January: A crunch month for Liverpool

Paisley Gateway

Huge games in three competitions could see the Reds on course for glory, or their season unravelling.

January is the month that could leave Liverpool with everything to play for, or dealt a severe blow to having a successful season.

This weekend the Reds travel to West Ham United to get 2016 underway, where the result is usually a good indicator as to whether they are heading in the right direction or not. 

After getting to the halfway stage of the season with 30 points, with Jurgen Klopp replacing Brendan Rodgers in the managerial hotseat and starting to get to grips with what the German requires from his players - and all the 'difficult' teams to come to Anfield, it probably isn't unrealistic to expect 40 points in the second half of the campaign and put themselves in contention for the Champions League places.

Following on from West Ham, Liverpool face huge tests at Anfield against league leaders Arsenal and fierce rivals Manchester United before they travel to Norwich City - who have made Carrow Road an awkward place for sides to go to this season.

The opportunity of a cup final is presented before them when they face Stoke City in the League Cup semi-final with the first leg being played at the Britannia Stadium first. The Reds are desperate to see some signs of tangible progress this season, even if it is so early on in Klopp's tenure, but a first trophy in four years would be a good way of showing that he is establishing a winning culture - and a side that can perform on the big stage.

There is the banana skin of Exeter City in the third round of the FA Cup as the Reds will look to keep themselves in all competitions going into February - with the fourth round of the competition following later on in the month if they progress.

The Reds, ideally, would need to close the gap on the top four over the next month and maintain their status in both domestic cup competitions. That way, they will be set up nicely to kick once their European campaign restarts, and they will hope with more players back from injury.

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