Though it wasn't a must-win game for Liverpool since they have already qualified for the knockout rounds of Europa League, Thursday's match against FC Sion was still a nice-to-win game. Jürgen Klopp opted for rotation, the pitch was not exactly winter-proof, and the Reds came away with the dullest of dull draws in recent memory.
But there were some useful things to be found in the match, namely that captain Jordan Henderson finally found himself starting again for the first time since coming back from injury.
"It was nice to play 75 minutes," Henderson said after the match. "It was a tough game in tough conditions. But we're top of the group and we move forward. [My fitness] was tested tonight on that pitch and I had no problem. Hopefully I've just got to keep managing it - it's been fine so far."
Henderson is referring to the plantar fasciitis that will plague him for the rest of his career, and fans will be relieved to find that so far whatever plan the Liverpool physios have cooked up for this pain management seems to be working. The captain was delighted on another level, though, and that was with debutant Brad Smith, who recently found himself signing a new contract with Liverpool after existing in a state of limbo after his previous contract had run down.
"It was Brad's first start and I thought he was outstanding, brilliant going up and down the left flank," Hendo enthused. "He was dangerous for us, getting good crosses in."
"To get my first start for Liverpool is an honour," Smith continued. "As Hendo said, it was tough conditions but it's good to get the draw and top the group."
With Liverpool's fullback depth being what it is, Jürgen Klopp will be pleased that not only was he right to sign Smith to a new contract, but that he has someone who has the capability to put in a good effort in the absence of Alberto Moreno. December will continue to be grueling and January is no picnic either, so Liverpool fans are likely to see Smith at least a few more times this season.