International breaks just cannot come at a good time. Whether your team is coming off a disappointing result or a thunderous success, there is always something to fret about - ETWisdom dictates that the players will either stew on their performance and come back demoralised, or they'll lose the rhythm that brought about their good form, respectively. Injuries from excessive playing time and fatigue from traveling are other factors that cause fans and managers - but mostly fans - endless consternation in the two-week vacuum that separates bouts of proper football.
The Reds seem to have come off the most recent round of international fixtures relatively unscathed - Adam Lallana is the only player questionable for Saturday's upcoming meeting with his former club - but what about the rhythm? The one that has had successive managers shower the team with praise and talk up their title potential. Manager Jürgen Klopp isn't too worried, frankly, and while he'll take the praise headed his way, he won't be letting it go to his players' heads.
“Of course, it’s better that they think something like this, than they say ‘thank God it’s Liverpool at the weekend, so quite an easy game’, he said about opposition managers eulogising his team.
“But in the end it’s not a big value for us, what other teams think about us - it’s good and it’s positive but not too important.
“The main thing is that we actually think about ourselves: ‘Yeah, we are quite a good team.’ We have big expectations on ourselves and I’m not pessimistic, I’m really optimistic, but I don’t like to make these positive assessments all the time and say ‘we are really good - my God, how good are we?’"
He continued: “I know about the problems we could have in the future, and we need to stay in the race. It’s not about celebrating each time like ‘my God, that was so fantastic!’
“It’s a kind of sign and a kind of confidence we need to have that we celebrate it in the moment, then we accept this is normal - this is our quality and what we expect.”
Divine invocations aside, that is exactly the kind of level-headed reply we've come to expect from the former Borussia Dortmund man - at least off the pitch, when he's not breaking glasses and booming his head off - and it might be exactly the kind of even-keeled mentality that keeps his players on track when we get towards the pointy end of the season and emotions tend to run higher.
First up though, is a trip to Claude Puel's Southampton and St. Mary's, familiar ground for a number of Liverpool's current roster. Hopefully, the international break won't have broken the red rhythm.