The football on display wasn’t scintillating. It wasn’t otherworldly. The full ninety won’t be played on loop for the next decade. In fact, give it a week or two and most will probably have forgotten a thorough, convincing, professional 3-0 victory for Liverpool over Derby County in the EFL Cup.
That was what, for as long as it is remembered at least, makes Tuesday night’s win so impressive. It was a case of Liverpool taking on a team they were expected to beat and making short work of it. Which is something they have often failed at in the past. And it left an impression on their opponents.
“What really impressed me about them was how hard they worked,” said Darren Bent, who has had plenty of experience facing past Liverpool sides from his time at the likes of Tottenham and Sunderland. “Every time we got the ball they were after us and trying to win it back after five seconds.
“They made it really difficult for us to get anything going really. We played about as well as we could and gave it a good go, but in the end it just wasn’t good enough. They kept possession so well, moved the ball, looked dangerous, effective. I’m sure they’re going to have a good season this year.”
For Bent and Derby, meanwhile, the goal will be to regroup ahead of a Saturday home date against Blackburn, with the two big name Championship clubs languishing near the bottom of the table after eight games of the 2016-17 season, and the loser sure to end the weekend in the relegation places.
So far, Derby have struggled under new manager Nigel Pearson, plummeting to near the bottom of the standings following a 2015-16 that saw them fall just short of Premier League promotion. Bent has struggled, too, as he is yet to score in the league for the Championship’s worst attacking side.