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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

You can’t win anything with kids? Klopp hails Liverpool youngsters ahead of EFL Cup final

Jurgen Klopp believes the impact of Liverpool’s youngsters has made the Reds’ run to the EFL Cup final extra special.

Liverpool will face Chelsea at Wembley Stadium on Sunday for the first trophy of the English season, with Klopp’s team still in contention to end his final campaign in charge with four pieces of silverware.

They will do so without several key players including Alisson, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Diogo Jota, while Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez must be assessed after sustaining knocks.

Read our other football news stories here:
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Van Dijk says Klopp exit will be ‘very emotional’ but focus is on Chelsea

However, that may not be as much of a concern as it once was, with Conor Bradley, Jarell Quansah and Caoimhin Kelleher among the academy prospects to stake a claim in recent weeks.

On the eve of Sunday’s final, Klopp reflected on the early years of his reign as he stressed the importance of having young players capable of providing extra depth.

“In the first season, we had a lot of games with Europa League group games and you have to rotate,” Klopp told Sky Sports.

“But where can you? You want to win the games but you need to rest players and give opportunities to others.

“We arrived here and played in all competitions. In the first season we had 63, 64 games, so all these young kids started immediately and we qualified for two finals.”

Liverpool were also in the hunt for a quadruple two years ago, and in that instance, they captured both domestic cups by beating Chelsea on penalties in the EFL Cup and FA Cup finals.

While Klopp believes Liverpool did a good job of creating competition via their recruitment in pre-season, he says it is extra special when an academy prospect breaks through.

“I want to have a team that’s really greedy on the competition,” says Klopp. “It makes sense that you bring in fresh legs and fresh minds as well who really want to go for that.

“Two years ago when we won both cups, it was really special. You cannot go to the final if you don’t use the boys. It’s not possible.

“Even when our fans would like to spend more money and do this and that, I’m pretty sure deep down they are really happy when we do it slightly differently.

“A club of our size, we’re still so happy when a kid is coming through. That’s pretty special. In an ideal world they’re born in West Derby or have purple bins their whole childhood!”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.
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