It was not a performance to write home about for Jurgen Klopp but the result and the opportunity for his players were the notable positives in the 2-0 win at Preston.
Here are four key things from the manager’s post-match press conference after progressing to the League Cup quarter-finals:
1. Morton just needs a “a body for football”
In the 18-year-old’s first start, he picked up from where he left off at Norwich on his debut.
Calm and composed in possession and always eager to be in possession, Morton offered one positive sign after another.
For the manager, game intelligence could not be questioned but now it’s time to improve his physique to ensure he is capable of competing week in and week out against senior bodies.
“Tyler is obviously a real talent, a real smart footballer. You can see this. His natural movements, natural positions, are really good.”
“Now we have to make sure we help him with getting a body for football – he is not too small and not too skinny, but there is still a little bit to come and we have to make him ready for all that. It was a very positive impact again tonight.”
2. All about progressing
It was far from a classic but with 11 changes from the side who thumped Man United it was never going to be the perfect performance for a side who had never played together before.
For Klopp, he was quick to acknowledge “as a team we can play better, but individually I saw a few really nice performances,” but in the end, Liverpool managed a clean sheet and a win.
“It’s all about getting through to the next round, that’s what we did. That it [would be] difficult with 11 changes, that was clear.” Onto the quarters we go.
3. A pre-planned sub
Be rest assured that all is well with Joel Matip after his half-time substitution, with Klopp confirming that it always been the plan after sitting out at Old Trafford.
“Nat played really well; Joel is not injured. It was just clear we wanted him to play 45 minutes [so] that he can keep the rhythm.
“Joel needs these kind of things. It was clear as well that Phillips will come on because we just have to let him out because he’s in incredible shape, is training really well.”
It was Phillips’ first senior minutes of the season after his breakthrough in 2020/21.
4. ‘ Taki was good, but can be much better’
It’s been strictly cup action for Takumi Minamino on Wednesday but he got another goal to his name in what was a solid yet unspectacular performance, like many of his teammates.
His true quality has yet to show itself at Anfield but opportunities have been limited with fierce competition up top, but his third goal injects some confidence and the boss knows there is still plenty of untapped potential.
“Taki is high quality. Taki’s problem is… actually, there is no problem apart from the other players in his positions are really good and thank God for us they are not injured.
“He understands our game as well really well, so you can throw him in and he can be immediately a massive part of our football. Tonight he was, obviously. Taki was good, but we all know he can be even much better.”