Liverpool Boss Jurgen Klopp Defends Using Youngsters In Plymouth Replay
Reds Boss Jurgen Klopp heaped praise on his young Liverpool side after their 1-0 win over Plymouth in the FA Cup.
Lucas Leiva scored the winner for Liverpool at Home Park and helped Liverpool to advance into the next round, where they will face Wolves at home.
Klopp opted to induce a bit more experience in the squad and chose to name a stronger side than what he had used during the frustrating goalless draw with the League Two side Plymouth at Anfield ten days ago.
But the former Dortmund manager kept faith on his youngsters and handed starts to four teenagers in the third round rematch – Joe Gomez, Ovie Ejaria, Alexander-Arnold, and Ben Woodburn.
Two other youngsters – Harry Wilson and Sheyi Ojo were also introduced in the second-half.
Klopp said: “It was tough again, but we did better than Anfield in the right moments. There were a lot of challenges for the young players.”
“We were playing live on television against a fourth division team and everybody thinks you are three or four classes better.”
“You do not want to feel the embarrassment of losing a game like this.”
“I thought I could see that a bit when it started happening to them in the first half.”
“I thought at half-time we could fix this, and we were kind of back in the race and controlled the game well after.”
“I’m happy about their potential and we will do everything we can to let it grow. But they have big job to do, too.”
Lucas Leiva scored the winner in the 18th minute from a Philippe Coutinho corner. This was the defensive midfielder’s first goal since he last scored in the Europa League clash with Steaua Bucharest in October 2010.
Klopp added: “He played in an old-against-young match last week when we finished training and he was top scorer.”
“I was really surprised he didn’t score for that long. But he has a great personality, is a good player and a really good guy.”
“Sometimes you have to line up without him, and it’s not his hobby to accept this. But he’s okay and really important for us.”
Plymouth almost clinched the equaliser when Jake Jervis’ thumping volley hit the post 15 minutes form time.
Plymouth manager Derek Adams said: “Over the two games we are very proud of the performance. But it was not our night with Jake hitting the post.”
“You’re disappointed when you go out of the cup, but Liverpool have been very respectful playing the players they did tonight and we pushed them all the way.”
“We’ve put Plymouth Argyle on the map again, the support we’ve had over the two games has been fantastic.”
“We’ve shown a worldwide audience we can get back to where this club feels it belongs – and that is in the Championship.”
“There is a population of 300,000 here – the biggest city not to have had a team in the Premier League – and we’re building the blocks to move the club through the leagues again.”