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A Good Time for Liverpool to Find Some Form

The next two months present Liverpool with an opportunity to secure progress in two cup competitions and bounce back in the Premier League, but they'll need to find form and, maybe more importantly, fitness if they're going to do so.

Clive Brunskill

Yesterday was not a good day for Liverpool and its supporters, and the same could be said today for nearly every other team hopeful of challenging for a spot in the top four. Everton were well-beaten by Crystal Palace at home, Spurs offered very little in the 1-0 loss to West Brom--who were winless through their first four matches--at White Hart Lane, and Manchester United completely collapsed at Leicester City, conceding four straight goals in a 5-3 loss. In short, nothing good happened for anyone other than Arsenal and Southampton.

Which makes Saturday evening's loss at West Ham all the more maddening, as it would have allowed Liverpool to climb the table rather than slide further. They didn't deserve anything more than what they got, of course, but had they somehow not been terrible, they'd be sitting slightly prettier. Thankfully the next two months present ample opportunity for recovery, and if Liverpool manage to find their form while getting back to full strength, they could enter November in a far stronger position.

Tuesday, Sept. 23: League Cup v. Middlesbrough

Tuesday night will offer a chance at progress in the League Cup, as well as to see significant squad rotation. Not losing is the main objective here--a loss would further the sentiment that Liverpool are a club in crisis (which they aren't), and the last thing they need ahead of the derby is another loss. It won't be easy, as Middlesbrough are on three straight wins and will surely see Liverpool as vulnerable after the week they've had, but progress is both possible and expected.

Saturday, Sept. 27: Merseyside Derby v. Everton

A repeat of last season's stunning 4-0 win isn't expected, but with neither club impressing this weekend and FORM GOING OUT THE WINDOW FOR THIS ONE, MARTIN, Liverpool shouldn't have any reservations about being able to get a result. They could be welcoming Daniel Sturridge back to the squad, and a win here would be the perfect springboard into another week with European and Premier League football, especially with Spurs and Arsenal squaring off in a North London derby later in the day.

Wednesday, Oct. 1: Champions League v. Basel

After edging past Ludogorets at Anfield in the opening round, Liverpool head to Switzerland for their first away fixture of the competition. If they manage to get three points here it would be a significant step toward qualification, if only because they can likely rely on Real Madrid to do most of the hard work for them. Liverpool's form at the present moment doesn't guarantee anything, but heading into this fixture on the back of two good performances against Middlesbrough and Everton would be a huge boost.

Saturday, Oct. 4: Premier League v. West Brom

West Brom haven't been terrific this season, but their showing at White Hart Lane on Sunday--combined with Liverpool's struggles against Villa, Ludogorets, and West Ham--will offer a template for success in this fixture. Anfield was one of the league's most difficult venues for opposition sides last season, and with three home matches in the span of two weeks, Liverpool have a chance to hit their stride in front of the home supporters and earn another important three points on a weekend that also sees Southampton travel to Spurs, Arsenal away to Chelsea, and Everton at Old Trafford.

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And then we're at the international break, which will be just as terrifying as the last one. Daniel Sturridge will head off to England duty along with Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana, Rickie Lambert, and Raheem Sterling, Joe Allen might be fit in time to join Wales, and we'll all be wringing our hands until all involved return. After they do so, they'll face another important stretch--QPR away, the first of the Real Madrid doubleheader in the Champions League, and Hull City at home to finish October before launching into another busy month.

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