THERE was no Philippe Coutinho, Nathaniel Clyne or Mamadou Sakho. Roberto Firmino, Christian Benteke, Simon Mignolet and James Milner were not needed off the bench.
There were five changes to the starting line-up that scorched Manchester City, and yet, Liverpool still swatted six goals past Southampton.
Liverpool with outside-of-the-boot passes. Liverpool with chest-downs and crash bangs. Liverpool with precision at an angle. Liverpool with a divine touch. Liverpool with intelligent runs. Liverpool with expert finishing.
Liverpool put up their Christmas tree at St Mary’s and delivered joy to the world.
Where once it felt like Jürgen Klopp had to look under the tables in the medical room and behind the gym equipment at Melwood for playing options, it now does not matter which names are on his teamsheet; the German has unwrapped the potential of the collective by unlocking the confidence of individuals.
64% – Liverpool's 2015-16 win rate has increased to 64% under Jürgen Klopp from 27% under Brendan Rodgers. Uplift. pic.twitter.com/lN7bnTWZiO
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 3, 2015
Divock Origi helped himself to a hat-trick on Wednesday night. Brad Smith delivered a stellar assist. Think about that. Dine on that. The young and raw Belgian striker is the club’s fourth-choice forward at the moment. He’d be number five if Danny Ings was still fit and squeezing fighting football into every inch of his frame.
Three weeks ago, Smith may well have been flipping burgers at Maccies and hardly anyone would have noticed. He was unmissable in his cameo against Southampton.
Remember when Lucas was about to be recycled? How about when it looked like Jordon Ibe forgot what he should do with a football? When Dejan Lovren was the worst of the worst things? When Origi looked more Lost than the TV show?
Klopp came in and called for a restart and the Reds seem to have a team of Usain Bolts out of the blocks. There is a touch of “insert any name here” about Liverpool now: he can be a match-winner, and him, him, too…
Jordan Henderson is fit, but he hasn’t started a game yet upon his return. Can you imagine him being available but not absolutely needed at the start of this season? In 2014-15? Even in the glorious, glorious campaign before?
He is a crucial part of the club’s core, but doesn’t have to be the life-support machine. Daniel ‘The Difference’ Sturridge did it again last night. His double provided the platform for Liverpool to have a full-blown party on the south coast. But he was on the bench against City and not involved in the 3-1 spanking of Chelsea. The Reds are mustard with him, but they’ve shown they can be just that without him too.
6 – Daniel Sturridge has now scored six times in his last five League Cup games. Update.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2015
Coutinho doesn’t have to play his ‘shoot us out of trouble’ card. Benteke doesn’t have to be on the pitch for the side to be powerful in front of the posts. Options all over the place. To the left, to the right.
In Klopp’s first interview at the club, he said “I’m not a dream man, I don’t want to have Cristiano [Ronaldo] or Lionel [Messi] and all these players in one team. I want these guys [the current squad], it was a decision for these guys. Now we start working.”
When headlines focused on him needing to buy to bulk up the quality of the side, the 48-year-old quickly ridiculed such suggestions. When injuries flowed thick and fast, he deflected attention from those unavailable to those who could actually help him deliver results. At every opportunity, he has talked up his players.
There were few who fully believed Klopp when he walked in and declared his faith in every single member of the squad, those doubts will now be as relevant as Sadio Mane’s opener in the Capital One Cup quarter-final.
This Liverpool, where there’s a flood of names pushing for a place in the teamsheet let alone the starting 11, is a gorgeous Liverpool.
This Liverpool, where the getting better and better players could become the best players, is a wonderful Liverpool.
This Liverpool, this is Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. There’s plenty of work to be done but Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool live for work, they love work.
90 – Tonight is the 90th time in Liverpool's history that they've scored 6+ goals in a single game. Rampage.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2015
He came in and made it clear: “It’s our job to let supporters forget their problems for 90 minutes and then they can talk for three days about the last game and talk for two days about the next game.”
Talk about Southampton. Talk about Newcastle. Talk about points. Talk about trophies.
Liverpool are saying it all with their performances. Liverpool want do to the business. Liverpool are doing the business.
Pics: David Rawcliffe-Propaganda Photo