With the games now coming thick and fast once more, Jim Boardman and Jay Reid got together to discuss everything going on with the Reds for the latest episode of Scouser Tommies, including a couple of 3-1 wins and the upcoming visit of one old enemy - but is he as old as he looks?
Freshest in the mind was the win over LASK in the Europa League, the first LFC match in the competition for what seems like ages. A much-changed Reds side were sent out and went a goal down, but, despite what some commentators seemed to be suggesting, it wasn’t the end of the club’s European chances for the season. The night, like the right-hand-side of the Reds starting line-up, was still young and Klopp’s side would be back at Speke airport before midnight with a 3-1 win in the bag.
It was important for Klopp to make those changes for that game and not just to give some rest to the players maybe more likely to be considered as first choice. Those that started all benefited from the minutes that Liverpool being in this competition can give them.
“In the midfield, with Endo, Gravenberch and Elliott, they’ve got to play,” Jay said, adding: “Endo, fresh into the club, he does need game time and to get those legs moving. There were a couple of times where he looked a bit slow and sloppy in possession, but you’ve got to caveat that with he’s not really played a lot since he’s been here.”
21-year-old Gravenberch signed just before the deadline and, having avoided international duty to sort himself out with a car and a place to stay, as well as getting up to speed with how things are done at his new club, he was rewarded with a start. He admitted in interviews after the game that there were sloppy moments, but allowing for that, and it being his first start for the Reds after so little game time at Bayern, Jay was impressed: “He went off with, hopefully, cramp in the second half and that’s probably a sign of his lack of football in recent months, but there were positives to take. He’s forward thinking, he covers the ground effortlessly for a lad who’s 6 foot 3, so there are positives there.”
Stefan Bajetic had his first start since a lengthy injury spell but was played at right-back with Trent still out. After a quick shudder from remembering who might have been filling in at right-back, had he not gone to Brighton, Jim thought that although it was an unfamiliar position for Bajetic it’s one he could work out at, given time: “It was a strange one I thought to play Stefan there,” Jim said, “it being his first game back, but at the same time he’s got the ability to play the role. He’s got the skills, he’s got the speed, just maybe hasn’t got the experience. It seems a shame not to get use out of this young lad. We’ve got a lot of games and with the midfield being so heavily stacked up with names now, is this going to be his route to getting a game for us now?”
As well as talking through the LASK game, there was the game of two halves against Wolves last weekend to look back on and plenty of interesting observations from both fixtures. As discussed in the podcast, these games shed light on how Mo Salah is far too good to be moving to a certain oil-backed league, reminded us why Luis Diaz’s absence was more of an issue last season than Sadio Mane’s departure and just how much youth there is in this Liverpool squad, as we rebuild for the future without - hopefully - falling too far off the pace in the process.
Next up is two home games, the EFL Cup visit of Leicester to follow the visit of West Ham, which as well as coming with a free team talk courtesy of one slightly mouthy opposition player, and no doubt seeing the return of shouts of “A cat! A cat, a cat a cat a cat!”, sees David Moyes back in the city.
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