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Derby County 0, Liverpool 3: Effortless Advancement

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The Reds make easy work of their opponents and move on to the fourth round of the EFL Cup

Derby County v Liverpool - EFL Cup Third Round Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Derby County 0

Liverpool 3 Klavan 24', Coutinho 50', Origi 54'

Jürgen Klopp made seven changes to the starting eleven since Friday's match at Stamford Bridge, handing competitive debuts to Loris Karius and Marko Grujic. Alberto Moreno was reinstated at left-back, while Ragnar Klavan partnered Joël Matip in central defence. Nathaniel Clyne continued playing all the minutes. In midfield Grujic and Jordan Henderson shuttled for single pivot Lucas Leiva, while Philippe Coutinho and Roberto Firmino supported lone striker Divock Origi.

The tenor of the game was set in its opening minutes, as it took The Rams two minutes and twenty seconds to get their first touch on the ball, a header out for a throw. Liverpool dominated possession from start to finish, stroking the ball from side to side and back to front, probing for openings in the Derby defensive lines.

Nigel Pearson had those lines well-drilled, however, and it took a set piece and a defensive error for The Reds to break the deadlock on their first real chance of the game. A Coutinho corner was fluffed in the box by Richard Keogh, and central defender Klavan was on hand to bury the loose ball, notching his first goal for his new club, and the Estonian's first score in 19 months.

The game heated up somewhat from there, but with Derby remaining disciplined, it was still no goalmouth bonanza. Origi stung the fingers of Jonathan Mitchell with an effort at the near post after turning Keogh inside out, some slick interplay between Firmino and Coutinho ended with a shot from the latter being pushed wide for a corner, and five minutes from the half, Coutinho had a solid long-range free kick fisted over the bar. In injury time, Darren Bent found himself through the Liverpool defensive ranks, but Karius was quick off his line to deny the former English international.

Klopp evidently wanted the tie settled as soon as possible in the second half, and he got his wish, as the Reds came out of the gates fast. Five minutes in, the Brazilian connection was live again, as Firmino slid the ball into Coutinho's path, and the pug enthusiast buried his finish low to the keeper's right. A few minutes later, the ball fell to Coutinho after a break, and he slipped it perfectly through the Rams backline for Origi. The Belgian 21-year old made no mistake, blasting the ball into the top corner and putting the Reds three-nil up.

Emre Can made his first apperance in a month a few minutes later, as he replaced Henderson. The German immediately played a delightful chip for Coutinho, who in turn passed to Firmino in front of goal, but the Brazilian's shot was tipped past the post by the goalkeeper.

Substitutions disrupted the flow of the game, as Danny Ings replaced Coutinho for only his second official appearance under Klopp, and youngster Ovie Ejaria made his competitive debut fifteen minutes from time, coming on for Firmino. Karius whiffed on a corner for Keogh to head inches wide, Ings had a penalty shout go unheeded when he went down in the box, and Liverpool wasted a number of counter opportunities through sloppy passing, before the ref blew the final whistle.

Liverpool haven't done safe, easy wins all that often under Jürgen Klopp, but this was definitely one of those. Derby never threatened, and after the first goal - which was admittedly fluky - the result was never in doubt. Caveats about the opposition aside, every starter was good, with Coutinho and Firmino a little more gooder than the rest. Karius displayed some safe feet and promising distribution, Matip continutes to look steady at the back, and Origi scored again, making it seven in his last 580 minutes of football.

Both Can and Ings were noticeably rusty when they came on, and the team wasted a number of great opportunities to make the game a complete rout by misplacing simple passes on the counter, undoubtedly in large part due to the unfamiliar composition of the side.

The Reds are in fine form, winning four and drawing one in their last five, with a 15-3 goal difference, and will certainly go into Saturday's Anfield clash with Hull City brimming with confidence.