Liverpool have the depth to battle on multiple fronts this season and are benefitting from going under the radar in the Premier League title race, according to Sky Sports’ Nick Wright.
The Merseysiders are joint-top with Chelsea following their victory over Crystal Palace in a game that was not all plain sailing for Jurgen Klopp, who described it as “one of the most hard-fought 3-0 wins he had ever seen”.
Liverpool will now look to get their Carabao Cup campaign off to a flyer when they make the trip to East Anglia for the second time in a matter of weeks to face a Norwich side still without a point from their five Premier League outings, live on Sky Sports.
Having kept four clean sheets from their opening five league games, Klopp’s side have shown themselves to have greater solidity and depth this time around having rescued a third-place finish last season.
Speaking on the Essential Football Podcast podcast, Sky Sports’ Wright said: “Liverpool’s depth is an area in which they have been questioned before.
“To win as they did against Palace in such a convincing manner without (Trent) Alexander-Arnold and (Andy) Robertson – two players who are so important to the way they play – is so impressive.
“They look like they’ve got good options all over the pitch. Naby Keita’s goal celebration almost suggested that he was proving a point as it has not quite happened for him yet in England.
“But if he can start reproducing the same performance he did in Germany for RB Leipzig then it’s another great option in midfield.
“I think Liverpool are in a really good position and their squad is at a point where Klopp will be really keen to capitalise. He’s got a lot of players who are at the absolute peak of their powers.
“Maybe they have not been talked about as much as other clubs in the title conversations this year, they’ve maybe gone under the radar a little bit but they’ll be real contenders.”
‘Liverpool have filled problem area’
Sky Sports’ football features editor Peter Smith: “I was surprised by Jurgen’s quotes after the game because having watched it, I thought Liverpool were pretty comfortable for much of it.
“I know there was a scare early on when it looked like Wilfried Zaha had lobbed Alisson and there were a few other threats from an improving Palace side.
“I have seen quite a bit of them this year and early on I was a bit worried for them but they got that morale-boosting draw at West Ham just before the international break and then beat a very poor Tottenham last weekend which really lifted them.
“You could see that in their performance at Anfield – they looked like a team with their confidence restored but Liverpool were far too good for them, even with the changes they had in the team.
“We saw Ibrahima Konate come in for his debut at centre-back and he looked pretty good.
“He had a mixture of challenges as he faced the strength of Christian Benteke and stood up well to him and the pace and trickery of Zaha to the left with James Milner alongside him in the absence of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
“He lost Odsonne Edouard in one moment late on which was a good chance for Palace but otherwise it was a pretty solid debut. Suddenly, with Joe Gomez on the bench as well as Virgil van Dijk and Joel Matip, Liverpool have some good options at centre-back – an area that was such a problem for them last season.
“Every time I’ve seen Kostas Tsimikas play he’s looked good to me this season and left-back standing in for Andrew Robertson so across the pitch Liverpool looked good and did the job. OK, they weren’t at their flowing best so credit to Palace for making it hard for them.”
What could derail Liverpool’s title quest?
Sky Sports’ football features editor Peter Smith:
“I do think it’s important that Liverpool make a fast start in the league as we have got the Africa Cup of Nations coming up in January which will mean them losing Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah as well as Keita.
“It does feel like Liverpool need to build up a head of steam.”
Sky Sports’ Nick Wright:
“Liverpool will need to be prepared to manage that period. I think it’s vital that they are in touching distance or clear at the top by then if they are going to get through that period.
“It’s something Klopp will have in mind but it does look like they have got more solutions in the squad than they had before.”
What team will Liverpool field against Norwich?
Curtis Jones has already been told he will make his 50th Liverpool appearance against Norwich in the third-round tie at Carrow Road.
But another just starting out on his journey to the first team is 16-year-old Kaide Gordon, signed from Derby in February, who also looks set to be involved after being withdrawn from the under-23s squad beaten by Leeds on Sunday.
Other players who can expect some much-needed pitch time at Norwich include midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, forward Takumi Minamino and Divock Origi and defenders Ibrahim Konate and Nat Phillips.
Midfielder Thiago Alcantara will miss at least the next two matches with a calf problem sustained against Crystal Palace at the weekend, although he was unlikely to feature in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie in any case.
How to follow
Norwich vs Liverpool is live on Sky Sports Football and Main Event from 7pm; kick-off 7.45pm.
You can watch in-game clips in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.