A match that produced plenty of talking points for the U21s will be recapped more in-depth during Jake's Academy Update, but among the pieces worth noting--of which there were many, especially in a rampant first half--was the return to action for left-back Aly Cissokho, who started in his natural position and proved an integral part of the squad's early successes while logging a full ninety minutes in the 5-0 win. His clipped through ball for Cameron Brannagan led directly to Liverpool's second, and he was largely solid in his first taste of organized action since coming off injured against Notts County shortly after making his debut against Aston Villa.
There had been talk that Cissokho would be available for selection against Crystal Palace on Saturday, but after that proved either too soon or simply deemed unnecessary, today provided a chance to start to get himself back in contention and get a bit of match fitness as the international break kicks off. He'll have plenty of time to wait to see where he fits once club football resumes, and that will be one of the more interesting storylines to watch as Liverpool's squad comes back together.
The window seems open with the continued inconsistent play of Jose Enrique; many have Cissokho penciled in as the regular starter at either fullback or wingback straightaway, though the Spaniard's creativity and decision-making have improved slightly as Luis Suarez made his return to the squad. Suarez and Enrique had some lovely linking play last season and have shown signs of it again over the past few weeks, and if their combination is an actual thing, Cissokho might find a breakthrough more than a little difficult.
His versatility could prove a strength in that regard, with his first appearance coming at Villa as a substitute in a slightly more advanced role on the left after replacing Iago Aspas. It's hard to see him crowding anyone other than Enrique out of the starting eleven, though, and his time at Liverpool is going to be ultimately graded on how much he can offer in a fullback and/or wingback role.
Hopefully today proves the start of a full return to the first team, and that we're finally able to celebrate the depth and competition we've been expecting.
Video by LFCTikiTaka