It was the sort of routine win that has not been so routine in recent times, that hopefully Liverpool fans will come to expect in the fully-launched Jürgen Klopp era. Predictably, the side ran out to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Championship side, Derby County in the third round of the EFL Cup.
Goals from Ragnar Klavan, Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi saw Reds coast through a matchup that allowed for season debuts for new-boy Marko Grujic, Loris Karius, Danny Ings, exciting academy youngster Ovie Ejaria as well as a run out for the out-of-favor Alberto Moreno.
Though fielding a much changed side, Klopp reiterated in the post-match interview that he is taking the competition very seriously, handing starts to the likes of captain Jordan Henderson and Joël Matip.
“I told the lads before the game that if you really are ambitious in this tournament, then everyone needs to see it from the first second,” said Klopp. “It’s not anything anybody could leave in doubt. From the first whistle we were the dominant side, I don’t know how much possession we had but I think it was pretty [good]. I [also] don’t remember too many counter attacks and one or two set pieces, of course, are always difficult.
“We lost a little bit of concentration in the last 10 minutes, that’s normal. It wasn’t too difficult tonight; it won’t happen a lot. We did quite well. Could we have done better? Yes. Is it important tonight? No, so we are all good for the moment.”
The boss was approving when asked to comment on the performance of goal scorer Origi, who has found playing time hard to come by with the flying starts that Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino have made to the season.
“They all did well,” said the manager. “[Origi’s] goal was good, there was a little lack of rhythm, but he’s still such a young boy so we will keep on working with him and everything will be good in the future 100%.”
There was some earnestly high praise for the much-maligned Moreno, who has seen his starting position usurped by utility man James Milner in the important matches so far.
“Alberto Moreno, brilliant game, very calm,” Klopp added. “That’s how he’s trained in the last few weeks that he hasn’t played. He was really cool, concentrated and disciplined in training sessions and that’s how he played tonight. He was really good.”
A similarly upbeat assessment was given to young Marko Grujic on his competitive Liverpool debut:
“Wonderful debut. Really good, he’s a wonderful[ly] skilled player. If his defensive skills were as great as his offensive skills he would be an outstanding player! But we are working on and he is working on it.”