The run in, managing our last 7 to 10 matches

RedForever2014

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
3,797
I'm sure many on here might be pleased to see me post to my own thread, and spend my time on my own desert island, but all are welcome to contribute....

It's always debatable when a run in starts, but in a season of 50 to 55 matches, maybe the last stretch would be 10'ish matches.

As we sit here today, we have a maximum of 10 matches remaining, which would be 5 at home and 5 away, 5 in the PL and maybe 5 in the CL, with trips to the North East, South Wales, Portugal and possibly Spain once or twice to come.

Personally I think we will need to win all our PL matches to win the title, and at the very least I want City to have to win all their matches if they are to do so. Five more PL wins for us would be an extremely credible end to the season after the WDW sequences and I hope and pray it would see the title come our way.

IMO, by the time we play Huddersfield, whoever controls the destiny of the title will win it. I can't see City dropping points after their match at United, with Burnley away, Leicester at home and Brighton away to follow. I also think we have it in us to do whatever is needed against Huddersfield, Newcastle and Wolves.

I see three blocks of matches plus a potential season finale. The eight days starting on Tuesday is a block of three crucial matches that will set up what follows, after which we can regroup ahead of the Cardiff and Huddersfield matches that fall between the CL QF and any SF, during which City play Spurs and United in the PL.

Then, if still in the CL, we have a block of four matches, starting with any CL semi first leg, through Newcastle away, any CL semi second leg and the PL season ender against Wolves.

Hopefully that final block of four becomes all about ourselves, with us in control of our own destiny.

If we do make it to the CL final, there's such a gap after Wolves that it's out on its own.

Squad management is going to be key in this.

My own view is that our full backs are a bit fatigued just now, mentally as much as physically. We're seeing them bettered more than we're used to, so Robertson having 9 days off before Chelsea is now a blessing in disguise. I'd probably start Moreno on Tuesday, and maybe at Huddersfield at home, to help give Andy a breather.

It's good to have options to take TAA off or out, Klopp was bang on with that last night, Milner in the short term, Gomez hopefully by the Cardiff or Huddersfield match. I prefer Gomez at centre back, but a match or two at right back would help him get match fit without risking mistakes in the centre back department.

Gini is also suffering a bit of fatigue, and I'd take him out for a few matches and hopefully see him refreshed by the time of the Cardiff match in two weeks.

Fabinho was a bit off last night, but I think this was due to Gini's underperformance and he needs Henderson or Milner in there with him.

It's going to be tough to rest the forwards, though hopefully Bobby and Salah are now finding their top form and adrenaline sees them through, save for the odd rest, maybe one of them at Cardiff and another against Huddersfield.

If VVD is to get a rest, maybe Huddersfield at home is the time to do it, although Lovren with Moreno outside him might make for a lively night.

It's great to see so many players now fit and available, or coming close to it. If nothing else the likes of Oxlade are great to bring into the matchday squad towards the end of the season if we have a few injuries.

For me, an occasional rest for VVD, full backs and forwards, and a fair bit of rotation in midfield can see us through this period.

But above all, if Salah can now explode into life and become the player who dragged us through the run in last season, offensively at least, this last phase might well become 10 matches after all.

Oh and maybe yield a shiny pot or two that we all crave. Yes even me.....
 

ILLOK

In the Danger Zone.
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
15,388
The idea of resting Van Dijk is non starter, perhaps unless we're 5-0 up against Porto.

I rememeber the calls for him to be rested away at Burnley, a game we'd have likely dropped points in if he was. He has to start every game.
 

RedForever2014

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
3,797
The idea of resting Van Dijk is non starter, perhaps unless we're 5-0 up against Porto.

I rememeber the calls for him to be rested away at Burnley, a game we'd have likely dropped points in if he was. He has to start every game.
It's tough to contemplate it, but Huddersfield at home is the one that is a possibility IMO.

If we can't rest him at home, against a bottom of the table and already relegated club, with a fully fit squad, it does suggest we need to improve the second best centre back at the club, such that they can occasionally be the main man whilst VVD gets a rest.
 

Incognito

The Normal One
Joined
Jan 6, 2011
Messages
1,687
It's tough to contemplate it, but Huddersfield at home is the one that is a possibility IMO.

If we can't rest him at home, against a bottom of the table and already relegated club, with a fully fit squad, it does suggest we need to improve the second best centre back at the club, such that they can occasionally be the main man whilst VVD gets a rest.
We could have rested him against a bottom club if this was one of the earlier games of the season or if we weren't chasing the title. But now? No chance IMO.

And no way Moreno starts any game for us this season as far as I am concerned, these are all finals left and I would rather have Milner Fab or even Hendo there but not Albie.
 

FilthyBloke

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 26, 2018
Messages
1,261
Thing is with the Huddersfield game and resting players... if we were to drop points in that game because of it I would jump of a cliff.
I’m all for taking players off in games where we are leading 3-0 or going to a second leg fixture with a 4-0 lead, but not really any other circumstances.
 

lfc.eddie

"¿Plata... O Plomo?"
Joined
Sep 18, 2006
Messages
51,853
A handful of League matches left to play and champs league semi finals are subject to us beating Porto. Resting our most influential and important player at this point of the season is a nonstarter for me. If he is fit and clear from suspension, he plays. At this point it is no longer down to physical capability alone, adrenaline will be kicking in and the mental rush will be on overload. If the player is key and able to play, he keeps his spot.
 

Dane

NEXT!
Joined
Jan 14, 2012
Messages
6,229
Agree with a lot of the OP, but not the VVD bit.
Also, how likely are we to see anything of Ox?
Regarding our strikers, Huddersfield is the only remote possibility of rotating any of them, but I wouldn't even for that game.
There is only a 7 goal difference between us and City, and I'm sure someone is due a fucking good hiding from us, Huddersfield being the favourites on paper.
Plus after reading the lengthy Mane interview on the official site, there is no way he should be contemplated for resting.
I'm convinced he's a robot.
 

ILLOK

In the Danger Zone.
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
15,388
It's tough to contemplate it, but Huddersfield at home is the one that is a possibility IMO.

If we can't rest him at home, against a bottom of the table and already relegated club, with a fully fit squad, it does suggest we need to improve the second best centre back at the club, such that they can occasionally be the main man whilst VVD gets a rest.
There is no need to rest him, he's a centre back.
 

GermanRed

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2017
Messages
2,367
They no run much
I‘m not saying VvD needs a rest.

But CBs in generell are more prone than other players because their Job is more demanding physically, their stature and body weight.
 

FGred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2015
Messages
2,932
A handful of League matches left to play and champs league semi finals are subject to us beating Porto. Resting our most influential and important player at this point of the season is a nonstarter for me. If he is fit and clear from suspension, he plays. At this point it is no longer down to physical capability alone, adrenaline will be kicking in and the mental rush will be on overload. If the player is key and able to play, he keeps his spot.
I cant imagine VVD would be too happy to be rested for any games
 

Red_Jedi

Anfield kick about
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
1,489
I've decided to leave it to Klopp on squad management. To go toe to toe with this City team (after what they did last season) is amazing.

They know they can't slip up - and a slip up is a draw, not just a loss. Next Sunday, they don't beat Palace and we beat Chelsea - oh my how that will feel.

Its happening.
 

legalalien

Watcher of the skies
Joined
Oct 23, 2010
Messages
8,449
Agree with pretty much everything in the OP except Moreno playing anywhere or anytime for LFC in this season. The guy is a total liability and if we need a determined left-sided blocker of right wingers then I'd choose Dennis Skinner ahead of the soon to be ex-Red Alberto Moreno. Or Milner.

I see the logic behind resting VvD against Huddersfield, but he's not looking kind of knackered then I don't see the need. Maybe a substitution or two if we're two goals up against Cardiff and / or Huddersfield.
 

Billy Biskix

TIA Youth Team
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Messages
2,508
I've decided to leave it to Klopp on squad management. To go toe to toe with this City team (after what they did last season) is amazing.
Yes, agreed. One thing I have learnt about Klopp over the last three and a half years is that he probably knows what he's doing when it comes to managing a football team. He has managed the squad brilliantly as he's done every season since his first full one when we ran into a wall around Jan/Feb and the entire season threatened to grind to a halt. He obviously learnt a lot from that. Since then the season has followed a pattern of slow introduction of new players early on, then heavy rotation from November - Jan to get everyone up to speed, so we have some genuine competition for the run-in.

There is no need to rest any players now and no one is going to want to be rested when you're going for a PL/CL double. Everyone will be desperate to play in every game. Seasons like this don't come round that often and the plan will have been to have everyone peaking right about now. For Klopp it will be a case of picking the best team on the basis of fitness and performance. He sees them every day, he knows how fit they are, what their mental state is. He's in the best position to judge which is why he usually gets it right.
 

Red over the water

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
1,247
Good opening post to lay out the blocks of games that remain, and then to start a conversation about how we might shuffle the pack.

I think Klopp will take it game by game to see how they are doing. For example, Gini seemed to hit a physical wall against Southampton, so he might benefit from a rest. Fortunately we have some depth in the midfield to be able to do that and not skip a beat.

In our system the fullbacks are crucial, and we have a bit more depth to be able to cover right back to give TAA a breather, but if we have to do the same for Robbo, and he would benefit from it too, the options are more limited. Like everyone else I’m almost as jittery as the player himself, when Moreno gets the nod, but if we do that against say, Huddersfield, I could just about see it. Mind you, no other changes in the back line if Moreno is playing, and I want VVD playing inside him, and talking to him.

On VVD I don’t think we should shuffle him. He is a kingpin of the side. If he misses a game it should only be for injury, and fortunately on that front he seems very robust. If he is tired he is still our best defender. The game there is mostly about positioning, winning your battles, especially in the air, and bring the ball out and passing it well to get us started. He exudes calm authority and I would not rest him, as that is potentially inviting trouble.

So... try to find a way to get some rest for the fullbacks. Agreed. Easier on Trent’s side, but if Moreno has a farewell game before leaving, make sure it is against the weakest opponent possible, with Van Dijk playing too.

Midfield... shuffle the pack. Keita just started and scored. Maybe that will give him something to build on for the run in. Lallana played well a couple of games back when called on. Gini looks out of steam right now, but Henderson and Milner came in and changed it yesterday. Fabinho is becoming the most important midfielder. Maybe we will see Ox before the end? Anyhow, there are options here, and we should shuffle the pack as the manager deems fit.

Up front... the same three should play all or most of the time. The drop off in quality is too great when they aren’t all on display. Ideally next season we will have Werner, or Bergwijn, or someone to rotate in to freshen the trio up, or indeed play all four in an attacking line up. But for this season, they should all play.

However... if someone is dead on their feet, and Klopp and the team can assess that game by game, Origi is the first in line to come in, and since his decisive contribution against Everton he has done well, worked hard, and is an option. Another option is Shaqiri, thought we haven’t seen him for a while. I’m not quite sure how much of that is injury, and how much is Klopp not quite fancying him.

Another way to get some rest is to get the game won, and then bring players off early. Ideally we will do this in at least a couple of the remaining games, build a two goal lead, or more, and rest one or two strikers at that point.
 

Hope in your heart

Loyalty and patience, two undervalued concepts...
Admin
Joined
Jul 16, 2007
Messages
22,168
I've decided to leave it to Klopp on squad management. To go toe to toe with this City team (after what they did last season) is amazing.

They know they can't slip up - and a slip up is a draw, not just a loss. Next Sunday, they don't beat Palace and we beat Chelsea - oh my how that will feel.

Its happening.
Who is playing first, them or us?
 

Red_Jedi

Anfield kick about
Joined
May 30, 2017
Messages
1,489
Yes, agreed. One thing I have learnt about Klopp over the last three and a half years is that he probably knows what he's doing when it comes to managing a football team. He has managed the squad brilliantly as he's done every season since his first full one when we ran into a wall around Jan/Feb and the entire season threatened to grind to a halt. He obviously learnt a lot from that. Since then the season has followed a pattern of slow introduction of new players early on, then heavy rotation from November - Jan to get everyone up to speed, so we have some genuine competition for the run-in.

There is no need to rest any players now and no one is going to want to be rested when you're going for a PL/CL double. Everyone will be desperate to play in every game. Seasons like this don't come round that often and the plan will have been to have everyone peaking right about now. For Klopp it will be a case of picking the best team on the basis of fitness and performance. He sees them every day, he knows how fit they are, what their mental state is. He's in the best position to judge which is why he usually gets it right.
There are moments when i think I know better than Klopp - especially when we are not winning, and I have many LFC mates who express their thinking more during these times - but the truth is, we have one heck of a manager at the helm. Klopp pretty much knows what he's doing.... Yet to lose a 2 legged tie in Europe, and coming unto 2 years since losing at Anfield in the league.....

Lets just keep winning, but I don't mind drawing the 2nd leg of the Champions League matches as long as we win the 1st leg - and the final. And 5 more wins in the PL... not much else the man can do.
 



TheSweetSilverSong

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 5, 2013
Messages
902
A handful of League matches left to play and champs league semi finals are subject to us beating Porto. Resting our most influential and important player at this point of the season is a nonstarter for me. If he is fit and clear from suspension, he plays. At this point it is no longer down to physical capability alone, adrenaline will be kicking in and the mental rush will be on overload. If the player is key and able to play, he keeps his spot.
Eddie, when I posted the thread for the 2013-14 run-in, you kinda objected, saying "one game at a time", thinking it wasn't necessary and fearing that having a thread encompass more than 1 game would affect results! Glad to see you're past that mode :-)
And I agree with the point you make re: who starts.

On the thread topic, I'm thinking about 4 things:
1) The mini league: Back to before the Utd game, we had to face Utd, Spurs and Chelsea. City had to face the same, in different order (Chelsea, Spurs, Utd). My thought at the time was that it could make the whole difference who would harvest more point in those games. And as we had started with a single point in a frustrating goalless draw, while City started by demolishing Chelsea, it looked cloudy for the rest of this chunk of elite-opponent games. But since, we have beaten Spurs, and have gathered 4 out of 6, and have only Chelsea to face, while City have 3 out of 3 but still have both Spurs and Utd to face.
This, in my view, makes the Chelsea game ever so important - beat them and we'll have 7 out of 9, and done with the 3 games vs top 6, while City still have to face two of them. Bit if we draw or lose, it's 5 out of 9 or 4 out of 9 respectively, and City will have to win only one of the two games to top that score.
Of course, all that is relative - we anyway have to win. Just saying what my thoughts were before our Utd game, and how they follow up at this point.
This game comes after City face Palace. If City win, it's a tremendous pressure for us not to lose any points, vs an opponent that can be hard to crack on their day. Should City lose any points before we play, it will be a massive opportunity, and changes the character of the game a lot - win and we will be on top with our fate "in our hands again". Lose points, and we'll still be in it as much as we are now.

2) Midfield options: I think that Fabinho starts as many games as possible in the League, hopefully every single one. He can sit out the two Porto games unless necessary. Wijnaldum needs a rest at this point, his peak months are gone and he looks like last season - doesn't seem to be working in an ideal trio combo at the moment. I'm just hoping that sitting out a couple of games he can find his game again, and can prove a crucial asset for the final few games and hopefully for the CL if we go through. Henderson seems to have the engine at the moment, and it seems to be the issue of finding him the right role. Playing further back was necessary in the era before Fabinho, and meant he couldn't add any goals, which was one of the reasons I feel cause the criticism. I think that together with someone that can create, and Fabinho behind him, he can be more valuable.
I always use to see him as box to box, and as someone that could press efficiently in CM. So if Keita can benefit from his goal and be a bit less susceptible in ball retention and passing (i.e. can control not losing the ball so much), maybe that's the trio for the last 5 games. Ox could sub in from the bench for Keita for a few games, if ready. Lallana cameos (or even starts) could be good for rotation too, I guess.
I'd say a mainstay of Fabinho-Henderson-Keita, with Milner rotating for Henderson where needed, and Lallana primarily and Ox later in the stages rotating for Keita.
But of course, all this is based on current form - which may well change in the course of the month.

3) The winning streaks. As I pointed out in other threads, we are currently on 4 wins in a row. If we win our next 5 it would make it 9 back to back wins. It would require a tremendous form, but one that we already have had this season.
City are on 8, having just surpassed their season's record (which was 7). But to win their next 6 would take them to 14! That's highly unlikely. I don't think any team has done that in the past (i.e. win their last 14 games). So I'm basically more worried whether we can win our games rather than whether City will win theirs.
 

Nevoo34

Sleeping with the enemy
Joined
Apr 17, 2008
Messages
1,382
If our best 11-14 are fit they start/contribute. We are now in a mini league, 10 games from glory (if city fuck up) 10 games we don’t have to win by the way, 5 wins (pl) and 5 draws (cl) in our favour of course could win both.

But fuck it, we can win all 10, the players can see the finishing line, they will all be chomping at the bit.

They all play/contribute unless suspension or injury dictates otherwise.

We can see the crest of the wave, now is the time to ride it.
 

RedForever2014

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 27, 2014
Messages
3,797
I said last summer that our objectives in order to win the league, should be to tighten up at the back whilst not neutering our goal scoring that much, to beat lesser sides more routinely and to get more points from the matches against the top sides.

We've made progress in all of those, although disappointingly regressed in head to heads with City.

We stand at 16 points from 27 against City, Spurs, United, Arsenal and Chelsea, having beaten all bar City at least once (Chelsea match pending). We ended last season with 10 from 30.

This has played a big part in how comfortably we have qualified for top 4, having now effectively secured second spot too. These matches represent direct points swings with competitors for top positions. Last season we took 10 points and allowed other top sides to take 20 points from our matches with them. If we beat Chelsea, the swing will be 18 points, 9 more for us, 9 less for other top sides in our head to heads.

The Chelsea match is our last against a quality side that has the players who can cause damage to us, and who also has something to play for. Other sides we'll play have something to play for, and will be tough to beat, but if we're on our game we know we can beat them all.

The Chelsea match is so pivotal, another three points, further progress on a key stat, plus ensuring City need to keep winning, taking us closer to their Spurs and United matches with them needing wins not draws.

Many of the issues that could affect City in their matches with Palace, Burnley, Leicester and Brighton could equally affect us in our matches with Cardiff, Newcastle and Wolves.

If we have a slight advantage, it's that we play Chelsea having had more rest than them, Huddersfield at home is the easiest of any of the matches City or ourselves have left, and Wolves being our last match, and at home, should see us able to better them if the title depends on it.

Also, we play three from five at home, City play four from six away. I also think that, contrary to what some think, Brendan Rodgers would love to play a part in us winning the title so that a small part of it rubs off on him.

My main concern, something only strengthened by the Walker incident at Wembley, is that City are getting result changing decisions from referees.

Yes, we have benefitted from decisions, but in ways that didn't affect the outcome.

In this twisted country of ours, there seems to be a growing media clamour for City to do the quad, in order to provide the necessary content for another 10 page invincibles pull out, despite it being known that they've broken every FFP rule in arguably fraudulent ways.

I saw reference to the City juggernaut in the weekend media, ironic when it's the media adulation juggernaut that is perhaps making referees fearful of being the man to bring an end to the quad, just by making correct decisions.

IMO City will only slip up once because decisions will ensure they don't slip up more than that. If anything, we're likely to suffer result changing decisions against us, like the non penalty at Southampton could have been.

We need to step up a level to avoid this, so let's hope Salah, in particular, returns to the form over the next month that ensures we do indeed take the win sequence to nine, and means just one slip costs City the title.

How ironic that would be, after all their baiting after Gerrard's slip last time.
 
Last edited:

Limiescouse

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 26, 2014
Messages
12,638
I just realized our game against Chelsea this week is their third in 6 days, including a Thursday night game in Prague. I know technically we have a 3 game week as well, but with the league game just gone being on a friday (vs Monday) and a home game on tuesday vs a trip to central europe on a thursday, it's a much more favourable schedule for what is on paper our most difficult game of the run in.
 
Last edited: