Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was thrilled with his younger prospects as they helped book a place in the fifth round of the League Cup with victory over AFC Bournemouth at Anfield.
Klopp named a number of his younger players in the squad for Wednesday’s clash, with Joao Teixeira, Connor Randall and Cameron Brannagan all making full debuts while Ryan Fulton and Jerome Sinclair were on the bench.
Teixeira was heavily involved in the build-up to Nathaniel Clyne’s first-half winner and, having rested some bigger names ahead of Saturday’s Premier League trip to Chelsea, Klopp was full of praise for his younger players.
“I’ve been here round about two weeks and I saw these guys in training, and not only them but Pedro [Chirivella] and Sinclair,” the German told reporters.
“They were with us most of the time in training. I saw them and it was clear the first chance I could give them I would do it. That was [Wednesday] because we needed some players to have this break and not to play today again.
“And I was completely sure these players had the quality to help us tonight and that’s what they did. It was not easy. One week ago I said it’s not so easy to rotate, if you bring players to play together.
“That’s what we saw tonight – it was not all of them but it was the best they could do and so I’m completely satisfied.
“Cameron Brannagan was in a very difficult position in the system we played today, the half space as a number eight. It’s really not easy to defend that position.
“Connor Randall – all the long balls they played were in his space. If he was not a good header before this game, now he is much better because he had the chance to improve 20 or 30 times.
“I’m really fine with these guys. And, very importantly, the other players didn’t think because the manager did this it’s not such an important tournament. I saw in the eyes of all the players that they wanted to win. That’s very important.”