Liverpool eased into the fourth round of the EFL Cup with a straightforward and convincing 3-0 win away at struggling Derby County on Tuesday night.
Jürgen Klopp named a strong side and yet made a good number of changes from the team that beat Chelsea last Friday, handing Loris Karius his debut in goal and Marko Grujic his first start.
As part of seven changes, Alberto Moreno replcaed James Milner at left-back with Ragnar Klavan also returning to the defence, while Roberto Firmino returned from a groin injury to link up with Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho up top.
The Reds' superior quality showed against an out-of-form Championship side who have just one league win from eight games, and they dominated the ball from the outset at the iPro Stadium.
Klavan made the most of Richard Keogh's failure to clear Coutinho's corner kick delivery, firing into the bottom corner to make it 1-0 after 24 minutes.
The visitors' dominance of the ball made it a one-way affair for much of the first-half, Origi seeing a shot denied while Coutinho's long-range free-kick was tipped over.
But the Brazilian made it 2-0 early in the second-half, rolling a controlled finish into the far bottom corner after linking up with countryman Firmino.
And Coutinho even set up Origi for the third of the evening soon after, the Belgian striker firing high beyond the goalkeeper as Liverpool comfortably progressed to the fourth round of the competition.
That meant the Reds have scored eight goals and conceded none in two cup games against second-tier opposition so far this season, but how did the players fare?
Goalkeeper and defence
Loris Karius: Seen nearly as high as the centre circle when his teammates were attacking, the German's front-foot approach paid dividends at the end of the first-half when he was quick off his line to thwart Darren Bent. The striker had been sent through by Bradley Johnson after Jordan Henderson squandered possession with a misplaced pass, only for the Reds' summer signing to beat Bent to the loose ball and prevent a one-on-one chance. Otherwise, the summer signing had little to do on his first competitive appearance from the club. Lucky not to have been punished for missing a cross that he came out to punch, Keogh's header dropping just wide, but otherwise faultless and warranted his clean sheet. 7/10.
Nathaniel Clyne: Excellent cross to force the corner for Liverpool's first goal, and was untroubled throughout much of the evening, largely as Derby carried very little threat. The Englishman had free roam to get forward, though not as much as Alberto Moreno on the opposite flank, but added to Liverpool's attack as a consistent wide option. 7/10.
Ragnar Klavan: Right place at the right time to poke into the bottom corner after Keogh failed to clear Coutinho's cross and elsewhere a comfortable afternoon. A very reliable back-up, whom you sense will get most of his minutes in these sort of games. 7/10.
Joel Matip: 'Classy' seems to be the synonymous word when it comes to describing Matip's style of play, and again this performance was of similar ilk. The Cameroonian was an assured presence at the back, misplacing only a handful of passes across an accomplished display, staying close to Bent and keeping him quiet when needed. Partnered as well with Klavan as he has with Dejan Lovren in recent matches and his capture on a free transfer looks increasingly better business. 7/10.
Alberto Moreno: Impossible to miss with his new peroxide blonde hair and often seen in advanced positions, linking up with his teammates high down the left-hand side. Failed to have any real say on the game, despite getting so far forward so regularly, with his most memorable moment an arrowed left-footed strike zipping a few yards wide but the Spaniard never caught out of position or asked to do a great deal defensively. Booked. 6/10.
Jordan Henderson: Another fine performance in midfield, though not as impactful on the game as he was against Leicester City or Chelsea despite enjoying a slightly more advanced, and free, role. Will have thanked Karius for denying Bent a shooting chance which derived from Henderson's poor pass in the centre of midfield but was otherwise tidy. Could be something to be read from Liverpool's loss of total control without him on the pitch, though Firmino and Coutinho's absences will have also had some effect. Made way for Can on the hour, likely so he can be spared for the weekend. 6/10.
Lucas Leiva: Back in a more familiar holding midfield role, having often played at centre-back in his recent outings. As typical as ever, the Brazilian was sturdy, steady and unspectacular. He carried out his role well with excellent work rate throughout and showed a good reading of the game, as well as good distribution of the ball. Solid. 6/10.
Marko Grujic: A fine first start for the Serbian, who despite not necessarily standing out, slotted in to the starting eleven seamlessly. The towering midfielder showed his game intelligence early on, when moving in to a left-back position to cover for Moreno with a well-timed tackle, and helped impose the control that Liverpool enjoyed for most of the game, while he was strong in possession and did his defensive duties. Admittedly made a few mistakes, giving away a few fouls due to his aggressiveness, but a good platform to build on. Booked. 6/10.
Roberto Firmino: A good performance, marked with an assist, as he consistently ghosted into dangerous positions and combined with his teammates in the final third. Didn't seem like his first game back from injury, albeit a minor one, with how sharp he was. It was his intelligent combination play with Coutinho that set up the second goal, but the Brazilian will regret not making more of a good chance on the hour mark, drilling his shot down into the ground from a dangerous position after Coutinho's set-up. Subbed off for Ejaria late on. 7/10.
Philippe Coutinho: Quiet in the game's early stages, but quickly became a threat whenever he looked to combine with his teammates. A few notable instances where the Brazilian shared a one-two, bursting beyond his man to receive the ball back in a dangerous area. It was his corner delivery that led to the opener, albeit helped by Keogh's error, and he saw a 25-yard free-kick tipped over the crossbar a few minutes before the break. Got himself on the scoresheet for his second just a few minutes into the second-half, rounding off a well-worked team move with a precise finish. Just for good measure, it was his through ball that set Origi away to fire home the third of the evening and he rightly received a fine reception on his withdrawal for Ings. 8/10.
Divock Origi: His performances prior to this suggested that he's still working his way to full sharpness and it was largely the same at the iPro despite his goal. Did well to test the goalkeeper in the first-half, twisting and turning in the box before a powerful but was sub-dued until the break. His run dragged the defender out of space for Coutinho to vacate for the second goal, while his finish for Liverpool's third and his first of the season is nothing short of sublime. High into the roof of the net, leaving Jonathan Mitchell with no chance after yet another clever run on the shoulder off the defender. 7/10.
Emre Can (Henderson - 56'): Handed his first appearance since Liverpool's last EFL Cup game, the midfielder assumed a holding midfield role in place of Henderson. Almost helped engineer a fourth inside five minutes, clipping a ball into Coutinho at the far post but Firmino's resulting shot was saved. Looked a bit rusty and didn't bring the usual composure and control usually associated with his presence, but a welcome return nonetheless. 6/10.
Danny Ings (Coutinho - 63'): Brought on for his first cameo of the season but was unable to really affect proceedings, his touch letting him down on the one or two occasions he received in the box. Again, however, good to see him back on the pitch. Will be a very useful option, particularly for these kind of games and even off of the bench in league fixtures, once he's back up to scratch. 6/10.
Ovie Ejaria (Firmino - 77'): A sign of how comfortable Liverpool's lead was that the 18-year-old was given his debut. It was a reward for an impressive pre-season, but Ejaria didn't see too much of the ball once on the pitch and couldn't make much of an impact as a result, instead helping to simply see the game over the line. Hopefully just a footnote in what will prove to be a successful career for the Academy graduate. 6/10.
Jürgen Klopp: Just as his line-up proved successful in the previous round, Klopp's team worked wonders in the East Midlands. Retaining the right balance between rotating the team and ensuring Liverpool had the quality to dispatch of their opponents, the German's team played some very, very good football and looked a much better outfit than the Rams. Much of the fact they were in cruise control owes to the work Klopp has done and this was another obvious statement that they are treating this competition with full seriousness. Only thing missing was more goals, but that's a very minor blemish on a performance and a result that he couldn't have pictured being (or at least looking) so easy. 8/10.