The Warm Down: Reds progress to fourth round of Carabao Cup

It was a somewhat comfortable away win for the Reds, who made nine changes to their team that beat Crystal Palace last weekend in the Premier League.

Youngsters Kaide Gordon and Conor Bradley both started the game and midfielder Tyler Morton also came on a substitute. All three made impressive debuts and highlighted Liverpool’s strong academy system.

Takumi Minamino also shined in the game, scoring two of Liverpool’s three goals and was also awarded Man of the Match.

Minamino scored his opening goal in the fourth minute. He peeled off his man from a corner and calmly slotted away, taking his shot on the half-volley. It was an instinctive and clever shot that showed his quality.

Norwich, who struggled for vast majorities of the game, did have a few good chances to get themselves back into the game. One of their biggest opportunities was a penalty they were awarded in the 42nd minute. Bradley was caught out and made a naïve challenge on the wrong side on his man.

However, Caoimhin Kelleher denied Norwich an equaliser, saving Christos Tzolis’ penalty with his feet.

Liverpool showed a lot more composure in midfield in the second half, thanks to the introduction of Morton. He came on for Naby Keita and played the six role very well. This gave Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain more freedom to attack.

Divock Origi scored Liverpool’s second goal in the 50th minute. Kostas Tsimikas played a lovely dinked cross in for Origi, who calmly headed into the far corner. All in all, it was a good performance from Origi, who deserved a goal for his hard work and good play during the game.

It is always hard for fringe players to perform well due to their lack of minutes. However, Origi did everything that was asked of him and looked good.  

Minamino concluded the scoring in the 80th minute. It was a very clever goal from the Japanese international, who controlled the ball, dribbled past three Norwich players, and slotted past the goalkeeper.

This brace from Minamino rounded off a very impressive game for him.

 

  • Liverpool benefitting from academy system

Liverpool’s youngsters, Gordon, Bradley and Morton all played well and showed off the Reds’ impressive academy system. Since Jurgen Klopp has come to Anfield, this has been an area that has been developed and we are now seeing the benefits of this.

With Liverpool’s new training facilities in Kirkby, the academy players train at the same place as the first team. The style of play that is coached to the U18’s and U23’s is also the same, making the route to the first team as seamless as possible.

Klopp has shown in the past with the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Curtis Jones that if you are good enough to play for the first team, you will get your chance.

This is something that we saw with the three youngsters that played last night. They were given their opportunity and all played well, making good use of this chance.

Gordon, aged just 16, looked particularly good. Playing on the right wing, he showed confidence on the ball and was not afraid to make a driving run into the box.

  • Minamino showed his quality

Minamino had a particularly impressive game and highlighted Liverpool’s depth in forward positions. It has been a really tough start to his Liverpool career. He was only with the squad a couple of months before lockdown began, and then was sent out on loan for the second half of last season.

Despite his stuttering start as a Red, there is a quality player there to be used. If he can build on this performance, he could yet prove himself as a good backup option to have.

His two goals were both very good finishes; he is a natural finisher.

Hopefully he can be given more gametime to build on his performance.

 

  • More minutes for Konate and Gomez

Another positive to last nights win was seeing both Ibrahima Konate and Joe Gomez play 90 minutes. Both played very well and looked assured at the back.

Following his lengthy time out due to injury, it is great to see Gomez slowly getting more minutes under his belt. He was given the captains armband last night and played very well.

Partnered with Konate, it looks like they are developing a good partnership at the back. Konate himself also played an impressive game. Aerially he was dominant and he was not afraid to drive forward with the ball. His reading of some situations could have been a little better, but for a new signing who is still only 22-years-old, there is a lot of promise there.

We must not forget that Gomez is only 24-year-old and could be a long-term partner to Konate for the Reds.

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