 minutes) – Aston Villa 3-4 Liverpool
Liverpool reached the semi-finals of the League Cup after a thrilling quarter-final win over Aston Villa at Villa Park. Due to delays on the M6 and crowd congestion, kick-off was delayed by 80 minutes on a bitterly cold evening in the Midlands. Once the action got under way, Darius Vassell fired the home side ahead from the penalty spot but the Reds roared back to lead 3-1 courtesy of efforts from Murphy, Milan Baros and Gerrard. Thomas Hitzlsperger pulled one back and Dion Dublin levelled the tie on 83 minutes. With extra-time looming and an even longer night ahead, Murphy pounced in the final minute to net the winner.
Sunday January 29, 2006 – 6pm – Portsmouth 1-2 Liverpool
Liverpool supporters didn’t exactly relish the prospect of a Sunday evening trip to Portsmouth, with the hope of getting a train back to Merseyside practically impossible. However, on the field Rafael Benitez’s side ensured a pleasant return journey for the travelling Kop. Gerrard opened the scoring from the penalty spot and John Arne Riise added a second. Although Sean Davis pulled a goal back, there was no denying the Reds.
Sunday April 13, 2014 – 1.37pm – Liverpool 3-2 Manchester City
A dramatic victory over Manchester City in a top-of-the-table clash at Anfield had an unusual kick-off time for a poignant reason. Ahead of the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster, all Premier League, Football League and Football Conference matches due to kick off at 3pm on Saturday April 12 were changed to a 3.07pm start and the minute before kick-off reserved for a period of silence. As Liverpool’s game was switched to the Sunday for live TV coverage, respects were paid at 1.36pm and the thrilling match began at 1.37pm.