Three players have always been a ‘headache’ for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

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Three players have always been a ‘headache’ for Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp.

The Liverpool fans erupted in applause as Andy Robertson launched himself down the left flank, past several opponents and into the penalty box.

After his pace and raw strength saw him power past his man, Divock Origi won a dangerous free-kick.

Jordan Henderson pushed forward to take a backheel from Mohamed Salah before delivering a reverse pass to his teammate.

Only the final move resulted in a goal, with Salah finding the bottom corner to secure a 2-0 Champions League triumph for Liverpool over Porto at Anfield on Wednesday evening.

However, Jurgen Klopp hopes that the nearly instant impact of those three substitutions will have far greater resonance than the Egyptian’s game-winning strike.

Liverpool may have already qualified for the knockout stages as Group B champions earlier this month, but that does not mean there was nothing at stake at Anfield.

Not least because Porto were determined to avenge their 5-1 home defeat to Klopp’s team in September while also keeping their prospects of finishing second behind the Reds alive.

But the fact that Liverpool were able to acclimatize to the adjustments to their starting line-up and frequently reject the Portuguese side after some initial teething problems highlighted a vital concept that was put to the test in midweek.

There is no such thing as a game that this team doesn’t care about. Not when first-team spots are on the line.

Klopp now has true competition for positions across his team, which he thinks will provide him the kind of headache he wants as Liverpool prepares for the long journey to 2022.

Wednesday’s encounter was the second of 13 in 44 days, a run that began during the recent international break and will end on January 2 with a Premier League trip to current leaders Chelsea.

The top flight features ten matches, a sequence that will help to determine the true strength of their title challenge this season.

Nobody is going to start all 13 games. On Wednesday, Joe Gomez, Curtis Jones, Naby Keita, Roberto Firmino, and Harvey Elliott were all ruled out, with the winter grind certain that more will follow. “The summary has come to an end.”

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