Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool continued their impressive run of form with a dominant victory over Derby County in the EFL Cup third round.
The Reds opened the scoring in the 24th minute when Ragnar Klavan bundled in a Philippe Coutinho corner after unrelenting pressure from the Premier League side.
A quick thinking Loris Karius save ensured Liverpool went into half-time in the lead before Coutinho added a second shortly after, latching onto a smart pass from Roberto Firmino to coolly finish in the 50th minute.
Four minutes later and Liverpool were at it again. A cheeky pass from the ‘Little Magician’ that is Coutinho played in Divock Origi who fired past John Mitchell in the Derby goal to put the game to bed.
It was a big night for Coutinho who has endured an indifferent season so far for the Reds.
Irresistible in Liverpool’s first Premier League game against Arsenal, the Brazilian found himself on the bench for the 4-1 rout of Leicester City after a poor showing against Spurs a week earlier.
However, make no mistake about it: Coutinho was back to his best.
Two assists and a goal before being taken out of the firing line on the hour mark, Coutinho was brilliant.
Only just back from a broken hand sustained in pre-season, Karius looks destined to offer real competition for the error-stricken Simon Mignolet who has been under pressure since day one at Anfupield.
Despite having little to do, the 23-year-old rushed off his line in ‘sweeper keeper’ fashion to deny Darren Bent.
In all the excitement, Liverpool fans were unable to stop themselves comparing their new favourite goalkeeper to the great Manuel Neuer.
With the pressure that surrounds Derby’s desire for promotion to the Premier League, Pearson won’t be too disappointed to see the back of the EFL Cup. He will, however, be concerned by his team’s distinct lack of organisation.
Sitting just above the relegation spots and with only one win in his opening eight fixtures, Pearson may well be fearing the managerial axe already.
Liverpool fans may be left a little disappointed by Marko Grujic’s performance against Derby.
A string of impressive performances in pre-season has somewhat raised expectations surrounding the 19-year-old but, with 90 minutes under his belt, the midfielder was remarkably underwhelming.
Playing alongside Lucas and Henderson midfield, Grujic was awarded the freedom to attack at a Derby team lacking confidence but failed to produce anything worthy.
The Serbia international got away with a couple of needless and naive fouls inside his own half that, against better opposition, could have caused more of an issue.
Grujic is only 19 and will be given a good education under Jurgen Klopp but, on today’s showing, he isn’t quite ready for the Liverpool first team.