Over the next three weeks, Liverpool play seven matches. For those still doing the math on their fingers, that works out to a game every three days. Which, if handled wrong, is a recipe for exhaustion, injuries, and poor results on the back of exhaustion and injuries. But first team coach Mike Marsh believes Liverpool are set up to deal with the potential fixture overload.
"Our fitness programmes have been well documented," he said, and with the club tailoring training workloads to compensate and a few key players set to return, he believes it's a tough but manageable slate. "We know it's a tough fixture list with the amount of games and the quality of the opposition, so we know it's going to be tough, but the more players we have available the better."
Key to handling the increased workload will be Joe Allen and Emre Can, both of whom are expected back in the lineup against QPR-though they may only be fit enough for the bench. Their presence in the coming weeks, though, should give Rodgers the ability to rest players like Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson who at times looked exhausted in September.
Those well documented fitness programmes, too, will again be given the chance to prove themselves. When Brendan Rodgers and his staff arrived, much was made of the individualised fitness and recovery programs for each player. And for many, the way Liverpool have improved in the second half of the season under Rodgers speaks to the benefits of such an approach.
Roy Hodgson may have his doubts, but it doesn't take an expert in sports medicine to grasp that on top of the simple measure of how much running they do, the kinds of actions a player takes during a match combined with their individual fitness levels and injury histories can and should inform how they approach recovering from the last match and preparing for the next.
Starting on Sunday, over the next three weeks Liverpool play QPR, Real Madrid, Hull, Swansea, Newcastle, Real Madrid again, and Chelsea. No matter the situation when it comes to injuries and energy levels, things will be tough. Fans will have their fingers crossed, though, that Marsh is right about their preparedness for such a stretch to avoid it becoming disastrous.