For Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Nathaniel Clyne, this was a game that mattered. It was another step on the long road back to where they need to be.
None of them will look back on the 2017-18 season with any fondness, but the new campaign is a chance to wipe the slate clean and start again. All three would have gone into last season harbouring genuine hope of playing in the World Cup with England, but none of them found themselves on the plane to Russia. As Jurgen Klopp's men made it all the way to the Champions League final, only Lallana was able to make a fleeting substitute appearance against Real Madrid in Kiev.
Clyne made just five appearances in all competitions last season due to a long-term back injury. The former Southampton full-back amassed just 183 minutes on the pitch during the whole campaign and saw Trent Alexander-Arnold emerge as competition at right-back during an impressive year.
Meanwhile, Sturridge fell so far off the radar that he spent the second half of the season on loan at West Bromwich Albion, a move that turned into a nightmare when injury curtailed his involvement as the club suffered relegation from the Premier League.
Lallana, a player regarded as crucial to Liverpool by Klopp, saw his year disrupted by thigh and hamstring injuries that restricted him to 15 appearances -- and just 236 minutes in the Premier League -- in all competitions.
But while many of their teammates missed out on this game due to extended breaks following the World Cup, Clyne, Lallana and Sturridge continued their own personal journeys back to first-team contention.
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