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'Who could ask for more?' - Klopp thrilled as FA Cup kids gamble pays off

2:54 AM MYT 06/01/2020
Jurgen Klopp Liverpool 2019-20
A Reds team, populated mainly by youngsters, won Sunday's Merseyside derby 1-0 to progress to the fourth round of the cup

Jurgen Klopp was delighted to see his experimental Liverpool side prevail in Sunday's Merseyside derby against Everton.

The Reds lined up with just a handful of regular senior faces for the FA Cup third-round tie, with the majority of his team rounded out by youngsters. 

And their task was made no easier early on when James Milner, one of those few experienced heads, was forced off with a suspected hamstring injury, with debutant Yasser Larouci taking his place. 

Liverpool, nevertheless, powered through to pick up yet another win, as 18-year-old Curtis Jones smashed home from outside the area to score the only goal of the game.

Klopp took a sizeable gamble in resting the bulk of his first-team squad for the derby, and could not hide his elation at seeing Liverpool's young prospects come out on top on Sunday.

"They played brave football. Unbelievable individual performances from the kids and the adults as well," the manager told BBC Sport after the final whistle.

"Adam Lallana - what a game, unbelievable. Joe Gomez - organising the whole defence for maybe the first time in his life."

Jones logically took up most of Klopp's praise, after providing the match-winning goal, and the German admitted he was delighted to have avoided a replay.

"Sensational game and a sensational goal from a Scouser - who could ask for more?" he added. 

"You cannot perform like the boys performed, if you think you should not perform in that team.

"They all think like that. I am so happy they all showed up tonight. The only thing I didn't want was a draw. We had to take some risks and it paid off."

Liverpool have had to deal with a formidable fixture pile-up over the festive period, intensified by their participation in the Club World Cup alongside Premier League, Champions League and Carabao Cup obligations. 

But, while they fell in the latter in a thrilling clash against Aston Villa, that featured a youth team line-up, the Reds remain in control at the Premier League summit. Klopp's men currently lead closest rivals Leicester City by 13 points, but also have a game in hand.