Last night, Liverpool appeared to be cruising to a narrow win in the third round of the League Cup, only for the wheels to come off quickly and in dramatic fashion. Whereas Liverpool have looked mostly assured while leading this season, a back five which consisted of zero first-choice starters, did not.
Regardless of the poor defending (and help from the god-awful officiating crew), Liverpool can take lessons from last night’s defeat to Chelsea.
“I think we didn’t deserve to go out of the competition,” goalkeeper Simon Mignolet said. “We had enough chances to win the game and go forward, but unfortunately, we lost it in the end and we go out of a competition we wanted to win.
“It’s a disappointment, but we don’t have much time to reflect on it and have to go forward. Again, it’s a game against Chelsea [next], so we’ll learn the lessons from tonight’s game and hopefully we can beat them on Saturday.
The word “we” is perhaps a touch optimistic. Barring a Spinal Tap drummer’s fate, Alisson Becker will be between the sticks for the next match (and for the foreseeable future). Despite being displaced not once, but twice, under Jurgen Klopp’s reign, Mignolet praised the “competition” in the squad (that word might be a tad too generous when comparing the pear monger and ManBearBrazilian).
“You want to play, that’s the only thing you can do, but in training we push each other. Me and Alisson work together on a good basis, our relationship has been good ever since we came together and then we’ve got a few younger boys who are pushing us forward as well.
“We have a good group and the only thing we can do is put out the best goalkeeper for Liverpool Football Club. In the end, that’s the most important thing.
“There’s a lot of competition for places and cup competitions like this are chances for us to play, but we have to accept it and move forward. The only thing we can do is try to push the 11 who are starting on Saturday to make sure they do their jobs.”
It might be a long wait for Mignolet to work his way back onto the pitch. He might be in line to start for Liverpool in the FA Cup, starting in January, but it’s hard to see him earning a place in either the Premier League or Champions League before then.