Jurgen Klopp reflected on a “very positive” performance from Liverpool as they not only reached the last eight of the EFL Cup but also entertained a record Anfield crowd during the 2-1 win over Tottenham.
Daniel Sturridge scored twice to see the hosts past their Premier League opponents in front of 53,051 – the biggest attendance for a League Cup fixture at the famous ground.
Vincent Janssen did cut the deficit in half with a 76th-minute penalty, but Liverpool stood firm to keep alive their hopes of reaching the final of the competition for a second successive season.
Having changed his entire starting XI, including handing first starts to Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria, Klopp always knew there would be the odd moment of concern with so many fresh faces in the team.
“Parts of the game were what I expected in a positive way. Parts of the game I could have imagined sometimes too,” he told Sky Sports.
“We lost a bit of concentration in one or two moments in the game. We caused problems for ourselves with late passing, but the overall summary is very positive.
“We deserved the win, [we] created a big number of chances and [came up against] a wonderful goalkeeper from Tottenham. It was entertaining.
“We created a wonderful atmosphere. No one could leave early because it was not decided.”
Alexander-Arnold played 68 minutes at right-back before making way for Nathaniel Clyne, while Ejaria completed the full match after making his debut off the bench against Derby County in the previous round.
With the promising midfield pair of Marko Grujic and Kevin Stewart also playing the entire game, Klopp feels the future looks bright at Liverpool.
“They were really good,” the German added.
“They can play better, but with all the pressure around and completely new circumstances, it was really, really good.”
Stand-in captain Lucas Leiva agreed with his manager, insisting the club’s rising stars will only benefit from getting first-team experience against such high-quality opposition.
“It was very good for them to have this experience. They will develop,” he told Sky Sports.
“The manager showed the trust he has in this squad and I think it was the right decision at the end.”