Kostas Tsimikas was an encouraging fifth substitution late in Liverpool’s victory over Atalanta in midweek for a number of reasons.
For one, it was his first competitive appearance for his new club in either the Premier League or Champions League – and only his second in total.
By the time he was introduced into the match, Liverpool were home-and-dry and Jurgen Klopp will have had one eye firmly on the clash with Manchester City on Sunday.
It was also the first occasion since the opening day that either Trent Alexander-Arnold or Andy Robertson were able to enjoy a period on the sidelines with a growing number of injuries limiting the boss from making changes in the past.
In the limited time that he was on the pitch, Tsimikas showed plenty for supporters to be encouraged about.
Late on in the game and immediately after his introduction, Atalanta broke clear and looked like they could get into a position to get on the scoresheet. Tsimikas saved the day.
He used his speed and positional awareness to get across the box and thwart himself between the attacker and the ball, calmly dealing with the situation, enabling Liverpool to start another attack.
Tsimikas, 24, did not get much opportunity to do anything else, but this was well executed. It was a flash of the ability which may enable Klopp to utilise the Greek left-back more frequently.
During his eight minutes of competitive action, he managed to make one tackle, one interception, one cross and averaged a pass completion rate of 89 per cent according to WhoScored.
Stop-start Liverpool career
This was Tsimikas’ first game in a Liverpool shirt since the 7-2 victory against Lincoln City in the Carabao Cup back in September.
He was impressive in that particular encounter as well, consistently making himself a threat, bombing down that left-flank and linking up well with Diogo Jota.
However, what stood out above all else was his determination to put crosses in the box and provide opportunities for his teammates. He clocked up a stunning total of nine crosses against the League One outfit.
Little cameos have been all we can afford to get excited about so far when it comes to gauging what kind of impact Tsimikas can have on this Liverpool team.
He has only been included in Klopp’s Premier League matchday squad on just one occasion this season (Chelsea, away) in what has been a very stop and start introductory process to life on Merseyside.
Tsimikas isn’t to blame for this in the slightest given he has missed eight of Liverpool’s previous fixtures due to a thigh problem.
However, despite the slow adjustment phase, Tsimikas is back in the manager’s selection process and can begin to kick on with his Liverpool career having joined from Olympiacos earlier in the summer.
Klopp remains confident in the player that he signed and will have no doubts that there is plenty more to come from the club’s inaugural 2020 summer signing.
“Kostas is a signing which just shows what we are looking for, what we need” said Klopp following his unveiling back in August.
With Liverpool’s Champions League qualification within touching distance, there is every possibility Klopp could hand Tsimikas a starting berth in the return fixture against Atalanta at Anfield after the international break.
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