With the international break thankfully almost at an end, attention starts turning back to the Premier League, and for Liverpool, that means a tricky away trip to Watford in their first game back.
Jürgen Klopp has never hidden his disdain for international football, in particular, the Nations League, and so will be glad to have his squad back ahead of their trip to Vicarage Road.
The fixture in the capital is the start of what is a challenging run of fixtures ahead of Liverpool between now and their crunch match against Manchester City on the 3rd January, with the Reds needing to pick up as many points as possible.
Between now and the first fixture for Klopp’s men in 2019, there are not only some testing home matches but some really taxing away fixtures too, both domestically and in Europe.
Trips to Watford and Paris Saint Germain await before November is out, with Burnley, Bournemouth and Wolves all still to come away from home before 2019 arrives.
In that run of fixtures, Liverpool are sure to be tested as those ties come against teams who have either started the season really well or who are just always a challenge to beat in their own stadium.
Let’s start by taking a look at Watford. Javi Gracia has guided The Hornets to a very solid start to the season. They currently sit seventh on 20 points above the likes of Manchester United, Leicester and Everton.
They have already beaten Spurs at home this season and ran Mourinho’s United very close at Vicarage Road, so they will certainly not roll over when Liverpool come to town. Reds must not forget the opening match of last season, either, when Watford deservedly got a 3-3 draw against Liverpool in a pulsating game.
They are a solid outfit and have players such as Will Hughes, Troy Deeney, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Roberto Pereyra who are more than capable of causing the league’s best teams problems on their day – and that’s testament to the job Gracia has done and continues to do when you remember that they lost the impressive Richarlison to Everton in the summer.
Bournemouth are another team that have started the season well, with Eddie Howe’s men sitting one place better off than Watford. Bournemouth have always been a team that are capable of producing some lovely football, but things just seem to clicking that bit more this term, and they are showing the maturity of a side that knows that it belongs in the Premier League.
Callum Wilson continues to impress and find the back of the net with ease, flanked by players like Ryan Fraser and David Brooks, who has recently been linked with a move to Anfield.
Again, similarly to when travelling to Watford, Liverpool have endured some tough games at The Vitality Stadium in recent times, with 2016’s 4-3 defeat of Klopp’s side springing to mind immediately.
Furthermore, Howe’s side have only lost one home league match this season, and that was a narrow 1-2 loss against Manchester United in a game in which they arguably deserved at least a point.
While fans will argue that these are both matches that Liverpool should be winning if they’re to maintain a serious challenge, make no mistake: these will both be tough matches against teams in good form.
The other two away Premier League ties aren’t exactly easy, either. Although they’ve struggled somewhat this season, playing Burnley at Turf Moor is never something that makes many away fans feel too comfortable.
Last season saw Liverpool scrape past Sean Dyche’s side, and the season before that they were stopped in their tracks with a 2-0 defeat, despite enjoying more than 80 per cent of the possession.
It’s not as easy as simply thinking that Liverpool can simply turn up and expect to get the three points, and Wolves will be the same.
The newly-promoted side have put on some good performances. Need we forget that Manchester City only came away from Molineux with a draw?
The point being that Liverpool must continue doing what they’ve been doing all season, being professional and efficient against any team.
Beat the dross, win the league is how the saying goes. Liverpool must ensure that they do that on the road and continue their incredible home form and this will help them keep pace with City until the two sides meet in early January.
Start dropping points, and we all know what happens from there.