Liverpool are starting to kick-start their season, with two successive victories in the Premier League moving them into the top half of the table.
The pressure on Brendan Rodgers' head has started to alleviate, and, should the Reds clinch victory over Sunderland this weekend, they will set themselves up for a perfect festive period. They can secure their qualification to the knock-out stage of the Champions League with a victory over Basel on Tuesday, and a tie with Championship side Bournemouth awaits in the League Cup. After a poor start, the seven fixtures scheduled for December could come to define the Merseyside club’s season, and spirits are high that the early errors can be righted with a strong run of form.
However, the intense schedule will cost the Reds some of the first-team stability found in recent weeks, and Rodgers will have to utilise the entire depth of his squad to keep up the strong run. Whilst there is adequate cover in the defensive and midfield positions, forward Rickie Lambert has started four games in a row, and, with Mario Balotelli and Daniel Sturridge injured, the 32-year-old is likely to start again this weekend - with Fabio Borini seemingly outcast by the head coach.
Being able to rotate the squad but continue claiming results could prove to be the biggest challenge faced by Rodgers this season, but Kolo Toure - one of the back-up players who could be receiving much more playing time over the coming weeks - believes that the coach has the perfect squad to overcome any fitness problems.
“That's why we have a group of players,” Toure told the official Liverpool website.
“When you have a lot of players you can rotate and change. That's really important to have a big squad so some people can rest and some can play.
“It's key because when you play every two or three days, it demands a lot physically. Even when you rest somebody, it just helps them be better because it's better to use players who are really fresh rather than a player who is feeling tired and can't give 100 per cent.
“When you can't give 100 per cent, that's no good - as a player, you want to give 100 per cent and be the best you can when you're on the pitch. That's why we have a big squad.”