The international break is a huge annoyance for a number of reasons, and it is especially so when it arrives to halt the brilliant momentum that Liverpool were building just prior to the fortnight off.
The international break is a good time to take stock, look back at what has happened so far and see where we’re heading as the run-up to Christmas and the New Year intensifies.
For a while it appeared as though Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Maribor was going to be ‘one of those games’ yet again for Liverpool: we enjoyed a ridiculous 83% possession in the first half, but simply could not put the ball in the back of the net.
It is truly amazing how quickly the mood can change in football. With Liverpool seemingly lurching from disaster to disaster of late, the 3-0 win over Huddersfield was as timely a boost as Jurgen Klopp and his players could have hoped for.
The less said about last Sunday the better. We know, and accept, that Liverpool cannot go ninety minutes without compiling a horror-show of defensive calamities that would make all involved a few quid on You’ve Been Framed, but to do so as profoundly as they did at Wembley was rather galling.
Despite the brilliance of their opponents on Sunday, a club of Liverpool’s stature should not be losing 1-4 to anybody. But we were well and truly ripped to shreds by Tottenham at Wembley, and once again the root cause of the defeat were basic defensive errors.
Even the most pessimistic of Liverpool supporters would have been expecting their side to get a result on Tuesday at Maribor, but the actual manner of the victory was something else altogether.
You didn’t need to have the perceptive powers of Mystic Meg to know that Jose Mourinho would park the bus at Anfield on Saturday, and the fact that Manchester United managed just one shot on target in the 0-0 with Liverpool – and that Romelu Lukaku would have been better served staying at home with a cup of tea and watching the game on telly – speaks volumes.
There’s that saying that goes ‘it never rains but it pours’, and Jurgen Klopp must have allowed himself a wry smile thinking of the meaning behind that old chestnut.
Many English clubs are splashing out record transfer fees these days, and it is simply the sign of the times when they break their own record to bring in a new talent. It’s a simple reaction to the economics of football that dictates there’s more money sloshing around in the game than ever before.