The Champions League group stage draw is being made today and Liverpool will be hoping the balls come out kindly for them given the unusual nature of this season’s competition.
With all six group games being played virtually in consecutive midweeks between October and December, it will be a really intensive period for all the English clubs involved with Premier League games obviously still taking place at the weekends.
It will be tough, there’s no getting away from that, but I do take encouragement from how fit Liverpool look at the moment, the energy levels against Arsenal were ridiculous.
The Champions League games will be full on and we will be wanting to get that trophy back after the disappointment of going out to Atletico Madrid the way we did last season.
At the same time we can’t afford to drop our standards in the Premier League because, especially after the start we’ve had and how relentless we were last season, all the other teams will be desperately looking for a chink in our armour and you don’t want to give them even a glimmer of hope.
What’s crucial is to have cover all over the pitch and I do feel, particularly with the signings of Thiago and Jota, that we’ve got that now.
Anything can happen with injuries, we’re already missing a few at the moment, but this is why you have to have different options and playing so many rounds of the Carabao Cup as early as we have this season will help because some of the fringe players will have more minutes in their legs than they ordinarily would have done.
There is genuine depth to the squad and I think we will need it as winter draws in because, whether we get injuries or not and you have to expect a few, Klopp will want to manage the players’ fitness like he always does so that we’re still bright in the new year and spring when the business end of the season kicks in.
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You look at the players who have hardly figured yet this season like Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Matip as well as the young lads like Curtis Jones and Neco Williams who are chomping at the bit to show what they can do and it proves what a great job Klopp, Michael Edwards and the recruitment team have done in recent years.
It will be interesting to see how the squad looks by the time the transfer window closes early next week.
There’s been talk through the summer that the likes of Xherdan Shaqiri, Divock Origi, Rhian Brewster, Harry Wilson and Marko Grujic could move on and we know that generally the manager doesn’t like to have too big a squad as it’s not always possible to get everyone enough game time.
This is such an unusual season and, while we may yet see one or two depart, I don’t think it’s the worst thing in the world if the squad is a bit bigger than normal just to give us that extra protection if we do get hit with a big injury list.
If the offers don’t come in at the right level the club want, these lads have shown they can do a job when required and it might just be a case of getting to January and then looking at things again.
* I don’t normally talk politics but I cannot understand how this government allow people to go and mix in pubs and restaurants with Covid numbers rising but parents and grandparents can’t stand in the open air on touchlines to watch their kids playing football.
It makes no sense at all that people can queue up in supermarkets and the like with social distancing but the same isn’t allowed to happen on a football field with all the space and fresh air around.
It’s absolutely beyond me and I wanted to vent my frustration on it as I know a lot of people will be feeling the same.
It’s not like there’s hundreds of people there either, it’s a couple of dozen tops.
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I can’t get my head around it and it’s just not right but I just hope they can at least keep the kids out there playing football and fingers crossed things get better soon.