Liverpool have achieved some wonderful things under Brendan Rodgers this season. I don’t think anyone could see us sitting at 2nd place in March after finishing 7th last year. However at this point in the campaign, it’ll be good for the team to take a pause and have a well-earned period of respite.
For all the wonderful attacking talent in the squad, it remains relatively threadbare for a club with Champions League hopes. An injury crisis at the back and a lack of forward reinforcements, not to mention a limited pool of quality midfielders to call upon means that Brendan Rodgers has been unable/unwilling to rotate his players during periods when some have really needed a rest.
The Christmas period was one such example; after an already hectic schedule, we had to play both Manchester City and Chelsea in the space of three days and while we were outstanding at City despite the 2-1 loss, you could see the players were knackered at Stamford Bridge.
Two or three new additions could have helped during the January transfer window, but alas nothing came of it. As a result, the squad has sometimes struggled to play three games in a week even if they are handling it surprisingly well. However, the break this weekend brought on by Sunderland’s involvement in the FA Cup means that Liverpool get a 10 day rest period after the international fixtures to get ready for the Man United game next weekend.
Not only will it be good for the Reds to recharge their batteries in Tenerife as part of Brendan Rodgers’ training camp, but after that feel-good 3-0 win away to Southampton last week, the players will be gearing up for the United game with a hunger and belief that will only increase with every passing day.
United don’t get that luxury; while their weekend game against West Brom was a good opportunity to restore some confidence, they won’t be as fresh as Liverpool will be when the two sides meet at Old Trafford, an advantage the Reds will look to take advantage of when they inevitably shoot out the blocks in the first 20 minutes.
Liverpool’s other rivals for top 4 and the title also don’t get that luxury. Arsenal and Everton fought it out in the FA Cup before the former has to play the return leg of their Champions League game against Bayern Munich midweek, while City are in exactly the same situation. Chelsea played Spurs, in a game where a draw would probably would’ve been best for Liverpool.
This time off is exactly what the Reds needed before the final home run this season where we’ll look to pick up the maximum points possible in every game from now on. I don’t know if Liverpool will win the league title or not, but this break will give them one hell of an edge.