We've already seen plenty of Liverpool matches in the past month or so billed as 'season-defining'. First, there was the Merseyside derby against Everton, a week on from the appalling 3-0 defeat to Wolves.
Then it was the trip to Newcastle United in the very next game, viewed as a must-win clash against a top-four rival. And most recently, there was the Anfield double-header against Wolves and Manchester United, described as a 'super important week' by Jürgen Klopp (via Reuters).
Liverpool managed to win all of those matches, but the decisive games keep coming. Now Klopp is looking to a seven-day period at the start of April that will see his side take on both title contenders (Manchester City away and Arsenal at home) and travel to another big-six side in Chelsea.
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"When we get back from the international break, we have a proper football weak ahead of us," Klopp said after the 1-0 defeat against Real Madrid on Wednesday. "Three games, City, Chelsea, Arsenal, which will then probably define what we get out of it [the season].
"People will say that we lost it at Bournemouth, but this week is a pretty decisive one. So, we have to hope the boys come back healthy enough, in the right shape, and we will try it."
Generally speaking, you shouldn't actually place too much stock on particular games, or even particular weeks, in a top-four race.
Often, all it takes to transform your prospects is a strong run of form, as Liverpool has already demonstrated.
After the aforementioned defeat at Wolves, Liverpool was 10th, six places and 11 points off the top four, albeit with a game hand. Five games, four wins and one draw later, it was up to fifth, now only three points off, and still with that game in hand.
The power of such a run is down to the typical inconsistency of the other teams in the equation. Heading into this weekend of matches, both Tottenham and Newcastle were averaging 1.8 points per game (and Spurs' dropped points against Southampton will only have worsened that record).
Over a span of six games, let's say, that translates to 10 or 11 points.
Therefore, if you're able to win at least five, and maybe nick a draw too, over that same stretch, you can make big gains.
But the problem for Liverpool is that, if it can't manage a healthy return from the next three (probably at least five points), it can't be trusted to then regain the ground in the fixtures that follow.
It's a six-match run that actually looks pretty favorable, featuring games against relegation-threatened sides like Leeds (A), Nottingham Forest (H), West Ham (A) and Leicester (A), as well as a critical meeting with Spurs at Anfield and a visit from Brentford.
But Liverpool has really struggled against those teams this season, as we pointed out after the recent loss at Bournemouth.
It has only picked up 19 points out of a possible 33 against the league's bottom seven (as of 12 March), a return of just 1.73 PPG. Indeed, Forest and Leeds have already beaten Klopp's side this season.
And what's most surprising is that the Reds actually boast a better record against the big six, with 1.9 PPG up to this point.
Ultimately, then, while Klopp's 'decisive' logic doesn't always apply, he's seemingly bang on about the next three games.
Liverpool can't afford to bank on its kinder run of matches, and must stay in touch through its trickiest sequence of the entire campaign.
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