Whats In Reserve

Going to first team matches enables fans to see at first hand the talent available to Jurgen Klopp. But beneath the first XI, whats in reserve?

Are there any budding Sadio Mane’s or Adam Lallana’s? Do we have any up and coming centre backs capable of challenging current incumbents, Matip, Klavan and Lovren?

Liverpool 4, Tottenham Hotspur 2

Last night provided me the opportunity to see at first hand exactly what’s in reserve. Being fortunate enough to get a Main Stand ticket for the game we took our places for the 7pm kick off. On paper fielded a strong looking line up. The starting XI included the likes of Ben Woodburn, Lazar Markovic and Marko Grujic. For Woodburn and Grujic in particular it must have been a big disappoint to be involved last night. As they were both involved on Tuesday in the League Cup tie at Leicester they may have been hoping to be involved with the first XI today as well.

Sadly for them, this was not the case.

Line Up

Liverpool’s starting line up for the fixture was: Kelleher; Virtue; Whelan (captain); Phillips; Jones; Grujic; Wilson; Woodburn; Brewster; Ejaria; Markovic

The game got off to a flying start for Liverpool as Harry Wilson headed them into the lead within the first 30 seconds. Not great defending from Spurs presented Wilson with the opportunity. A nicely cushioned header over keeper, Brandon Austin did the rest.

Soon after, Wilson notched his second. A good ball over the top from centre-half Lloyd Jones reached Lazar Markovic. He shielded the ball well before laying it off to Wilson for a simple, right-footed finish. Mind you we say simple and for all intents and purposes it may have looked a cool finish. But as it was right foot, it may also have been a “swinger”. With regard to the assist from Markovic, this was his only telling contribution really. Disappointing for him as this was a great opportunity to stake a claim and get himself noticed. He was subsequently substituted mid way in the second half.

After Wilson’s quickfire two early goals however, Liverpool’s youngsters took their foot off the gas. From looking out of it, Spurs were thrown a lifeline.

For their first goal, Jones gave away a debatable penalty. Nevertheless, it was coolly dispatched by Marcus Edwards. Not long after, centre back Maghoma, atoned for his earlier part in Wilson’s first goal by finishing with some style. His wonderful finish in the top corner came after Liverpool failed to clear a Spurs corner. Failure to clear a corner? Ring any bells?

The Harry Wilson Show

Liverpool however were not to be denied a half-time lead. Not unsurprisingly, it was Wilson who popped up on the stroke of half-time to the finishing touch to some great build up play. A perfect hat trick – header, right foot and left foot. Wilson is a remarkable talent in and around the opposition’s penalty area.

He is so cool when finishing and is always looking to get himself into goalscoring positions. He doesn’t seem to be the quickest of players but he is certainly a very clever player. Is he ready for the first team? Some would say that he gets brushed off the ball a bit too easily.

There wasn’t really much evidence of that on this occasion however. With a record of 33 goals and 17 assists in his last 43 games, can Jurgen Klopp continue to ignore him for the first team squad? On this showing, probably not for too long.

Scrappy Second Half

The second-half didn’t start too good for Tottenham either.

A few minutes after kick off, Brewster was through onto another simple ball over the top from Jones. On this occasion he easily lobbed the out rushing Austin to put the game to bed. This fine finish atoned for a couple of seemingly easier chances Brewster missed earlier. One of which that came back off the woodwork.

The rest of the second-half was quite a scrappy affair. Both sides were wasteful with the ball. But as far as Liverpool were concerned, it was job done already.

At the final whistle Liverpool had earned a comfortable win. This win of course was largely in part to the cool finishing of an in-form Harry Wilson. But apart from Wilson, who else shone? And who didn’t?

Whats In Reserve?

As already mentioned, Markovic had the chance to impress but in the main he didn’t.

Others with first team experience, Woodburn and Grujic worked hard but only really flitted in and out of the game. A stand out player though was another youngster who has made the first team bench. As well as taking his goal well, Brewster was a constant threat all game. He could, probably should, have finished with a hat trick himself. Full of running, looking to get past players, pacy and linking up well. Brewster also looks a definite to be involved with the first team before too long.

Ovie Ejaria also looked the part at times. Big, strong, good on the ball. Maybe needs to get more involved at times though.

Particularly impressive in the first 30 minutes or so was Nathaniel Phillips at centre back. He looked dominant, cool on the ball and was always looking to pick a pass. However, he did seem to lose his way a bit in the second half though. A second half lunging tackle also saw him find his way into the referee’s book.

In the end though, hat-trick hero Wilson stole the show. This hat trick was the second of the season for him. Maybe the biggest stumbling block for him, Woodburn and Brewster is the wealth of attacking options ahead of them in the first team squad. Don’t forget either two other attacking options currently out on loan – Sheyi Ojo and Ryan Kent.

In Conclusion

In terms of attacking possibilities there seems to be a conveyor belt of potential talent coming through. Let’s hope all, or at least some of them, manage to step up to the first team scene. So in answer to the question of whats in reserve? Quite a lot actually.

The win by the way maintained Liverpool’s 100% start to the campaign. Six games, six wins.

Not a bad attendance either last night. On a final note, the half-time hot soup and sandwiches were spot on. Very well received and enjoyed.


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