Liverpool have been one of the strongest sides in the Premier League so far. They have been unbeaten in the league and have won four of the five matches they have played. They have won all their games convincingly and have scored 12 goals. Liverpool have also kept four clean sheets and have only conceded one goal.
The main issue for Liverpool in the last season was the injuries that happened to key players and mainly the injuries to their defenders. Liverpool had to play some of the games last season with Fabinho as a makeshift centre back. With the return of Virgil Van Dijk in the starting line-up, Liverpool have looked very stable in their campaign. One of the concerns for Klopp was the overreliance of his fullbacks Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson. Both the fullbacks have been vital to the Liverpool team and have always had an impact.
Jurgen Klopp made three changes to the Liverpool backline for their game against Crystal Palace. While it was a first Premier League start for new signing Ibrahima Konate, it was also observed that both first-choice fullbacks were not a part of the line-up. While Alexander-Arnold was unwell and could not make it in the squad, Andy Robertson was given a rest. Kostas Tsimikas started as the left-back as he has done previously and James Milner started at the right-back position for the first time in this season.
Both Tsimikas and Milner had a high impact on the game and it can be seen in the above visual. Milner had the highest xT than any other Liverpool player from the passes he attempted while Tsimikas proved to be a threat to the Palace defenders with his passing as well as the dribbles he attempted. Liverpool’s strategy majorly depends on pressing the opponents higher up the pitch and the fullbacks play a vital role in this strategy to win the ball. They also need to push into the final third to stretch the opposition defence and create pockets of spaces for their front three. Both the fullbacks had an impact on the game and were able to fulfil the duties assigned to them.
Kostas Tsimikas arrived at Liverpool last season but was not able to create an impact since his arrival. He has been much better this season and has settled into the Premier League. He has started three games for Liverpool so far in the season and Liverpool have kept a clean sheet in all those three games. He has provided one assist so far and has been heavily involved in the attacks attempted by Liverpool. In the recent game against Palace, he attempted seven crosses and six dribbles. He has also performed well defensively as seen from the stats in the above table.
Squad rotations seems to be important at the moment for Klopp as he is using the players available to him in an attempt to manage workloads and prevent the type of injury crisis that occurred last season. With the Champions League underway and the League Cup matches starting this week, it is expected that there will be more fixtures to be played every week. Klopp has managed to rotate his pack of players well so far. Both Tsimikas and Milner are not of the same level as Robertson and Alexander Arnold, but they have fitted in comfortably into the squad and played their parts to perfection in their win.