JÜRGEN Klopp shuffled his top deck again, but after a five-star showing The Reds once again came up trumps.
Having made six alterations to the side for the midweek win at Stoke, Klopp once again rang the changes for Liverpool’s visit to the AMEX with only Roberto Firmino remaining in attack to be partnered by Philippe Coutinho and Mo Salah.
And having recorded 15 goals in the last four away games, notwithstanding the odd defensive hiccup, variety is proving to be the spice of life for Liverpool’s forward line.
While Mo Salah may have been stealing headlines of late, the spread of those goals cannot be ignored with 11 different goalscorers across all competitions so far this season.
But to focus at the top end of the pitch, the depth and quality of Liverpool’s options in attack must be the envy of Europe.
One of Klopp’s biggest gripes about English football has been the lack of a winter break and the frequency of fixtures over the Christmas period, and with some justification.
The result of the over exertion around this time last season came home to roost in January and crippled Liverpool’s season, as heavy legs and a Sadio Mane-less Liverpool went from full throttle to little more than a limp until the spring time. The impact was such that it took Liverpool until the last day of the season to attain their minimum target of fourth place, despite having started the season so well.
Last year’s winter period was to break Liverpool’s season, this year it might just make it.
That Klopp can now rest Mane and not give it a second thought is testament to the quality and variety of options currently at his disposal and, ironically, Liverpool’s freedom to alternate and keep freshness in the legs of his charges might just be the edge they have over their rivals, as the miles and the mental and physical fatigue begin to take their toll.
And it’s not just personnel that the manager has the luxury of changing, he’s also shown the ability to change how this Liverpool side function.
Great credit has to go to the coaching staff and especially Klopp, who has often been pigeonholed as only having one way of thinking, he’s had the courage to change the system and formation and has proven to have more than one string to his bow, and you can only pity the opposition analysts when trying second guess what and how Liverpool are going to line up when they roll into town.
All three of Mane, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Dominic Solanke will have been disappointed not to have started today’s game after acquitting themselves admirably in midweek. However, with the games coming thick and fast, keeping the squad happy shouldn’t be too much of a stretch and, assuming Spartak Mosow are safely navigated on Wednesday evening, Liverpool will have enough fixtures to keep everyone hungry even beyond the turn of the year.
To have so much quality in reserve, with players who could all have a genuine argument to start for Liverpool in attack and can reasonably get the hump when not selected, is a remarkable situation given how thin The Reds were on the ground as little as a year ago.
While other teams might have bigger names, you’d struggle to find a wider spread of stardust among any other attacking contingent in European football.
Up the variety is the spice of life Reds.