Danny Murphy noticed something of a ‘strange atmosphere’ at the Molineux as Liverpool secured a 1-0 victory over Wolves in the FA Cup.
Victory in the replay will see Jurgen Klopp’s men be handed a second chance at the Amex Stadium on 29th January in the fourth round of the competition.
“Some of the players on the periphery of the team have showed Jurgen Klopp they wanted to be in the team,” the former Red told BBC One (via BBC Sport).
“It was a super strike from Harvey Elliott, he had to have the courage to take the shot on. You want to see players care about their performance.
“It didn’t feel like a cup tie, it was a strange atmosphere.”
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Most encouraging of all was the stark difference in quality between our latest league defeat and the display in the West Midlands; the fundamentals of a Klopp team were all on show throughout the 90 minutes.
Admittedly it was a far from perfect display, though the clearest indication yet for the manager that a change of personnel from within the current squad is required if further reinforcements can’t be brought in during the January transfer window.
The introduction of Stefan Bajcetic and Naby Keita into the middle of the park, in particular, paid dividends at the Molineux as the hosts struggled to create chances in the Reds’ third of the pitch.
There’s a big question mark, of course, over whether our No.8 can avoid injury and play a key role in our remaining 20 league fixtures, not to mention any further commitments in the Champions League and FA Cup.
Ultimately, however, it’s a hope Klopp will have to hold closely given the clear lack of a combative presence in midfield when previously reliable operators in Jordan Henderson and Fabinho have been selected alongside Thiago Alcantara.
The performance against Wolves showed that trusting in fresh options is clearly the way forward for a side that currently finds itself 10 points short of the top four (seven in reality if we can capitalise on our game in hand on Newcastle).
The German tactician may not have found the fresh legs and ideas where he expected to but it appears to be our best hope, as things currently stand, of meeting minimum expectations in 2022/23 and providing us the platform to spend appropriately in the summer to rejuvenate a flagging department.
Liverpool are next set to welcome fellow struggling Premier League outfit Chelsea to Anfield on Saturday and though it would look a huge risk on paper to forego the (generally) world-class quality of Fabinho in favour of 18-year-old Bajcetic, the evidence on offer from the Molineux suggests we’d be foolish not to deviate from the tried and tested approach.