Date: 1st March 2013 at 3:50pm
Written by:

FOR many years managers have explained how a lack of preparation time can hamper a team’s ability to perform at their best ability.

Indeed the international break is regularly bemoaned by club managers for taking away precious time from the much needed plotting and scheming to best the upcoming opposition.

The argument also goes that if there is more time to spend with players to prepare for a game, the more accurately a team can replicate training exercises into performances on the pitch and more importantly wins.

So with Liverpool’s players facing 9 days without a fixture, it makes sense to review how Liverpool perform when they have an extended period without a match. Sadly, the reading is not particularly good for those hoping that Brendan Rodgers’ charges will stampede the Latics on Saturday with a polished and pristine football pummelling.




Gap Int. Break
Sunderland A


13 days 2 games D
Reading H


13 days 2 games W
Oldham A


8 days L
Arsenal A*


11 days D
Wigan A


9 days


Stoke A


14 days 2 games L win % 28.6% Win % H


Spurs A


8 days L loss % 50% Win % A


Villa A


8 days W win % exc. Int 37.5% Loss % H


Brighton H


8 days W loss % exc. Int 50% Loss % A


West Brom H


8 days L


Birmingham A


14 days 2 games D
Everton A


14 days 1 game L
Tottenham A


8 days 1 game L
Wolves H


14 days L
Fulham A


8 days W

The table above shows Liverpool’s results over the last 3 seasons where they have had 8 days or more to prepare for a match. Where there is an international break in between, the number of games that are played within that gap (using England for reference) are detailed.  The Arsenal game has been starred as Liverpool fielded a weakened team against Oldham and some may consider the game against Arsenal as a true reflection of the gap between the previous match.

Perhaps the most frustrating detail is that LFC have faced off in only 4 home matches after a long gap in the last 3 seasons with only one home match after an international break. Indeed, Liverpool’s post international results have borne out the theory that internationals really are the tormentor in the football calendar. This must be tempered by the actual fixtures (Stoke, Everton and Spurs away for example) which would be largely difficult regardless of when they might be held.

However, a surprising result of this compilation is just how many games Liverpool lose following a gap of 8 days or more, irrespective of the International Fixture list. The constant within the stats is the loss rate which stays very close to 50% and which actually improves to 46.67% when matches after internationals are taken into account.

So perhaps for other teams the notion that preparation time is paramount does bare true. Sadly for LFC fans this appears not to be the case.

Exactly why Liverpool are worse when given time to focus on an impending clash is unclear and given the small sample size used in this dissection, it may well be pure coincidence, particularly given the skewing in favour of the number of away matches. Nevertheless the 18.18% win rate away after a gap in the schedule offers bleak hope.

So while it might be tempting to assume that the Wigan match will be easier after a bonus resting period, it is probably best not to expect too much, after all we’ve had our confidence rocked by precisely these types of matches before.

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