Liverpool face 8 games that could make or break their season this December

1 December 2018

Liverpool face a truly defining month in the Premier League and Champions League in December, with consistent form required to ensure success in both.


The Reds ended November with a miserable 2-1 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain, with Jurgen Klopp‘s side winning just twice in five games last month.

Another loss in Europe, away to Red Star, leaves it all to do in their final Group C clash with Napoli—but still undefeated in the league, their title challenge endures.

Liverpool play just under a fifth of the league season this month, with seven games from the Merseyside derby and Arsenal‘s trip to Anfield on the 29th.

With a trip to leaders Man City to come in the first game of the New Year, the pressure is on for the Reds to keep up the pace—along with reaching the last 16 of the Champions League.

Here’s what to expect from Liverpool’s first team, women, U23s, U19s and U18s this month.

 

First-Team Fixtures & TV Info

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 11, 2018: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (L) and manager Jürgen Klopp after the 2-0 victory over Fulham during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

  • Newcastle (H)Premier League – December 26, 3pm – Not on UK TV

 

Form Guide & Talking Points

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 22, 2018: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (right) celebrates with Sadio Mane only to see his goal disallowed during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Southampton FC at Anfield. (Pic by Jon Super/Propaganda)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): L-D-W-W-W-D-L-W-W-L


The mood on Merseyside is low after losing at the Parc des Princes, but it should not be overlooked that Liverpool head into December still second in the league, and just two points behind City.

A statement display against Everton would be the perfect tonic for that dismal night in Paris, and with Burnley and Bournemouth to follow, the Reds should be looking to raise the bar.

Victories in these lower-profile games are crucial, and fortunately so far Klopp’s side have been in strong form against ‘lesser’ sides in the league, beating West Ham, Crystal Palace, Brighton, Leicester, Southampton, Huddersfield, Cardiff, Fulham and Watford.

Wolves and Newcastle also fit into this category when considering this month’s fixtures, but what could give Liverpool an edge in the title race are their meetings with Man United and Arsenal.

All three of Liverpool’s high-profile league games in December come at Anfield—and, crucially, none are early kickoffs—so the manager can hope for the home support to provide a boost.

NAPLES, ITALY - Wednesday, October 3, 2018: Liverpool's Naby Keita (C) and Napoli's Allan Marques Loureiro (L) and José Callejón (R) during the UEFA Champions League Group C match between S.S.C. Napoli and Liverpool FC at Stadio San Paolo. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Unfortunately, defeat to PSG requires a big performance against Napoli in between the trip to Bournemouth and the visit of United.

Liverpool will likely need either a 1-0 win or victory by two clear goals to secure passage to the last 16, with Thomas Tuchel’s Parisiens playing Red Star in Belgrade.

Napoli certainly won’t lie down at Anfield, as their place in the next round is not yet guaranteed, and they are the only side still unbeaten in Group C after five games.

For this month, Klopp will need to utilise his whole squad, and the likes of Fabinho, Naby Keita and Xherdan Shaqiri could all be required to take the fight to the Partenopei.

 

Liverpool U23s

LONDON, ENGLAND - Friday, August 17, 2018: Liverpool's George Johnston during the Under-23 FA Premier League 2 Division 1 match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at Meadow Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): W-L-W-L-L-L-W-D-L-W


  • Hertha Berlin (H) – PL International Cup – December 5, 7pm – Not on UK TV

Neil Critchley‘s U23s experienced a strange end to November, with an inexperienced side featuring three debutants losing 7-0 to Villarreal before his heavy-hitters returned for a 1-0 win over Everton.

That victory in the mini-derby should give the young Reds a lift as they look to fight on three fronts this month in the league, Premier League Cup and Premier League International Cup.

The return of Nat Phillips from injury should aid the U23’s efforts, with Conor Masterson also just working his way back, providing George Johnston more stability alongside him at centre-back.

A clean sheet against Everton was only their second of the game, and it should be no surprise that it coincided with the restoration of Critchley’s key defenders.

Now, the challenge will be to maintain consistency at the back, with Bournemouth, Hertha Berlin, Arsenal and Swansea presenting varied opposition.

 

Liverpool U19s & U18s

ST HELENS, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 24, 2018: Liverpool's substitute Ki-jana Hoever warms-up during the UEFA Youth League Group C match between Liverpool FC and FK Crvena zvezda at Langtree Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): W-D-W-W-W-W-W-W-L-L


  • Napoli (H) – UEFA Youth League – December 11, 3pm – BT Sport
  • Portsmouth (H) – FA Youth Cup – December 18, 7pm – LFCTV

Unlike their older counterparts, the Liverpool U18s—and, by extension, the U19s—have been in stunning form so far this season.

But Barry Lewtas’ side suffered back-to-back defeats to end November, losing to Derby in the league and PSG in the UEFA Youth League, and they will be eager to strike back quickly.

The emergence of Ki-Jana Hoever as a key cog at the back is a major boost, with the 16-year-old Dutchman, signed from Ajax in the summer, not looking out of place at either centre-back or right-back.

That is, of course, if he isn’t called up to the U23s on a regular basis, having started against both Villarreal and Everton.

Hoever has time on his side, however, and continuing to work alongside fellow high-potential talents such as Neco Williams, Yasser Larouci, Jake Cain, Luis Longstaff, Bobby Duncan and Paul Glatzel could better suit his development.

 

Liverpool FC Women

Liverpool FC Women Team during Women's Super League One match between Arsenal and Liverpool FC Women at Boredom Wood in Boredom Wood, England on September 9, 2018. (Photo by Action Foto Sport/NurPhoto/Sipa USA)

Last 10 Games (All Competitions): L-W-W-L-W-W-L-L-L-L


  • Everton (A) – WSL – December 2, 12pm – FA WSL Facebook
  • Reading (A) – WSL – December 9, 2pm – Not on UK TV
  • Reading (A)League Cup – December 12, 7.30pm – Not on UK TV

Speaking to This is Anfield in November, club CEO Peter Moore explained the importance of the Liverpool FC Women to inspiring the next generation.

“I’m a massive supporter of what a women’s team can do for young women primarily as role models and as people you aspire to,” he said.

“A lot of girls around here are fans of Liverpool Football Club and they love Mo, Sadio and Bobby, but I want them to love Courtney [Sweetman-Kirk], Leandra [Little], or Anke [Preuss] in goal.

“I want them to want to be Laura Coombs or Jessica Clarke.”

This month, Vicky Jepson’s side face a quirk in the fixture list as they prepare for consecutive double-headers across the Women’s Super League and the League Cup.

First up are two clashes with Everton, and these derbies in particular can be key to an upturn in form for a side struggling for consistency this season.

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