The final international break of the calendar year is upon us, but it arguably does not come at a great time for Liverpool. Indeed, for many fans, there is never a great time other than the summer for the period, while Jurgen Klopp has been very vocal about his own thoughts about it.
And, with a game against Manchester City on the horizon immediately after this November’s break in the Premier League schedule, the German is not happy. While he has already lamented the fact that the Reds will have to kick off against the current champions at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon in the league’s lunchtime slot, he has also stated that their preparation for the game will be far from ideal.
International break poses risks for Liverpool
With many star players heading around the globe to compete for their nations in qualification games or friendlies, the latest round of international fixtures will undoubtedly pose a huge risk.
Individuals could obtain injuries ahead of the festive period, which is notorious for being one of the most difficult in England. Clubs are expected to play twice almost every week, with some even having to play on three occasions. Liverpool are not different, as they will still have games in the Carabao Cup and the UEFA Europa League to compete in and the Premier League before the end of 2023.
With a look at the immediate future, the game against City on Saturday does not come at an ideal time. Preparation is key for a fixture of this magnitude, as the team will need to be 100% as they head into the game. With players spending limited time at the training ground, and those who do are typically among the fringes of the squad or are injured, the club is unlikely to be able to prepare as best as they would like.
With players jetting off worldwide, playing in two games in locations as far and wide as South America, some key stars may not arrive back in peak condition or arrive back in the UK at a very late date.
Nothing new is being experienced
Klopp may feel that the only positive is that Manchester City are in the same boat, as Pep Guardiola’s side also has a number of stars from countries across the world that will feature during the international break.
While we firmly agree with Klopp about preparation being far from ideal, it is something that we all know about and have to accept. The demands of the Premier League mean there are no easy games, with each club posing their own threat whenever played. Those who watch sports events live will know that any team can beat another on their day, and Liverpool will need to make sure they are doubly at their best on Saturday.
Of course, a so-called “lesser” team would have been better to face as Liverpool got back into league action, but it could work in their favour. There may not be a better time to play City than immediately after a break, especially as they were held to an entertaining 4-4 draw away from home to Chelsea just before it.
Players could potentially go and represent their countries and come back in less than 100% condition, which could force Guardiola to make certain changes that he may not have made in a traditional week. He could lose stars to injury or find some of his players requiring a rest as they have a hectic period of games, too.
Liverpool are in good form
Aside from preparations being far from ideal, the club is in a good position. They entered the international break in second place in the Premier League and have been enjoying some good form. This should be carried through by the players as they know that they could go top with a victory and move two points clear of their title rivals.
The momentum they have picked up should be enough to motivate the squad, and with clubs able to do things remotely, they should still be able to tell each player what they expect from them while on the pitch and their instructions.
While preparation on the training field might not be ideal, it is not like Klopp does not have a talented group of players. They are world-class for a reason, and we should see the quality they have come to the forefront at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.