Joe Gomez is ready for an intense six-week period that could define Liverpool's season.
Saturday’s trip to Watford marks the start of a taxing winter schedule that features 11 games in the space of 40 days, up to and including the clash with Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on January 3.
Nine of the 11 are Premier League matches, with the other two - versus Paris Saint-Germain and Napoli - to determine Jürgen Klopp’s side’s fate in terms of qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League.
It is, then, a pivotal time that will have ramifications for the Reds’ campaign as a whole.
However, Gomez is confident Liverpool are fully prepared for the challenge ahead.
“In past seasons I think it’s been a really defining period in the season for us,” the defender told Liverpoolfc.com.
“So we know how important it is and how tough it’s going to be with the amount of games [there are] in a short period of time, but we’re ready. All teams in the Premier League face this same task and we’ve just got to be ready for it and try to get as many points as we can.”
The corresponding spell a year ago proved fruitful, with eight wins and five draws coming from 13 outings in all competitions - and Gomez believes the quality at Klopp’s disposal means a similarly impressive record is possible this time around.
“I remember we [also] beat Manchester City and Everton in the FA Cup in January, so it was better last season than the year before,” the 21-year-old said.
“But [January in] the year before was probably proof that it’s difficult and it made it hard for us towards the back end of the season to get top four. We know how important it is, it’s going to be tough.
“There’s a lot of games, especially around Christmas and New Year, with a couple of days of recovery, but I think this year we’ve got such a strong squad, so much strength in depth, and that will make it easier than in previous years.”
Winning helps stave off the danger of physical and mental fatigue, of course.
As such, Gomez is eager for Liverpool to gain, then maintain, momentum as quickly as possible - starting with the weekend’s ‘difficult’ assignment at Vicarage Road.
The England international explained: “I think once you’ve got momentum, most times you just want to keep playing games because you’re in a good flow and you want it to keep going.
“It’s just about recovering in between [matches] and being in the best physical shape you can be. I think we play intense football and we’re a fit team so we’re capable of dealing with the demands.
“If things are going well it takes your mind off it, but if you’re losing you might feel a few more aches and pains. But I think regardless we’re hoping to go into it in a good place and come out the other side in a better one. It’ll be tough, but we’re ready for it.
“[Watford is] a tough place to go. They make it difficult and they’re a good team. They’re obviously doing well this season and they’ve got many threats up top, with a big physical presence and they’ve got a very strong side.
“Going there, with the stadium and everything, it’s not an easy place to go. We know that and we’ve just got to try to be prepared for it and face it head on.”
Earlier this week, Klopp insisted there is more to come from the Reds this season, despite his assertion that there have been ‘so many’ improvements made over the last 12 months.
Gomez agrees with his manager, and hopes the fact the next international break is not until March will afford Liverpool the opportunity to click into top gear again.
“I think we’ve definitely improved in managing some games,” he continued.
“I think it’s been said that we haven’t been as free-flowing so that aspect, once it comes back in, will help take us to the next level, adding to what we’ve already worked on and improved. I think we’re always improving, on last season to now I think we’ve improved.
“That’s what we aspire to do and what the manager wants us to do, and that’s why he works so hard coaching us and developing us on the training pitch.
“It’s a bit strange every three weeks going away on international duty - every team has to deal with the same, but obviously us being a top team the majority of our squad goes away and it’s not as easy. Some other teams might get a break or de-load a bit.
“I think now it’s a good run and up to March we can train together every day for a long period of time and hopefully that shows on the pitch, that we have so much time to work on things. The gaffer will obviously coach us and make us work on areas that we need to, week in and week out.”