As the malaise of the international break descends, Liverpool are sitting pretty atop the Premier League table, leading Chelsea and Watford on goal difference, having picked up all available points with four consecutive victories. It’s a good place to be, all told, and with the Reds yet to really find their rhythm, fans can allow themselves to be confident in the team’s performances improving as the season wears on.
Maintaining top spot won’t be easy for the Anfield outfit, however, as Friday’s Champions League draw saw them pitted against oil-billionaires Paris Saint-Germain and dynamic Napoli, while Chelsea await in the third round of the Carabao Cup. Interspersed between these fixtures are league clashes with Southampton, Tottenham, Manchester City, and Chelsea again, ensuring that the coming month will represent one of the most challenging 22 days in Liverpool’s recent history.
Managing the squad and intelligently regulating playing time will be of paramount importance, then, and with the international break already claiming its first victim in the shape of Adam Lallana, there is every chance the club will have to rely on its depth chart during the punishing September run. Georginio Wijnaldum is accepting of the realities of the Reds’ coming program.
“It’s going to be a really important period for us – not only because they’re big games, but also because we play a lot of games. I think in these kinds of periods you need your whole squad,” the Dutchman told the club’s official site.
“I don’t know why everyone was like, ‘Oh, tough group’. I think every group is tough,” he continued. “We know that Paris Saint-Germain are a good team.
“We played Napoli already in the pre-season and we won 5-0. But we still know they are a good team and there were situations in that game where there was stuff to deal with.”
Should the Reds come out the other side of this run unscathed, the subsequent weeks look far less demanding, and if Jürgen Klopp’s men can produce favourable results against a string of European top sides, that will bode well for the rest of the season, both domestically and abroad.
Before the manager can manage his squad, though, he needs it to return unharmed from the wicked clutch of international football. One man is down before a ball has even been kicked. Fingers crossed he’s also the last.