A number of the Reds’ younger players are set to feature in the Carabao Cup tie with the Gunners on Wednesday, and their manager thinks they are ready
Jurgen Klopp hailed the ‘talent and attitude’ of his Liverpool side’s younger members ahead of their Carabao Cup tie with Arsenal on Wednesday night, holding up Trent Alexander-Arnold as an example of how to make it in the first team.
With Klopp likely to rest a number of his key players with an eye on the Premier League title race, Liverpool’s youth prospects are likely to be given the chance to impress at Anfield against the Gunners.
The German was keen to stress that winning, rather than giving out minutes for the sake of it, was his first priority – but he was encouraged by the youngsters’ performances in the third-round win over MK Dons.
“Tonight we select a team to win,” Klopp wrote in the matchday programme. “Winning has been our first, second and third motivation – the only motivation always.
“Although not certain, the strong likelihood has been that a number of our younger players will feature in some capacity tonight.
“In Milton Keynes, Caoimhin Kelleher, Ki-Jana Hoever, Curtis Jones, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster all started and equipped themselves superbly. Herbie Kane, Pedro Chirivella and Sepp van den Berg all came on off the bench.
“The attitude these players showed in the last round has been exactly what will be required this evening, if again given the opportunity.
“They show the right attitude and the perfect amount of hunger each and every day they train with us at Melwood. They show us, in their actions, that they understand what an immense privilege it has been to represent a club like Liverpool – it’s an honour all of us blessed to work here feel.
“Clearly the ability of these players has been not in question. It has been their talent that has brought them here and kept them here. At this stage of their careers it has been about a variety of other factors – and being ready to grasp an opportunity has been a big part of it.”
The 21-year-old Liverpool native Alexander-Arnold’s next appearance will be his 100th for the club, and Klopp doesn’t think his young players could ask for a better example.
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“It has been appropriate to point to Trent Alexander-Arnold when discussing this,” he noted. “This month three years ago he made his first-team debut. Against Tottenham at the weekend he made his 99th appearance for the senior side.
“The reason he has achieved this in such a short space of time, one of the four youngest in LFC history I believe, isn’t just because he has amazing ability. It has been because of how he has handled himself, taken his chances and dealt with setbacks and difficulties.
“There won’t be a soccer professional in our current first-team squad who hasn’t faced these challenges at a young age. It has been the job of all us to help them and nurture them and give them an environment to grow, develop and flourish. I am confident we are doing this.”