Liverpool would be ‘lost’ without young players this season – Klopp

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Liverpool would have been “lost” without their young players this season, says manager Jurgen Klopp.

Injuries to senior players Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Thiago Alcantara, Alisson and Trent Alexander-Arnold have forced Klopp to play some youngsters.

Goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher and defenders Rhys Williams and Nathaniel Phillips made their senior debuts, while Neco Williams and Curtis Jones also featured regularly.

“They were well prepared,” said Klopp.

“When one door closes another opens up but you need the right kids to use – and how the boys did it.

“Rhys [Williams] has been exceptional, Neco [Williams] played two good games in a row. Curtis [Jones] plays like he has for 10 years.

“Vitor Matos and Pep Lijnders are really close with that group and they were well prepared. So that’s why we could use them.”

The five youngsters, who have an average age of 20.4, have played 1,572 minutes across the Premier League and Champions League this season.

Speaking before Wednesday’s Champions League tie at FC Midtjylland Klopp also confirmed his side have no fresh injury concerns.

“There’s no team news. That’s good news,” said the German.

“Nobody suffered any kind of problems or injuries against Wolves which would rule them out.

“On the other side, nobody is close enough to return to the squad.”

The Reds guaranteed top spot in Group D with a 1-0 win over Ajax last week.

Their Danish opponents will finish bottom of the four-team group.

What are Liverpool’s chances of winning the Champions League?

Entertainment data company Gracenote say Liverpool have a 16% chance of winning the Champions League.

Simon Gleave, head of sports analysis at Gracenote, said: “Liverpool’s chance of winning this season’s Champions League has not changed much during the group phase as the Reds were almost certain to reach the knockout stage.

“Liverpool are currently second favourites behind holders and Euro Club Index top-ranked club Bayern Munich to win the competition.”A graph showing Liverpool's chances of winning the Champions League at 16%

A new Champions League record for Liverpool? – The stats

  • The only previous meeting between FC Midtyjlland and Liverpool was won 2-0 by Jurgen Klopp’s side, thanks to goals from Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah earlier in this season’s Champions League group stage.
  • Liverpool have won their previous three games against Danish opponents in the European Cup/Champions League, scoring eight goals in total and keeping a clean sheet in each game.
  • Liverpool have finished top of their Champions League group for the third time in the past four seasons – victory here will see them win as many as five matches in a single Champions League group stage for the first time in the competition.
  • Liverpool have won their final Champions League group stage game in each of the past three campaigns, scoring 10 goals and conceding none in this run.
  • Liverpool have won four of their past five Champions League away games (L1), and are looking to win three consecutive European Cup/Champions League away games for the first time since a run of five between September 1983 and September 1984.
  • Caoimhin Kelleher kept a clean sheet on his Champions League debut for Liverpool last time out against Ajax – no keeper has ever recorded a shutout in each of their first two Champions League starts for the Reds.

BBC

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