Kostas Tsimikas didn’t play against Arsenal but his absence was felt. The left-back can make a big difference in certain games.

Kostas Tsimikas couldn’t play on Thursday when Liverpool took on Arsenal in the League Cup. Injury kept him out, meaning James Milner filled in at left-back.

Liverpool v Arsenal - Carabao Cup Fourth Round

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And despite Tsimikas being a new addition – costing Liverpool around £11.7m – the Reds felt his absence.

Square peg

Milner is a very good player and certainly a useful one. His ability to cover virtually every position is unparalleled – Liverpool needed him on Thursday.

Tsimikas was out, after all, and they clearly wanted to rest Andy Robertson. So Milner, as he has done in the past, stepped up to play left-back. But you can see the limitations there.

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Liverpool played their usual style in a 4-3-3. It’s a fantastically successful system, of course, but one that does rely on the full-backs. They provide width and create chances through crossing.

Milner, for all his ability, can’t do that very well. It’s not his fault – he’s just not left-footed. He can’t bomb down the wing, providing the width and getting a cross in from the byline.

Liverpool, as a result, don’t function the same when he’s there. He has to cut back a lot, negating the width on that side and slowing play down.

Quick fix

Fortunately, this should be a one-off. The compact schedule may mean Liverpool want to rest Robertson more often than last but Tsimikas should be there to cover.

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And that fixes the problem immediately. Tsimikas is a natural left-back and one who looks to get forward to provide that width Liverpool want.

That’s vital if the Reds want to compete in all competitions. Tsimikas can allow them to play they’re natural way without issue, even with the second-string. Yes, he was relatively cheap and yes, he’s a squad player, but Tsimikas should help Liverpool compete on all fronts this season.

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