Despite some uncharacteristic performances, Liverpool have made another strong start to the season under their maestro Jurgen Klopp.
The defending champions sit top of the Premier League standings at Christmas for the third campaign in a row and will look to gain further advantage at the top via their festive fixtures.
The Reds have certainly faced a more challenging festive period. But the way the current season is going, some horrible surprises may still await. Villa away anyone?
Indulge us as we try to predict how Liverpool will fare in the days to come.
West Brom (h) – Liverpool win
First up for Klopp’s men is a home meeting with struggling West Brom on Sunday, 27 December, kick-off 4.30pm. It’s certainly an interesting time to host the Baggies given their recent appointment of ‘Fireman Sam’ Allardyce as manager.
Big Sam got off to a miserable start at his new club, losing 3-0 at home to Aston Villa with midfielder Jake Livermore seeing red.
Confidence will, therefore, be low among the travelling squad. Allardyce may well have one eye on the Baggies’ home meeting with Leeds two days later as a better opportunity to pick up some desperately needed points.
Even if Allardyce tries to park the bus, we predict a comfortable afternoon for Liverpool.
Newcastle (a) – Liverpool win
Three days later, Liverpool travel to St James’ Park to take on Newcastle United, another side in the bottom half of the table.
Aside from injuries, Liverpool’s away form had been one of the club’s only real worries this season. That was, of course, until they put seven past Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park recently.
The Magpies are another side struggling for points and indeed a creative spark. We think the Merseyside outfit should be in for a comfortable evening on Tyneside too.
Southampton (a) – Draw
The Reds end their packed Christmas schedule with a trip to high-flying Southampton, who have enjoyed one of their strongest starts to a top-flight season.
Striker Danny Ings has been crucial to Saints’ stellar form this season, with six goals and three assists to his name.
But the England man has been struck down by injury again. He may not be fit in time for this clash with his former club.
Current form and recent history should still see the away side through. Liverpool have won the past six league meetings between the two sides, scoring at least twice on each occasion.
However, Saints manager Ralph Hassenhutl may be canny enough to engineer a hard-fought draw. We’d rather have another win, though!