Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool must “keep the public” away from Ben Woodburn and is afraid the press will raise expectations too highly after he became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer in Tuesday’s win over Leeds United.
Woodburn came off the bench to seal a 2-0 EFL Cup quarter-final win over Leeds United, displacing Michael Owen in the Anfield record books by netting aged 17 and 45 days.
It was a satisfactory night for a number of the youngsters in Klopp's side, with Trent Alexander-Arnold performing superbly at right-back before supplying the cross for Divock Origi's 76th-minute opener, but Woodburn was understandably the talk of the post-match news conference.
"We know what Ben is capable of and what he is already able to do," Klopp said.
"My first job is to help these boys so that they can be the best - in this case, Ben Woodburn.
"There's a lot of things to do, especially to keep the public away as long as possible.
"That's quite a difficult thing to do. But on the other hand, we only bring him in because we want to use him.
"So that means when he's on the pitch he's absolutely allowed to score goals, to prepare situations, to make crosses – how Trent did, for example.
"So, all good. I'm really happy for him. The only problem is I'm a little bit afraid about you [the media].
"That's why I'm so quiet on this. Think and do what you want, but don't write anything – only 'Goalscorer, Ben Woodburn.' Done. Quite a challenge!"
Klopp's opposite number Garry Monk spoke warmly of his Leeds players, who carved out some good chances when the game remained 0-0 – most notably when Kemar Roofe was denied his first goal for the club by the post.
"The only thing lacking was us taking one of quite a few opportunities, I think we had the best chances in the game," he said.
"All it needed was a little bit more composure – that's the only negative in the performance. Also a little bit of unluckiness as well, as Kemar's shot deserved a goal.
"Overall I told the players I was gutted for them. As a performance for a team that's very young and very inexperienced, these kind of nights can set a marker for yourself. That's the spirit and the quality that you have to have if you want to be successful.
"We're disappointed at this moment in time but I'm sure they will look back in the next day or so and realise they put on a very good performance."