Takumi Minamino and Caoimhin Kelleher were among those who impressed as Liverpool beat Norwich City 3-0 in the Carabao Cup third round.
Liverpool made a fantastic start to the game, as Takumi Minamino produced a fine finish from an acute angle after receiving the ball from Divock Origi during a set-piece routine. Thereafter, though, it was largely an even game, as Norwich City took the game to the Reds and even forced Caoimhin Kelleher into a couple of saves.
As half-time approached, the Canaries received a glimmer of hope, as Conor Bradley, on Liverpool debut, brought down Dimitris Giannoulis inside the box to concede a penalty. However, Christos Tzolis failed to convert from the spot, with Caoimhin Kelleher saving the effort with his feet.
This seemed to have woken Liverpool up from their slumber post the interval, when they largely dominated and scored two fantastic goals through Origi and Minamino to book their place in the Carabao Cup fourth round. With the hard-fought win sealed, The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Caoimhin Kelleher: 8/10
A major reason why Liverpool appear to have won convincingly. Kelleher, on a rare outing in goal for the Reds, was top class between the sticks, making a string of regulation saves around a penalty stop with his feet, which, in turn, helped him preserve his clean sheet.
Conor Bradley: 7/10
One of three players who made their bow for Liverpool on Tuesday, Bradley was quite impressive in his showing from the right flank, proving to be a major outlet down his wing, playing as many as three key passes. There were a few wasteful touches but those are largely excusable. Might have conceded the penalty but came through unscathed thanks to Kelleher.
Ibrahima Konate: 7/10
In what was his maiden outing in the Carabao Cup, Konate made an impression yet again, pretty much continuing from where he left off against Crystal Palace. Only Bradley saw the ball more often than the Frenchman, who recycled possession smartly. Off the ball, he was quite solid, winning as many as ten duels on the night. Only a matter of time before he is a regular feature for good.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
With the team being heavily rotated, Gomez donned the captain’s armband for Liverpool and did well to keep the backline organised after some initial hiccups. Indeed, there were some sloppy passes played by him but all in all, this was a performance worthy of the armband, with the block from the rebound of the penalty saving being his standout moment against Norwich.
Kostas Tsimikas: 8/10
Handed a second successive start by Klopp, Tsimikas continued his upward trajectory at Liverpool with another convincing performance. In fact, the Greek defender was involved in each of the goals that Liverpool scored while he was on the pitch, first delivering the corner that was nodded by Divock Origi towards Takumi Minamino before setting up Origi for the second Reds goal.
Kostas Tsimikas vs. Norwich
66% Pass accuracy
5/11 Accurate crosses
4 Chances created
2/4 Ground duels won
2/2 Aerial duels won
2/2 Tackles won pic.twitter.com/0mWzTEyXt6
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) September 21, 2021
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 6/10
The chances have not been forthcoming for Oxlade-Chamberlain of late, and the performance on Tuesday showed just why he is so far down the pecking order. The former Arsenal midfielder just could not get going, failing to get involved as much as he would have liked, even though he did play a couple of key passes. Has to make massive improvements.
Curtis Jones: 7/10
Making his 50th appearance for Liverpool, Jones was interestingly deployed at the base of the three-man midfield in the first half, where he more than held his own. Improved further post the interval, when he reprised his usual no. 8 role. Completed 93 percent of his attempted passes, helping Liverpool assert their control over Norwich in the game.
Naby Keita: 6/10
Coming off the back of a stunning performance against Crystal Palace, Keita ought to have been in high spirits. However, the Guinean midfielder appeared to be a little leggy before being taken off at half-time for Tyler Morton.
Kaide Gordon: 8/10
Klopp on Kaide Gordon post-match:
"The first thing Kaide said to me – when I wanted to say congratulations – was thank you! I said, nothing to thank for, you deserved it!" pic.twitter.com/Ui90phCLxR
— This Is Anfield (@thisisanfield) September 21, 2021
Making his debut for Liverpool, Gordon showed flashes of brilliance, demonstrating just why the Reds were so desperate to secure his services. Played two key passes while completing all but three of his attempted passes. Did not come close to scoring, but the signs are positive.
Divock Origi: 8/10
Origi almost has a point to prove this season and he played like so as well against Norwich on Tuesday. The Player to Watch in our preview was purposeful in his display, linking up brilliantly with Minamino while showing fine chemistry with Tsimikas, in particular, as evidenced in his involvement for the first two goals, the second of which was his first strike in 12 months.
Takumi Minamino: 9/10
A game that might prove to be the coming of age for Minamino at Liverpool. The Japanese forward has struggled to make his mark at Anfield so far, but the two finishes from close range show that there is a lot to be exploited in him. The close control leading up to the second goal was nothing short of exquisite while he also put in the hard yards off the ball.
Takumi Minamino's game by numbers vs. Norwich:
85% pass accuracy
3 long balls attempted
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) September 21, 2021
Tyler Morton: 8/10
Introduced for Keita at half-time, Morton was yet another teenage prospect making his Liverpool debut, and the 18-year-old was mighty impressive, as he provided the Reds greater control in the middle of the park, completing all but four passes on the night.
Andrew Robertson: 6/10
On for Tsimikas, Robertson was not quite in full flow, although he did not really need to be so, with the game won.
Jordan Henderson: N/A
A late introduction, Henderson helped see the game out.