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How the game outsiders expected Liverpool to “slip up” in turned into a title-winning statement

The eighth game in a run of 12 during the most congested period of the season had alarm bells ringing outside of Liverpool, but at Leicester, the Reds sent out a statement.

The Premier League‘s festive fixture list is one which tests the credentials of all sides, top and bottom of the table but in 2019/20, the Reds had the added twist of flying halfway across the world in the middle of it for the Club World Cup.

Jurgen Klopp‘s side had four wins under their belt in the month of December before jetting out to Qatar to become champions of the world, in the knowledge that five days after their triumph they would be in Leicester for a ‘top of the table’ clash.

The Foxes were four points ahead of Man City and 10 behind Liverpool prior to the meeting on Boxing Day, and while many had expected Klopp’s side to falter under the strain, they instead sent out a statement of intent.

Brendan Rodgers was helpless as his team were picked apart and utterly dominated from the first whistle to the last, with the 4-0 scoreline flattering the Foxes as the Reds ran rampant.

“I have never been so proud,” was how assistant manager Pep Lijnders viewed the win considering the circumstances surrounding the game, and for Trent Alexander-Arnold, who scored and provided two assists, the clash was the “pinnacle” of a remarkable title-winning season.

“Going into it we knew how vital it is, every season, no matter what or where you are, the Christmas festive period from the start of December until mid-January is make or break,” Trent told the club’s official website.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 26, 2019: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold (R) celebrates scoring the fourth goal with team-mates captain Jordan Henderson and Andy Robertson during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s so hard to be consistent because you’re literally playing every three days and I think we played nine or ten games in December alone and that’s with the travelling and stuff like that.

“It goes to show how tough it was, but for us, the pinnacle was the Leicester game.

“I think as a team we had the feeling of everyone expected us to slip up in that game, just because we were in the Club World Cup and we travelled so far, I think we got back two or three days before the game.

“We had to travel a long distance which isn’t really normal at that time of year especially with it being so hectic and stuff like that.

“I think a lot of people would have put money on us slipping up because Leicester is a tough place to go regardless and they were in a fine run of form at the time, I think they were challenging for second.

“So it was always going to be a tough place to go whether at that time of the year or now.

LEICESTER, ENGLAND - Thursday, December 26, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates his side's third goal, scored by Roberto Firmino, during the FA Premier League match between Leicester City FC and Liverpool FC at the King Power Stadium. Liverpool won 4-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“For us, it was about making sure that we set a statement and I think it was at that moment where the rest of the league were watching and thinking they’ve probably got what it takes to win the league now and it’s going to take some stopping.”

Bumps and obstacles would be thrown their way, but no one would stop Liverpool on their way to title No. 19.

The victory at Leicester was one of 11 from as many games in the festive period and by mid-January, the Reds were 19 points ahead of their Boxing Day opponents and 17 ahead of City.

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