Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp found it difficult to be angry with his young, changed side following a 2-1 exit from the FA Cup at the hands of Wolves at the Molineux.
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Eighteen-year-old Rafael Camacho and 17-year-old Curtis Jones started for the Reds, and 16-year-old center back Ki-Jana Hoever was called into the fray after just six minutes thanks to an injury to Dejan Lovren.
So with Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah on the bench, Klopp could only call upon two when the Reds found themselves behind Wolves.
Klopp said he would’ve been vilified had he started Hoever in addition to Jones and Camacho, accused of “not respecting the competition.”
And he’s had injuries small and big to center backs Virgil Van Dijk, Joel Matip, and Joe Gomez.
“After the City game we had players who weren’t fit. Pretty much all the players here today had a few problems. We had to make late changes. Lallana and Henderson were in our plans. Dejan Lovren was not. We had to change it. Second half we wanted to start a new with a positive approach.
“We brought on Mo and Bobby and looked a bit different. The intensity of the last few games, it’s not possible to start with these up front. Only Lovren has played all the games the last few weeks. The situation is not too cool.”
Not cool at all. Klopp led Liverpool to a pair of deep League Cup runs in his first two seasons but is one-and-done the last two, and has not advanced past the fourth round in any of four FA Cup tournaments.