While Klopp would have been pleased with his team’s victory mode, the match was primarily an opportunity to work on fitness levels before the Merseyside Derby next weekend.
Although the set-up was not only a fitness exercise, it also allowed the Liverpool boss to tinker with his starting line to get a closer look at some of his marginal players in different roles with new responsibilities.
One of the most impressive performances of the day came from January’s song, Minamino.
It was a steady start at Anfield for the Japanese international who was signed with an air of excitement from RB Salzburg earlier this year for £ 7.25 million – but he managed to rack up a total from just 357 minutes of premiere – team action so far.
Despite this, there is hope that he can play a greater role for the Reds in the closing stages of this current campaign and show some of the talent we can expect to see from him at Anfield in the years to come. .
Also, Klopp’s use of the 25-year-old Thursday afternoon may have given us a glimpse of how it could be used in Liverpool in the future.
The Reds lined up in their usual 4-3-3 formation, Minamino playing as number nine, flanked by Mane on the left and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the right.
It’s a role we usually associate with Roberto Firmino, but the efficiency of the Japanese international’s performance in this position would have given Klopp food for thought.
While most Liverpool fans were limited to prolonged highlights, Minamino seemed crisp.
It was excellent for occupying small spaces between the lines and receiving the ball in feet before quickly placing it on a teammate around him or using a quick lap to accelerate from all danger.
Here are some examples of its impact.
Here, Minamino is very short to create an overtaking option for his teammates in possession.
This makes it difficult to follow and also opens up spaces for teammates to exploit behind him.
A few seconds later in this same movement, we see how the movement of Minamino benefits Keita who can push and occupy an advanced position in place of the front.
Again, both the fluidity of these players and the comfort of operating in different places make them difficult to follow from an opposite point of view.
The pair, who already have a preexisting relationship of their time with RB Salzburg, binds again for the goal of Keita, with Minamino producing good work on the left before piercing the ball in the mouth of Keita who occupies again of the in this central position to apply the finish.
While he presided and was skillful on the ball, his work by possession was equally impressive. He was tenacious, determined, quick and excellent at directing the Liverpool press from the front.
Below we see him setting off a Liverpool press as Blackburn tries to play from the back.
Although Blackburn managed to get past the initial pressure, Minamino’s resilience and determination saw him continue chasing the player onto the ball, which allowed him to take on a brilliant challenge from behind, allowing Jordan Henderson to regain possession of Liverpool in a dangerous area of the pitch. .
The former Salzburg man was always a threat in the area, pushing his toe to an effort at the start, which forced a good stop by the goalkeeper before drifting in an unmarked area and hanging on the center of Mane to convert his goal brilliantly soon after.
His performance on Thursday, albeit in a short period of time, pointed out that perhaps he could be a backing for Firmino this season, and perhaps even his long-term successor one day as well.
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Not only that, but we know from his time in Austria that he can be found almost anywhere in the attacking third with great efficiency.
Much has been made of Liverpool’s recent decision not to reach an agreement with RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner, a need for coverage for Liverpool’s scintillating attack being presented as one of the main reasons for this call. could be a mistake.
However, based on all of the above, there are signs that Minamino may be that the Liverpool player must provide the Mortal Front three with much-needed cover throughout the next campaign – before finally solidifying within from the starting line as the team evolves in the years to come.