October will separate the males from the young. Most clubs competing in Europe have nine games – yes, nine – next month and that includes Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool.
The Reds have Brighton, Rangers, Arsenal, Rangers again, Manchester City, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Ajax and Leeds until Halloween.
That’s enough to make some fans nervous. Muscle injuries have not been good for Liverpool. This is how most of their players get into trouble, like Thiago Alcantara, who is absent from midfield with a hamstring injury.
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool could revive their title challenge if they have a good October
That’s of course given the work this group has put in to implement Klopp’s style of play.
Even the machine-like James Milner has collapsed on it in the past. But I’m not here to be unhappy. I want to look at the silver lining of this schedule and for Liverpool this manic month could be a blessing in disguise.
Klopp’s training has been described as “brutal” and “extremely tough” and I suspect these players will embrace this match list because there is no time for intense sessions in between.
They can use this relentless schedule to establish a winning rhythm and revitalize their season.
It’s time for Klopp’s Liverpool as at the moment they are a whopping eight points behind Manchester City and will therefore be written off in the title race.
BONKER’S SCHEDULE SHOULD GIVE MAGUIRE A CHANCE TO START
Harry Maguire apparently spins slower than cheese. Spins like a cruise ship. Turns around like he’s a turtle pulling a trailer.
He does not do it. This is all exaggerated. He’s a good player, Maguire. But as I said in my round table chat with my sports mail Columnists on Wednesday he cannot start for England unless he starts for his club Manchester United.
That’s another bonus of this crazy schedule as it should give him some starting chances. Erik ten Hag is under no obligation to England boss Gareth Southgate to use Maguire.
Harry Maguire should get the chance to start for Manchester United as games are coming fast
But it would be surprising if Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez were asked to start all nine of United’s games, even if they are the manager’s preferred partnership. That would be too much.
Their last game in the Premier League was a 3-1 win over Arsenal on 4 September.
It renewed faith. But if they are beaten by Manchester City on Sunday the reaction will not be pleasant and Ten Hag will realize that mischief and gloom are never far from United.
DIEGO COSTA AT WOLVES LOOKS LIKE A PANIC SIGNATURE TO ME
Diego Costa is cash register. A gruesome piece of work that defenders are reluctant to face.
But don’t expect to see the same Costa who wowed us between 2014 and 2017 as Chelsea’s snarling super-forward.
The 33-year-old’s last game was in December 2021 – a Brazilian Serie A game for Atletico Mineiro in which he played 58 minutes. Now he’s back in England after Wolves reacted to Sasa Kalajdzic’s ACL injury.
Costa’s debut could come against West Ham on Saturday and Wolves need goals as the joint worst scorers in the Premier League.
I’m glad I was wrong but this calls for panic and I don’t expect Costa to be at his best.
Diego Costa appears to be a panic buy from Wolves – he is set to make his debut on Saturday
MARTINEZ V HAALAND’S DAVID VS GOLIATH!
You can’t imagine that 5ft 9in Martinez will tag 6ft 4in Erling Haaland on corners in Sunday’s Manchester derby.
Photographers will do their best to show how one towers over the other.
But for all that has highlighted the United defender’s greatness, you have to be impressed by how he’s bouncing back from his initial struggles. He has shown good aggression as if to let his critics know he can handle the Premier League.
However, there is no bigger challenge than Haaland and this fight is one of the reasons why Sunday’s derby will make for interesting viewers.
Lisandro Martinez (left) and Erling Haaland (right) will face off this weekend
TRENT HAS A HUGE POINT TO PROVE
With all the ado about his skills as a defender, Trent Alexander-Arnold will feel like he has something to prove.
He’s an integral part of the Liverpool team but not for England and that’s sparked debate.
However, I think the criticism of Gareth Southgate was overdone.
Alexander-Arnold isn’t the best defensively, so he doesn’t play for his country.
But how much the right-back would like to prove himself with his club now.
Trent Alexander-Arnold has a point to prove after not playing for England at the break
ARSENAL RISK OF TRAPPING IN CONTE’S TRAP
Arsenal will look to control Saturday’s north London derby. They will want to keep the ball and take the game to Tottenham.
But that risks playing into the hands of Antonio Conte. He loves it when his team can sit tight and bang the counter.
It’s a specialty of Conte. Now that Son Heung-min is getting in shape, they could damage Arsenal.
WILL IT BE LEEDS BLOOD AND THUNDER DESPITE MARCH ON THE SIDELINE?
There will be no Jesse March on the touchline against Aston Villa. He will serve out his red card suspension at Brentford.
Marsch wants blood and thunder from his players on the pitch and he brings that to the technical front. Leeds started this season well but then fell into a bad streak and need to find a balance.
COUTINHO HAS TO PRODUCE MORE FOR GERRARD
Steven Gerrard has backed Philippe Coutinho but he’s still waiting for his faith in the Brazilian to be confirmed.
Coutinho has not scored a goal or assisted in the Premier League so far this season.
He’s talented but Coutinho needs to produce more for Gerrard’s sake.
Philippe Coutinho needs to do better for Aston Villa to reward Steven Gerrard’s confidence
MADNESS IF RODGERS LET NOW
It would be madness if Leicester lost to Nottingham Forest on Monday and Brendan Rodgers was sacked. If they wanted a change, the time was at the start of this international break.
Announcing a layoff now would make it seem like the board is making it up over time, and that’s never a good thing.
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