The busy festive period can often define where a team finishes in the Premier League.
Games come thick and fast, with many sides learning what their fate may turn out to be come May.
Liverpool currently lie ninth in the top flight, five points away from the top four and a pattern of solid results could see them within the mix for a Champions League spot.
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Jurgen Klopp has to prepare for three winnable games within a space of eight days and he’ll have extended hours in the office planning for the matches.
The Reds face Sunderland, Leicester City and West Ham United from December 26 - January 2. If the Merseyside outfit scoop maximum points, they’ll no doubt take a significant rise up the table and could well find themselves in the top four by the end of their tough run of fixtures.
Leicester City – 26th December at Anfield
Who’d have thought at the start of the season Liverpool would be hosting genuine title contenders on Boxing Day.
Leicester’s efforts so far this term have been fairytale-like and their victories against current champions Chelsea and away at in-form Everton made people finally sit up and take note of them.
Many nominated the Foxes as relegation contenders in August but instead they’ve been the opposite.
Jamie Vardy’s form in the final third has been outstanding in its own right. Just five years ago, he was playing for Halifax Town and now he’s the Premier League’s top scorer.
Claudio Ranieri has done a remarkable job at the King Power and there’s no signs that the wheels are about to fall off the current league leaders.
Their quick, counter-attacking style, orchestrated by the excellence of Riyad Mahrez, is also certainly the blueprint they’ll use to win at Anfield. Vardy's movement and darting runs into space have been the primary reason behind his success and he'll hope to expose the well-documented frailties of Liverpool’s rearguard.
Klopp will be wary of how good the Midlands side are on the attack and may well be happy to settle for a point. The likes of Lucas, Emre Can and James Milner will all be key to thwart Leicester’s impressive front-line.
Predication – Draw
Sunderland – 30th December at The Stadium of Light
Klopp’s men have already once underestimated a trip to the north east against a team who are in a relegation scrap this campaign.
Liverpool were put to the sword by Newcastle United earlier this month and headed into the game as if victory was almost guaranteed.
The Reds should, and likely will not, make the same mistake twice. Anything can happen in football and it’s vital Liverpool keep both feet on the ground.
On paper, the trip to Sunderland is the softest of their three Christmas matches.
However, with the Black Cats fighting for their lives, the game will be a war of attrition in Wearside.
Sam Allardyce had a decent record against the Reds whilst he was in charge of Bolton Wanderers, Blackburn Rovers and West Ham. He’ll look to make the game as scrappy and physical as possible, much like Tony Pulis’ West Brom did a few weeks ago.
However, The Stadium of Light has generally been a favourable venue for Liverpool down the years and they've won on their last two meetings there.
The likes of Coutinho, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino will likely be hit with a few tough challenges and it'll be a real test of their mental strength. If they can overcome this problem, they should have far too much class for Sunderland.
Prediction - Liverpool win
West Ham United – 2nd January at Upton Park
Travelling Kopites will be hoping they witness their side take revenge in east London and continue the New Year's party.
Slavan Bilic’s men have surprised a few people, with summer signings Dimitri Payet and Manuel Lanzini both hitting the ground running.
The Hammers inflicted a 3-0 victory on Liverpool at Anfield earlier this term and there'll be plenty of confidence in their dressing room prior to kick-off.
It’ll be a stiff task for West Ham given their lengthy injury list. Both Payet and Lanzini have been sidelined with injury, as well as Diafra Sakho, Victor Moses and Winston Reid, who is a rock in the heart of defence.
With only Moses not playing in the match in Merseyside, Bilic has relied on a new-look team in recent weeks and they’ve struggled for results.
West Ham have not won since October and they'll struggle even more without their chief protagonists going forward. They’ve netted just three times in their last seven games and former Liverpool man Andy Carroll is well out-of-form.
With Reid missing in their rearguard, it’s going to be difficult for the Hammers on all fronts. If Klopp has his strongest squad available, Liverpool's strong attacking line should overwhelm the hosts and come out victorious.
Prediction – Liverpool win
How many points do you think Liverpool will gain in the next three games? Give YOUR opinion in the comment box below!
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