Jurgen Klopp’s decision to go into the game against Exeter City with a second string XI did not work well, but, the manager has hinted that he would not hesitate to put a similar sort of young line up on the pitch again in future.
Given the fact that almost half the Liverpool side was injured, the changes were always going to be made, but, nobody would have thought that it would be a totally different starting XI on the park. None of the players, who had started for Liverpool in their previous League Cup game against Stoke City, played on Friday.
It could so easily have been an embarrassing defeat for the Reds against a side that plays in the 4th tier.
They were trailing by 1-2 in the second half of the game and were under pressure and if it wasn’t for Brad Smith, the 21-year old Aussie defender who struck his first goal in the Reds’ jersey, the elimination was on the cards.
Speaking after the game (which they had been firm favourites to win on Ladbrokes), Klopp said, “It all depends on the schedule you know. If it remains like this, I might have to do it again. The youngsters tried hard, but, they still have a long way to go. I would want them to show a little more toughness the next time they play.”
“Exeter seemed to have a better idea of the ground. They knew which area was good for long balls and which area was good for Football and they played accordingly, but, we played well too at times. There’s going to be another game now. It’s really, really tough on us, but, that’s the way it goes. We have to be ready.”
Liverpool will host Exeter for the replay of this game.