Klopp: I wasn't really that impressed by Liverpool's youngsters against Spurs - and that's a good sign!

Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp believes that there's more to come from the club's youngsters, some of whom were handed outings in their 2-1 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the fourth round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

Klopp: I wasn't really that impressed by Liverpool's youngsters against Spurs - and that's a good sign!
(Picture: Getty Images - Jan Kruger)

Jürgen Klopp was pleased with the efforts of Liverpool's younger and fringe players as a completely changed eleven overcame Tottenham Hotspur to reach the quarter finals of the EFL Cup on Tuesday night.

He made changes across the board, with Divock Origi and Daniel Sturridge spearheading a team which saw highly-rated Academy pair Trent Alexander-Arnold given his debut and Ovie Ejaria handed his first start.

Elsewhere, Marko Grujic joined Kevin Stewart and Georginio Wijnaldum in midfield while Klopp trusted the experience of Lucas Leiva and Ragnar Klavan at centre-half. Simon Mignolet and Alberto Moreno also made their returns to the team.

But despite the makeshift nature of the Reds' side, they retained the tempo and fluidity of recent first-team performances and were rewarded with the lead inside just eight minutes after Sturridge poked Grujic's cross-cum-shot in from close-range.

The England international later doubled the lead for his fourth goal in three League Cup appearances this season alone, keeping his composure to beat Michel Vorm in a one-on-one at the Kop end in the second-half.

Vincent Janssen's late penalty threatened to offer Spurs a way back into the game but the hosts held firm to ensure their deserved progression into the next round of the competition. 

Reds should've won by a bigger margin, says Klopp

In his post-match press conference, Klopp admitted that the scoreline should have been more comfortable, especially "when you see our chances and see the chances of Tottenham."

He explained that Janssen's penalty "made it a little bit closer" but that it was "the only really difficult situation" for his team throughout the 90 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The German added that after the penalty, which he called a "game-changer", then Liverpool still could had have "scored two, three or four [more] times."

But he noted that they "don't live in dreamland" and that they could not think about "closing the game at 3-0 or 4-0 early enough" to know they were in the quarter-finals, insisting that they "had to do the job."

He continued: "We didn't score in the moments when we could have. They scored the penalty. 2-1 is close, but now it is not interesting anymore because we are in the next round."

Reds boss - 'I wasn't even that impressed by youngsters'

18-year-old Alexander-Arnold made a solid impression on his first appearance at right-back, while Ejaria too came away with plenty of credit after a substitute appearance at Derby County in the previous round.

On the benefits of having won, and getting the opportunity to see some of the club's younger lesser experienced players in action, Klopp said: "I know them better and longer than you maybe, and I'm not really impressed. That's the good thing!" 

The manager explained that he believed "it could work with them in the team" and said that he took the blame for "everything that would not have worked" while "everything that was positive is absolutely for the players."

Klopp called it a "difficult challenge" after so many changes but explained that they had "the idea before the game of what we could do", also fuelled by the medical department informing him that "there was a problem here and a problem there."

"It was really good to see. It was not perfect but on a perfect day, everybody can show," he continued. "You need to come back in the game when you have difficult moments, like the yellow card for Trent."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Klopp declared that West Derby-born defender, who can also play in midfield, is "far away from being a hard challenger" and said that he "had to stay in the game with a lot of challenge and do it smart."

He therefore felt it was a "really good sign" that Alexander-Arnold stayed on the pitch and also praised Ejaria and Grujic as he said: "Ovie did a brilliant job and worked so hard. He had cramps too, like Trent. Marko, the No.10 is not his perfect position.

"I always say the No.10 is not an offensive position [because] you run for the team and he had to run a lot. They did well. I'm happy about this and now we are in the next round."

Klopp was also pleased with the contributions of Stewart in central midfield, insisting he was "very good" and is "very important" to the team. 

He lauded the ex-Spurs youngster as "the best challenger in the squad" and an "outstanding challenger", insisting that he is "really ugly to play against" in "one-on-one situations" and that is "a good footballer as well."

There's more debut to come, insists Klopp

The spirited performance of the Reds' youngsters, who were far from overawed from the occasion, left many feeling that Klopp has more chance to rotate his squad this season.

But he warned against over-hyping the younger players in the senior squad and said they will play more regularly once they are deemed ready.

"I don't know what it says exactly, but it's something good and that was clear," said Klopp, asked whether the result proves their squad depth is improved this term.

He added that he made the line-up and was still pleased with the "really good" quality of the team and declared that he and his backroom staff are "happy about the players we have."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the manager suggested that there are more youngsters yet to break through, adding: "There are a few more to come. A little bit younger than the guys who made their debuts tonights - in the Under-23s, Under-18s and even Under-15s already. There are good boys and that's good news for Liverpool." 

But Klopp said that they "should not talk about it too much" after tonight's game as he explained that they will go "back in the Academy, train hard and come again" when there is a game in which he needs them.

"We have a few of them with us every day [in training] and that's good. It helps them," the Reds boss said. "All the others are in the Academy and when they are ready, they can make the next step."