Liverpool face January from Hell – and it could get worse with ….

As we head into the time of year when the old cliche of ‘every game is a Cup final now’ is rolled out, Jurgen Klopp will certainly be thinking this weekend’s clash with Arsenal is must win.

Not just because it will keep his Liverpool side in the FA Cup and in the hunt for a whopping four trophies this season. But also because it will mean they avoid wrecking their mini winter break with a replay against the Gunners.

It would add to what is turning out to be a busy start to the New Year for the Reds while their rivals are enjoying some recovery time.

Take their fellow title challengers Manchester City, who currently only have three games scheduled for this month. That’s likely to rise to four if they beat Huddersfield this weekend or five at most if they somehow draw and need a replay against the Championship side to make the fourth round of the FA Cup.

But Liverpool could end up with EIGHT games this month alone in a period which is supposed to give teams a chance to rest.

The Reds have already played one as they swept aside Newcastle on a stormy night at Anfield on Monday. But now they prepare for an FA Cup clash with fellow high-fliers Arsenal, which will mean Klopp won’t be able to rotate too much if he wants his side to continue in the competition.

If it’s a draw then it will be held on January 16 or 17, which would mean their 11-day break between next week’s Carabao Cup semi-final with Fulham and their league clash with Bournemouth on January 21 is broken up. That’s the only free week that they could be squeezed into, given the Reds face the Cottagers in the second leg of the League Cup on January 24 with the fourth round due to take place three days later.

Then there’s the clash with Chelsea to finish off the month in the Premier League. It’s chaotic.

The last time Liverpool’s ‘winter break’ was disrupted by a FA Cup replay was in 2020 when they were held by League One Shrewsbury. Klopp’s response was to avoid the game and let then U23s boss Neil Critchley take charge of a squad with no first-team players.

There’s been no indication if they would repeat that. The focus is winning on Sunday to avoid the replay.

It does mean, though, January threatens to turn into a month of eight games when it should be the quietest few weeks of the season – the drawback of going for four trophies. But teams who go for glory in all competitions shouldn’t be punished for their ambition.

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