On Tuesday night Liverpool were looking to continue in the EFL Cup, and go one step further than last season- win it. However Derby County stood in their way at the iPro Stadium (Pride Park).
After our morale boosting win over Chelsea on Friday fans were optimistic and were hoping for a high scoring encounter, the opening ten minutes didn’t provide any kind of excitement for either team. The only shot was a long range effort from Firmino which just curled wide.
In fact as the game reached quarter of an hour Derby looked the more threatening and for a while had us pinned into our own half. An injury to Henderson took two minutes for him to get back to his feet, that respite gave us time to get into the game. A Phillipe Coutinho corner which wasn’t properly cleared landed at the feet of Ragner Klavan and, he poked home for his first Liverpool goal.
Just after the goal a short pass by Loris Karius nearly put Darren Bent in on goal but Klavan manged to get the ball before the former England stiker. For the next twenty minutes Liverpool dominated and should have scored another when Divock Origi found himself in a 2 on 1 situation alongside Roberto Firmino, he over hit the pass though and it came to nothing.
Derby’s only chance came in stoppage time when Darren Bent was nearly through on goal but Karius was quick off his line and managed to stop Bent from poking the ball past him.
Five minutes in the second half and Coutinho doubled Liverpool’s lead with a well worked team goal. At that point the game looked ours and we continued with some amazing build up play.
Five more minutes and our build up play cut Derby up again with Divock Origi making it three nil. With the game pretty much in the bag Klopp gave Emre Can a run out and he came on for Henderson just after the goal with Lucas taking the captains armband.
On the hour mark Coutinho put the ball on a platter for his Brazilian compatriot Firmino who saw his volley brilliantly saved by the Derby keeper. That was Coutinho’s last major impact as he was replaced by Danny Ings.
After seventy minutes Mario Grujic took one too many risks in his own half and was tackled about thirty yards out, the resulting move was broken up by Klavan for a corner. Karius tried to come for the in swinger but missed it and in reality Derby should have scored with the keeper in no man’s land.
A few minutes later a ball over the top lead to Danny Ings being brought down in the box, replays show that there was some contact and it could have been a penalty.
Derby began to press high in the last fifteen minutes, this high press lead to a misplaced pass and a foul by Grujic which saw him receive a yellow card, the resulting free kick lead to nothing.
The last ten minutes provided nothing of interest bar Origi curling a shot wide, on a few occasions we had dangerous looking counter attacks but misplaced passes stopped us from getting our fourth.
All in all a very professional performance by everyone in red (even Moreno). Some fantastic stuff being played at times and we never looked troubled by anything Derby threw at us. More positives as we got to see Karius and Grujic for the first time (competitively), Ings and Emre Can returned from injury and a debut for Ovie Ejaria as well. After playing well against the big teams it was good to see the team being professional and giving it their all until the final whistle. Also, our second clean sheet of the season, it might only be Derby but a clean sheet is still a positive, very good debut from Karius.
Written by @LiamGrimshaw