For Liverpool fans, however, it still feels like an eternity.
News of Thiago Alcantara being seen again this year is unlikely to have dealt another blow to a Reds side already reeling from the long-term absences of Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez.
The postman in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Xherdan Shaqiri, James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are also missing, and it’s easy to see why Ajax boss Erik ten Hag was asking about the issue of find out if his team were favorites for Tuesday’s Champions League clash at Anfield.
The relentless schedule means Liverpool have to negotiate eight more games this month before the transfer window opens in January, giving Jurgen Klopp time to weigh the evidence for the need for a squad strengthening in January .
Until then, however, it will remain an addiction to strengthening from within, with Academy teenage duo Rhys and Neco Williams both poised for more exposure to Europe.
While center-back Rhys has been consistent in his outings this season, right-back Neco has had a more difficult time, unassisted by occupying such a key position with so many first-team regulars already put in the spotlight. difference.
He was hooked at halftime at Brighton on Saturday after drawing unwanted abuse on social media three days earlier following a difficult outing in the loss to Atalanta.
Klopp, however, will have no qualms turning to the Welshman tonight, while his namesake could make a third successive Champions League start if Joel Matip was not taken a risk.
And the Reds boss has highlighted a unique problem these youngsters face when entering the Premier League and World Champions first team.
“If someone is a young Liverpool player or an academy player they already have a lot of talent, otherwise they couldn’t make the cup,” he said.
“They’re going through all these tough times in their youth careers and you’re already used to tough situations and some pressure, but when you take the last step and play in a competitive game for the first team, it’s an animal.” different and I think the boys have adapted really well.
“They did a lot of really good stuff, helped us out, and especially now.
“The only problem they have every now and then is that people compare him to whoever played the position before them – in our case world class players – and that makes it hard for people to see clearly how these boys are talented.
“But from my point of view, they did really well. ”
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Liverpool only need one point to advance to the round of 16, and if things go wrong at Anfield, the safety net of victory at FC Midtjylland next week will be enough to pass.
Klopp would prefer the goal to be reached as soon as possible to provide the possibility of a possible rotation to Denmark, although circumstances dictate overall changes are unlikely tonight against an Ajax side unbeaten since the 1- win. 0 from Liverpool to the Netherlands six weeks ago.
“I don’t have the players to prioritize,” said the Reds boss. “We played on Saturday and the fittest players for this game were on the pitch and this will be the case for this game because we don’t have the players. to make those kinds of decisions – and I’ve never made those kinds of decisions because all competitions are very important to us.
“I expect a close game, Ajax are a very good team and since then our game has flown quite well. Big results, clearly at the top of the table, very talented players are coming back. ”
Andy Robertson, who was limited to a 30-minute cameo from the bench in the 2-0 home loss to Atalanta last week, is a player likely to be asked to return.
And the Scotland international has joined the growing chorus of governing bodies to help prevent more players from breaking down due to the workload.
“The schedule can’t change because we have to do all of these games in different competitions,” said Robertson. “We’re round headed but maybe we could get a little more help.
“My manager was probably the most vocal on this but I know a lot of managers are asking for five replacements.
“It seems like every game I watch or every game I play in someone is getting hurt with something
“I always go 100% of course! Some games that you may need to adapt. But you can’t change everything and you can’t change too much. I hope I can stay as fit and healthy as I am today. ”