The bookends of success are starting and finishing, which will be the focus of how the reds begin their upcoming run of fixtures. Whilst cup competitions both domestic and abroad are in the mix, it will be Premier League performances and results that will determine just how much recent progress ‘Liverpool 2.0’ have made under Jurgen Klopp. What looks easier than the difficult start on paper, doesn’t always translate that way on the pitch and we need to see the opposite of last season, where it was regularly a case of being beat-en by the dross. A Saturday early doors starts it all and through to a late November game will provide the real yardstick.
Challenges of the Merseyside Derby
Normally, a Merseyside Derby would take care of itself in many regards and be the highlight for all reds on the calendar. Certain elements seem to be conspiring against Jurgen Klopp’s side though, as another early kick-off after the international break appears on the docket. Personnel issues are now apparent as Andy Robertson’s length of absence is to be determined and Darwin Nunez experiencing cramp after the Uruguay match v Brazil makes him an unlikely starter. Mac Allister is also returning from another long-haul trip and Ben Doak is a likely absence. With Curtis Jones already suspended, it’s hopeful rather than expectant that Gakpo, Bajcetic or Thiago may indeed be part of the squad for this one.
Expectations for Upcoming Games
All that aside, Liverpool should have enough to beat their neighbours across Stanley Park still and the chance to go top for a temporary period should be mere incentive enough anyway. The upcoming fixtures in the league then look ‘very winnable’ on paper based on early season performances and league positions. The week after it’s Notts Forest (13th position, 29th October) followed by one of the leagues new whipping boys in Luton (17th position, 5th November). Anything less than six points should be viewed as a huge disappointment from those ones. The visit of Brentford (15th position, 12th November) should bare the same expectations from a side minus Ivan Toney.
Crucial Match Against Manchester City
If reality does match expectation then Liverpool should stride positively into the international break before visiting Manchester City on 25th November for another early kick-off. There will be hope that discussions around injuries, suspensions and PGMOL aberrations become redundant but Klopp and his men will need real luck in that regard. That aside, the other of the bookends should provide a body of evidence of where Liverpool stand in terms of real aspirations. It hopefully won’t be an unlucky thirteenth fixture, but if we’re in real striking distance of those at the top or even better then hope will grow having already visited Chelsea, Newcastle, Brighton, Spurs and Wolves. Two bookends will help provide a yardstick of progress.