Jurgen Klopp hailed a “100 per cent professional” display from his Liverpool side as they eased into the fourth round of the EFL Cup with a comprehensive 3-0 victory at Derby County on Tuesday.
Klopp said before the tie that Liverpool were taking the competition seriously and they were as good as their manager’s word, dominating the match and winning through goals from Ragnar Kavan, Philippe Coutinho and Divick Origi.
The Liverpool manager said afterwards: “You need to be 100 per cent professional, you need to be really serious with games like this – they could be difficult but it wasn’t difficult because of us. It is a very important tournament and if it is like this you have to show it from the first second.”
Liverpool’s victory highlighted their impressive form on the road this season where they have scored 15 goals in six games, winning four of them – including successes at Arsenal and Chelsea in the Premier League. “It is not a surprise,” said Klopp. “We won’t have a week’s break and celebrate it, we had the games and we played them and we are professional. I always thought the difference between home and away should not be that big especially when you have a good side as we are.”
On a satisfying evening for the eight-times League Cup winners, Klopp was able to give debuts to goalkeeper Loris Karius and, as a late substitute, teenage midfielder Ovie Ejaria. There was also a second-half outing for striker Danny Ings, coming on after 63 minutes for his first appearance of the season. “He is still an important player for us,” said Klopp of a player still feeling his way back after a cruciate ligament injury last October.
The only shadow on the evening for Klopp concerned some of the Derby challenges in the first half, notably a Martin Olsson tackle on Coutinho. Though the full-back did not make any contact with Coutinho, Klopp could be seen ranting in the technical area at the fourth official, Michael Jones. “Something really bad can happen when a player flies into a challenge three or four times,” he said. “The only thing I said to the fourth official was please tell him he should tell the player, he didn’t hit him but it was so close.”
For Derby manager Nigel Pearson, meanwhile, this was the fourth defeat in five games but he had no complaints. “We were beaten by a very good side,” he said. “The gulf between the two sides at the moment is too big for us. We were made to look second best.”