Liverpool beat Norwich City 3-0 to book their place in the last 16 of the Carabao Cup thanks to goals from Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi.
Jurgen Klopp made nine adjustments to the team that beat Crystal Palace by 3-0. Conor Bradley and Kaide Gordon were given debuts.
After Minamino scored from a corner four minutes into the match and Divock Origi doubling their lead shortly after the restart, the second-string side started off well.
Caoimhin Kelleher was forced to save a penalty for Bradley’s bundled of Dimitris Gianoulis as Norwich tried to attack Liverpool with counter-attack.
But the Reds ultimately progressed comfortably with Minamino scoring their third goal to double his own tally, as Daily Star Sport looks at the big calls Klopp got right.
On the front foot
Klopp said before the game that Liverpool’s ambition would be the same despite nine changes to the first team that beat Crystal Palace at the weekend.
His second-string stars, promising youngsters and other players went on the offensive from the start. They dominated the first stages of the match with the same energy and high-intensity pressing that we are used to seeing from Reds in Premier League.
After their initial pressure paid off, Minamino scored Liverpool’s first goal to put Klopp’s side in control from the start.
The Reds almost doubled their lead immediately after the restart. Origi scored from Kostas Tamakas’ cross five minutes into the second period.
Boosting fringe players’ confidence
Klopp was always going to use the clash with Norwich as a chance for fringe players to impress, and his team selection paid off almost instantly with that opening goal.
The ball was lifted into the path of Takumi Minamino by Divock Origi after the Reds had won a corner.
Origi was the one who provided the opening goal. He found plenty of space in the box to score from Tsimakas’ delivery.
Although Norwich’s defense was poor for both goals, Origi and Minamino will not mind. They took the opportunity to showcase what they have to offer.
Minamino’s goal was his first goal for Liverpool since December 2020. His second goal, which he scored late in the match, should boost his confidence and help him to prove that he is capable of making it in Klopp’s first team thinking.
Want to be on the ball with all of the latest football news?
Get the Daily Star email newsletter and stay up to date with all things football!
You will never miss any of the most important news, from the latest transfer news to the agenda setting stories.
How do I sign up?
It’s easy and takes just seconds.
Just enter your email address and click’subscribe.
That’s all. Each morning you will receive an email containing all the most important news stories.
Click this link to learn more about our email newsletter.
Glimpse of the future
Much of the pre-match hype centred around skilful winger Kaide Gordon, with the 16-year-old looking lively on his Liverpool bow.
Conor Bradley (18 years old) was the right-back and was one of two teenager debutants in Reds’ lineup.
In a dominant first-half, Gordon and Bradley worked well together down the right side. This was often helped by Curtis Jones (who is only 20).
Bradley’s positioning fell apart when he failed to pass Dimitris Gianoulis, giving Norwich a penalty. Daniel Farke’s side was trying to exploit Liverpool’s high-line.
But fans will forgive him for a moment of naive defending – especially as Caoimhin Kelleher saved a poor spot-kick.
Gordon showed his creativity in the second period when he opened up the Norwich defense with a charming through-ball from midfield with Origi shooting wide.
Tyler Morton, 18, was given a debut as he replaced Naby Keita in the second half. He impressed in his holding role.
It bodes well for Liverpool’s future development, with such promising young players.
Seeing out the game
With Liverpool playing a high defensive line, Norwich frequently threatened to expose space at the back, although they failed to make the most of what chances they had.
Klopp saw danger in the 25th minute and brought experience from the bench to replace Tsimikas.
Robertson was able to snuff out a few chances in the final 20 minutes, before Minamino won the game with his well-taken goal.
Jordan Henderson, Liverpool’s skipper, also made his 398th appearance on the bench.