Daniel Sturridge stands out as all-new Liverpool sink Spurs
Jurgen Klopp fields an entirely different XI to the one that beat West Brom as Liverpool make the last eight of the EFL Cup
Liverpool 2 Tottenham 1
Liverpool's second string beat Tottenham's youngsters 2-1 to reach the quarter-final of the EFL Cup, although it was an out-of-favour Anfield veteran who scored their goals in the 2-1 victory.
Daniel Sturridge, now often deemed surplus to first team requirements, showed that he still has the killer instinct as he netted twice as Liverpool extended their unbeaten run to ten matches.
But if ever proof were needed of the diminished status of the recently rebranded league cup it was on a crisp midweek Merseyside night. Klopp changed his entire starting line-up from the one that beat West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, while Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino made ten alterations to the side that drew 0-0 with Bournemouth with eight players aged 23 or under in the starting XI.
Sturridge, the England striker who has become a rare sight under Klopp, was given an outing, and his experience was in stark contrast to that of the players either side of him up front - 21-year-old Divock Origi and 18-year-old Ovie Ejaria.
It took Sturridge just nine minutes to find the net, poking the ball past Michel Vorm after another raw Red, 20-year-old Serb Marko Grujic, had seen his cross partially blocked by Kevin Wimmer.
Liverpool dominated the rest of the half and their superiority continued after the break with Sturridge, Origi and Georginio Wijnaldum all going close. The tie was put to bed on 64 minutes when Origi and Wijnaldum combined to beat the visitors' offside trap and send Sturridge clear. The England striker showed his class with a cool finish through the legs of Vorm, and a late penalty from Vincent Janssen was nothing more than a thin consolation for the visitors.
“That is Daniel's talent,” reflected Klopp. “He's a really good finisher and I was never in doubt about him even when he didn't score."
But it was Liverpool's young guns that most impressed the German. "I saw the line-up on paper and I thought 'oh, still really good'," he joked with reporters. "Of course we're happy with the players we have, and there are a few more to come a little younger. Under 18, Under 23, even the Under 15s have some really good boys. Good news for Liverpool."
Nonetheless Klopp was keen to emphasise that there is still much work to be done if his youngsters are to establish themselves at the club in the years ahead. "Tonight, we can talk about it but we should not talk about it too much," he said. "These boys need to go back, train hard and try to come again. That's how it is. We have a few of them every day with us, and the rest are in the academy. When they are ready, they can make the next step."
Despite the result Pochettino didn't appear too upset, regarding the match as a useful opportunity to give a run to some of his youngsters. "The young players are very important for our future, to be a better squad," he said. "I think it was a fantastic opportunity to show their quality and a great experience to capitalise on, to take positive things for the future."