It certainly was not pulsating, nor was it particularly convincing, but Liverpool have their first victory in the Premier League this season after beating an opponent they have historically struggled against, while fielding an under-strength side.
In choosing to make five changes ahead of the Champions League qualifying stage, second-leg tie against Hoffenheim on Wednesday night, Jurgen Klopp called his decision, “rotation”.
If this is a reflection of the quality beyond his first XI, there are causes for concern. This Liverpool win was a fortuitous one, ceded to them by Luka Milivojevic, whose mistake in front of the Kop afforded Sadio Mane with the type of opportunity he seldom misses.
Usually, the post-match words of Klopp provide entertainment but here, Frank de Boer’s were the most relevant. “If you concede a goal you want it to be because of the quality of Liverpool, and this was not the case,” the Crystal Palace manager said. “You could see they were frustrated. They had to play around us rather than through us.”
It might be true that Mane’s importance to Liverpool is greater than Philippe Coutinho’s. But if he goes to Barcelona, who will be there to serve the Senegalese forward?