HOW JANUARY IS SHAPING UP FOR LIVERPOOL
With uncertainty across the Premier League due to ongoing postponements as Covid cases rise, we attempt to look at what January holds for Liverpool. The Boxing Day fixture against Leeds United being postponed means the Reds face one last match before the year ends.
A trip to the King Power stadium to face Leicester City on the 28th (almost a week after knocking them out of the Carabao Cup) brings an end to a long year. The New Year is nearly upon us, we therefore take a look at how January is shaping up for Jürgen Klopp’s side.
The trio of Van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones have resumed training following Covid isolation to boost Jürgen Klopp’s ranks ahead of that trip to Leicester. Five days later comes the first game of January 2022, and it’s a big one.
Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on the 2nd is as blockbuster a start to the year as possible. It is a huge clash in the landscape of the title race, with 3 points separating the sides now. Of course things could look different by then, with Chelsea slated to play away to Villa and at home to Brighton before then.
Egypt have granted Mohamed Salah a delayed departure date for the AFCON so he can partake in that game. Things are not quite clear on the Senegal and Guinea fronts regarding Sadio Mané and Naby Keita respectively. It is still a possibility that both players will miss the game.
One player who is certainly missing the trip to London is Andy Robertson, with his suspension being carried over as a result of the Leeds postponement. After the six pointer vs Chelsea, Liverpool will definitely lose Mohamed Salah (and Mané & Keita if they’re still around by then).
The African Cup of Nations runs from January 9th to February 6th. The group stage concludes on January 20th, with the quarter final ties concluding on the 25th, whilst the two semis will be played on the 2nd and 3rd of February.
The progress of Egypt, Senegal and Guinea in the competition will determine how long the trio of players will be away for. The focus in attack will switch to Diogo Jota, Firmino, Minamino and Origi. Jürgen Klopp will hope Covid and injuries are kind to his forward line during this period.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain can also play in attack at a push, whilst Harvey Elliott will also be aiming to return to action in January after that terrible ankle injury he sustained at Leeds. Liverpool’s fixtures after AFCON comes into play are manageable, on paper at least.
After Chelsea on the 2nd, the Reds face Arsenal on the 6th in the first leg of the League Cup semi final. After that is a chance to rest and rotate as Shrewsbury come to Anfield on the 9th for the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Then comes the second leg against Arsenal on the 13th.
With Shrewsbury lying in between the two legs against Arsenal, we could see Jürgen Klopp actually go strong in the Carabao Cup. After the lineup he picked against Leicester got battered in the first half, that comes as a relief. Andy Robertson will be available for selection again as his suspension would have ended.
He is likely to start at the Emirates in a strong looking team. As we keep on saying, the Carabao Cup is begging to be won, and we could do with expanding the Champions Wall further.
After three successive Cup games, the Premier League returns on the 16th with Brentford making the trip to Anfield. The 3-3 draw earlier this season underlines how tough a nut Thomas Frank’s side are to crack. Without the three Africans, the task is made even harder.
Brentford themselves will also lose influential midfielder Onyeka to AFCON. The Anfield crowd will have to play it’s part, and the side will want to atone for that frustrating draw. After that comes the only free midweek in January. There’s a possibility the Leeds fixture will be rearranged in this timeframe.
If it isn’t, then the Reds will enjoy a full week between Brentford and the next match, away to Crystal Palace on the 23rd. Palace will also be hit hard by AFCON, with Zaha, Kouyate, Ayew and Schlupp all missing. Palace away is always tough, and Viera’s side gave us a real game at Anfield.
After Palace comes the winter break, with the two week break slated for 23rd January to 7th February, The Reds will resume with Leicester City at Anfield on the 10th, a full four days after the AFCON final.
As it stands, there are 6 confirmed matches in January. The squad will have to stay fit and healthy to get through a period where we lose three influential players. The transfer window will be open but it is unexpected there will be any incomings through the Kirkby doors.
Covid still remains in play with the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire. Postponements could still happen and put the calendar into even more disarray. As it stands though, this is how January is looking for the mighty Reds.
Liverpool’s January Fixtures:
• vs Chelsea (A) – 2nd (Premier League)
• Shrewsbury (H) – 9th (FA Cup)
• Arsenal (H) – 13th (League Cup)
• Brentford (H) – 16th (Premier League)
• vs Arsenal (A) – 20th (League Cup)
• Crystal Palace (A) – 23rd (Premier League)
4 thoughts on “HOW JANUARY IS SHAPING UP FOR LIVERPOOL”
It’s going to be a long month come January,but one thing I love about this team is their mentality and ability to fight to the end, and I feel so positive about January, We’ve got quality in our attack and I’m sure they’ll rise to the occasion.
All I pray for is no injury and no covid case on any of our players, because we’ll need ever experienced and top player we have to pull through, not just our attack.
A lot of uncertainties, but it’s the possibility of having a dream come through that makes life Interesting.
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When one area of the team is decimated, it’s hard enough. When another area also suffers through injuries the task is made harder.
Nice piece there. Keep it up
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