Even though Liverpool’s return to domestic play didn’t result in the victory they were looking for—they lost to Manchester City 3-2 and were eliminated from the Carabao Cup—there was still much to commend about the effort
Thiago Alcantara sparkled in the center of the field, putting on the kind of elegant display that inspired former Red Don Hutchison to picture a midfield partnership between the Spanish playmaker and transfer target Jude Bellingham on Twitter.
The Borussia Dortmund starlet has been under the watchful eye of Jurgen Klopp’s team for some time, and a summer offer for his services is anticipated.
While the location of the “dangerous” (as Jermaine Jenas described him in his commentary of England v. Iran) Englishman beyond the 2022–2023 season is not yet known with total certainty, there is some educated expectation surrounding a potential move to Anfield.
By bringing in Thiago back in 2020, Liverpool lured technical brilliance away from the workhorse midfield of Gini Wijnaldum, Jordan Henderson, and Fabinho, and they now seem eager to increase that area with the arrival of Bellingham.
The former Birmingham City youth prospect, who can play as a six and an eight, would provide the level of positional diversity Klopp seeks, with a wealth of technical skill without surrendering the dynamism that is a crucial component of a Liverpool midfield.
VAR was not used at the Etihad Stadium as Manchester City defeated Liverpool in the Carabao Cup
As Liverpool’s era as Carabao Cup holders came to an end, Jurgen Klopp questioned the decision not to employ VAR.
The Reds’ season began after the World Cup break with a 3-2 loss against Manchester City in a thrilling fourth-round match on Thursday evening.
VAR is not used in the Carabao Cup until the semi-final stage, according to new rules for the 2019/20 season.
While Klopp acknowledges that the technology cannot be used in the early rounds, the Reds manager believes it was wrong for it to remain dormant at the Etihad, with referee David Coote and his colleagues making a number of contentious calls during the game.
“If we have VAR, the officials are used to VAR, and then you tell them no… it appeared in a handful of scenarios that they were waiting for or believing VAR was still there, but there was nothing,” he explained.
“There were a handful of offside rulings where everybody in the stadium was confident it was offside, I don’t know if it was in the end or not, and we couldn’t watch it back.
“It makes sense if you play a competition and everyone has VAR, why shouldn’t you? I understand that in earlier rounds, it may not be possible at all levels. But it’s City versus Liverpool, and I believe all of the technical equipment is present, so why not use it?”