That Jürgen Klopp's entertaining side boasts no European football this season only serves to underline the lack of consistency and form in the previous campaign. Yet Klopp admits that playing one game a week is something that can help the club this season. A side of Liverpool's stature shouldn't be struggling to qualify for Europe, but an absence from European football could help Klopp and his squad make drastic strides this season.
The main goal is to return to the the land of milk and honey otherwise known as the Champions League, and having a week to prepare for Premier League games with a demanding and energetic style of play may just be the trick to getting there. Liverpool's fine start to the season has raised expectations somewhat with players and former managers getting involved with title talk.
"This season is so different at the moment,” Klopp said on Liverpool's preparation time between games. “We need to use the week that we work together. Perhaps we could have been in Russia on Thursday and then on Sunday we would play against Swansea. The difference is massive. Of course, we want to be in Europe. That is our target, that is important, but for now we have to use this time and grow as a team.
"The whole club is not used to sustaining a positive mood. I am not in doubt about what can happen, but I know pretty well there has to be a reset. You push the button and you don’t go back to the beginning, you go back to last game and the level you started in the last game. Not the level you felt after the game. That doesn’t work. Be ready to invest everything in the game and don’t wait for the easy moments.
"Just because you played 20 good passes in the last game doesn’t mean you will do the same next time. You have to find the same attitude as before the first pass – not the last one. It is not easy instilling that attitude. If it was easy everyone would do it, but it is possible and that is all I need. The good thing is the players don’t let their minds fly, they are really serious workers."
It shouldn't be forgotten that Liverpool played 64 games last season, and only 11 of those were under Brendan Rodgers until his final game as manager against Everton in early October. 53 games across four competitions in eight months were more than enough to give Klopp a flavour of his squad and an idea of what was needed in the summer transfer window.
Now that Klopp has the squad he wants playing the way he wants, hope is rapidly rising. Good players are in the team, good players are on the bench, and good players aren't in the squad. The style Klopp is implementing should improve with time as players increase their understanding of pressing triggers, movements, and positioning individually and in relation to their teammates.
Playing just one game a week is unlikely next season, but these aforementioned improvements along with further additions in the transfer market should help build upon this campaign. It shouldn't be forgotten, too, that the best sides in Europe are used to playing in the Champions League and pushing hard in their respective domestic leagues season after season. That reality, however, is still to come for Merseyside's finest. Of immediate concern is maintaining momentum and putting pressure on rival managers who prefer to moan about their fixture schedules instead of playing good football.
The late, great Bill Shankly famously said that "the status of Liverpool's players keeps them motivated" and highlighted importance of "natural enthusiasm" in moving forward in football as well as life. Liverpool need to embrace what rivals may perceive as an advantage and revel in the excitement at what the club can achieve this season. This should translate to greater focus at seizing whatever opportunities are presented as opposed to growing complacency.
Suárez, Sturridge, and Sterling terrorising Premier League defences wasn't a generation ago, but what Liverpool must do is remain a dangerous and competitive opponent throughout the season. The game against Swansea City will be a good test of those credentials and whether the players can really "go, go, go" according to the manager's exhortations.
"It is only important how we see it," Klopp said. "I am really happy that they are getting asked positive questions, but in the end we have to show that does not make us weak and not a percent in doubt. We have to create this mood and attitude and stay like in a tunnel – go, go, go."