The 2017/18 season is in danger of drifting away from Liverpool, and October has the look of a make-or-break month for Jurgen Klopp’s side.
It starts with the small matter of welcoming in-form Manchester United to Anfield, live on Sky Sports Premier League on Saturday, where the gap between the two sides could be stretched to 10 points after only eight games.
Then, it’s a trip to Maribor three days later after two draws from two games in the Champions League group stage, before going to Wembley in the Premier League on October 22 and finally another league clash at home to Huddersfield on October 28.
As Liverpool prepare for a vital month of action in all competitions, we look at their record in October over the years. In the Premier League, at least, it’s impressive.
In the 21 Premier League games Liverpool have played in October since the 2011/12 season, they have won 11, drawn 10 and lost zero.
Their last October defeat came under Roy Hodgson in 2010, losing 2-0 at Everton, having also lost 2-1 at home to Blackpool earlier in the month.
Hodgson hung on for a few more months, before being sacked in January having won just 13 of his 31 games, losing nine.
Liverpool’s October fixtures
- October 14 – Man Utd (home) – Premier League
- October 17 – Maribor (away) – Champions League
- October 22 – Tottenham (away) – Premier League
- October 28 – Huddersfield (home) – Premier League
Liverpool have earned some famous victories in October over the years, beating Chelsea 3-1 at Stamford Bridge in the 2015/16 season, and enjoying a 2-0 win at Everton in the 2011/12 season.
In all competitions in October since the start of the 2011/12 season, Liverpool have played 31, winning 16 and losing just three – against Real Madrid, Udinese and Basel.
And October isn’t the happiest months for Manchester United, Liverpool’s next opponents.
In recent years, they’ve lost against Chelsea (4-0 at Stamford Bridge), Arsenal (3-0 at the Emirates), Manchester City (6-1 at Old Trafford) and Liverpool (2-0 at Anfield).
Liverpool’s record in October since 2011/12
|Premier League||All competitions|
But how do both sides tend to cope directly after the October international break?
Much of the build-up to last season’s clash with Manchester United – also the first game after the October break – centred around how fresh the two sets of players would be after turning out for their countries.
Over the past 10 years, Liverpool have won only four of their return games in the Premier League after the break, drawing four and losing two.
United, meanwhile, have won five and drawn five of their 10 games.
Liverpool / Man Utd record after October break (past 10 seasons)
This will be the third time in seven years the two sides have played each other after the October international break, and you’d get short odds on both managers mentioning the freshness of their players’ legs in the build-up to Saturday’s clash.
Mourinho himself has already mentioned the timing of this particular break, but of the two managers in question, he has little reason to complain.
Anthony Martial, Juan Mata, Ander Herrera and Ashley Young have all enjoyed time off, while Phil Jones had time to recover from a minor injury away from the England camp.
As for Liverpool, only Alberto Moreno, Joel Matip, Loris Karius and James Milner have enjoyed a rest, but key first-team stars Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho will return to the club just 48 hours before the huge game at Anfield.