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Van Dijk on “Test and Opportunity” of Congested Liverpool Fixture List

The Reds play nine games in 27 days starting tonight against LASK in the Europa League.

Liverpool Training Session And Press Conference - UEFA Europa League 2023/24 Photo by Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Liverpool are entering one of the most congested periods of the 2023-24 season, with the Reds set to play a game every three days for the next four weeks: nine matches in 27 days starting with tonight’s penultimate Europa League group stage tie against LASK.

It’s the kind of overloaded fixture list that is difficult on players and will require rotation in the squad, with captain Virgil van Dijk speaking about the challenge and the opportunity of the coming month—in the league, Europe, and League Cup—in his pre-match notes.

“As well as being a test, the next four weeks also brings opportunity,” the Dutch defender noted. “I think it’s now widely accepted that we have made a decent start to the season, but we are also very much aware of the need to build on the work that has been done.

“This can only happen if we meet the challenge head on as a squad. The chance exists for us to progress in the Europa League, the Carabao Cup, and also the Premier League, so we need to keep our standards as high as we can while also not thinking too far ahead.”

Following tonight’s LASK match, the Reds face Fulham on the weekend, Sheffield mid-week, and Crystal Palace thew following weekend in league play before their final Europa League group match against Union Saint-Gilloise. Then things arguably get more difficult.

Manchester United in the league, West Ham in the League Cup, and then Arsenal and Burnley in the league round out the nine games in 27 days, or a game every three days through December 26th—before a full five days off before Newcastle on January 1st.

“Our job is to see the hurdles and jump them one by one,” Van Dijk added. “We have to be confident, we have to give everything, and we also have to enjoy it. If we can do all of these things then our chances of getting as much as we possibly can will be all the better.”

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