For many of Liverpool’s fringe players, the League Cup was a chance to start a game and perhaps prove they deserve more playing time. For others, it was a chance to continue to integrate into a new side. And, on the whole, they mostly did well enough.
Liverpool may have lost to Chelsea in the end, but on the whole they were the better side and Jürgen Klopp felt they deserved to win. However, that isn’t likely to keep many of Wednesday’s starters in the lineup when the two sides meet again on Saturday.
“It would be cool if we could make changes again because not playing for a long time and now playing 95, 96, 97 minutes and then playing three days later again would not be pure joy,” Klopp noted. “But we will have to see. They did well, so that’s good.”
It’s perhaps the manager’s nice way of saying that the likes of Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino—as well as likely a wholly changed backline—will be starting on Saturday in place of the players who lost to Chelsea in the League Cup on Wednesday night.
Still, the reality is that playing two games in a week, at this point, probably would be too much for players who haven’t regularly been starting this season. And those players did do enough to, on another night, win their cup tie against Chelsea last night.
So they will move back to the bench against Chelsea in the league on Saturday. Salah and Firmino—as well as a wholly changed backline—will start. But it won’t be as a punishment, and last night’s starters will get other chances in the coming weeks.
“We had five players on the pitch with their first start of the season so I’m really happy they had the game because now they are really back,” he added. “They didn’t have rhythm but in the game they got the rhythm and we learned enough from the game.”