Who needs the fab three when you've got Trent Alexander-Arnold? Liverpool's right-back produced a moment of peerless quality and creativity to assist Diogo Jota and break FC Midtjylland's resolve as the English champions won 2-0 at Anfield in Champions League action on Tuesday.
Alexander-Arnold's excellent give and go with Xherdan Shaqiri earned him space behind the Danish defense for perhaps the first time in the night before the England right-back squared for Jota to slot the ball into an empty net.
Anders Dreyer came within inches of a brilliant equalizer when his clipped finish over Alisson hit the side netting before substitute Mohamed Salah won and scored a penalty to earn Liverpool six points from six to start Group D.
Perhaps more significant than the result for Jurgen Klopp will be another injury blow after Fabinho was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring problem in the first half. Rhys Williams took his place and may be pressed into further action over the coming weeks.
Losing Virgil van Dijk for the season was a brutal blow to Liverpool's hopes of success in the Premier League and Champions League, to be without the best deputy to partner Joe Gomez is all the more cruel. It also robs Klopp of one of his effective midfielders.
Whether Liverpool can rely on the fitness of Joel Matip over the coming months will be a major question for Klopp. The 29-year-old completed 90 minutes for the first time in a year earlier this month but had to travel to hospital for scans after the 2-2 draw with Everton.
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Coping without the front three
If there were a game in their fixture list where you would suspect Liverpool could cope without all three of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane it was this one. Atalanta had put four past Midtjylland last week but they had the frenetic attacking play to stretch the Danish champions out of shape.
Divock Origi, Takumi Minamino and Diogo Jota did not. It is not so much that the trio lack quality as understanding with each other and their teammates. On no occasion in the first half did they or the rest of the Liverpool side manage to test Mikkel Anderson in the Midtjylland goal.
Even though Jota got the game's winner, the deficiencies of the undercard were apparent as Klopp introduced Salah, Mane and Firmino before the game was out.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: He may not have had the same quality of forward to feast off his crosses but that hardly mattered when he could lay the ball on a plate for them. RATING: 8
Anders Dreyer: On a night where Liverpool had the majority of the ball, Midtjylland were left feeding on scraps but their young forward did all that could be asked with what service came his way. RATING: 6
Takumi Minamino: He's still yet to put in that statement performance in a Liverpool shirt. There's reason to believe it will come eventually but his infrequent game time can't be helping. RATING: 4
Liverpool return to Premier League action against West Ham at the weekend before traveling to Atalanta for a mouth-watering clash next Tuesday. Midtjylland host Ajax looking to get on the board in Group D.
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