As the busy festive period gets closer, @ScottCGroom looks ahead to some crunch fixtures in the Premier League.
After 13 games, Liverpool are sitting pretty at the top of the Premier League with a healthy eight-point cushion.
It’s been a wonderful start of the campaign, with Klopp’s men still unbeaten after seeing off Manchester City at Anfield last weekend.
That eight-point gap between Liverpool and second-placed Leicester, with City a point further adrift, could prove crucial as December approaches.
Participation in the Club World Cup while still competing on all other fronts means the games will come thick and fast.http://gty.im/1026613538
There’s no such thing as an easy game, but some fixtures stand out as trickier than others.
Here are three fixtures where the Reds may find that their December is made or broken.
Wednesday 4 December – Liverpool vs Everton
Despite Liverpool’s magnificent recent record against their inner-city rivals, a derby is always a potential banana skin.http://gty.im/1067607554
There’s nothing that Evertonians would enjoy more than putting a blemish on Liverpool’s wonderful start to the season.
The Toffees are currently languishing in fifteenth, having won only four of their opening 12 fixtures.
And their record against Liverpool doesn’t carry much to brag about, either, with their last win coming back in 2010.
That run of 19 games has seen Liverpool run out as victors on nine occasions; ensuring bragging rights remain Liverpool’s.
Everton also have a torrid record at Anfield in recent history, with their last win there 20 years ago in 1999.
It would seem all odds are stacked in Liverpool’s favour, and they are on paper, but football doesn’t work like that.http://gty.im/1133400353
A chance to damage Liverpool’s title credentials will be something Everton will relish and will fire them up even more.
Merseyside derbies are always fierce affairs, and this will be no different so Liverpool need to be wary.
A win would be the perfect way to start off what is going to be a chokka festive period for Klopp’s side.
Thursday 26 December – Leicester City vs Liverpool
Former Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is earning heaps of praise for the way his Leicester side are playing.
And rightly so, too. The Foxes look like a real threat this season and currently sit second – Liverpool’s nearest rivals.
When Rodgers’ side visited Anfield in October, they came close to leaving with a point after some resolute defending.http://gty.im/1174258291
They have also put in a series of other impressive performances and look like serious contenders for a top four spot.
So travelling to the King Power on Boxing Day in the midst of the busy period isn’t exactly ideal for the Reds.
This will also come after our exploits in the Club World Cup in Qatar, with fatigue potentially starting to creep in.
Despite what he says in the media, Rodgers will want nothing more than to get one over on his former employers.
And if Leicester are still in the top two, they’ll want to take points off Liverpool in pursuit of top spot.
It’ll be another interesting, entertaining game, but a tough one to come away with three points from.
Sunday 29 December – Liverpool vs Wolves
You may think that this is a strange choice, but hear me out.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side should not be underestimated at any cost, just ask Manchester City.
Wolves did the unthinkable a few weeks back and beat City 0-2 at the Etihad, doing Liverpool a huge favour in the process.http://gty.im/1074551210
They have also avoided against Leicester, Arsenal and Manchester United and boast a healthy record against the top six.
After what will be a tough, tiring game away at Leicester, a gritty Wolves will provide another stern test.
Klopp will not take them lightly, we know this, but they’ll certainly provide another challenge.
Adama Traore will cause problems for the defence with his pace and power, while their midfield is strong and dynamic.
It’ll be another game in which Klopp will need the full depth of his squad to ensure he gets the three points.
All of these games, including the others against Bournemouth, Watford and Sheffield United in January will certainly not be easy.
The best thing we can hope for at this point in time is obviously wins across the board.http://gty.im/1091676876
But with the hectic fixture list and fatigue and potential injuries to take into account, that’s highly unlikely.
To remain undefeated into the New Year would stand Liverpool in wonderful stead to go on and build on their good start.
But there’s so much that can, and probably will happen, both internally and externally.
So Liverpool need to continue to focus on themselves and if things keep going as they are, the omens are good. �