Liverpool’s squad players have passed their depth test with flying colours

There is a special breed of fan which exists exclusively online. The kind of individual who values announcement videos over the announcement that their club has tied down six of their title-winning players to long-term deals.

Football on social media is reduced to a bizarre game in which players play the role of currency. They are measured less by their quality, more by the amount of attention they warrant simply because they have a new means of promoting their ‘brand’.

Show somebody with little knowledge of the game a few tweets from over the summer and they’d be forgiven for thinking the Reds were in some form of crisis.

FSG, as the last few months have highlighted more than in any other year of their tenure, are not without their serious faults.


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Their needless act of greed in their support for the currently dormant-rather-than-defunct European Super League was an indication of how out of touch they remain with the everyday fan.

Their actions have become something that we do not necessarily have to get over but, along with fans of the other 11 clubs involved, something we simply have to learn to live with.

With that acknowledged though, this is the same regime which appointed Jürgen Klopp – which ended the club’s 30-year wait for a league title – which added a sixth European cup along with another final.

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It is their financial model which allowed for the acquisition of the best front three in world football for less than £100 million. Their sell-to-buy model may frustrate some and severely anger others, but to continue to batter away at keyboards remains a pointless exercise.

A quick recap of Liverpool’s transfer window. They added to the position in which a lack of depth derailed their title defence last season. Fabinho, Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson and Jordan Henderson all renewed their contracts and will remain with the Reds for the foreseeable future.

Could the side perhaps have done with one more attacker? Yes. Does that mean it was a disaster? No. There is quite simply no point buying for the sake of it nor is there value in stockpiling attackers to compete for three spots already occupied by top level players and potentially upsetting the team dynamic.

Klopp has remained adamant from the beginning that he not only has faith in his squad but in their quality and the past week has shown that the German’s belief, for the moment, is well placed. Whilst the AC Milan game was tight, it was made complicated by two minutes of madness rather than any glaring issues with the overall quality of the team and the six changes made to the starting XI.

For all the criticism of Divock Origi, some of it warranted after his role last season, he made a crucial assist to get his side back into the game and put in an all-round performance as he led the line.

A further four changes for the home game to Crystal Palace resulted in a convincing 3-0 win in which Liverpool looked like the relentless side which marched towards their 19th league title without competition – in which sides who seemingly played well at Anfield were still comfortably dispatched.

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Most importantly though, this was a week in which rather than two centre-halves covering 180 minutes each, four of them shared 90 minutes each. Despite Andy Robertson’s remarkable fitness record, he too will likely have had 11 days of rest with just 20 minutes at Norwich in between by the time Liverpool travel to Brentford.

James Milner continued to defy age with a superb performance at right-back up against one of the trickiest players in the Premier League.

Thiago and Harvey Elliott’s injuries may be a worry but it still leaves Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Curtis Jones, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keïta and Miner to choose from. Having played just under 30 minutes against Milan, Sadio Mané is gradually looking back to his sharpest with two goals in his last two Premier League starts.

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The Carabao Cup has never been high on the list of Klopp’s priorities with squads in recent seasons often being a mix of second and third string players. Indeed there were nine changes from the Palace team to the XI which lined up at Carrow Road, but it was a stronger side than we have seen in this competition before.

The performance was similarly strong. Takumi Minamino scored twice in his first real minutes of the season. Divock Origi also got on the scoresheet with some good centre-forward play, after setting up the opener. Caoimhín Kelleher saved a penalty and looked assured enough all night to convince that he is a confident and competent backup to Alisson.

And the youngsters who played – recent arrival from Derby County Kaide Gordon, Northern Ireland international Conor Bradley and impressive academy teenager Tyler Morton – all gave impressive accounts of themselves.

There’s a chance that the sentiments expressed here may well be ill-judged given that the team’s schedule will inevitably become tighter whilst further injuries will almost certainly follow. Not to mention the African Cup of Nations means key players will be unavailable for a period in January.

For now though, Liverpool have passed the first test of their depth with flying colours.

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