Liverpool head into their busiest period of the season in December, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side facing eight crucial clashes over the next month.
The Reds rounded off a productive November with a 3-0 win away to Stoke City, bringing their record for the month to four wins and two draws from six games.
December brings a truly testing schedule, and the German will need to continue to rotate his squad as they look to maintain their form in the league, and seal progress in the Champions League.
Here’s what to expect from Liverpool’s first team, U23s and U18s in December.
First-Team Fixtures & TV Info
- Brighton (A) – Premier League – December 2, 3pm – Not on UK TV
- Spartak Moscow (H) – Champions League – December 6, 7.45pm – BT Sport
Form Guide & Talking Points
Last 10 Games (All Competitions): D-W-L-W-W-W-W-D-D-W
Liverpool’s form over the next eight games is truly key, with seven league outings and a pivotal European home clash due to set the course for the campaign.
Beginning away to Brighton & Hove Albion, Klopp’s side are faced with a reasonable run in the league, including the Merseyside derby at Anfield, taking on an Everton side under new management.
Sam Allardyce’s arrival on the other side of Stanley Park could provide Liverpool’s rivals with a much-needed lift, but the Reds should have enough quality to embarrass Everton.
Next up is another home outing against another side with a new manager, with Alan Pardew promising to inspire a more expansive approach at West Brom.
Argubaly, most important is the visit of Spartak Moscow to Merseyside on December 6, with at least a point required for the Reds to book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Klopp has already begun rotating his squad to navigate a congested period, making five changes for the 1-1 draw with Chelsea and then six for the victory over Stoke.
Speaking after the win at the bet365 Stadium, Klopp said “we have to protect [the squad],” and fortunately the German now possesses a group with impressive depth.
Last 10 Games (All Competitions): W-D-L-W-L-W-W-W-W-L
- PSV Eindhoven (H) – Premier League International Cup – December 19, 7pm – Not on UK TV
The Liverpool U23s ended November with a frustrating result, as after dominating throughout their Premier League International Cup clash with Sparta Prague, they conceded at the death to lose 1-0.
But December is likely to be the last month the majority of those will turn out for the U23s, with the winter transfer window expected to herald a host of loan departures.
A reasonable run of fixtures including clashes with Stoke, Sunderland and Swansea should see Critchley experiment with his side, giving opportunities to some lesser lights.
Bobby Adekanye’s display against Sparta, for example, should be rewarded with a first Premier League 2 start of the season, while Herbie Kane can continue his swift progression in midfield.
Ending the month with another International Cup encounter with PSV Eindhoven could serve as the showcase fixture before a lengthy break.
Liverpool U19s & U18s
Last 10 Games (All Competitions): W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-W-D
- Spartak Moscow (H) – UEFA Youth League – December 6, 12.30pm – Not on UK TV
- Hartlepool United (A) – FA Youth Cup – December 13, 7pm – Not on UK TV
- Wolves (A) – U18 Premier League – December 19, 12pm – Not on UK TV
Since Steven Gerrard’s appointment as Liverpool academy coach, the young Reds have enjoyed an exceptional run of form, with the 37-year-old starting his managerial career emphatically.
Between them, Gerrard’s U18s and U19s sides have lost just twice this season heading into December, winning 15 and drawing five, scoring 75 goals and conceding just 29.
Their 1-1 draw with Man City at the end of November was the first time they had failed to win in 10 games, and they will be looking to ensure this was a mere blip.
Gerrard has utilised an interesting 3-4-3 system in recent weeks, and the performances of wing-backs Rafa Camacho and Adam Lewis will be worth watching in December.
And the goalscoring exploits of forward Liam Millar, who has struck 10 times in 15 games this season, could be a key feature as Gerrard’s youngsters progress.