No regrets for Klopp even as Reds youths misfire in draw

Ben Woodburn, Liverpool's youngest-ever scorer, failed to find a way past the resolute Plymouth defence in their FA Cup third- round clash at Anfield. The Reds face a replay at Plymouth's Home Park later this month.
Ben Woodburn, Liverpool's youngest-ever scorer, failed to find a way past the resolute Plymouth defence in their FA Cup third- round clash at Anfield. The Reds face a replay at Plymouth's Home Park later this month.PHOTO: REUTERS

LONDON • Jurgen Klopp insisted that he has no regrets over selecting the youngest starting line-up in Liverpool's history, and that an FA Cup third-round replay at Plymouth Argyle was deserved reward for the League Two side after their display at Anfield.

Liverpool were held to a goal-less draw on Sunday by what Derek Adams, the Plymouth manager, confidently described as "probably one of the best defensive performances Anfield has seen".

The visitors, often with 10 men behind the ball, restricted the Premier League side to few scoring opportunities in a dour contest and the teams will meet again at Home Park on Jan 17 or 18.

Klopp had no complaints over the scoreline and said he was relieved the Anfield crowd did not head home after an hour of a "boring" game.

The Liverpool manager conceded his team's performance was not up to this season's standard but, despite picking a starting line-up with an average age of 21 years and 296 days, insisted his decision would prove beneficial in the long term to the likes of Ben Woodburn, Sheyi Ojo and Trent Alexander-Arnold.

"I don't think the line-up was a mistake, it depends on how you want to see it," Klopp said. "We made mistakes in the game and, as it is with the boys, the good things they are responsible for and the bad ones I am responsible for.

"If you want to see it in a bad way, then I am 100 per cent responsible. I have no problem with it. I take it even if we played a fuller squad.

"I always choose line-ups to win the game and I accept that was not positive in all situations today but in a lot of ways it was.

"It is really important for us having games like this where we have to fight for the result with a different line-up, because we have a long season to go."

Klopp acknowledged the tie had not captivated the imagination and sardonically lamented the prospect of a 965km round trip down to Plymouth for the replay.

"It was boring," said the German, whose side travel to Southampton tomorrow for the first leg of their League Cup semi-final clash.

"It was a very dominant game from my side, but with no real chances. One or two shots, that's normal the longer the game is.

"Plymouth did everything they had to do to deserve a rematch and now we have it. Yippee!

"The biggest challenge in football is to play a defending side. Maybe Plymouth in this moment are happy. I don't know if at home they can play the same defensive style."

Adams warned Liverpool they will not enjoy the same comfort as at Anfield in the replay at Argyle's modest Home Park ground.

"The dressing rooms are not as luxurious as they are here," he said.

"We are in a Portakabin. Welcome to the real world."

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 10, 2017, with the headline 'No regrets for Klopp even as Reds youths misfire in draw'. Print Edition | Subscribe