Liverpool came back from behind to put in an impressive performance following some changes by the manager, with a 2-1 fightback at home to Fulham.
Liverpool 2-1 Fulham
Carabao Cup Semi-Final First Leg, Anfield
January 10, 2024
Goals: Jones 68′, Gakpo 71′; Willian 19′
Klopp changes work again
Liverpool were dominating possession but looked lackadaisical at times, struggling to break down Fulham‘s block after they took an early lead.
The could have had another linkup when Nunez headed Gakpo’s cross, forcing a great save from Bernd Leno.
Klopp’s second-half switches and a move to 4-2-3-1 led to a more urgent Liverpool attack, and it’s encouraging that even with an injury-hit squad the manager still has the tools to change games from the bench.
Fulham can’t keep up with Jones
If you think of the English midfielders who are considered among the best in the Premier League at the moment, it’s baffling that Jones has no senior international caps.
He’s up there with the best of them and is much more versatile than most.
He opened the scoring for Liverpool, levelling when his shot deflected off Tosin Adarabioyo, and then played a part in the second, too, starting off the attacking, forward-thinking part of the move.
He finished the game with a pass success of 98 percent, completing 47 out of 48 attempted passes.
Gravenberch in the Henderson role
The Dutchman has played mostly on the left of midfield since arriving at the club this season, operating in a fairly attacking No. 8 role.
This time he lined up in a similar position to that which Jordan Henderson used to occasionally play, joining in with buildup play when deep, before ending up really wide on the right in some moments.
Unfortunately, Gravenberch on this occasion was a bit too much like the version of Henderson we saw in his latter seasons at Liverpool, and was fairly ineffective before being subbed off.
Joao Palhinha’s Liverpool audition?
One of the players Liverpool have regularly been linked with to fill a place in the squad in the defensive midfield position is Fulham‘s Joao Palhinha.
Though rumours of a January transfer were wide of the mark, the club will get a good, first-hand look at their potential transfer across the two legs of this semi-final.
Apart from one occasion when he was robbed by Mac Allister in midfield leading to a good chance for Jota, Palhinha was good positionally and on hand to pick up pieces in front of the back four.
While they’re watching Palhinha, Liverpool may have noticed another who would fit at the club is the left-back Antonee Robinson, if they wanted a refresh in that area.
Liverpool’s squad continues to be stretched due to participation in every competition, and their involvement in this Carabao Cup means there won’t be much of a winter break.
Any squad would be stretched with the number of players Liverpool currently have out of action, with February the earliest most will be back.
The club’s academy has provided valuable backup during this time, but beyond Nunez and Gakpo who entered before the hour mark, there was no further senior presence on the bench.