Liverpool FC has been dealt many early kickoffs over the years. Last year, Klopp’s Reds had six of them. They won exactly zero of those fixtures, ultimately securing 3 of the 18 points available. The dismal return made me question tuning in during those early hours. So far this season we have fared better on that front. It’s just one-for-one (a 3-1 win over Wolves) but that’s still 100%. With that result, the rest of the weekend seemed to fall pleasantly into place.
Tuning in to early morning games is something that international fans have to weigh accordingly. Weekend activities during normal hours can feel burdensome after a bad result. Nobody wants to go to family gatherings, do housework, run errands, or perform other adult responsibilities after rising before the sun did for defeat. After last year’s run, I wondered out loud to my wife if I would continue waking up for them or just catch the highlights at a more reasonable hour.
Thankfully, the “early kickoff problem” may have a bit more recency bias rather than statistically-supported truth. The Athletic’s James Pearce broke down the numbers. Of the 35 early kicks for Liverpool since 2015, it is 16 wins, 13 draws, and 7 losses. While not screaming success, it doesn’t trumpet an abject viewing experience either.
But Enough Of That, What’s To Eat?
Early kicks can mean sluggish results on the pitch. Regardless of the ultimate conclusion, bleary-eyed viewers fight the urge to stay in their warm beds. In a perfect world, Salah, Diaz, Nunez, and frankly any Reds player hammering home some beautiful goals would provide the impetus to a great morning! But in reality, like the players, viewers might need some motivation for the early rise. A good breakfast could be the wake-up call that rabid fans need to get their motor running. In my case, I try to banish the grogginess of 4:30 AM Saturday and 6:30 AM Sunday alarms with some good eats!
Here are two of my favorites, along with a couple of anecdotal stories, to inspire you to your culinary and football-watching best:
Enticing An Audience
When I first started watching the NBC broadcasts in 2013, I was in a small three-bedroom apartment in Provo, Utah. There were no nearby sports bars. My roommates had no desire to watch anything before College Game Day rolled in at 10:00 AM. 5:30 kickoffs saw me hitting my alarm, rolling out of bed, and grabbing a granola bar while tuning in. That worked for me for a few games, but it didn’t really make the viewing experience an attractive prospect to friends or family.
That didn’t initially matter until I met my now wife. Suddenly I wanted someone else to come watch with me. Thankfully my 21-year-old brain registered the fact that no girl would find the idea of rising at the crack of dawn to half a granola bar particularly alluring. So I hatched a plan. I invited her over to make breakfast and introduce her to something near and dear to my heart. Luckily, Ashley was more than willing to bring over eggs and orange juice and we kept the meal simple. Easy over eggs, bacon, and toast with OJ to wash it down. I don’t remember the final result of that game, but I do remember the breakfast and company. It started a tradition that we continued to improve on.
Over the years we have brought all sorts of dishes to the early kicks: eggs and hash, french toast, breakfast burritos, pancakes, etc. It’s made it so no matter the result the weekend doesn’t feel like a wash.
Early Morning Experimentation
My favorite though has been a more recent creation. We discovered a local bakery that makes Asiago cheese bagels. The other day we bought some to make bagel sandwiches. We got the breakfast go-to’s hash browns, bacon, and eggs to accompany. The bagels were loaded up with cream cheese, everything seasoning, hot honey (for Ash), and ketchup (for me) and we chowed down. Hands down the best!
The sandwich is deliciously crunchy with the richness of the cream cheese being complementary to the everything seasoning which hit high with hints of garlic, onion, and pepper. Add bacon, because who doesn’t like bacon, and an easy over egg so you get the liquid yoke mixing with the rest of the flavors. You can’t buy a better way to begin a weekend.
Now, no matter the form Liverpool is in for these early morning starts, you’ll be insulated from negative vibes by being on Food Cloud Nine.
There are alternatives if you aren’t a bagel or bacon fan. Regular toast or English muffins equal house all that goodness. I also happen to be a SPAM lover. It is just another one of those greasy, strongly-flavored, savory breakfast meats that goes well with the rest of the set.