Domestic cups are sneakily important to Liverpool’s season

Jürgen Klopp may treat the domestic cup competitions with utter contempt, but the FA Cup and League Cup (I refuse to acknowledge any sponsor beyond Worthington’s) do offer some value to his side this season.

There is the obvious: Winning trophies is great. Liverpool did not compete for the Super Cup this season and nor will they compete for the Club World Cup. The two domestic trophies are more attritional but they do represent a chance for the club to win multiple trophies in multiple seasons, something that distinguishes excellent teams from the all-time greats.

Klopp might have disdain for the fixture congestion, but racking up trophy after trophy after trophy is what building a dynasty is all about. Winning a European Cup and league title double is the goal, but would a treble be so bad?

Maintaining the rhythm and momentum of the season will be important, too. Not in the vapid way momentum is often bandied around as — it will be two almost completely different squads competing on the two different fronts. But there will be a crossover. Getting game time into the legs of Takumi Minamino and Curtis Jones and Kostas Tsimikas and on and on will be important.

By maintaining their fitness, by giving them time to figure out their own role and idiosyncrasies within a Klopp set-up, the transition to the first-team will be all the easier when they’re called upon due to rotation, injury, or for tactical reasons.

A cursory glance at possible Liverpool second XI is jarring. It is really, really talented. And there are plenty of players who will expect to play ten, fifteen, twenty games this season. Loading up on cup competitions gives those players a chance to maintain their form and gives the manager a chance to examine all his options.

Georginio Wijnaldum has been linked with Barcelona

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Nobody will confuse Thursday night as being any more important than it is obviously is not — not least Klopp, who would sooner send Pep Lijnders to discuss the match than eat into his own time. But it is not unimportant, not…

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