The much maligned international breaks that pepper each season can be a real nuisance. Clubs are left to sweat over injuries to their players and good league form can be halted.
It’s an unpleasant, tense period for all affiliated to their club team. However, there are times when they can prove quite timely. Teams can regroup, reassess or take stock of what they have managed to achieve at the interval. Liverpool for one, could well benefit from a convenient break.
The Reds have just come through a grueling schedule of fixtures. They have faced Spurs, Chelsea twice and Man City. Throw in Napoli and PSG and you have a pretty intense, tough run of games.
To have come through that run and still remain unbeaten in the Premier League is outstanding work. However, Klopp’s men are beginning to look decidedly leggy. The tempo of their attack has been slightly subdued and they have not been at their explosive best of late.
Particularly in their last two games, there have moments when they have been over reliant on their back four as the players in front have appeared to run out of steam.
Too many games
It is understandable for Liverpool, and of course, all other sides to be feeling the pace. The season immediately after a World Cup is always one affected by tired legs, with some clubs needing longer to find their best form. However, Liverpool have may also be feeling the effects of their recent exploits in last season’s Champions League. The two combined are bound to take their toll.
The front three have played in too many games. Sadio Mane has so far played seventy-two games for club and country across 2017-18 and this season combined. The players are only human and will need to be rotated and plucked from starting line ups sooner rather than later if Liverpool are to challenge properly this season.
Injuries and fatigue are of course, natural elements to contend with throughout the season. However playing in such a high volume of games is bound to increase the likelihood of niggles and strains.
James Milner has picked up, what could prove, a costly knock after that recent intense run of matches. Other starting regulars must be feeling the pace. Klopp can now at least assess his squad at this interval and see who needs a breather. It could prove vital in avoiding any serious lay offs.
Eye on the competition
There are, of course, no easy games in the Premier League. A host of sides are waiting to pounce and punish if you let down your guard at any given moment.
That being said, there are certainly harder fixtures to get through in this division. Liverpool will be delighted to have at least gotten through three massive games against top six teams so early, with their squad largely unsoiled.
Having done their turn early they can now look forward to a run of Premier League weekends in which their rivals go toe-to-toe.
Perhaps this will now also be the time for Klopp to fully unleash the likes of Shaqiri and Fabinho into more regular outings in Liverpool’s next run of games. Fabinho will need more time than his Swiss counterpart, but could still have a role to play, even off the bench. Klopp is going to need his front three to rediscover their form if they are to successfully challenge this season. He may well be able to plot his rotation and utilization of his squad during this break period.
Yes, most of his squad will be on international duty, but some at least will be afforded a less arduous game than the frenetic action they are exposed to each week in the Premier League. The international break, annoying as it is, could well be a blessing in mundane disguise for Liverpool.