Liverpool beat Burton Albion 5-0 in the Reds second round EFL Cup tie.
The game started brightly and in much the same manner as it did against Burnley on the weekend with Liverpool enjoying the bulk of the possession. However, the main difference is that Liverpool scored with a clever little flick from Divock Origi after Sadio Mane burst to the by-line.
The hosts began very brightly with Dejan Lovren sticking a lazy leg out and tripping up an Albion attacker which prompted yells for a penalty which fell on deaf ears. Unlike Burnley however, Burton were unable to keep the Reds out as the pressure proved too much after 15 minutes of play.
Adam Lallana had a brilliant opportunity on 19 minutes to head the ball in at the back post but didn’t make clear contact with the ball and yet another chance went begging. After just 20 minutes Liverpool had already 6 shots on goal which is double what Burnley had all game on the weekend.
Lallana’s missed chance was soon forgotten after Nathaniel Clyne whipped in a cross and Roberto Firmino capitalized on Albion’s ‘keeper’s hesitation to head home his first goal of the season. 2-0 to Liverpool after just 22 minutes.
One thing that was noticeable after just 25 minutes of play, as well as the defeat to Burnley, is that Firmino’s touch isn’t up to scratch with the ball often getting away from him. On the other hand you have Origi whose repertoire of flicks was on full display.
The game lost its intensity after the second goal as the tempo settled down and Burton Albion were allowed a little more time on the ball. High pressing football isn’t very sustainable and it’s pleasing to see that it doesn’t come in mindless frenzied rushes but rather in sustainable periods of scaled intensity to counter the actions of the opponent.
Just before the end of the first half Sadio Mane raced in behind but had his heel clipped and was brought down in the box but his claims for a penalty were waved away by the referee. The first half ended without much more of note and the Reds went into the changing rooms leading by two goals to nil.
Burton got the second half off to a start and managed to maintain a healthy spell of possession before the Reds won it back. The first ten minutes of the half were uneventful save for a Liverpool break that was halted due to offside.
After relatively nothing happened for the first 15 minutes of the second half, a third goal was added for the visitors after Naylor from Albion scored an own goal after confusion at a corner. Soon after that Lucas Atkins had a chance for the hosts but it came to nothing. Gini Wijnaldum and Daniel Sturridge came on for Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino after 65 minutes. Such strength in depth is pleasing for Klopp to have as those kinds of changes are hardly weakening the team – much the opposite.
Emre Can caught the turf with his toe and rolled his ankle and then limped from the pitch with Kevin Stewart replacing him for the last twenty minutes. It seems as though injuries will always plague Liverpool in a way that they don’t quite affect other clubs aside from maybe Arsenal.
Albion’s ‘keeper had to make a smart stop on 70 minutes when Sturridge caught a sweet shot and Lovren saw his header go high and wide from the resulting corner.
Daniel Sturridge bundled Liverpool’s fourth in after good work from James Milner after the former Manchester City winger played a one-two with Sadio Mane before firing a low cross to the far cross which Sturridge could do little other than put in the back of the net where he soon found himself after his momentum carried him into the net.
Liverpool’s number 15 soon added his second goal of the game with Mane’s second assist of the game as he smashed the ball into the bottom right of the goal. Sturridge really likes to mark his return from injury with a goal or two and he’s done so here.
Another cause for concern injury-wise came when Divock Origi had to receive medical treatment for an issue which appeared to be his hamstring although it could’ve just been cramp from the intense pressing game that Liverpool employ.
Liverpool wrapped up the game and Jurgen Klopp will be quite pleased with a 5-0 victory and the game is perfect prep for the Premier League fixture on the weekend against Spurs at White Hart Lane.