Harvey Elliott

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Liverpool ‘immensely proud’ of kids performance in League Cup

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Liverpool’s youth-filled lineup showed well for itself in an extraordinarily difficult trip to Aston Villa on Tuesday.

The League Cup quarterfinal saw a Reds side with very little experience visiting a near full strength Premier League side.

[ RECAP: Villa 5-0 Liverpool ]

Ivorian international Jonathan Kodjia was simply too much for the teen-heavy Reds in a 5-0 win for Villa, but Liverpool still managed to outshoot the hosts 15-11 and hold 58 percent possession.

The manager for the day was 41-year-old Neil Critchley, who normally runs the rule of the U23s. He was emotional and impressed with his side.

“I thought we were magnificent. We were fantastic from the start, we had a couple of chances from the first whistle. We were really unfortunate to concede and find ourselves 2-0 down. It was an incredible night and no one wanted it to end. The support we had was unbelievable.”

Critchley said Villa boss Dean Smith and assistant John Terry were sure to prop up the kids after the game, who were put in a very difficult position by fixture congestion and Jurgen Klopp‘s preference to take every single veteran to the Club World Cup in Qatar.

“The conduct of the Villa players was first class. For Dean Smith and John Terry to come in to our dressing room after the game and say the things they said. They said ‘keep going, good luck’ and wished us the best. The moment I will remember and the players will remember for the rest of their lives.”

It was a great showing by the kids despite the score line, and Liverpool can be very proud. Youngster Harvey Elliott showed why he was signed with such hype, and goalkeeper Caoiminh Kelleher made a number of cool saves.

Kodjia, Villa too much for Liverpool’s kids

Liverpool Aston Villa League Cup Kodjia
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Liverpool’s kids didn’t wilt against Premier League side Aston Villa in a League Cup quarterfinal at Villa Park, but were punished on the scoreboard.

The difference was clinical finishing in a 5-0 score line, as Liverpool fudged its first half chances in front of goal. The Reds youngsters saw Villa keeper Orjan Nyland make eight saves on the day.

The Reds trailed by four at halftime despite a 4-3 edge in shots on target.

Wesley Moraes scored Villa’s only goal.

VIlla will enter the semifinal draw with the winners of three Wednesday quarterfinals. Man City visits Oxford United, Manchester United hosts Colchester United, and Leicester City heads to Everton.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Put in an unsavory position when Jurgen Klopp opted to bring nearly every healthy player with first team experience to Qatar for the Club World Cup, Liverpool’s kids were lively out of the gate. They showed their understandable immaturity on the stage in lacking the final ball over the first dozen minutes.

That’s when Villa took a bit of control and Hourihane spun his free kick into the goal, Jonathan Kodjia leaping to kick but missing a redirection bid to throw off keeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Henri Lansbury prodded an own goal for 2-0 when his cross was deflected to fool Kelleher, who clawed backward but couldn’t find the ball before it looped into the side netting.

Harvey Elliott showed his style with a delightful little chipped pass that Curtis Jones used to force a save out of Orjan Nyland. Elliott was very good on the day, with 90 percent passing and a shot on target. Captain for the day Pedro Chirivella also made a good impression.

It was 3-0 when Kodjia blazed past the Liverpool back line to slide a pass beyond the reach of a splayed Kelleher. The Ivorian added a goal before halftime.

That first 45 saw shots on target in favor of Liverpool by just 4-3. Problem is all of the on-target Villa attempts plus the o.g. went in the Reds goal.

Kelleher made a great save on Kodjia’s 60th minute hat trick bid.

FOLLOW LIVE: Liverpool youngsters play Aston Villa in Carabao Cup

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Liverpool’s senior squad is on the road at the Club World Cup, so they have a squad of youth players set to take on Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup.

Jurgen Klopp spoke at length over the past few months about how the scheduling bulge through this month has left the squad pulled in two directions, and it has indeed forced them to split into two groups. With Klopp and the senior players in Qatar, with their Club World Cup semifinal against Monterrey set for tomorrow, there was no choice but to leave the youth team to play in the domestic Cup competition.

[ MORE: Follow League Cup scores live ]

Harvey Elliott is the most prominent name in the Reds’ squad, while U-23 boss Neil Critchley takes charge of the side. Recent PEC Zwolle arrival Sepp van den Berg starts at center-back alongside Morgan Boyes, while 22-year-old midfielder Pedro Chirivella captains the side.

On the other side, Aston Villa must navigate the potential banana peel, with elimination at the hands of the Reds’ young, inexperienced squad a potentially embarrassing possibility. Manager Dean Smith has made a significant amount of changes to his main squad, with Jack Grealish left on the bench alongside striker Wesley and midfield engine John McGinn. Defender James Chester, making his first appearance for the club this season, earns the captain’s armband, while striker Jonathan Kodija grabs his first start of the campaign.

Club World Cup semifinal preview: Liverpool aims for 1st world title

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Liverpool’s quest to become the second Premier League club to win the Club World Cup begins Wednesday in Qatar against Liga MX side Monterrey.

The Reds hope to join 2008 winners Manchester United as the lone English winners of the 19-year-old tournament. Liverpool (2005) and Chelsea (2012) have also lost CWC finals.

[ MORE: Champions League draw analysis ]

The tournament crown has belonged in European hands since Corinthians surprised Chelsea in 2012.

The Reds are nearly -1000 favorites to beat Monterrey and the world will expect a tournament crown for the Premier League side, to be sure.

They’ve added Sepp van den Berg, Ki-Jana Hoever, and Harvey Elliott to the team following injuries to Dejan Lovren and Rhian Brewster.

Liverpool play Monterrey at 12:30 p.m. ET Wednesday, 24 hours after fellow favorites Flamengo meet up with Saudi side Al-Hilal.

Here’s a quick roundup of the other three competitors.

Monterrey

The most immediate threat to Jurgen Klopp‘s goals comes in the form of CONCACAF Champions League-winning Rayados. Leonel Vangioni scored a marvelous goal to lead the Liga MX side past Al-Sadd in the quarterfinal. Former Spurs flop Vincent Janssen is in the club, as are familiar faces Miguel Layun (Watford) and Rogelio Funes Mori (River Plate).

Al-Hilal

The Saudi club got here by beating Japan’s Urawa Red Diamonds in the Asian Champions League, with Sebastian Giovinco and Bafetimbi Gomis leading the way. Gomis scored the lone goal of a quarterfinal defeat of Esperance Tunis, set up by ex-Watford man Andre Carrillo.

Flamengo

The Rio-based South American champions are led by Gabriel Barbosa, who is on loan from Inter Milan and scoring at will. Longtime Schalke and Bayern Munich man Rafinha is on the squad, as is former Chelsea man Filipe Luis. Diego Alves (Valencia) is the man between the posts.

Liverpool announces changes to Club World Cup squad

Liverpool Wijnaldum
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Georginio Wijnaldum is healthy enough to make the trip to this week’s Club World Cup in Qatar, but there is no such good news for Dejan Lovren.

Liverpool released its 20-man traveling squad for the tournament on Sunday, omitting Lovren and three youth stars from the provisional roster.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule ]

Harvey Elliott, Rhian Brewster, and Curtis Jones will now be available for Tuesday’s League Cup quarterfinal against Aston Villa.

Liverpool will meet Monterrey on Wednesday in the Club World Cup semifinal, with the winner meeting either Flamengo or Al-Hilal on Saturday.

CONCACAF Champions League winners Monterrey advanced to the semi on Saturday, getting a world class strike from Leonel Vangioni in the 3-2 win.

Liga MX has never put a team in the Club World Cup Final.

Liverpool lost the 2005 CWC Final to Sao Paulo in Japan, one of three PL teams to contest the final. Chelsea lost in 2012 after Manchester United won the 2009 crown.

European sides have won 10 of the last 11 finals.