Football: Liverpool's Ojo makes mark with goal

Liverpool's Joao Teixeira scoring the third goal against Exeter City in their FA Cup third-round replay. The Reds won the match 3-0 and will face West Ham in the fourth round.
Liverpool's Joao Teixeira scoring the third goal against Exeter City in their FA Cup third-round replay. The Reds won the match 3-0 and will face West Ham in the fourth round.PHOTO: REUTERS
Liverpool's Joao Teixeira scoring the third goal against Exeter City in their FA Cup third-round replay. The Reds won the match 3-0 and will face West Ham in the fourth round.
Sheyi Ojo

18-year-old becomes Reds' youngest FA Cup goal-scorer but Klopp says he still needs time

LONDON • Sheyi Ojo's Twitter page is emblazoned with the motto "nothing is impossible". He certainly does not lack confidence, marking his Anfield debut with a curling shot in front of the Kop to become Liverpool's youngest FA Cup goal-scorer at 18 years and 215 days.

It has been quite a few days for Ojo. He was recalled from his loan at Wolverhampton Wanderers on Jan 7, and made his Liverpool debut the next night as a substitute against Exeter City at St James Park. And in the replay against the fourth-tier side on Wednesday, he helped Liverpool earn a 3-0 victory to set up a fourth-round clash against West Ham United.

Joe Allen and Joao Teixeira also netted but Ojo's goal 16 minutes from time stood out.

Jordon Ibe cut in from the left, as Arron Davies back-pedalled, and stroked the ball across to Ojo, who controlled it instantly with his right. Taking three touches with his left foot, the midfielder pushed on into the box and Craig Woodman made the mistake of backing off, opening a glimpse of goal for Ojo.

The teenager accepted the chance, calmly curling the ball left-footed past Bobby Olejnik, before running away to celebrate.

Ojo was one of plenty of positives for Liverpool on a night when defender Jon Flanagan also made his first appearance since playing for England in Miami in June 2014.

Cameron Brannagan, 19, caught the eye in midfield, Brad Smith, 21, showed his attacking prowess from the left-back position, while Teixeira took his goal coolly.

But Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp called for the young players to be given time and space to develop, after insisting that they still have "a long way to go".

"Ojo is very young. He is still not even 20, so he does not need man-of-the-match things," Klopp said. "Leave the guys where they are. Everybody who sees him playing sees he has the skills, but he has things to work on.

RAW TALENT

Ojo is very young... Everybody who sees him playing sees he has the skills, but he has things to work on.

''JUERGEN KLOPP, on giving Sheyi Ojo time to develop.

"The young players already showed what they are able to do, and also what they have to learn.

"It is not about protecting him, but give the lads time to develop. Tonight was a good moment, they had a few things that were impressive.

"The target at the end of the road has to be to become a Premier League player for Liverpool and for this he will have to be ready, that's why we work with all parts to get them ready."

Klopp had fielded a makeshift team, with only goalkeeper Simon Mignolet retaining his place as the German made 10 changes to the side that lost to Manchester United on Sunday.

Christian Benteke was the only forward available to Klopp due to injuries to Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi as well as Danny Ings. The Belgium striker started but failed to impress. Liverpool are now hoping to address their lack of depth in attack by adding another Teixeira to their squad.

The Reds have made an offer of £24 million (S$48.7 million) for Alex Teixeira, the Shakhtar Donetsk attacking midfielder.

Shakhtar value Teixeira at closer to £40 million but Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has travelled to Florida, where the Ukrainian club are at a training camp, in an attempt to strike a deal.

Klopp regards Teixeira as a player who can add firepower and creativity. The 26-year-old has scored 22 goals in 15 league games this season and was being pursued by Chelsea only for Shakhtar's asking price to put them off.

THE TIMES, LONDON

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'Ojo makes mark with goal'. Print Edition | Subscribe