Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp says he never doubted deadly striker Daniel Sturridge
Jurgen Klopp insisted he needed no reminders of Daniel Sturridge's goalscoring prowess after the England striker fired Liverpool into the quarter-finals of the EFL Cup at Tottenham's expense.
Sturridge was a constant threat at Anfield, scoring in each half, striking the crossbar and missing at least two more clear chances in a 2-1 win for the Reds.
But he has yet to score in the Premier League this season and was an unused substitute in Saturday's defeat of West Brom, with some inferring that Klopp's dynamic forward line has now outgrown him.
But having changed his entire starting XI, the German was fully appreciative of the 27-year-old's skills.
"That's his talent," Klopp said of Sturridge's happy knack in front of goal.
"That's his strength, he's a finisher, a really good striker...no doubt about this.
"I never was in doubt about him even when he didn't score. Not a question.
"Divock Origi didn't score tonight but I think he played quite well, Danny Ings didn't score but played really well when he came on. That's the thing with Daniel, he's a wonderful goalscorer and that's really important."
Klopp, like Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, threw a number of inexperienced players into his starting side.
Local boy Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ovie Ejaria and Kevin Stewart all did solid work and rewarded their manager's faith.
"I thought before the game it could work with them in the team," he said.
"If it wouldn't have worked that's my responsibility because I made the line-up but every positive is absolutely for the players.
"They're good boys, it's good news for Liverpool."
Pochettino, whose team created some late tension after Vincent Janssen's penalty, had a different view of Alexander-Arnold's contribution.
He felt the 18-year-old was lucky to receive only a yellow card for a first-half challenge on Ben Davies and was aggrieved by the behaviour from the Liverpool dugout in the closing stages.
"In the first half the full-back, Arnold, should be sent off for the big tackle, the bad tackle," he said.
"It was a little bit strange at the end of the game. The (Liverpool) bench started to complain about us. That was very strange.
"You should stay calm. It is the referee who is the authority to say it was or it wasn't, it was or was not a penalty.
"You need to focus on the game. At the end of the game they started to complain about one action that was a normal foul."
On his own young players, including the likes of Cameron Carter-Vickers, Harry Winks and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou, Pochettino added: "They are very important for our future, to be a better squad.
"I think it was a fantastic opportunity to show their quality and a great experience to capitalise on, to take positive things for the future."
Nkoudou's evening began poorly, his slip handing Liverpool the opener as they swarmed on the error.
The waiting Marko Grujic sent a deflected shot into the box and Sturridge was quicker to react than Michel Vorm, stabbing home from close range.
The search for Liverpool's second continued at pace after the restart and in the 64th minute Spurs buckled.
Georginio Wijnaldum took advantage of Spurs' high defensive line with a one-touch pass that sent Sturridge clear on goal. A finish did not desert him on this occasion and he slotted carefully past Vorm.
But it was Tottenham who scored next, Lamela winning a soft penalty from Lucas. Janssen pumped it down the middle and suddenly the tone shifted.
Sturridge struck the crossbar via a deflection and Ings worked Vorm with a powerful hit but Tottenham might just as easily equalised, with some nervy moments in the home defence.
Liverpool: Mignolet, Alexander-Arnold (Clyne 68), Lucas, Klavan, Moreno, Wijnaldum, Stewart, Ejaria, Grujic (Can 89), Sturridge, Origi (Ings 68). Subs not used: Karius, Lovren, Mané, Lallana
Tottenham: Vorm, Trippier, Carter-Vickers, Wimmer, Davies, Dier (Wanyama 67), Winks, Onomah, Carroll (Lamela 61), Nkoudou (Harrison 83), Janssen. Subs not used: Vertonghen, López Sabata, Walkes, Amos
Man of the match: Daniel Sturridge
Match rating: 7/10
Referee: Jonathan Moss