As sparkling lights begin to adorn the streets of every town and as advent calendars go up on the walls of every household, it is clear that the Christmas spirit really has arrived. Just ask Liverpool. They have been handed four beautifully-wrapped presents in the shape of four of their next five league fixtures.
Liverpool’s fixtures from now until the end of the festive period are winnable to say the least, all presenting Benitez’s squad with seemingly comfortable victories, bar one tough home game against Arsenal.
There are no easy games in the Premier League, but Blackburn, Wigan, Portsmouth and Wolves should not provide too many problems for world-class players like Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres and for very good players like Jamie Carragher, Javier Mascherano and Yossi Benayoun.
Those four clubs make up half of the bottom eight, with Wolves and Portsmouth both languishing in the bottom two places, highlighting the gap in quality between the sides.
Though Liverpool have been struggling immensely in all competitions all season, there should be enough class on show collect three points from all four games comfortably.
Though they are currently straggling at the foot of the table, all four teams undoubtedly possess the ability to further damage Liverpool’s top four push. But only if Liverpool are complacent and do not turn up. Only if one of the four teams has a blinder.
All four teams are capable of doing so. Wigan steamrollered Chelsea earlier this season, Portsmouth have looked good in nearly all their games but have been unlucky, Wolves seriously threatened to cause an upset early on against Arsenal a few weeks ago and Blackburn scored twice at the Emirates Stadium this season.
Liverpool, though, should still have their mouths watering at their run-up to Boxing Day. In a season when good, top-half teams like Chelsea, Tottenham, Aston Villa, and Sunderland have all defeated Benitez’s team, here is a chance for Liverpool to really exert some authority on the league and began to make fourth spot their own.
Because if Liverpool can’t beat four struggling relegation candidates then their top four hopes are in tatters.