Liverpool: Starlet nears return; Klopp still dissatisfied; Joey Barton's Anfield close call

The Reds were impressive in EFL Cup action yesterday evening as they marched to a 3-0 victory over Derby County at Pride Park with seven changes being enough to see the likes of Divock Origi and Ragnar Klavan on the score-sheet alongside man of the match Philippe Coutinho. The Brazilian was in fine form in a dominant display from Jurgen Klopp’s men, but post-match, the German gaffer made it clear that he was not entirely happy with his team’s performance, telling LFCTV:

Could we have done better? Yes, a lot. Is it important? No, because that’s what you want to have. You need to be 100% professional, be really serious and take games like these as they are.

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Klopp was also pleased to see Danny Ings make his first appearance of the season, replacing Coutinho in the 63rd minute, and to give a debut to Loris Karius in goal and to 18-year-old Ovie Ejaria after he impressed in the reserve sides and in training under the first team manager. All three did well in their showings and will be hoping to build on their performances to get more regular first team football.

There was also a shock for Liverpool fans as it emerged that Joey Barton came close to signing for the Anfield club, only for Gerard Houllier’s sacking to put the deal in jeopardy, with Rafa Benitez favouring a move for the Spanish midfielder Xabi Alonso. In Barton’s new book, ‘No Nonsense’, Barton reveals that he traveled to Melwood to discuss a move which would have seen him become Steven Gerrard’s partner in central midfield.

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Barton claims that the only part of the deal still to be agreed was the fee with Manchester City, but Benitez killed the deal to sign Alonso from Real Sociedad. The decision was one of the best in the club’s transfer history in recent years based on the evidence, though Barton claims the deal was a motivation on his two-footed lunge which saw him sent off for a tackle on the Spaniard whilst at Newcastle in 2009.

Whilst Barton’s career is in turmoil at Rangers, at the other end of the spectrum, emerging young starlet Sheyi Ojo is said to be nearing a return from a spiral injury which he picked up in pre-season and has seen him miss the start of the season having impressed when given the opportunity at the tail end of last season. The Liverpool Echo claim that he could even be back in action on the training pitch this week as he hopes to add to the eleven appearances he made last campaign.

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Rotations in the side for the Europa League allowed Ojo a number of chances to play under Klopp, who was pleased with his displays since returning from a loan move at Wolves. Shining on the left wing and possessing a reliable end product, the 19-year-old had been tipped to break into the first team this season, particularly following Jordon Ibe’s move to Bournemouth, and will hope to put this injury behind him and establish himself as an option under Klopp at Liverpool.

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