Jurgen Klopp says Liverpool “would have been lost” without the young players who have stepped up to first-team duty in recent weeks.
Klopp welcomed back Trent Alexander-Arnold and Naby Keita to his squad for the 4-0 win over Wolves on Saturday but remains without influential defender Virgil van Dijk, England centre-back Joe Gomez and high-profile summer signing Thiago after a spate of early-season injuries.
Those absences have meant Klopp has had to dip into the Anfield youth ranks and that show of faith has paid off with the team second in the Premier League on goal difference only and heading into tonight’s Champions League group game against FC Midtjylland already qualified for the knockout stages.
“We had some problems injury-wise and that’s clear – we lost top, top class players to injuries,” said Klopp. “Then of course when one door closes another one opens up but you still need the right players to use the chance and all of the boys did it.
“I can go through all of the boys – what Rhys Williams has done in the Champions League so far is exceptional, Neco (Williams) has played two really good games in a row, Curtis (Jones) plays like he has been at the club for 10 years and Caoimhin (Kelleher) was always a talent but he’s now getting the chance to show that on a big stage.
“Without these players, we would have been lost, to be honest. Thank God it turned out the way it did. The big part is that they were ready for it and they were really well-prepared, that’s why we’ve been able to use them in the way we have used them.”
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