Liverpool were left to rue missing several big chances as they were knocked out of the Carabao Cup on Thursday evening. Even with the plethora of changes made the Reds dominated proceedings, but fell short in finding a way past Arsenal number one, Bernd Leno.
Mikel Arteta made several tactical changes from the fixture on Monday. This provided a different test for Klopp and co to decipher. Unfortunately, the side sent out to do the job were unable to make any in roads during the key moments. This was down to the Gunners keeper who made several eye-catching saves in an impressive display.
At the end of the day, Klopp has little time for the Carabao Cup as his team selection has consistently recognised this as a bit of a throwaway competition. With the Reds now out of the cup, it will allow the team to rest and fully focus on the bigger prizes ahead.
Klopp made nine changes from the side that defeated Arsenal in the Premier League on Monday evening. Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah retained their places, whilst the rest of the outfit changed for young and fringe players. Like Lincoln, this was another opportunity for players to show there worth going into the congested English season.
Here are the winners and losers from the game:
Rhys WilliamsEmbed from Getty Images
What a calm and composed performance from the 19-year-old. Despite the defeat, Klopp had a big beaming smile when Williams was mentioned in his post-match interview. You can understand why. He was stunning and had complete control over his game. He defended Eddie Nketiah expertly, with the England U21 striker struggling to make an impact at all in the game due to the presence of the teenager around him.
At no point did he look rushed or flustered with the situation in front of him. He looked completely in his element when either van Dijk or Gomez was beside him, manipulating the game speed to his requirements and treated any threat towards the goal with complete disdain. His passing was crisp and his communication was clear with everyone within the team.
Over the last couple of cup games, the Englishman has been given his opportunity in the senior side and has grabbed it with both hands. He has thoroughly impressed every fan, becoming a name for supporters to look for in the future. If he continues in this impressive fashion, it won’t be long before we see him in a weekend matchday squad. Until then we will wait for his opportunities in the FA Cup later in the season.
Marko GrujićEmbed from Getty Images
The best player on the pitch. Absolutely outstanding all evening. Whenever a Liverpool player was needed to get the ball, make a pass or tackle an opponent, it seemed that Grujić was there. He dominated all aspects of the midfield and made up for the quite evening that Curtis Jones was having.
Dani Ceballos was withdrawn after the hour mark because he was being completely over run by Grujić, showing how heavily the 24-year-old impacted the game. He was unfortunate not to cap his performance with a goal during the evening, with Bernd Leno denying him on a couple of occasions. The second a wonderful header towards the top right corner that was pushed away by Leno’s fingertips.
After a two-year loan spell at Hertha BSC, many thought the former Red Star Belgrade man would be on his way out the door of Anfield. However, his displays in the two cup games have given the club staff something to re-evaluate. These performances will either heighten his price for sale or push him back into the first team picture. Whatever happens it has been nice to see the Serbian produce some promising displays.
Curtis JonesEmbed from Getty Images
It was a disappointing evening for the teenager. With Jones putting in consistently positive performances, it was a shock to see such a lacklustre showing. He struggled to get into the game, with long periods of play without any input from him. Granit Xhaka had a lot of joy against the midfielder, pushing the youngster to play backwards on most occasions when he received the ball.
His evening did end on a more positive note as he dispatched his penalty with beautiful control. However, even after the penalty was scored, you could see that Jones knew that he had a poor evening and was satisfied that he had done something positive for the team.
Jones will be looking to bounce back and do it quickly. With the long break now until the FA Cup starts, the 19-year-old will be looking to get game time within the Premier League and Champions League over the Autumn and Winter months. This will be imperative for his development and any game time that can be given, should be given to him by Klopp. We will now keep our fingers crossed for a productive back end of the year for the scouser.
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