After their disappointing 2-0 defeat to Burnley last weekend, Liverpool must have been fearing a tricky trip to Burton Albion in the EFL Cup.
And it seems as though Klopp was a little bit fearful too. That’s because, apart from Philippe Coutinho who was left at home, the German boss named a full-strength XI against the Championship side.
And he was rewarded with a dominant performance from his senior players as they ran out 5-0 winners to progress into the third round.
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Many supporters may be thinking ‘so, what? We beat a Championship side. Who cares?’
Well, just because it was Burton in the EFL Cup, it doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything to learn. With this match being just the third competitive fixture in the new season, there was plenty to take from the fixture.
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So, here are six things you may have missed from Liverpool’s convincing victory.
Jurgen Klopp is taking the EFL Cup seriously
Klopp led his Liverpool side to the League Cup final last season before a penalty shootout defeat to Manchester City. With no European football to worry about this campaign, there’s no reason why Klopp shouldn’t identify the EFL as the chance to win his first trophy for the Anfield club.
After naming Mignolet, Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner, Can, Lallana, Henderson, Mane, Firmino and Origi as his starting XI, he clearly cares about this competition.
Sadio Mane is well worth £34 million
Eyebrows were raised when the Reds spent so much on 24-year-old. The winger only spent two seasons in the Premier League at Southampton but Klopp had obviously seen enough of him to be convinced that he was worth parting with such a huge sum. Although it was only against Championship opposition, Mane showed his class throughout the night, most notably creating the first goal for Divock Origi.
Jordan Henderson shouldn’t start, let alone be captain
In truth, it was always going to be difficult to follow in Steven Gerrard’s footsteps and become Liverpool captain but Henderson wasn’t ever the player to do that. He seems to be out of his depth in this Liverpool side and, with the likes of Can, Adam Lallana, Georginio Wijnaldum and Marko Grujic all vying for a midfield position, it would be surprising to see the skipper in the line-up for the trip to Tottenham on Saturday.
James Milner is not the left-back solution
Alberto Moreno may not be particularly liked by Liverpool fans at the moment but he is the club’s only left-back. Klopp has been experimenting with Milner in that role but it’s safe to say it doesn’t suit him. The ideal scenario would be for Liverpool to sign a new left-back before the transfer window closes as Milner isn’t exactly an upgrade on Moreno.
Joel Matip loves getting forward
After their defensive concerns, Klopp would have been delighted to have been able to give Matip his first competitive start for the club. While he had a fairly quiet night defensively, one thing was very noticeable - his desire to break forward.
Every time the Cameroonian won the ball, he liked to surge forward and join in the attack. Whether Klopp enjoys seeing that from his defender is unknown but it was great to see such confidence.
Liverpool have missed Emre Can
Can, rather surprisingly, didn’t start against Arsenal or Burnely but was brought into the side against Burton. The German showed that he’s more than capable of operating in a defensive midfield role and showed class on the ball. However, he appeared to suffer a nasty ankle injury during the second-half and had to be substituted. They will be praying that it isn’t as serious as it looked.
Daniel Sturridge is still class
He was only on the pitch 25 minutes, but Sturridge bagged a brace for his side. His first was a tap-in after good work from James Milner while his second was a terrific finish from 18-yards. Fellow striker Origi may have also scored and produced a decent performance but, on his day, Sturridge is no doubt Liverpool's best forward.
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