Liverpool’s title charge has gained significant speed in recent weeks with the European champions establishing a lengthy eight-point lead over all their title rivals.
The festive period is arguably the most gruelling time to be a Liverpool player with the Reds potentially playing nine matches throughout December due to their participation in the FIFA Club World Cup.
Many have called this period make or break in whether the Reds can maintain their advantage at the summit of the Premier League. However, it is January that will be Jurgen Klopp’s most testing month in terms of the team’s ability to claim a first league title since 1990.
Quite significantly it was January that saw Liverpool’s title credentials take a massive U-turn 12 months ago. The then league leaders began the month with a comfortable seven-point lead following a perfect record during December that saw Klopp’s team win nine consecutive league matches.
Nonetheless, it was January that can be seen as the month that crucially denied Liverpool the holy grail they crave so much. Following a perfect month, the Reds began the New Year with their only defeat of the season at the Etihad Stadium – falling victim to a 2-1 loss to Premier League champions Manchester City.
This saw Liverpool’s lead at the top cut down to four points. Days later, Klopp and his team were dumped out of the FA Cup at the hands of Wolves for the second time in three seasons. Scrappy wins against Brighton and Crystal Palace followed before the Reds ended the month surrendering a 1-0 lead to slip-up against Leicester in a 1-1 draw.
Despite the gargantuan amount of fixtures taking place in December for Liverpool, only four of those matches will occur in the league. All eyes will undoubtedly look to that Boxing Day clash against the outstanding Leicester but January, in the long run, will oppose a much more substantial threat to Liverpool’s already illustrious title challenge.
Within three days, Klopp will have to prepare the team for a home clash against Sheffield United on January 2 before fielding a team to take on Merseyside rivals Everton in the FA Cup just a few days later.
Jose Mourinho and Tottenham Hotspur will then be waiting in the wings for Klopp and his team before the Premier League front-runners prepare to welcome north-west foes Manchester United. If that wasn’t enough for Kopites to fear the month will conclude with an away trip to Wolves – the only team this season to leave the Etihad Stadium victorious.
It’s fair to say that all Red supporters alike should be prepared for the upcoming emotional rollercoaster. Liverpool have a title to win and a European Cup to defend. With the games coming thick and fast for Klopp and his players the fans are sure in for one hell of a ride.