Red-letter day for teenager Woodburn

Another Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold put in an eye-catching performance against the Championship side. The 18-year-old right-back provided the assist for Divock Origi's opener in the 76th minute. Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn (left) sco
Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn (left) scores his team's second goal against Leeds in their League Cup quarter-final in the 81st minute. The Reds won 2-0.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
Another Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold put in an eye-catching performance against the Championship side. The 18-year-old right-back provided the assist for Divock Origi's opener in the 76th minute. Liverpool forward Ben Woodburn (left) sco
Another Liverpool teenager Trent Alexander-Arnold put in an eye-catching performance against the Championship side. The 18-year-old right-back provided the assist for Divock Origi's opener in the 76th minute.PHOTO: REUTERS

Forward, 17, is Liverpool's youngest scorer as Klopp vows to protect his academy prospects

LONDON • Young footballers are meant to be nurtured with delicate care away from the watchful eyes of the media, to allow them to fulfil their potential on the pitch.

That was probably what was on Jurgen Klopp's mind when the Liverpool manager vowed to protect Ben Woodburn, after the 17-year-old forward became the youngest scorer in the club's history.

Woodburn netted the second goal in the 2-0 League Cup quarter-final win over Leeds United on Tuesday.

At 17 years and 45 days old, the Welsh forward beat Michael Owen's record by 98 days, in only his second substitute appearance for the club.

Alternatively, young footballers should be praised to boost their confidence - exactly what Reds legend Jamie Carragher did when he hailed 18-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold as the "perfect full-back" after his display in the same match.

Both teenagers put in impressive performances to help Liverpool secure a League Cup semi-final spot for the fourth time in six seasons.

  • REDS' YOUNGEST SCORERS

  • BEN WOODBURN 17 years 45 days

    MICHAEL OWEN 17 years 143 days (v Wimbledon on May 6, 1997)

    JORDAN ROSSITER 17 years 183 days (v Middlesbrough on Sept 23, 2014)

    RAHEEM STERLING 17 years 317 days (v Reading on Oct 20, 2012)

    JIMMY MELIA 18 years 46 days (v Nottingham Forest on Dec 17, 1955)

In the 76th minute, Alexander-Arnold whipped in a cross from the right and Belgian striker Divock Origi stretched to guide the ball home.

Woodburn came on in the 67th minute and his dream came true 14 minutes later when he smashed the ball into the net following a flowing move involving Origi, Sadio Mane and Georginio Wijnaldum.

He had made his senior debut for Liverpool on Saturday as a late substitute in a Premier League 2-0 win over Sunderland - an appearance that made him the club's third-youngest first-team player.

"It's all good," Klopp said. "We know what Ben is capable of and what he is already able to do. My first job is to help these boys to be the best.

"There is a lot to do, especially to keep the public away for as long as possible.

"That is quite a difficult thing to do but on the other side we only brought him on because we want to use him, so that means when he is on the pitch he is absolutely allowed to score goals, to prepare situations and to make crosses like Trent (Alexander-Arnold) did, for example. It is all good.

"I am really happy for him. The only problem is that I am a little bit afraid of you all (in the media). That is the thing why I am so quiet."

Woodburn has regularly played with Liverpool's Under-23 squad this year and bagged five goals in 10 games at that level. He is a Wales U-19 international, but is eligible to play for England at senior level.

While it is far too early to say that a star was born, his impressive pedigree at youth level and his fairy-tale first goal for the Reds suggest he is one to watch.

Klopp's confidence in his academy prospects has paid off once again after he started Englishmen Alexander-Arnold and Ovie Ejaria, 19, against Leeds.

"Trent is only 18, so you think about how he's going to look physically in three or four years time," said Carragher. "He looks like he's already got the legs and the pace. The strength will come too. He seems to be perfect for the full-back position."

Alexander-Arnold has yet to make his first appearance in the Premier League, with his only other first-team outing coming in the 2-1 victory over Tottenham in the previous round of the League Cup.

He has since made a combination of nine appearances for Liverpool U-23s and England U-19s.

In Tuesday's other League Cup match, Hull City advanced to the competition's semi-finals for the first time after seeing off Championship outfit Newcastle.

But this was not a simple story; it was one that included extra time, a red card, a penalty shoot-out and goalkeeper heroics before Hull won 3-1 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Newcastle outplayed them for great periods of the match but neither side could find a breakthrough in normal time. And when forward Dieumerci Mbokani was sent off in the 89th minute, Hull looked down and out.

Mohamed Diame put Newcastle in front in extra time, but Robert Snodgrass equalised one minute later and the game went to penalties.

Newcastle missed three, with Eldin Jakupovic saving two - Jonjo Shelvey, Dwight Gayle and Yoan Gouffran the culprits - while Hull finished theirs emphatically.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 01, 2016, with the headline 'Red-letter day for teenager Woodburn'. Print Edition | Subscribe