Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he will not rate any of his young players in the 2-1 Europa League dead-rubber defeat to Union Saint-Guillois in Brussels.
With an average age of 21.9 and six players aged 20 or younger, Klopp’s side, who played European games against the Belgian league leaders, were the youngest by a significant margin in their history.
Jarel Kwanza, 20, who has already played 12 games this season, canceled out Mohamed Amura’s opener with his first senior goal, but Cameron Burtas put the hosts back in front at the end of an understandably ironic first half.
Klopp took responsibility for the nature of the performance and absolved his youngsters of any blame.
„I’ve shuffled the team a whole lot, so I think the amount of changes we’ve made, the amount of changes, the rhythm,” he said.
„I never judge a player after a game like this and say, 'Well, he’s obviously not good enough’ or whatever.
„I know how good they are because I see them every day in training and tonight was an important experience.
„I don’t think any career started without games like this where you have to fight, where you have to fight, where you have to survive.
„For some it was a very important experience and for others it was rhythmic. I saw a good performance.
„Certainly as a team, it’s not a fair assessment if I say they’re top of the table in Belgium, we come here, we bring the kids – it’s very difficult – but we did it and I thought it was OK. .
„No one was hurt, no one was hurt, so we’re on the mend, going home and going again.”
Joel Matip’s surgery on an ACL injury this week will leave Klopp scrambling to find a more suitable partner for Virgil van Dijk, with Alisson Becker and Mohamed Salah already guaranteed Liverpool’s top spot.
Ibrahima Konad and Joe Gomez each scored a half-century to give Klopp a decision on who to pick for the visit of Manchester United on Sunday.
“We wanted to share intensity. If I had the chance to play Joe Gomez 90 or Ibou 90, would I want to play?” he added.
“(I decided) 45 and 45, same in midfield. These changes are planned before the game and are not dependent on the outcome.
„Całkowity introwertyk. Nieprzejednany specjalista od sieci. Przyjazny fanatyk bekonu. Student ekstremalnych. Miłośnik piwa. Organizator.”