Jurgen Klopp hailed “real talent” Conor Bradley after the 20-year-old made his first European appearance in the 4-0 win over LASK on Thursday.
Two goals from Cody Gakpo and one apiece from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah, his 199th for the club, saw them coast past the Austrians at Anfield.
Toulouse’s draw with Union Saint-Gilloise meant Klopp’s side cannot be caught at the top and crucially that means avoiding the play-off round when the competition restarts in February.
Bradley came on as a late substitute and after the game Klopp singled the Northen Ireland international out for praise.
“I love it – you can see in those few moments that he is a real talent for us,” Klopp told TNT Sports.
“We really count on him. It is so nice. There are a lot of positives. I told him after the game to enjoy it. He is very football wise but the body still needs to grow.”
The right-back could provide a solution to the problem put forward this week by Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, who wants to see Trent Alexander-Arnold given a run of games in midfield, but doesn’t see that as an option as things stand due to the lack of a quality replacement.
“Liverpool haven’t got a back-up for Alexander-Arnold as it’s difficult to get quality to sign to sit on the substitutes bench,” Carragher said on Sky Sports.
“I would love Liverpool to acquire a right-back who could play in the big games and push Alexander-Arnold into midfield. That could be the development for Liverpool to play him in midfield.
“Liverpool haven’t had a player who can score from that range since Steven Gerrard, one that you think has got a chance from 20-25 yards.”
Klopp was impressed with the all-round display of his side on Thursday, and spoke of the importance of sealing top spot with a game to spare.
“Two top results for us tonight in the group,” said Klopp.
“It was clear, with the defeat at Toulouse (last time out) we made it a bit more tricky but because of our result and their result we are now top of the table and that will not change.
“That’s good, very important in the busy schedule we have from now on.
“A lot of positives in the game, a lot of good football. The thing I didn’t like too much, and told the boys at half-time, (was) this game should have been put to bed already at half-time.
“You cannot play better, you cannot set it up better, (but) you can finish it better obviously – but we didn’t.
“Caoimhin (Kelleher) worked for his clean sheet, which he desperately wanted, and that’s good.
“We scored a fourth goal in the last minute or whatever, so result top, performance really good (and) nobody got injured. All good.”