Liverpool’s season is about to reach its most important week both mentally and physically, so can they deal with the fixture pile-up Manchester City are used to?
The Reds play Bayern Munich in the Champions League round of 16 on Tuesday, then Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday and finally play at home to Watford four days later. The games will test their ability to withstand the pressure of the title race and their squad depth.
Manchester City are now used to playing three times in a week, and although they feel the strain of a fixture pile-up at times, it’s becoming second nature for their deep squad. Liverpool, on the other hand, put out weakened sides in the domestic cups in what may have been a way to throw themselves out them. It worked, so they haven’t had to face the problems they’ll come up against in the next week.
Klopp’s squad have just come back from a week of warm weather training in Marbella and they’re going to be thrown straight in at the deep end against 2013 Champions League winners Bayern Munich. Their squad will be without Joe Gomez as he continues to recover from a fractured leg, but apart from him and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain Liverpool seem back to full strength, but will that be good enough?
Their trip to Old Trafford is their game in hand over City, but their last win at the home of their greatest rivals was back in 2014. United play Chelsea on Monday night in the FA Cup and so they’ll have two extra days to recover for the game that could make or break Liverpool’s season.
If they lose that game then City are top of the league having played the same number of games, and then the pressure will really be on. Their home match against Watford on the Wednesday after wouldn’t usually worry Liverpool fans, but the fact it follows so closely after two vital games means it’s a potential banana skin for the aspiring champions.
In the next week Liverpool will face the challenge their rivals City have faced and will continue to face for at least the next month, and if they can get through it without a scratch, they deserve to be battling all the way for both the league and Champions League.
How do you think Liverpool will deal with the crucial week ahead?