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Men’s football Liverpool’s youngsters see off Southampton in FA Cup

Liverpool 3-0 Southampton
by James Nalton
at Anfield

LIVERPOOL’S progress to the FA Cup quarter-finals at the expense of Southampton on Wednesday night was not as easy as the 3-0 scoreline suggests, but it was another triumph for the club’s trust in youth.

Two of the goals were scored by 18-year-old substitute Jayden Danns and 18-year-old Lewis Koumas scored the opener.

Both were in the squad for Liverpool’s remarkable Carabao Cup win against Chelsea last Sunday and now they were scoring their first goals for the club to help them progress in another cup competition.

These young players are in the spotlight a little earlier than they might have expected due to the number of injuries to first-team players.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp likened the situation to the 17-year-old darts player Luke Littler who burst onto the scene at this year’s PDC World Darts Championships.

“It is a little bit like the new darts sensation,” Klopp said.

“It’s fine for tonight, absolutely, but from tomorrow, leave the boys in the corner, please. Don’t ask ‘Where are they now? Where are they now?’

“They have a lot to improve on, and a lot to learn. They will have their moments, and at the moment with our squad situation they will have more moments than they would ever have expected.”

Southampton had their chances, too, a number of them in fact, and were often thwarted by excellent saves from Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Though the defeat was a fairly heavy one in the end, there were several promising signs that the Championship side are on the right track under manager Russell Martin as they challenge for promotion to the Premier League.

The Southampton boss said they can still use the performance as motivation despite the scoreline.

“The biggest motivation they all have to have is to try to get to the Premier League and come to places like this every week, and actually play football and showcase what they can do,” said Martin.

“They have an opportunity to play in the Premier League and do it in a completely different way to how they've done it before because we won’t change.

“So hopefully they enjoyed enough tonight, in the moments they had, to come to Anfield and be that team.

“To play the way they did with the ball at times was amazing, and stole the ball as well a lot, in the first half particularly, with the press.

“Hopefully it whetted their appetite a bit to have some more of that.”

Liverpool travel to Nottingham Forest on Saturday while Southampton visit Birmingham City as the games continue to come thick and fast.

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