Jurgen Klopp wants to protect young Liverpool players after win over Exeter
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/01/16 10:30am
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp warned against placing too much expectation on his young players after a number impressed in the 3-0 FA Cup third-round replay win over Exeter.
Sheyi Ojo and Joao Carlos Teixeira scored their first senior goals on their Anfield debuts after Joe Allen, one of three experienced players in the side, had put them ahead in the first half.
The likes of Cameron Brannagan and Brad Smith also impressed but Klopp insists it is too early to be pushing them for full first-team involvement.
"It is a long way for these young boys but they showed what they are already able to do and what they have to learn," he said.
"If everyone stays cool... it is not protecting them but giving the lads time to develop. Tonight was a good moment, there were a few things which were impressive but a lot of things to learn.
Liverpool 3-0 Exeter
Liverpool eased past League 2 Exeter to set up an FA Cup fourth-round clash at home to West Ham
"The target at the end of the road has to be [playing for] Liverpool FC in the Premier League and for this you have to be ready. We cannot bring them all in every week in the Premier League.
"A few months ago when I said we need to have all our best players here [Ryan] Kent, Ojo, [Kevin] Stewart and Tiago [Ilori] were on loan."
Another positive on the night was the return of Jon Flanagan, 619 days after his last appearance having finally recovered from two knee operations.
"When he came in it was a great moment after this long time," Klopp said. "I've not had him too often in training because we need to be careful with him.
"It was a real emotional moment when everyone stood up and clapped. I don't think anyone deserved it more than him. It is such an unbelievably long time he was injured but he has never been in a bad mood.
"Hopefully now it goes on and we have to see how he feels tomorrow. It was one of the best pieces of news we could get."
Exeter boss Paul Tisdale had mixed emotions about the game as his League 2 side struggled for chances before Liverpool went 2-0 up.
"When I wake up tomorrow and look back, it will have been an interesting cup run but I guess we had our chance a week ago when we were 2-1 up with 15 minutes to go," he said.
"I feel disappointed because I want to win games no matter how big the ask is and you try to convince your team there is a way to win the game.
"Generally I am very proud of the club and we had one or two players who did themselves proud on the pitch also."