The next 10 games (3rd Quarter of the Season)

My first observation is that, Chelsea aside, it looks pretty close – a loss more or less, a draw more or less, combinations of a draw and loss more or less, shape the places 2-6. Spurs too many draws, City too many losses. It’s pretty close, and can be changing with a Game Week or two. Gap between 1st and 6th is of course somehow out of reach (13 points) most probably rendering Utd out of the title race (not mathematically of course, but barring a really unexpected turn of events).
Then, goal difference. Our defence is improving – it’s at the same level as City’s and Utd’s, not really much worse than Arsenal’s, with all 3 teams being +/- 0, 1, or 2 from us. Only Chelsea and Spurs really have a much better defence (-8&7 goals conceded compared to us). But Spurs have also had a much worse attack than us (it’s currently 9 less than us, and to think that they’ve scored 8 in their last 2 games means that it was much worse than the table shows – but can also mean that they can start scoring better now).


Last table observation is that we have reached a personal Premier League record of 43 points, exceeding the 2008-09 team of 42 points.

A record that doesn’t show on this table is our EPL goals scored in 2016 (87), which hasn’t happened since the great 80s teams (TIA article said 1985, LFC TV said 1982, doesn’t really matter) – this says a lot about Jürgen Klopp’s attacking football brand.
In any case, there’s a very interesting set of features coming up (one game already underway, our draw at Sunderland, 2-2).
The focus in the previous thread was on our “easier” schedule compared with rivals playing each other and being guaranteed to be losing points between them.
This time, it will be a bit different:

1) Every 2nd game we have a massive 6 pointer, which gives us a great opportunity to change the situation to our benefit on the top 6 mini table.

We do have the advantage that we have won all 3 of our top 4 games, and won 3 and drew 2 in our top 6 games. But we also do have the disadvantage of being decimated with injuries for this spell, and players unavailable that will join their national teams for the ACN. Our attack is especially hit.

Now, there’s a very interesting pattern here to follow:
For these 10 games, we alternate between game days where we play vs a top 6 rival, and no other rivals paly between them (i.e. feature is the 6 pointer game between us and a top 6 rival), and between game days where we play an “easier” side while 2 rivals play against each other – which means guaranteed loss of points for either or one of the two. This pattern only breaks on the 9th game, where all top 6 play vs “easier” sides.

2) As we have already played each team, the game will be compared to the previous round (so on different ground), but also to last season’s same game on the same ground, especially if it was with Klopp.

3) Again this time we’ll have a look at rivals playing each other at the same time.

4) Again, our points and goal difference will be posted, but this time as a table and comparing to the half season.

5) I chose 10 games because that’s where the pattern fits, and also because it’s easier to look at the points (out of 30), and because it leaves the last 9 games for the end – the picture by the end of these 10 games will show who is still in the race for the final rally.
If we’re still in the title race by then, we’ll have another scenario like the previous one where we play against the lower table sides while our rivals play each other 7 out of the 10 game days – hope we fare a bit better there than we did this time round.
One positive is that we’d have already played the 3 teams that are currently in the bottom 3 of the table, some of which will be fighting for survival, but we’ll have faced them already. Palace and Middlesbrough are currently the other 2 right outside the relegation zone, and we’ll still have to play them, but let’s see whether they are still close to the relegation zone by then.
So here in the OP, there’s a preview outline of the 10 games (with a bit of info on the first game already played )
1. Game 20 vs Sunderland (away) Draw 2-2
Previous Season: Facing Sunderland away saw us win 1-0, on the 30th of December. Klopp’s first couple of months underway, a difficult away win should and could have been repeated now, but having played within 44 hours of the City game, fatigue was evident at the game, and we were unlucky enough to be equalised twice by penalties – the first one being rather soft in my opinion, and the second one coming after a foul that never existed, in my opinion (and a silly and unnecessary handball for the penalty too, from Mane). But that’s already done and can’t be undone, so there.

Rivals: Spurs vs Chelsea (2-0)

All others won (City won at home vs Burnley 2-1/Utd won away vs West Ham 2-0), while Arsenal drew vs Bournemouth 3-3.
Changes: Utd surely closing in at -5 now, City cancelling most of the margin increase we earned by beating them and is now back to -2 from us. Spurs closing in as well right behind us now with same goal difference too, Chelsea at +5 points and +2 GD.
Arsenal drawing to Bournemouth sees them still, 3 points behind us, but also sees them drop to 5th now. It’s getting tighter and tighter there at the top of the table.
What a missed chance this was, but on the other hand, “phew” exhale too!

2. Game 21 vs Manchester Utd (away)

Previous Season result: We lost 3-1 here last season, but with Rodgers, and facing a different manager. Let’s see whether his tradition with Mourinho changes the outcome of last season’s game to our favour this time.

Rivals: none play against each other

Chelsea face Leicester away

Arsenal face Swansea away

City face Everton away

Spurs face West Brom at home

3. Game 22 vs Swansea (home)

Previous Season: We won 1-0, with Klopp in charge, and with Swansea not getting a shot on target. Us getting 2, converting one of the two. A narrow win in a difficult first couple of months for Klopp.

Rivals: City face Spurs at home

Chelsea face Hull at home

Arsenal face Burnley at home

Utd face Stoke away

4. Game 23 vs Chelsea (home)

Previous Season: This one was a draw with Klopp in May, 1-1, 3 games to go. We had the possession and more shots (both on and off target) but were quite wasteful. This one will be a massive game now, with us making it closer if we win, and with Chelsea truly out of sight if they win. A draw of course will see us miss a massive chance to close in, and Chelsea can afford a draw – will they play for one?

Rivals: none play against each other

Arsenal face Watford at home

City face West Ham away

Utd face Hull at home

5. Game 24 vs Hull (away)

Previous Season: N/A

Rivals: Chelsea face Arsenal at home

City face Swansea at home

Spurs face Middlesbrough at home

Utd face Leicester away

6. Game 25 vs Tottenham (home)

Previous Season: One of the 2 draws (Klopp seems to usually draw vs Tottenham, doesn’t he?) vs Spurs last year, this one was 1-1. Spurs had more possession and won more duels, while we were slightly more creative and more accurate with shots.

Rivals: none play against each other

Chelsea face Burnley away

Arsenal face Hull at home

City face Bournemouth away

Utd face Watford at home

7. Game 26 vs Leicester (away)

Previous Season: The to-be-champions side took their revenge after having lost to us at Anfield (1-0), beating us 2-0. They are a different side this year, clearly concentrating on perhaps the only time they will be in the Champions League, but by then they may be already out of the CL and possibly in the danger zone, so we’ll see what’s at stake at the moment.

Rivals: City face Utd at home

Chelsea face Swansea at home

Arsenal face Southampton away

Spurs face Stoke at home

8. Game 27 vs Arsenal (home)

Previous Season: One of the two Arsenal draws, this one was 3-3 in what I remember to be a very exciting game that we could have won. We were famous for yielding a lead back then, more so than we do now. Klopp’s first game vs Arsenal with Liverpool (but having faced Arsenal with Dortmund many times before).

Rivals: none play against each other

Chelsea face West Ham away

Spurs face Everton at home

City face Sunderland away

Utd face Bournemouth at home

9. Game 28 vs Burnley (home)

Previous Season: N/A. Previous Game away: One of our 2 losses so far this season. A dangerous side but we’ll be playing at home and if we have the full squad it will be a different game. Klopp must have a plan what to change vs the smaller sides that had beaten us.

Rivals: none play against each other

Chelsea face Watford at home

Arsenal face Leicester at home

Spurs face Palace away

Utd face Southampton away

10. Game 29 vs City (away)

Previous Season: A game that elevated Klopp and gave us a glimpse of what can be expected once Klopp has the side finalised (both in terms of players and in terms of playing style), we won this 4-1. A difficult place to play, but we seem to have a good tradition there.

Rivals: none play against each other

Chelsea face Stoke away

Arsenal face West Brom away

Spurs face Southampton at home

Utd face Middlesbrough away