Liverpool have surpassed all expectations so far, but their job is only half done. That the Reds would improve under Jurgen Klopp was anticipated, but very few had expected them to mount a serious title challenge this season. We are nearly half way through the season, and Liverpool find themselves second in the league, six points behind Chelsea. In the Premier League things can change very quickly, and if the results go in their favour, Liverpool may very well leapfrog Chelsea into first place by the end of January.
The busy festive period is an interesting time of the season, and it throws different challenges for all the teams. The teams hardly get to prepare for a match with fixtures coming thick and fast. For the title challengers, this phase is all about carrying on with the momentum, where the central objective is to not drop many points.
Liverpool will end the year with Manchester City’s visit to Anfield. It will be a cracker of a match and demand for tickets will be high. Do not forget to check out the ticket prices at WoWtickets.football before you book your seat.
The Reds have a good record against City at Anfield, having not lost at their home ground in the last 12 years in the league. In the last five meetings between the two clubs, Liverpool have won four, with three of those victories coming at Anfield. It will be an interesting game, as not only will Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola face each other in England for the first time, but also it is going to be a battle between two title challengers who love to play attacking football.
Liverpool will begin the new year with a trip to Sunderland, a game in which the Reds are expected to pick up full three points. However, Sunderland are rapidly improving under David Moyes, and they have already given Liverpool a tough time in the corresponding fixture in November.
It is followed by back to back cup games – first, Liverpool take on Plymouth in the FA Cup, and then away to Southampton in the first leg of the EFL Cup – where Klopp is expected to make a wholesome change in the starting XI. The double legged EFL semi-final tie, however, is crucial, with Liverpool aiming to reach the final for the second time in successive seasons.
After that, Liverpool travel to Old Trafford to face Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, a game that holds paramount significance in terms of building up momentum in the title race. United are on a decent run at the moment (seven games unbeaten run at the point of writing) and have a relatively easy fixture list before they face Liverpool. The Red Devils could extend their unbeaten run by the time they face Liverpool, and taking a point away from Old Trafford would be seen as a very good result. Also, Liverpool haven’t won against United in the Premier League in their last five league (lost four) matches. It should, therefore, be a strong contest, where victory for the Reds will give the team a massive physiological boost ahead of their titanic clash with Chelsea.
Liverpool will lose a key player in Sadio Mane, who will be out on international duty for the most part of January, but the return of Philippe Coutinho will be seen like a new signing for the team. If Liverpool can win their games against the potential title challengers, they will surely be on course to lift the title in May.