Liverpool should finally see the benefit of their mid-season breaks over the coming month.
The Reds exited the FA Cup at the third-round in January. While that wasn’t ideal for anyone wanting to win the FA Cup, it did hand them an advantage.
Liverpool now had breaks in the calendar that they could use to their benefit – namely warm-weather training.
This was in stark contrast to Manchester City, for instance, whose progress in all four competitions packed their schedule tight.
Liverpool disappeared to Spain, however. They may have lost some momentum after December but it was a sacrifice that should help their run-in.
You can think of it as a pre-season, really. While their rivals are playing one 10-month season, Liverpool effectively cut theirs into two.
It meant they could focus on fitness and recuperation, rather than intense match-preparation. The Christmas period can be draining and there’s little time for recuperation afterwards.
The other major European leagues typically break for two weeks to allow for rest ahead of the second half of the season. Thanks to circumstance, Liverpool have managed that, too.
We were never going to see the benefits right away – in fact, Jurgen Klopp’s side immediately dropped points. Instead, the idea is that Liverpool can head into the latter part of the season without battling exhaustion.
Perhaps it means Klopp won’t have to rest players as often. Perhaps his players can push themselves harder than most. The main benefit could simply be fewer injuries. It will hopefully mean all three.
As the Reds prepare for an assault on both the Premier League and Champions League, it may well play a role in their success. And we’ll soon find out just how big that role is.