Home News Jurgen Klopp admits he was tempted to give 16-year-old his Liverpool debut

Jurgen Klopp admits he was tempted to give 16-year-old his Liverpool debut


Jurgen Klopp has praised the quality of Liverpool’s youngsters after an injury-hit side beat Luton 4-1, admitting he was even tempted to send on Trey Nyoni.

With 11 first-team players out, a youthful squad was required for the visit of Luton in the Premier League.

That included starts for Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley, while Harvey Elliott marked his 100th appearance for the club with a goal.

But on the bench was the next generation, with Bobby Clark, James McConnell and debutant Jayden Danns all coming on and 16-year-old Nyoni watching on alongside Kaide Gordon.

Such was the manner of Liverpool’s comeback win, and Klopp’s belief in the players, that the manager admitted in a post-match interview that he was tempted to hand Nyoni his debut.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 7, 2024: Liverpool's Trey Nyoni during the pre-match warm-up before the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“Some of the kids started, the others came on, and they did an incredible job,” he told Sky Sports.

“It’s cool how a culture educates the next generation, to be honest.

“Yes Curtis is injured in the moment, but I said a few weeks ago: if Curtis Jones can learn defending, everybody can learn defending.

“If you see Bobby Clark and James McConnell, oh my god. And Trey, sitting outside, and you think ‘maybe we bring him [on]?’, just because the boys are that good.

“But in general, how the stadium and the team together changed that game was just exceptional.”

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 21, 2024: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott celebrates with team-mate Jaden Danns (R) after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Luton Town FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Interviewing Klopp, Sky Sports’ Juliette Ferrington recalled an exchange with Elliott when McConnell and Danns were preparing to come on, in which the No. 19 told her they were “senior players.”

The manager agreed, insisting that when they are on the pitch, “you have to ignore” how old they are.

“During training, they can be as old as they are, actually, but if you put them in, you have to ignore that fact,” he explained.

“You just have to be the best possible fit for the position you are playing.

“The boys are ready, I wouldn’t do that if they are not ready for it. I wouldn’t bring Bobby [on for] 20 minutes, with stoppage time it was probably longer, when it was 3-1 I think.

“We all know it looked like Luton were a bit done, but they score one goal and the whole dynamic can change.

“So we trust them, really, a lot. Just because of what they do.

“They are usually in the ‘B team’ when we have time to train and they are a pain in the backside, to be honest. In training it’s just like ‘oh my god’, annoying like anything.

“That’s really, really good. They all made the next step and that’s really cool for the club.”