After a manic few weeks, Dave Davis explains how Liverpool will benefit with extra time for rest, recuperation and planning ahead of two massive games against Brighton and Real Madrid.
The emotion of Liverpool’s Champions League semi-final win in Rome took so much out of everyone that Sunday’s performance against Chelsea in the Premier League was understandable.
It’s not an excuse for everything, but Instagram posts alone showed you that most didn’t get to bed until the early hours of Wednesday morning. The timing of things now swings back in Liverpool’s favour.
The month of March seems like an age ago, but it’s worth remembering how well the Reds performed during that period. In five games, three wins were obtained with one draw and a single defeat. Ten goals were scored with only three conceded at such an important stage of the season. Tellingly, only once was a midweek game on the agenda which was a dead rubber second leg against Porto.
April didn’t look hugely different, but there were some key factors that have reverberated through to today. Seven games in total saw four victories and three draws, which on the surface appears even better. Fifteen goals were scored and only five conceded as the Reds found themselves with one foot in the Champions League final. It’s been at a cost, though.
Emre Can aggravated a back injury against Watford and may not be seen in a Liverpool shirt again. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain suffered a knee ligament injury in the Roma clash and will hopefully be ready for the start of next season’s campaign.
Joe Gomez has suffered a further setback on his ankle whilst is back in training having returned for less than ten minutes of an injury-ravaged season. Their impact has been felt in a number of ways.
The rest of the supporting cast simply haven’t looked up to scratch when Jürgen Klopp’s needed them more than ever. Dominic Solanke looks desperately in need of a loan move, Nathaniel Clyne has looked understandably off the pace in every game and many question if Danny Ings will ever really make it at Anfield.
The rumours that Alberto Moreno may be offered an extension amaze most, whilst you wonder what Ben Woodburn has to do to earn an actual chance. Academy call-ups aside, no-one who has come in has really staked a claim for what would easily be the biggest game of their careers.
Timing is everything in sport and it finally swings back in Liverpool’s favour. Klopp now has a full week with no distractions to rest, prepare and ensure everyone is focused for the first final against Brighton.
The Seagulls themselves have a midweek game and having already hit the 40 point mark, could well have the proverbial flip-flops on. As importantly, a jaded-looking attack will have a chance to rest, recuperate and prepare for what will be an intense Anfield atmosphere.
Two weeks then pass before Kiev becomes a reality and there is real talk that the likes of Adam Lallana, Can and others will be available. More importantly, it’s two weeks for players who looked exhausted to again rest up and prepare for what could be a career-defining match.
Liverpool only have four matches in May and the rest periods now work in our favour.
Timing is everything in football.