Richard Buxton: Liverpool's supporting cast play their part
Eyebrows raised, but Liverpool have the last laugh in routing Everton 5-2 in Merseyside Derby
Forget a procession, Liverpool are cartwheeling their way to the English Premier League title.
They have ditched the traditional parade route of champions-elect and opted for a circus one.
Juergen Klopp traded showmanship for court jestering with a mismatched line-up for his side's emphatic 5-2 win over Everton in yesterday morning's (Singapore time) Merseyside Derby.
Eyebrows were raised and laughs stifled when the team sheets finally dropped ahead of kick-off at Anfield.
Before a ball was even kicked, the Reds manager had afforded the visitors the same amount of respect that their undue perseverance showed an under-fire Marco Silva.
Absolutely none whatsoever.
In the season of giving, Klopp handed out early Christmas presents to Liverpool's entire squad. Mohamed Salah was given the gift of putting his feet up for a night, while Adam Lallana and Xherdan Shaqiri finally got the rare starring roles that they always wanted.
Divock Origi, too, must have felt like a kid waking up on Christmas Day as he led the line against a team that dread facing him more than any other in the English top flight.
Holding an 11-point lead over Manchester City has allowed Liverpool to truly get into the festive spirit. Klopp's selections, however, were also proof of their title-winning credentials.
Rarely have bit-part players managed to step out of the shadows for long enough to leave a lasting impression, yet no one can dispute their places in history.
A succession of EPL champions remain indebted to the minimal yet vital contributions of their supporting cast.
Arsenal's side that clinched a league and FA Cup double in 1997/98 had fourth-choice striker Christopher Wreh to thank for notching a handful of decisive goals, while Alexei Smertin's part as a midfield understudy at Chelsea helped deliver their first domestic title in the modern era.
Jack Rodwell made just five appearances in City's title-winning campaign of 2013/14 before falling into football's abyss.
Liverpool's own unlikely lads are already significantly more memorable than that trophy-winning trio. Lallana's late equaliser against Manchester United maintained an unbeaten start to the season.
Origi, meanwhile, shares the same billing as Wreh's north London spell in name only.
The close control and execution that he showed in the build-up to the second goal against Everton was more reminiscent of Dennis Bergkamp or even Thierry Henry in their respective pomp.
It's similar for Shaqiri, who picked up Champions League winners' medals with two different clubs, despite not playing in both the 2013 final for Bayern Munich and last season's showpiece with Liverpool.
The Swiss international's only misfortune is being in the right place at the wrong time. In previous years at Anfield, he would have become an automatic starter in his own right.
Opportunities may be easier to come by now, given the way he shook off seven months of ringrust since his last start - in last season's Champions League semi-final win over Barcelona - in just 17 minutes to double Liverpool's lead.
The ease with which he toyed with Everton's midfielders, dazzling them through clever footwork and neat flicks, is a trait which Klopp will seek to utilise in the games ahead where trickery will become a great commodity.
Unlike last season, City are no longer snapping at Liverpool's heels. The reigning champions still find themselves gnawing at thin air in the build-up to this weekend's Manchester Derby.
Another slip-up by Pep Guardiola's side will allow Klopp and his band of brilliant misfits to laugh all the way to the winners' podium in May.