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Fabinho’s impact & Kostas to keep his place? – Last word on Liverpool 2-0 Atletico Madrid

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Liverpool were highly impressive in seeing off Atletico Madrid 2-0 at Anfield, with a number of squad players giving Jurgen Klopp plenty to think about for the weekend.

The Reds outplayed the Spanish champions from the off on Wednesday night, easing into the Champions League knockout stages in the process.

Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane found the net for the hosts, with Felipe sent off for Atletico for good measure.

It means the pressure is off Liverpool with two Group B matches remaining, allowing Klopp to rotate ahead of a busy domestic schedule.

After the game, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) spoke to Dan Clubbe (@dan_clubbe) and Liam Togher (@liamtogher88) to dissect another Reds win.

 

Who stood out for the Reds?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates after scoring the second goal during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAN: It’s impossible to look beyond Trent. Two assists to carve open what is usually a well-drilled defence.

Both Jota and Mane’s finishes were made to be straightforward by the quality of the delivery into the area and within a blink of an eye, the Reds were in complete control thanks to the Scouser in our team.

In truth, everyone was on song but honourable mentions should go to Ox and Hendo, especially having endured a difficult time against Brighton on the weekend.

LIAM: The two full-backs were magnificent.

It’s not exactly a secret that Trent is one of the best distributors of a football in the sport, as Dan says, but he still left me spellbound with the passes he played for the two goals.

It was another excellent night from Tsimikas, too, demonstrating that he too can pick out a peach of a cross and showing tremendous energy on the left flank.

The midfield also looked so much more balanced with Fabinho back in the side. The difference from Saturday to Wednesday in that area of the pitch was chalk and cheese.

2GKXCMX Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates scoring their side's first goal of the game during the UEFA Champions League, Group B match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday September 15, 2021.

HENRY: I echo what the other lads have said with regards to Trent – he was the standout player for me.

To be honest, I don’t think any other full-back in the world comes close to him at the moment, even if he isn’t perfect defensively.

Fabinho was superb as well, and as Liam says, the midfield is a completely different animal with him in the side.

In truth, there wasn’t a remotely bad player, though, and I agree with Dan that Henderson and Ox deserve praise after really poor outings against Brighton.

 

How much would you rotate in the last two group games?

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp (left) and Kostas Tsimikas applauds the fans after the final whistle during the UEFA Champions League Group B match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Wednesday November 3, 2021.

DAN: I was concerned by Klopp’s nod towards the financial impact of winning Champions League matches, particularly when you remember what happened to Jota last season in a dead-rubber against Midtjylland.

Winning the group with two games to spare gives us the license to rest and rotate in what looks destined to be another long, arduous season.

While it will depend on availability at the time, I would personally be fielding a similar team to the one that should play out our League Cup journey.

By that, I mean a side made up predominantly what would be our bench for a top-level Premier League match, handing important minutes into the likes of Minamino, Origi, Gomez, Kelleher etc.

Those players should have enough to at the very least compete against Porto and AC Milan, as well as allow key players to enjoy a night off.

LIAM: Big time.

No fan needs reminding of how we bagged top spot with one game to spare last season, fielded an unnecessarily strong team for the dead-rubber match against Midtjylland and lost a flying Jota for three months, in which time our promising season fell apart like a snowman in a sauna.

What’s the point in wrapping up qualification early if we don’t capitalise by giving the big names a well-earned rest?

PRESTON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, October 27, 2021: Liverpool's Divock Origi and Takumi Minamino during the English Football League Cup 4th Round match between Preston North End FC and Liverpool FC at Deepdale. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I do not want to see Alisson, Trent, Virgil, Hendo, Mo or Mane anywhere near the starting XI against Porto or Milan.

Like Dan says, get the likes of Origi, Minamino, Kelleher, Neco and Phillips some much-needed minutes.

Personally, I’d hope to see the likes of Kaide Gordon, Billy Koumetio, James Balagizi and Tyler Morton featuring, too, but their involvement in the UEFA Youth League could rule out that possibility.

HENRY: I couldn’t agree more with both here.

I know some will still call for strong teams to be fielded because of the money, but the supposed bonus of going through early is to rest key men.

That Jota injury last season really annoyed me because it felt so avoidable and if the same happened again it would be inexcusable.

Klopp may think otherwise, though, and who am I to argue!

 

Should Tsimikas keep his place against West Ham?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Diogo Jota, with a black eye, during the UEFA Champions League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC and Club Atlético de Madrid at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

DAN: Aside from midfield, the only other bone of contention comes at left-back.

I wasn’t at all surprised to see Tsimikas start as I don’t think Andy Robertson has quite been at the races recently.

For me, the Greek Scouser has barely put a foot wrong when seen this season and warrants a run in the side.

LIAM: I had Robertson earmarked to come back in for Tsimikas but he had another fine game.

Considering the respective form of the left-backs, I’d give him another go on Sunday.

West Ham are flying, so this is a game where we categorically need to put our most in-form XI on the pitch, especially with a two-week gap to the Arsenal clash after the weekend.

HENRY: I actually disagree with the lads about Robertson, even though Tsimikas has done more than enough to justify a start.

Robbo is still a world-class player who will be well-rested by Sunday, and I would back him over Tsimikas to get the better of Jarrod Bowen. He’s a big-game player.

That being said, I have no issue if the Greek starts.

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