Jurgen Klopp Says Liverpool Have 'No Bad Young Players' After MK Dons Win

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 26, 2019

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Harvey Elliott of Liverpool during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Milton Keynes Dons and Liverpool at Stadium mk on September 25, 2019 in Milton Keynes, England. (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp praised the club's young players after they helped to deliver a 2-0 win for the Reds against MK Dons in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.

The German also singled out 16-year-old Harvey Elliott, who was one of four teenagers to start, for praise.

Per the Press Association (h/t MailOnline), Klopp said of Elliott:

"Sixteen years old still and this kind of footballer. It is good for us.

"[He is] a brilliant boy, takes the situation really well, wants to learn, and he will always be a special player in moments but his overall game is really, really good.

"He was a bit unlucky otherwise he would have scored, he is a good player but they are all good, we have no bad young players and that is why it is important we can give them these matches and try to continue like this."

James Milner opened the scoring in the first half, while Ki-Jana Hoever wrapped up the win shortly after the hour mark.

Elliott, Hoever, Curtis Jones and Rhian Brewster are all teenagers, while goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher is 20.

The Reds' three substitutes⁠—Sepp van den Berg, Herbie Kane and Pedro Chirivella⁠—are 17, 20 and 22, respectively.

Football writer Leanne Prescott was impressed with the youngsters:

Leanne Prescott @_lfcleanne

Some really bright performances across the pitch for #LFC. Harvey Elliott the standout but Jones, Hoever, Kelleher and Brewster all showing flashes as well. Keita return topping it off on another good night for Klopp’s side.

As Prescott and Klopp observed, Elliott⁠—a summer arrival from Fulham⁠—was particularly good.

The midfielder put in an assured and energetic performance, showing off some incisive passing and a willingness to run at defenders.

Goal shared the numbers behind his showing:

Goal @goal

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 Harvey Elliott (16) vs MK Dons: 76 touches 48/55 passes 6/7 dribbles 3 key passes 2 tackles Star of the show 😎 https://t.co/nQjfVHeE2m

David Lynch of the Evening Standard was among those to single him out for praise on social media:

David Lynch @LynchStandard

No goal for Harvey Elliott tonight but wow, what a debut. You should always temper expectations around young players, particularly when they're only 16, but how can you not be excited by that performance? He looks a special, special talent.

Liverpool played just one game apiece in the Carabao Cup and FA Cup last season, so opportunities for youngsters were relatively limited as the first team racked up 97 points in the Premier League and won the UEFA Champions League.

Given the latter two competitions will be a priority again this season, Klopp will likely name a young side again in the next round of the Carabao Cup, despite the Reds drawing Arsenal.

The domestic cup competitions represent the best chance for Elliott and the other youngsters to receive time on the pitch this season. The longer they can stay in the cup, the better it will be for their development.