A highly-rotated young Reds side showed promise for the future with an impressive and courageous winning display against a full-strength Everton side in the FA Cup.
Due to Liverpool’s recent packed schedule, Jürgen Klopp made nine changes from the side that triumphed over Sheffield United on Thursday night.
Adrián, Neco Williams, Nathaniel Phillips, Adam Lallana, Pedro Chirivella, Harvey Elliott, Curtis Jones and Divock Origi were all selected in the first XI, with Takumi Minamino also being granted his first-team debut by Klopp.
The match got off to an open start with both sides showing clear attacking intent. It was Everton, however, who posed the first real threat on goal with Adrian pulling off a brilliant 5th minute save to keep the score level.
Despite the rotation, Klopp was forced into making an early substitution after one of his only senior starters, James Milner, was struck down with a hamstring injury. The veteran was replaced by Yasser Larouci who was brought on for his senior debut.
Following the injury to Milner, Adrián was called upon to deny Everton yet again, making a confident save following a set piece from the visitors.
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Upon seeing the lineup, many would have believed that the senior Everton side would have steamrolled the young Liverpool stars. However, Klopp’s kids dug in and began dominating the game with their energy and will to win seemingly outmatching that of their rivals.
With this being said, Everton’s experience began to shine through as the Toffees again threatened the Liverpool goal with Adrián being called upon for a third time to pull off a marvellous save.
Following the important Adrián save, the game once again opened up and Everton finally began to assert their dominance towards the end of the half with Theo Walcott, in particular, putting in an impressive right wing performance.
Liverpool’s youngsters, however, showed that they were still dangerous intermittently as Origi went close, drawing a stretching save from Jordan Pickford, before a host of consecutive corners encouraged the supportive Anfield faithful.
Everton had one final attack before the break, however, Liverpool’s youthful defence held out strong, dispossessing Richarlison before Jonathan Moss blew for half time.
The start of the second half saw Liverpool continue their impressive first half performance, with the Reds drawing the first save of the half from Pickford after a long distance effort from Williams.
Liverpool’s dominating performance continued throughout the half as they looked the more impressive of the two outfits, testing Pickford yet again and harrying the Everton back line with endless waves of pressure.
As well as the impressive performance, Liverpool fans in attendance received another positive in the form of the returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who made a return to the team following his Club World Cup injury in Doha.
The energetic performance by the Liverpool kids was ultimately rewarded after Jones opened the scoring in the 71st with a superb curling effort.
The local lad linked up well with Origi on the edge of the area as he looked to feed the striker through on goal. Origi laid it off back to the young midfielder, who took a touch before lifting a curling ball over the outstretched Pickford that nestled into the top corner.
Jones’s first goal in senior football drew roars from the Anfield faithfully and will prove to be one that he will struggle to beat in terms of quality.
Following the goal Liverpool continued their impressive performance and Klopp gifted yet another senior debut, this time in the form of Rhian Brewster who replaced Elliott towards the end of the half.
The final few minutes of the match saw Liverpool control the game well, keeping the ball and showing professionalism and experience beyond the years of their young stars – a deserved win which highlighted plenty of new options for Klopp.
The Reds are next in action on Sunday when they hope to continue their unbeaten Premier League run away at Tottenham Hotspur.