As if the majestic season that Liverpool are enjoying could get any better, they go and beat Everton 1-0 with a load of kids! Reds head coach Jurgen Klopp has witnessed his side sweep all before them as they set the pace at the top of the Premier League (and in the Champions League and even the World club championship).
But when it comes to the FA Cup, heart-breaking an admission as it is, it just isn’t a priority. So, what do you do when you are faced with a third-round cup tie against your oldest city rivals Everton? You want to win the game because it is against your neighbours and bragging rights are everything to the fans. But you have to wrap your senior players in cotton wool because it is a long, hard season and fixtures are coming around the corner like nobody’s business.
Well, it you are Klopp you hedge your bets — and field a team with an average age of 24 — the youngest being wing ace Harvey Elliott who is aged just 16 believe it or not — and you tell them: go out and play the Liverpool way. And, boy, did they do just that!
The Anfield second string (Klopp made nine changes to his side after their last outing, which was a 2-0 home win over Sheffield United) survived some early scares in the first half of this Merseyside derby game against the Toffees from Goodison Park — and it is no exaggeration to suggest that they may well have gone into the half-time break 3-0 down. As it was, they survived the pressure. And the second-half was a different ball game.
The game was ultimately won by the most spectacular goal you could ever wish to see from a local lad aged just 18 in the shape of Curtis Jones. He swerved home an irresistible shot that left Everton keeper Jordan Pickford clutching at thin air (and he is a decent keeper, let’s be honest) to give the Reds safe passage in to the fourth-round draw that takes place later tonight (Monday).
One of the more senior players to represent the Reds in this triumph was Adam Lallana and his take on the victory drew inspiration from the mentality that is instilled throughout the squad by Klopp and his backroom team.
Lallana says that the German coach “wanted to create his own way of playing, his own mentality and you saw that throughout the whole 90 minutes. He added:
“I thought that in the second half we were outstanding, the way we controlled the game, got the goal and they never really caused us any problems. I thought we fully deserved the win and to get into the next round.”
And the Reds go marching on!