Liverpool beat Everton 5-2 at Anfield on Wednesday in a game that showed Jurgen Klopp can win the Champions League again.
This was a Premier League game, of course. Liverpool maintained their eight-point lead at the top of the table with the win, solidifying them as favourites to win it all.
But they did it with a team of fringe players. In Xherdan Shaqiri, for instance, they started a player for the first time since May. Divock Origi played as an out-and-out striker. Adam Lallana was in as a No. 10.
Liverpool won the Merseyside derby without Alisson, Joel Matip, Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Mohamed Salah or Roberto Firmino. No one should underestimate just how good that is – or what it means for this season.
Because, quite clearly, Liverpool have squad players capable of winning big games. Now, the win can also be put down to the tactical approach as much as the players being good.
But that’s also a sign that Klopp knows exactly how to utilise his squad and that’s how they can win the Champions League again.
Competing on both fronts will require squad rotation. Liverpool will, much like last year, need to play big game after big game at the end of the season.
The difference is that these players look very capable of competing – even more so than last year. And so if Klopp does the reverse of last year and prioritises the league, these ‘second string’ options would still compete in the Champions League.
They do need to get past RB Salzburg to qualify for the knockout stage, of course, but do that and Liverpool have a real chance.