Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool manager defends team selection for Plymouth FA Cup tie

FA Cup fourth-round draw
Date: Monday, 9 January Time: 19:00 GMT
Coverage: Live on BBC Two, BBC Radio 5 live & BBC Sport website

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp defended selecting the youngest starting XI in the club's history for the 0-0 FA Cup draw against Plymouth.

The Reds - with an average age of of 21 years and 296 days - went close through Sheyi Ojo and Daniel Sturridge but the League Two side held out at Anfield.

Liverpool now face a trip to Devon for the third-round replay and have six remaining games in January.

The German boss said: "I don't think the line-up was a mistake."

Klopp's side also face Southampton in a two-legged EFL Cup semi-final and Premier League games against Manchester United, Swansea and Chelsea this month.

Asked about the long midweek trip for the FA Cup replay, which is set to be played on 17 January, Klopp added: "Yippee. I don't know if at home they can play the same defensive style. We are looking forward to it."

Forward Ben Woodburn, 17, is the club's youngest goalscorer after his strike against Leeds in the EFL Cup earlier this season and he was given his first start.

Trent Alexander-Arnold, 18, and 19-year-olds Joe Gomez - making his first appearance since suffering a knee ligament injury in October 2015 - Ovie Ejaria and Ojo were also in the side.

At 29, Lucas was the oldest Liverpool player.

Liverpool's heatmap shows their dominance of the ball compared with Plymouth's
Liverpool's heatmap (left) may show their dominance of the ball compared with Plymouth's (right) - but the match ended goalless

"I am responsible if you want to see it in a bad way," added Klopp.

"I always choose line-ups to win the game. We didn't think about the age. They are important players in our squad."

First-team regulars Daniel Sturridge, Adam Lallana and Roberto Firmino were brought on during the second half, but the hosts - who had enjoyed 80.3% possession in the first period - continued to be frustrated.

"We could have done better, 100%," said the Reds boss. "In the first half we lost patience too early - crossing at the wrong moment, making the wrong pass.

"We had the ball all the time. It was boring, not the most exciting game."

'Welcome to the real world'

Plymouth, who are second and challenging for promotion from League Two, limited Liverpool to four shots on target.

"It is probably one of the best defensive performances Anfield has seen," said Plymouth boss Derek Adams. "We allowed them time but didn't allow them space.

"This was about a team performance. We had 13 players and they all deserve a huge amount of credit."

Asked what Liverpool could expect in the replay at Home Park, he added: "Welcome to the real world."


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC