Capital One Cup quarter final away to Southampton. On paper, tricky to say the least. A goal down within the first forty-two seconds? No problems! Many have been surprised at how little time it’s taken for Jurgen Klopp to implement his football manifesto at Liverpool Football Club. Since his arrival on that second week in October we’ve seen signs of it – most notably away from home, against the likes of Chelsea and Manchester City.
Whilst I agree with this view, prior to his appointment, I’m not sure many of these people knew just how good the players at Klopp’s disposal were. Simply put, while I truly admired Brendan Rodgers, by the same token he simply wasn’t getting the best out of his players and although it may appear to be indictment on the former Liverpool manager, his successor must take a great deal of credit for the shift in mentality.
Add the combination of Klopp’s guidance and the playing group’s collective ability and you have a team that – in my opinion - can challenge on various fronts. Once again, tonight we witnessed how damaging this team can be, absolutely demolishing a Southampton side that are no slouches themselves. It was a major step forward for the Reds, who now face Stoke City in the Carling Cup semi final.
Ratings as follows:
Adam Bogdan - 6: Could do nothing for the goal and other than picking the ball up from the back of his own net, the Hungarian had little to do.
Connor Randall - 7: Grew into the game after picking up a yellow card so early on. The youngster made a very good account of himself in Nathaniel Clyne’s absence.
Martin Skrtel - 7: Like Bogdan, had little to do throughout the match. Some say a centre half is at his best when his name is barely mentioned throughout the telecast of a match. Can’t really argue with that.
Dejan Lovren - 7: Despite the earful he copped from the St Mary’s faithful, he once again gave a good account of himself in the heart of Liverpool’s defence. Made a vital challenge early in the second half when Southampton tried clawing their way back from 3-1 down. The Croatian continues to grow in confidence.
Alberto Moreno- 7: Some may say he switched off for Southampton’s opener, but it’s questionable as to whether he was actually switched on to begin with. From there he grew into the game and provided a rasping shot which looked like the third until his teammate, Divock Origi, claimed to get a feather on the shot. Also provided an assist for the fourth, well and truly atoning for his first half error.
Lucas (C) - 8: His organisational skills are paramount to how Klopp wants his team to play. The Brazilian didn’t put a foot wrong. Although he will never grab the headlines, his work will never go unnoticed by the Liverpool faithful.
Emre Can - 8: It’s hard to believe the young German is only 21. He was imperious. His pass for Sturridge’s second among the best assists of the season, thus far. Very unfortunate to pick up his fifth booking of the season, meaning he misses the weekend’s trip to Newcastle.
Joe Allen - 7: Failed to get a kick in the first ten minutes, but like many of his teammates, grew into the game. His pass for Sturridge’s opener was sublime. Another who won’t grab headlines, but once again, the little Welshman provided a tidy display.
Adam Lallana - 7: Solid for the duration of the match. Along with Lovren, he copped the booing treatment from the home fans. Like Lucas, Lallana is an essential cog in the machine which Klopp operates. He hasn’t shown up on the score or assist sheet as many might have hoped, but his role in this team is an important one.
Divock Origi – 9 (Man of the Match): Not only did he score his first Liverpool goal (in slightly fortuitous circumstances), he added a further two; the second a rollicking shot that beat Maarten Stekelenburg at his near post. The young Belgian looked so much more comfortable with another strike partner. His performance will give Klopp a nice selection headache ahead of the weekend’s trip up north.
Daniel Sturridge – 8: Back with a bang. His performance really had it all and encapsulated Daniel Sturridge as the footballer we all know he can be. The finish for his first was trademark Sturridge; making something difficult look easy. His second highlighted just how good his movement is off the ball. Even with aid of perspective, should he stay fit, the sky is the limit for this football team.
Jordan Ibe - 8: Introduced to counter Southampton’s change of formation. The swashbuckling Englishman provided an assist for Origi’s second, while scoring one of his own; a very well taken effort, which was reward for his recent good run of performances. Will only grow in confidence playing with the likes of Sturridge.
Jordan Henderson – N/R: Another game to build up his match fitness. The Englishman may be knocking on the door of the starting XI this weekend now that Emre Can is suspended.
Brad Smith – N/R: The young Aussie looked bright, providing a great cross for Origi’s third. The left back appears to be an able deputy for Moreno.
By Simon K.