We’re officially in the season of fixture congestion for Liverpool Football Club. Over the next seven days, Liverpool will host Brighton Hove Albion, Everton in the Merseyside Derby, and then travel away to Bournemouth to face Eddie Howe’s Cherries.
It is a tall order but, if you’ll believe it, this is the easy stretch of fixtures for Liverpool, who will see two matches per week through the end of the festive season. And wedged within this busy section is a trip to Qatar for the Club World Cup. Liverpool will be logging miles on already tired legs.
It is, as the kids say, a lot. What with Liverpool losing out on a prime opportunity to rotate ahead of the big trip to Qatar and the festive season crunch by qualifying for the Champions League knockout rounds with a win over Napoli. Instead, they’ll need to field a strong squad against RB Salzburg on December 10th.
It is, essentially, one match every three days for Liverpool from now until the new year. Busy.
The drawbacks to such a heavy schedule are obvious: Liverpool aren’t the biggest squad, meaning they don’t carry contingency plans like, say, Manchester City. Sure, no one’s as good on that squad at doing what Kevin De Bruyne does and for all of the money they’ve spent, the Citizens have learned that players like Fernandinho are, in fact, irreplaceable.
But they also boast a team that can rotate players like Bernardo Silva and David Silva in midfield when De Bruyne isn’t available. Leroy Sane is lost to injury, but they’ve managed to find enough production out of the patchwork rotation of players in that spot that includes the likes of Riyad Mahrez.
Liverpool aren’t two players deep in many of their positions - most notably in the attack. And we’ve seen already tis season what happens when the likes of Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, or Mohamed Salah find themselves struggling for fitness. Which makes this crunch in the fixture list a heavy anxiety, to say the least.
It’s a conundrum born out of the success that the club have built over the last few seasons. Liverpool alive in 5 competitions - Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, League Cup, and Club World Cup - is a unique scenario that only exists for Big Clubs™. It is, then, a thing that fans have dreamed of for so long.
But it is one of those Monkeypaw scenarios that carries with it unintended or unforeseen consequences. One such consequence being that we must worry about the health of the squad while also worrying about results.
We aren’t here, though, to indulge in those anxieties. At least, not at this moment. No, we want to find the bright side - the silver lining. Because while it is certainly a worry and a concern, it is still a situation that is the culmination of what we as fans had long hoped for: that Liverpool would once more be invited into the exclusive in-group that is the Top of European football.
And entry into this exclusive club means that we must expect to make deep runs into every competition we are entered in. That is part of what it means to be among the best, it seems.
So, instead of complaining now about how crowded the fixture list is and how much travel the lads will have to do during the worst of it, I’ll instead focus on three things. First, that Liverpool are top of the table. Second, this first slate of matches features two home matches and are all against teams in the bottom half of the table. Third, Liverpool are still in the driver’s seat to earn the biggest honors available to them this season.
If Liverpool, then, continue to do as they’ve done so far and meet each match on its own terms. To focus on the task at hand and ignore the fixtures looming. To stay tethered to the moment. I believe, deeply, that they’ll be able to navigate their way out of this crowded sea and safely into harbor.
And with that, we’ve got a list of songs here for you to while away the time between now and tomorrow’s match. Have your say in the comments below and feel free to make suggestions as to songs you’re using to pass the time.