Jurgen Klopp was pleased with how his experimental Liverpool team acquitted themselves in the 0-0 draw against West Ham in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet remained from the XI that needed penalties to battle past Stoke City in Tuesday’s League Cup semi-final, with a clutch of Liverpool youngsters given a chance to shine at Anfield.
Dimitri Payet struck the outside of the post after 10 minutes and Enner Valencia spurned another early chance for West Ham, but Klopp’s men soon found their feet as an accomplished display from 19-year-old midfielder Cameron Brannagan helped them to control much of the contest.
“The most important thing is that everybody could see our line-up was not disrespectful against the FA Cup, which I was asked before the game,” Klopp said at a post-match news conference.
“It was really the other way around – we thought this was the best chance for us to go through. This young team did really well.
“They have not played too often together, of course, and they did well. We defended well and had a good structure in the game. We made chances and played bravely, that was really good.”
Steven Caulker made his first Liverpool start at centre-back and escaped a penalty claim for handball early in the second half, but the hosts were once again wasteful in front of goal.
Christian Benteke and Joao Teixeira were the main culprits as the hosts failed to score for a third match against West Ham this season and the third time in their past four Anfield outings.
“At the end, it’s a draw, with bigger chances for us I think,” Klopp added. “But it’s only one part of the game, we should have used them and scored in one or the other situation.
“That’s how it is. Now we play again.”
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