Klopp Ten HagGetty/GOAL

Jurgen Klopp's Carabao Cup-winning kids make a mockery of Erik ten Hag's injury complaints - what Man Utd would give to have an identity like bitter rivals Liverpool

Liverpool's Carabao Cup win over Chelsea was a tale of both senior leadership and youthful exuberance. One defining image was the sight of Jurgen Klopp and Virgil van Dijk lifting the trophy together. Klopp shook the club up and rebuilt it in his image while Van Dijk's defensive steel completed their transformation, delivering the latest in a long line of trophies with a towering header deep in extra-time.

The other takeaway was Liverpool's long cast of academy graduates, all born in 2003 or after, streaming off the bench and being utterly unawed by the occasion. As Gary Neville put it so succinctly: "Klopp's kids against the billion pound bottle jobs." Liverpool resembled the walking wounded last week, losing Diogo Jota, Cutis Jones, Darwin Nunez and Mohamed Salah in the days before the final, in addition to the already-missing Dominik Szoboszlai, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alisson Becker.

And their injury crisis was aggravated during the game as Ryan Gravenberch, Andrew Robertson and Alexis Mac Allister were all forced off. But far from being knocked down by the absence of their best players, Liverpool rose to the occasion. "Liverpool have been absolutely sensational," Neville added. "Those young players have been incredible. Klopp must be so proud."

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What a contrast to Neville's own club Manchester United, who had fallen apart against Fulham a day earlier after losing two players to injury. Erik ten Hag pointed to the key absences of Luke Shaw and Rasmus Hojlund as he sought to explain their latest dire home display this season, but he is beginning to sound like a broken record.

After all, Liverpool have demonstrated that injuries do not matter if you have a clear playing identity and rally behind your coach.