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“Only the beginning” – Virgil van Dijk lauds 20-year-old duo in Liverpool first team

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Liverpool had two 20-year-old’s on the right side of their defence as they secured a spot in the League Cup final, and Virgil van Dijk is confident “it’s only the beginning” for them.

It has been a season where squad depth has been pivotal for Jurgen Klopp, and the club’s youngsters have more than stepped up to fill the void.

It has been the case throughout the League Cup campaign and, again, in the semi-final there was plenty of plaudits to come the way of Jarell Quansah and Conor Bradley.

The former set up Luis Diaz‘s goal for his third assist in the competition and the latter made six recoveries, only four players had more.

It was a strong display and they got another vote of confidence from their captain when he spoke to Sky Sports alongside Quansah after Liverpool sealed their place in the final.

“Obviously the right-hand side was not maybe the most experienced side today, but they did very well – I think the whole season already,” Van Dijk said.

“I’m proud of these guys. It’s only the beginning for them and they must feel it that way as well.

“But to be going to the final with this performance is a very good thing and only shows what kind of progress they made. Hopefully they can keep going.”

It is obvious that the success of the club’s youngsters is not only a personal boost for them but one for the entire squad and the club as a whole, and they will take great ownership in this final berth.

For Quansah, it will have been somewhat of a pinch me moment to help secure a final berth in only his 16th senior appearance for the club.

“It is special, unbelievable,” Quansah said of reaching the final. Can’t ask for much more really. We had to dig in tonight. It is my first season here and happy to get to a final.

LONDON, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 24, 2024: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 2nd Leg match between Fulham FC and Liverpool FC at Craven Cottage. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

“It’s all about rhythm, you have to keep playing. I felt a little bit rusty out there tonight, I’ve not played in a few weeks, but it’s all about playing games.

“Doing it with Conor is special for me as well, because I’ve been playing with him for almost 10 years now. Sharing a pitch with him out here tonight was a special feeling.”

The timing may be a little off considering Bradley only joined Liverpool in 2021 but the sentiment remains, what a moment for the pair and the academy.