The breaks from domestic action are never welcome disruptions but it’s nearly time for Liverpool to mark their return and there is plenty to look forward to when they do.
With the international window come winter break all but over, we can all start to turn our attentions to what is to be an exciting few weeks for Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds.
The month of January was navigated with fewer bumps in the road than many had anticipated ensuring that Liverpool remain in the hunt across all four competitions.
Add to that a new signing, injury returns and a cup final on the horizon and you have a recipe for pure bliss.
Harvey Elliott is BACK
The 18-year-old made an impression having broken into Klopp’s team at the start of the season and just when Premier League starts were flowing, injury struck.
And 147 days later, the visit of Cardiff is set to end the wait to see Elliott back in action and while expectations will want to be managed, there’s no hiding from the excitement of his return.
It comes at a time when the Reds are well stocked in personnel to ensure he isn’t asked to produce the magic from the off, but something tells us he’ll do that anyway.
His goal and assist in a game organised for him during the break only serves that point!
The debut of Luis Diaz
The reasons to smile only continue with the thought of Diaz making his debut after his £50 million move from Porto only late last week.
The 25-year-old has been with Colombia on international duty and the combination of a late arrival in Liverpool on Thursday and the need to settle is likely to see us have to wait until the visit of Leicester to get a glimpse.
That will likely be off the bench but Klopp is known to enjoy giving us a few surprises and with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane having only just returned by that point, the Foxes could be the ideal time.
Speaking of Mo and Sadio…
Unfortunately, at least one of the pair will return from AFCON disappointed with the final result, which will be decided just hours after Liverpool meet Cardiff.
They will be back at Liverpool in the days following and with the visit of Leicester coming four days after their last game in Cameroon, it will be touch and go for their involvement.
Liverpool will not want to rush them back too early so managed minutes from the start or the bench is likely and it could even be that not both take part.
The trip to Burnley three days later would then represent a return to normal scheduling and Klopp will have a formidable list of options to choose from in attack – just what we all wanted to see!
The Champions League is back!
It feels a lot langer than December 7 since the Reds last played in Europe, that might be because of the way Liverpool steamrolled what was considered the group of death…
But now the Serie A leaders in Inter Milan await, first on February 16 at the San Siro and it makes for an intriguing clash between two teams who have not met since 2008.
It’s a competition Liverpool can seriously challenge for, and the road to Saint Petersburg starts now. Bring it on.
A healthy squad
It’s not something Liverpool have been able to shout from the rooftops in recent memory, and touch wood, it doesn’t quickly flip on its head.
Injuries will still pop up but for now, at least, Klopp has a wealth of options that has been a rarity and Diaz only adds further class to Liverpool’s arsenal. Rotation may have never looked so good.
And a final!
The first shot at silverware this season and the first final since 2019 for Klopp’s men, it’s been too long.
Domestic cups don’t get cast in great light in the current day but a day at Wembley with a chance to lift a trophy and become the record winners of the competition, with nine, is there for the taking.
On the march to Wembley!