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regular-article-logo Wednesday, 17 April 2024

Juergen Klopp pleads fans and media avoid sensationalising Liverpool’s young players

Klopp compared attention teenagers were getting to Luke Littler, who made headlines last month as youngest player to reach final of World Darts Championship

Reuters, AP/PTI Liverpool Published 01.03.24, 11:25 AM
Liverpool’s Jayden Danns (left) makes it 2-0 against Southampton during the FA Cup fifth-round match at Anfield on Wednesday

Liverpool’s Jayden Danns (left) makes it 2-0 against Southampton during the FA Cup fifth-round match at Anfield on Wednesday Reuters

Liverpool’s fans and the media must avoid sensationalising the English Premier League club’s young players and afford them the time they need to grow and learn, manager Juergen Klopp said.

Liverpool have a lengthy injury list and Klopp was forced to field a young team in their 3-0 win over Championship side Southampton on Wednesday, with 18-year-olds Jayden Danns and Lewis Koumas scoring their first goals for the senior team.

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Klopp compared the attention the teenagers were getting to Luke Littler, who made headlines last month as the youngest player to reach the final of the World Darts Championship.

“It’s a little bit like with the new darts sensation,” Klopp told reporters.

“It’s fine for tonight (Wednesday), but from tomorrow on leave the boys in the corner please and don’t ask ‘where are they now, where are they now, where are they now’. They have a lot to improve, a lot to learn,” Klopp said.

“We said a couple of times that the future doesn’t look that bad. Don’t forget it when the transfer window opens that there are a couple of pretty promising players already here. Don’t close the door on them with 12 signings.”

The average age of Liverpool’s team on Wednesday was 23 years, 128 days after Klopp made six changes to the lineup, including giving a debut to Koumas and starting 19-year-old midfielders James McConnell and Bobby Clark after their starring roles off the bench in the League Cup final against Chelsea at Wembley last Sunday. There were six players aged 21 or younger in the team.

Koumas squeezed home a shot in the 44th minute to mark the biggest game of his fledging professional career and make it 1-0. Danns came off the bench, like he did in the League Cup final, and scored in the 73rd and 88th minutes for his first senior goals.

Liverpool, who lead the league and are into the round-of-16 in the Europa League, stayed on course for a quadruple of trophies in Klopp’s final season.

Manchester United and Chelsea kept alive their hopes of silverware this season by scoring late winners.

Casemiro stooped to head in an 89th-minute goal to seal United a 1-0 win at Nottingham Forest and a last-eight meeting with great rivals Liverpool. Chelsea left it even later than United to secure their progress, with Conor Gallagher coming off the bench to score in the 90th minute for a 3-2 victory over Leeds. Chelsea will play another second-tier team, Leicester, in the last-eight.

A Leeds fan was taken to a hospital after an incident in the stands during the match.

British media reported the supporter fell from the top tier at Stamford Bridge after Leeds had opened the scoring in the eighth minute.

Both teams said an “incident” had occurred, but did not confirm a spectator falling.


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