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Liverpool confirm Champions League dates; job gets even trickier

Liverpool confirmed their Champions League dates on Friday. The Reds’ plan looks pretty clear.

We now know the whos and whens of Liverpool’s Champions League group. The Reds confirmed the fixtures and dates on Friday.

We’ll print them below:

  • Liverpool v AC Milan, Wednesday September 15
  • Porto v Liverpool, Tuesday September 28
  • Atletico Madrid v Liverpool, Tuesday October 19
  • Liverpool v Atletico Madrid, Wednesday November 3
  • Liverpool v Porto, Wednesday November 24
  • AC Milan v Liverpool, Tuesday December 7

As we discussed yesterday, this ended up being a tough group. Liverpool will compete against three other teams who will all feel capable of progressing.

They may even all see a chance of topping the group, in truth.

Atletico are the Spanish champions, after all, while Porto reached the quarter-finals last season. This is Milan’s first group stage in a long time but they did finish above Juventus last season.

The fixtures were always going to be important, then. And with them, we see how things get tricky.

Liverpool confirm Champions League dates

If Liverpool go all-out in every game, they should progress quite easily. It’s just that they won’t actually want to do that.

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There’s a Premier League title to fight for, after all, and Jurgen Klopp won’t want to play the same XI in both competitions. He’s got to rest players somewhere.

The first two fixtures are key, then. They’re against Milan and Porto – the 4th and 3rd best sides respectively. Liverpool need to win both to create some distance ahead of the Atletico games.

The Milan game is fairly easy to work with. It’s at Anfield, for starters, while Liverpool play Leeds United and Crystal Palace on either side.

Klopp can definitely rotate a few players in those two and go full-strength against Milan. That’ll be the hope, certainly.

The Porto fixture is more complicated. Liverpool play Brentford three days beforehand and perhaps Klopp rotates heavily for that one – it’ll be in mind.

That’s because the following fixture is at home to Manchester City. There’s little doubt that Liverpool will go full-strength for that one. Wanting to do so against Porto, too, will necessitate resting against Brentford.

It’s a similar situation in the next game against Atletico. Liverpool play another newly-promoted side – Watford – three days beforehand. They then face Manchester United at Old Trafford the following weekend.

Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Again, going full strength in Madrid and Manchester will mean rotating fairly heavily against Watford. Especially after the intense previous week.

Liverpool’s next game against Atletico comes three days after Brighton at home and three days before West Ham away. We’re hoping the latter gets pushed back a day, however.

It’s not quite as difficult as the previous fixtures but it isn’t exactly routine. Klopp will, once again, need to balance his squad.

The final two fixtures don’t have that much trouble around them. We imagine Klopp can feel quite comfortable with light rotation. The plan, of course, will be to have qualified by then.

The tough group now looks even tougher, though. The fixtures against the Manchester sides are huge anyway – let alone with big Champions League games right before them.

Good luck to Klopp – it’ll take a managerial masterclass to navigate all this.

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