I’m sure Liverpool fans up and down the country have heard the names of some of Liverpool’s young players, saw their names on the team sheets for under twenty one games that the official Twitter account tweets for every game but I also know some of the fans have never seen them play as a lot of them would be loaned out to various clubs season after season and never to play a competitive game for Liverpool. So when Jürgen Klopp named his team to face Exeter City in the FA Cup I for one was worried, worried that the occasion might get to them and they would under perform and not do themselves justice. Plus they had to play along side Jose Enrique.
But I need not have worried. The young Liverpool players or as they’ve been called the Klopp kids did themselves proud. Liverpool manager Klopp had no choice but to field a team of youngsters due to the amount of injuries senior players are picking up at the minute. It also gave the chance for players like Joao Teixeira and Tiago Ilori to show fans and Klopp that they deserve to be in and around the Liverpool first team for the rest of the season. Klopp started with three senior players, Christian Benteke, Adam Bogdan and Jose Enrique and all three of them were out played and shown up by the younger, hungrier players.
Liverpool went behind early to a Tom Nichols goal, but instead of going into their shells this proved to be spark Liverpool needed and man of the moment Jerome Sinclair equalised for Liverpool. I can only imagine how excited Aidy Ward was after that goal. Liverpool went on the attack and produced a few good attempts but we’re ultimately denied time and time again. As the first half came to an end and Liverpool fans watching the match were about to say how well Liverpool had played in the first half, Exeter came up with a suckered punch, well not Exeter itself but Lee Holmes did as his corner sneaked in under the cross bar to give his side the lead, yes you’re reading that right. Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan was beaten by a corner.
Liverpool came out in the second half and attempted to get a foot hold in the game and score the all important equaliser but as the half went on it was Exeter who gained the upper hand and Christian Riberio missed a couple of good chances to put Exeter further ahead and out of sight. But these missed chances sparked life into Liverpool’s tiring legs but with the introduction of Sheyi Ojo in the second half Liverpool again started to dominate Exeter. It was Ojo who’s break into the Exeter box two minutes after coming on that gave Brad Smith the opportunity to equalise again for Liverpool and with the pose of a striker he slotted the ball into the back of the net to send the travelling fans in to raptures.
Liverpool now go on to face Arsenal in the league next week with a depleted side. After the performances against Exeter I would expect to see Tiago Ilori start in defence with either Lucas Levia or Mamadou Sakho I’d Kolo Toure hasn’t recovered from his hamstring injury. It’s a given that Simon Mignolet, Nataniel Clyne and Alberto Moreno will regain their places even though both Conor Randall and Brad Smith impressed against Exeter. Emre Can will undoubtedly start in midfield but who partners him depends on whether or not James Milner and Jordan Henserson are fit enough to return. If he’s not I can see no reason why the likes of Cameron Branagan can’t play along side him. Without doubt Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino will come back into the team. With Phillipe Coutinho and Jordan Ibe out injured I would like to see maybe Jerome Sinclair or Joao Teixeira given a run up top. As young players they undoubtedly will play without fear and both did more for me against Exeter then seasoned forward Christan Benteke did.