The Merseyside Derby kick starts a month like no other for Liverpool. Before the turn of the year, they have nine games in 26 days and their squad will travel close to 11,000 miles in round trips to fulfill these fixtures.
It is a gruelling schedule, one that will go a considerable way to determining how successful Liverpool’s campaign will be, but how will Jurgen Klopp keep his players at their peak?
Sportsmail examines how the league leaders will be able to keep fighting for trophies on all fronts.
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp will rely on his backroom staff to get his side through December
Klopp has built a team at Liverpool that are able to help lighten the overall pressure and load
December will test his staff and players more than before with nine matches coming in 26 days
Perhaps the best player to assess the demands is Sadio Mane. The Senegal forward has had a relentless two years and rarely misses a game for club or country. His form in that period has been so good that he was a contender to win the Ballon d’Or.
December 4: Everton (H)
December 7; Bournemouth (A)
December 10: Salzburg (A)
December 14: Watford (H)
December 17: Aston Villa (A)
December 18: FIFA Club World Cup
December 21: FIFA Club World Cup
December 26: Leicester (A)
December 29: Wolves (H)
Liverpool’s schedule might sound gruelling – trips to Bournemouth, Leicester, Salzburg, Aston Villa and Qatar – but the desire to do something historic is driving them on. The players have a mantra of looking no further ahead than the next game and they do not allow themselves to be distracted.
‘Honestly I think tiredness is in the head,’ said Mane. ‘So as long as the body recovers well, I think it is not difficult for us to play every single game. If the team needs us – and the coach needs us – we will be able to play and help the team. I am here to work every single day and to be ready.
‘You just have to be as professional as you can. To win games and win trophies motivates players all the time. If we can win the Club World Club Cup, it will give us more momentum. Hopefully, we are going to win it and give us another blast of high energy to go again for the rest of the season.’
Sadio Mane's schedule has been relentless but he says he is ready for what comes his way
Virgil van Dijk has also adapted his training methods to play as many matches as he can
There is, of course, more to it than just having a strong mind. Liverpool have invested heavily in their playing staff but they have done just as much work behind the scenes to assemble a technical staff that will help them excel.
Andreas Kornmayer, the German head of fitness and sports science, is a hugely important figure whose responsibilities have grown over the last two years, particularly since former assistant Zelkjo Buvac quit. Klopp once described him as an