He’s only actually pulled on a Liverpool shirt on nine occasions so far in his fledgling career on Merseyside, but already Konstantinos Tsimikas is becoming something of a cult hero at Anfield.
For so long the Reds were indebted to Andy Robertson’s almost superhuman ability to constantly be available – no matter how thick and fast the games came.
Even after 50 games for Liverpool last season – he played a part in every single Premier League game during a truncated campaign – and his exploits for Scotland at the Euros, a pre-season injury only saw him miss one game at Norwich City before he was back in the matchday squad for the home encounter with Burnley.
But these two opening games of the season have provided Tsimikas with an opportunity to show what he can do – one that has been a long time coming, and one that he has grasped with both hands.
If his performance at Carrow Road in Liverpool’s season opener was impressive, his display as Burnley visited Anfield was spectacular. His assist for Diogo Jota’s headed goal caught the headlines, but it was his hard work and tenacity which really caught the eye.
The curled delivery which perfectly found the head of the Portuguese was reminiscent of Robertson’s crossing prowess, and there was another moment during the 2-0 victory which bore similarities to something the Scot would do.
Like Tsimikas, Robertson had a slow start to life at Anfield and was initially behind Alberto Moreno in the pecking order. Once he had forced his way into the side, he produced that one memory that every Liverpool fan remembers as the moment we knew the club had unearthed someone special.
Against Manchester City, a Liverpool fan favourite was born when the Scot galloped down the left side of the pitch to press Bernardo Silva… and Kyle Walker… and John Stones… and Ederson… and Nicolás Otamendi, before being unfairly penalised for a foul on the Argentine.
There was something very similar about the moment Tsimikas defied the odds to hold off Matthew Lowton and Jay Rodriguez and play a pass away from Dwight McNeil, all while being off balance and with the odds stacked firmly against him.
What was even more impressive was the fact it happened in the very last minute of normal time, showing the Greek’s desire to put his everything into helping his team keep the clean sheet despite the fact the game was won and he had already put in 89 minutes’ worth of hard running.
Tsimikas has shown he has the ability and the mentality to be of use to Jürgen Klopp, but there’s one stumbling block he will have to overcome if he is to secure a regular place in the side that Robertson never had in front of him – the Scot himself.
While the former Hull City man had to wait for his chance with Moreno in good form, once the Spaniard suffered an injury and Robertson was able to taste some first team action, he never looked back. It didn’t take long to prove that he was a better option than his inconsistent rival, and he was soon an indispensable part of Klopp’s side.
The task for Tsimikas will not be so easy. Moreno had his moments but the general consensus was that he wasn’t reliable enough for Liverpool. Robertson is the opposite, a shining example of consistency and arguably the best in the world in his position.
After appearing on the bench for the clash with Burnley, it’s likely the Scot will be fit enough to reclaim his place in the starting line-up for when Chelsea visit Anfield next weekend.
It may be a while until Tsimikas gets another opportunity to impress Klopp and his coaching staff, but he could hardly have done any more to show that he is a competent option if and when he is needed.
It’s a selection headache the manager won’t mind having. The question is, how long will the Greek be happy to play second fiddle to Robertson?
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