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Klopp hails 5 ‘debuts’ as youngsters face ‘learning process’


Jurgen Klopp handed five youngsters their first taste of senior football, albeit in a friendly, as the “learning process” continued in Liverpool’s 4-0 loss to Man United.

The Reds suffered a heavy defeat to United in their opening pre-season friendly, with Klopp utilising the majority of his 37-man squad in Thailand.

With Diogo Jota ruled out through injury, 32 of a possible 36 players featured, including a number of hopefuls from the academy.

Five of those made their first-ever appearances for the first team, with Isaac Mabaya and Luke Chambers part of the starting lineup, Stefan Bajcetic and Bobby Clark coming on at the half-hour mark and Tom Hill brought on for the final 30 minutes.

Melkamu Frauendorf, Tyler Morton and Leighton Clarkson were also given further opportunities to build on previous senior outings.

But with defensive errors compounding Liverpool’s loss in Bangkok, Klopp noted the “learning process” those young players will face over a summer which could prove formative.

“It will, but it’s not that they now dream tonight of a fantastic game,” he told reporters when asked whether the experiences on tour will benefit the youngsters included.

“When you lose 4-0, whatever I could say now – and I didn’t say anything really, we will do that tomorrow before training – [would not change that].

“But, of course, it’s a good experience, something they did really well in so many moments.

“In training they are fantastic, but today they saw as well, like others, that if you make a mistake on this level it’s pretty likely that the opponent will score.

“It’s all a learning process and these boys are only at the start of that, so it’s all good for now.”

BANGKOK, THAILAND - Tuesday, July 12, 2022: Liverpool players line-up for a team group photograph before the Bangkok Century Cup pre-season friendly match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at the Rajamangala National Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Pre-season is a big opportunity for those youngsters called up, with the watchful eyes of Pepijn Lijnders and Vitor Matos giving chances to players not previously on Klopp’s radar.

Last summer, Kaide Gordon earned himself a spotlight with a breakthrough pre-season, and the likes of Mabaya, Chambers and Clark will be looking to follow in their team-mate’s footsteps.

Liverpool still have another game to play on their tour of the Far East, with Crystal Palace the opposition on Friday, and a decision is likely to be made afterwards on who will travel for a training camp in Austria.

It is a vital time to impress Klopp, then, but the manager is clearly aware that the step up to the first team will require patience for the young players involved.