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8 crucial games in just 29 days as Reds head into festive period – Liverpool FC December Preview

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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.

Klopp has overseen a seven-game unbeaten run since Liverpool lost 4-1 away to Tottenham towards the end of October, with the Reds keeping up the pressure on the Premier League‘s top four.

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

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 23, 2017: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City and Liverpool at the King Power Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)


Form Guide & Talking Points

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 29, 2017: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at the Bet365 Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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.

Away trips to take on Bournemouth and Arsenal, and clashes with Swansea City and Leicester City at Anfield, give Liverpool a good opportunity to make headway towards the top of the table.

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.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 29, 2017: Liverpool's manager J¸rgen Klopp celebrates his side's 3-0 victory during the FA Premier League match between Stoke City and Liverpool at the Bet365 Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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.

The likes of Andrew Robertson, Marko Grujic and Ben Woodburn were not even in the matchday selection in Stoke, while Philippe Coutinho and Daniel Sturridge were among those left on the bench.

Nathaniel Clyne is the only long-term absentee, with Adam Lallana‘s slow transition back into first-team football set to boost Klopp’s squad even further.

Managing his key players such as Coutinho, Sadio Mane and top goalscorer Mohamed Salah will be paramount to the Reds’ success in December and beyond.


Liverpool U23s

BIRKENHEAD, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 18, 2017: Liverpool's Herbie Kane [#10] celebrates scoring the first goal with team-mate Harry Wilson during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Liverpool and Everton at Prenton Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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.

Neil Critchley called upon a host of experienced players for that outing at Prenton Park, including Danny Ward, Jon Flanagan, Ovie Ejaria, Ben Woodburn, Harry Wilson and Danny Ings.

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

SEVILLE, SPAIN - Tuesday, November 21, 2017: Liverpool's Liam Millar during the UEFA Youth League Group E match between Sevilla FC and Liverpool FC at the Ciudad Deportiva Jose Ramon Cisneros. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

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

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.

December presents three key clashes as the U19s look to end the UEFA Youth League group stage with a victory over Spartak and the U18s take on rivals Man United in the U18 Premier League.

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.

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