Christmas is a hindrance for no team, as Klopp spoke about earlier, but with three matches in the span of a week on the horizon, it can certainly seem that way. Opponents like Stoke City, Manchester City, and Sunderland are nothing to scoff at despite the comfort and warmth of the holiday and the fixtures ahead could easily make or break what is turning out to be a historic title race. No one is more aware of that than Jürgen Klopp.
“It is a run that could do that [end a title challenge] but I am the type of guy who thinks you can make it work the other way around,” said Klopp in The Guardian. “It is all the same for all the teams, or nearly all the teams. We all have to go through it and in the end the teams who use all the different situations in the best way will be top of the table.
“We have a big bunch of wonderful experiences together and that makes us all stronger. You have to play Stoke, City and Sunderland and they have all their things what they want to reach. It is difficult but not impossible and as long as it is not impossible I am ready to fight.”
While Klopp is no stranger to managing a hectic schedule, to his credit he did request to delay the kick off of the Sunderland match after the City match had been changed for broadcasting purposes. While the league ultimately denied the request (grumble grumble), the boss is all the more aware of the pressure it puts on him and the squad.
“The only thing is what I spoke about a few times, the doors open and close. I cannot go to the Sunderland game and still talk about the Sunderland game and say: ‘Oh, we play again.’ I have never had this moment of 44 hours between two games in a family celebrating period for nearly everybody in the Christian world. Then you have to go out and play two games within 44 hours. That is a challenge.
“We have to accept it. We accepted it a long time ago, it is nothing. I have no problem with playing 27th or 26th and then playing 31st – no problem. The only thing I spoke one or two times about is the second game two days later, 44 hours. It is like this and I have nothing to say. I had nothing to learn. I have no problem with Boxing Day, I love it. What I said before we can all have our Christmas at home and we play football. That is all cool. The only challenge we have is to find the solution of how to do it in 44 hours.”
Only challenge, indeed. Liverpool play Stoke City on Tuesday 12/27, with a 12:15PM EST/8:15PM BST kick off.